Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Midweek Moment

Dear Friends,

Last week at Annual Conference you were well represented! In addition to Pastor Loida, Pastor Daryl and myself, Community sent seven lay representatives (three representing the congregation and four representing our district) - Hunter Gnann, Glenn and Elsa Kaye, Giselle Lawn, Riley Standifer, Mike and Pat Weer. We saw other Community folks on stage throughout the week as well - Mike Standifer brought a message on behalf of Conference Camps and Retreat Centers and Joey Landstedt was there as part of the design team for the Conference's new Institute of Modern Worship to train and resource worship leaders throughout Florida.

Throughout the week there was a lot of meetings and special worship celebrations and voting. Here's some of the highlights:

  • Worshiped in 5 languages with a diverse group of people 
  • Chartered a church, Good Samaritan UMC in Tallahassee  
  • Raised over $37,000 in the Bishop's offering to help launch a church in Lowell Correctional Facility (largest women's prison in the country) and go towards the building fund of the relaunched Wesley Foundation at FAMU in Tallahassee 
  • Celebrated that we are up to 301 Fresh Expressions of ministry throughout our conference now
  • 14 new churches - including Community - are involved in ZOE since last year and over 1000 children are benefiting from the conference's involvement.
  • The percentage given in apportionments from local churches increased and we reduced our 2020 Budget for the Conference to return more resources to the local church
  • We approved a new ministry plan for Lation/Latina ministries. 
  • We engaged in dialogue about our church's social teachings and public witness
  • We approved funding for scholarships for seminary students over the next five years.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we also elected 46 persons (23 laity and 23 clergy) to represent Florida at next year's gatherings - General Conference (May in Minneapolis) and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (July in Lake Junaluska, NC). The Jurisdictional Conference is mainly charged with the election of bishops and we have five bishops in our jurisdiction who are retiring. I was elected as clergy for the Jurisdictional Conference and our own Riley Standifer was elected to Jurisdictional Conference as a layperson. Riley will also serve as a seated alternate for General Conference. 

And finally on Saturday morning, we concluded Annual Conference by licensing, commissioning and ordaining a total of 52 persons for ministry, including Pastor Loida, as she was ordained an elder!!! It was beautiful to see the large group of people from Community who came to share this special moment with her.

As you can see there is much to celebrate across our connection and now we are back to live this out our mission of making disciples in our own local communities. 


PreConference worship in Buckner Theatre on Tuesday night 

Mike Standifer representing Conference Camps
Joey Landstedt with the rest of the design team for the Institute of Modern Worship
Hunter Gnann with Bishop Carter and his wife Pam and some other conference youth
Riley Standifer addressing conference during one of the resolution discussions.
I wrote a devotional for this book last year, at Cokesbury had them for sale in their display!  

Ordination is a very long journey. So very happy to mark this milestone with Loida!
Riley Standifer and I after the delegation meeting on Saturday afternoon

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