Main Menu

Who does what in the Florida Conference?

Florida United Methodist Building
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33815
800-282-8011 (toll free) or 863-688-5563


Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church: Core Ideology

Together we are disciples of Jesus Christ in the Wesleyan tradition called to participate in God’s saving work in the world.
Core Values
  • We love God and search the Scriptures to hear and obey God's Word.
  • We welcome and serve all people, particularly the poor and marginalized, as an expression of God’s love for us.
  • We desire everyone to experience a life of worship and joy in God's presence by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • We are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit as we learn to follow Jesus.
  • We believe that changed people are called to change their communities by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • We believe all disciples are called to discover their gifts and to live out their unique mission.
  • We share our faith in the context of authentic relationships.
  • Because we follow Jesus together, we have a responsibility to hold one another accountable for our discipleship.


Being changed in Christ—Making a change in the world.


The mission of the Florida Conference is to connect and equip congregations in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Therefore, we:

  • Start and nurture missional communities of faith
  • Develop effective servant leaders for the church and the world
  • Provide services that support congregations and extension ministries
  • Connect congregations and resources for ministries that we do better together

Office of Connectional Ministries

These “shared ministries” include the departments of Connectional Ministry, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, Connectional Relations and Camps and Retreat Ministries, each included below.
Rev. Sharon Austin, Director of Connectional Ministries
Ext. 103 –
Icel Rodriguez, Director of Global Missions
Sherri Lingle, Program Coordinator
Ext. 132 –
Heidi Leab, Administrative Associate
Ext. 192 –
Joel Pancoast, Youth Ministries Coordinator
(352) 787-4345(352) 787-4345 x4154 -
More information at;


Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (BHECM)
Rev. David Fuquay, Director
Ext. 189 –
The Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry considers its ministry a mission. Why? Because campus ministries are placed on college campuses that are a different culture, one set apart from the rest of the world around it. Colleges are mini-cities, with about 40,000 residents who have their own language, rules and values. Each director, just like an out-of-country missionary, must learn this culture in order to minister to the society in which the college student is immersed. Also, just like an out-of-country missionary, campus ministries must raise money to support themselves. The conference supports only a portion of their budgets and everything else, from volunteer hours, building needs and ministerial funds, comes from generous donors who understand the importance of campus ministry to college students. The vision and mission of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry is to be The United Methodist Church at work on Florida’s college and university campuses, raising up a new generation of Christian leaders by:
  • Calling students into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,
  • Training them to become servant leaders,
  • Sending them out to serve God through the local church,
  • Encouraging the development of Christian community, and
  • Affirming and supporting the relationship between the Florida Conference and Florida’s two United Methodist-related institutions of higher education: Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach and Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
There are nine campus ministries at universities across Florida:
  1. Florida A&M in Tallahassee
  2. Florida State University in Tallahassee
  3. University of North Florida in Jacksonville
  4. University of Central Florida in Orlando
  5. Stetson University in DeLand
  6. University of Florida in Gainesville
  7. University of South Florida in Tampa
  8. University of Miami
  9. Florida International University and Miami Dade College, also in Miami.

Camps and Retreat Ministries

Camps and Retreat Ministries website
Mike Standifer – Director
Ext. 140 –
866-UMCAMPS 866-UMCAMPS, #1, or 352-435-4102 352-435-4102
  • Life Enrichment Center (LEC)
    4991 Picciola Road, Fruitland Park, FL 34731
    Rev. Jess Schload, Director –
    866-UMCAMPS 866-UMCAMPS, #2, or 352-787-0313 352-787-0313
  • Riverside Retreat
    7305 CR 78, LaBelle, FL 33935
    Martha Pierce, Director –
    866-UMCAMPS 866-UMCAMPS, #4, or 863-675-0334 863-675-0334
  • Warren W. Willis Camp (across the street from the LEC)
    4990 Picciola Road, Fruitland Park, FL 34731
    Mike Standifer, Director –
    866-UMCAMPS 866-UMCAMPS, #3, or 352-787-4345 352-787-4345
  • Centenary Camp
    371 Centenary Camp Rd, Quincy, Fl. 32352
    Dave or Donna Bruns, Manager -
    866-UMCAMPS 866-UMCAMPS #5 or 850-856-9779 850-856-9779
Florida United Methodist Camps and Retreat Ministries seek to provide:
  • Welcoming natural places set apart for sacred retreat and community;
  • Nurturing experiences in Christian faith, discipleship and leadership; and
  • A witness to the servant life of hospitality, earth care, justice and love.

The Office of Congregational Vitality

Vision: Vital congregations of disciples being changed in Christ, making a change in the world.
Purpose: To lead the Conference’s efforts in creating more vital congregations – both new and existing.

863-688-5563 Ext. 142


Janet Earls, Congregational Vitality Specialist
Ext. 109 –

Rev. Dan Jackson, Director New Church Development
Ext. 147 –

Marcy Bishop, Administrative Assistant
Ext. 142 –


Florida United Methodist Connectional Relations

Gretchen Hastings, Managing Director
Ext. 505 –
Susan Green, Managing Editor 
Ext. 171 -
Tim Turner, Social Media Coordinator
Ext. 170 -
Don Youngs, A/V and Internet Consultant
407-697-1878 407-697-1878 –

The Florida Conference Connectional Relations team is the source of information about what’s going on throughout The United Methodist Church in Florida. The conference website ( focuses on stories about our churches and ministries and provides administrative resources for districts and churches.
What Are Umc Doing ( is the local church video community created by the Florida Conference for churches to learn how other local churches are impacting their communities and to share what you are doing in yours.
Our Conference-wide Facebook community ( is a place for the local churches to share and engage in conversation about faith, missions, outreach, community and worship.
Through email communications and more, the team helps keep local churches informed of the latest developments in the mission and ministry of the church in Florida and around the world. The department also serves as a resource to help churches be effective in their communications ministries by connecting church communicators with experienced consultants and offering communications workshops.
Connectional Relations also offers:
  • Training and consulting
  • Multimedia/video production
  • Media relations
  • Crisis communications

Knowledge & Information Services

(Part of Florida United Methodist Connectional Relations)

Steve Loher, Senior Analyst/Data Management
Ext. 190 -

Mike Penuliar, Data Specialist, Knowledge & Information Services
Ext. 131 –
Knowledge and Information Services provides analysis, research, and reporting support along with the traditional data management functions of data collection, storage, and maintenance.  This team also provides analysis support for process improvement and problem resolution.   The team’s mission is to partner and to work cooperatively with the GCFA, the Conference and District staff to support the local churches.

The Office of Clergy Excellence

Calling, training and supporting … leaders for the church

Rev. Wayne Wiatt, Director
Ext. 133 –

Rev. Rwth Fuquay, Associate Director of Clergy Excellence
Ext. 104 -

Holly Finley, Administrative Assistant
Ext. 134 –

  • Calling: The center offers and promotes opportunities for the exploration of a call to licensed or ordained ministry.
  • Training: At all phases of ministry, the center offers training for people preparing to enter the ministry, those just starting in ministry and those who are continuing in ministry.
  • Supporting: The center works with the chairs of the Order of Elders, the Order of Deacons and the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members to develop systems for clergy to live in a community that calls for mutual accountability. The Center also works with the leaders of the conference health insurance program and Shade and Fresh Water to develop models of healthy living — physical, mental and spiritual. And working with the Florida Conference Cabinet and the Committee on Clergy Effectiveness, the center seeks to develop systems that will enable clergy members to recapture the zeal of their call to ministry and refine their tools for effectiveness.

Office of Financial Services and Treasurer’s Office

The treasurer is responsible for overseeing the administrative services provided by the conference office. These services include: Financial Services, Ministry Protection, Disaster Recovery, Human Resources and Information Technology.

Mickey Wilson, Treasurer, Director of Administrative Services 
Ext. 113 –
Office: 863-688-5563 863-688-5563, ext. 113; FAX: 863-686-7363
Kitt Elliott, Staff Accountant
Ext. 163 –
Craig Smelser, Controller
Ext. 173 – 

Palma Dziedzic, Assistant Controller
Ext. 107 –
Kathi Ewing, Staff Accountant
Ext. 172 –
The financial services office handles the financial and accounting responsibilities relating to the conference and extended ministries. These responsibilities include: accounts payable/receivable, personnel and payroll, health insurance billing, and benefits and pensions billing. The office also has an auditor on staff who is available, on request, to assist churches in their annual audit requirement.

Ministry Protection

800-282-8011 800-282-8011

LaNita Battles, Claims/Risk Manager
Ext. 199 –

Ana Temple, Insurance Specialist
Ext. 126 –
Brian Donivan, Claims Specialist
Ext. 175 –

The Department for Ministry Protection, formerly known as risk management,  is responsible for securing comprehensive property and casualty insurance coverage for all churches in the conference, facilitating the payment of claims, as well as providing risk management and loss control consulting.

Disaster Recovery Ministry

The Disaster Recovery Ministry is part of the services that the Ministry Protection Department offers the Florida Conference. The mission of the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry is to resource and equip local churches and districts as they assist their communities and individuals in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disaster.
Pam Garrison, Disaster Recovery Manager
Ext. 148 –
Greg Harford, Disaster Recovery Representative
407-924-4485 407-924-4485 (cell)–
Marvin Hammontree, Conference Disaster Recovery Coordinator
Through generous contributions to Conference Advance Special #605 from donors throughout Florida and through the partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the Disaster Recovery Ministry continues to offer hope to those whose lives have been interrupted by disaster.
The conference Disaster Recovery Ministry deploys volunteer work teams as needed in communities affected by disasters, sometimes many years after the event occurred.  It currently offers training in early response, case management and basic Community Arise disaster curriculum preparing churches and districts to respond and recover from disaster. Many of these trainings are scheduled at the request of local churches wishing to sponsor and serve as host of a training event.

Human Resources, Pension and Health Benefits

Fax: 863-688-5189

Wendy L. McCoy, Director of Human Resources and Benefits 
Ext. 129 –

Lois Durham,  Human Resources Administrator 
Ext. 194 – 

Helen Mitchell, Benefits Specialist
Ext. 135 –
Star Rouse, Receptionist
Ext. 100 –

Information Technology provided by DSM Technology Consultants
Assistance available by contacting the IT help desk at:

Building Services

Wayne Dziedzic: Property Manager, Preachers Relief Board
Ext. 122 -

Florida Conference Archives

The Ruth K. and Charles T. Thrift, Jr., Florida United Methodist Heritage Center is the official repository for archival materials owned by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Its mission is to collect, preserve, and make available materials that document the historical development of the United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations in Florida from 1822 to the present.

The archives are open to all, especially conference agencies, local churches, and individuals interested in historical or genealogical research.  Materials do not circulate but are available for use in the building.  Research requests may also be made by email, telephone, or letter.

The Center is located in the McKay Archives Center on the campus of Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801.
Nell Thrift, Archivist
863-680-4992/863-688-9276 -