Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference next week

The General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegates you elected in 2015 will all be heading to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina for the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference next week. The primary business of the Conference is to elect new bishops to replace the five bishops who are retiring. There will be a total of eleven bishops being elected in the United States this month (see this helpful article).

You can find much good information on the SEJ website at http://sejumc.org/2016sejconf. The ADCA, or Advanced Christian Daily Advocate, can be downloaded from that page, and you will find links there as well for the schedule, for live streaming of the Conference, and for information on the 13 current Episcopal Nominees.

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Quadrennial Leadership Training

This event was held for all conference leaders, clergy and lay, who will be involved with Conference ministry areas beginning July 1, 2016. Training was held at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando on June 25, 2016.We had two sessions with Dr. Lovett Weems, renowned author, professor and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. He has shared with us a video lesson and PowerPoint slides for both sessions (start here, and then go here).In the first session, Connecting Leadership and Vision, he notes that Mission and Vision statements make very little difference in churches, and in annual conferences. In churches, we have different program and ministry areas, while in annual conferences, there are different departments and ministries. What we should be doing is thinking the Whole before the Parts. After all, we are the BODY of Christ, and not just the BODY PARTS of Christ. Conference Leaders should see themselves as stewards of the United Methodist witness in the Florida Conference. In the second session, Dr. Weems showed how we are declining, both in the size of our congregations and in our Professions of Faith. There are some interesting slides in that session to look over.

Continue reading

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Bishop’s Town Hall Meetings

Bishop Carter has announced four “Town Hall” Meetings to be held around the state the third week of September. The purpose of these meetings is to:

  • Call for Unity

  • Have A Time for Questions and Answers

  • Give Highlights of Key Future Initiatives

We everyone interested in the future of our churches, annual conference and the denomination to attend one of these meetings and learn what is on the horizon for all of us. These meetings will be held during the evening hours with some light refreshments at the following dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, September 20 > Trinity UMC, Gainesville

  • Thursday, September 22 > St. Luke’s UMC, Orlando

  • Sunday, September 25 > Christ UMC, Fort Lauderdale

  • Monday, September 26 > Grace UMC, Cape Coral

Please register in advance at: https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/townhall.

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United Methodists Form Wesleyan Covenant Association

13501601_1090520627660810_6571198331906105790_nUnited Methodists form Wesleyan Covenant Association

June 30, 2016

“In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, we believe it is important for orthodox congregations, clergy, and laity to work together, to support one another, and to encourage each other,” said a group of 40 United Methodist pastors, theologians, and lay persons in a statement that announces the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA). “We long for a church committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the last, the least, and the lost.”

“The Wesleyan Covenant Association represents the very best of our warm-hearted theology and action-oriented spirituality, and will provide support, encouragement, and resourcing for like-minded and like-hearted United Methodists,” said the Rev. Jeff Greenway, lead pastor of Reynoldsburg (Ohio) United Methodist Church. “During these turbulent times in our denomination, I find this association to be a source of encouragement and hope.”

The WCA is being launched as a member-based network of United Methodist congregations, clergy, and laity to provide “the encouragement we need to stay committed to our rich heritage while standing firm on the non-negotiables that make The United Methodist Church a vital contributor to the Body of Christ,” said the Rev. Carolyn Moore, senior pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans, Georgia.

The Wesleyan Covenant Association (wesleyancovenant.org) will be gathering in Chicago for a one-day conference to promote its goals and welcome new members on October 7, 2016.

“My fervent prayer is that we will be able to share our witness in ways that will impact the Bishop’s Commission on the Future of the Church positively and contribute to the advance of God’s Kingdom among the people called Methodists globally,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, pastor of Wilderness Community UM Church in Spotsylvania, Virginia. “Those who choose to participate in this great endeavor will be better positioned I believe to embrace a fruitful future regardless of what ultimately occurs within The United Methodist Church.”

“As a young orthodox United Methodist, I am excited about the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association as a coalition committed to the authority of God’s Holy Word, our Wesleyan heritage, and Holy Spirit empowered revival,” said the Rev. Madeline Carrasco Henners, pastor of Luling (Texas) First United Methodist Church. “We know that many pastors in many progressive annual conferences feel isolated from their fellow orthodox brothers and sisters. This alliance will help them have their voices heard in matters affecting the unity of the Global Church.”

“Clergy and laity across the nation are rightly concerned about the state of The United Methodist Church in the United States,” observed the Rev. Jim Cowart, pastor of Harvest UM Church in Byron, Georgia. “Although blessed with sound doctrine, a history of personal and social holiness, and a rich heritage, the church seems to have lost its way in the 21st century. The Wesleyan Covenant Association provides us with a wonderful opportunity to gather around the best of what we are with those who are of like commitment to work toward making disciples for the transformation of the world.”

“Christianity was born in a hostile culture. We were born in the Roman empire, that tried to destroy Christianity. And so it’s not the culture that’s going to determine who we are, it’s our faith,” said the Rev. Kenneth Levingston, senior pastor of Jones Memorial UM Church in Houston. “It’s whether or not we’re willing to stand up in the culture and love it and still call it to live in a faithful way and a faithful manner with Jesus Christ.”

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Lunch with Dr. Bill Arnold

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REGISTRATION IS CLOSED!

Thank you for your support. We have reached our maximum. For those previously registered, we look forward to seeing you on:

THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2016
11:30 am – 1:15 PM
LUNCH WITH
DR. BILL ARNOLD

At
Best Western Lake Buena Vista
Disney Springs Resort Area
2000 Hotel Plaza Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

We will be on the main floor of the hotel. Park anywhere in the parking lot and tell the attendants you are there with the FLUME Luncheon.

This event is in collaboration with and sponsored by the  Wesleyan Evangelical Network (WEN; find us on Facebook)

For more about Dr. Arnold  visit http://asburyseminary.edu/person/dr-bill-t-arnold/

Still need to pay for tickets previously registered for? 

Pay for tickets here.

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Merry Christmas!

From all of us on the FLUME Steering Committee, we wish and pray for a warm and loving Christmas season for all of you, your churches, families and loved ones. It has been a rough year all around on many different levels, but we can all rely on Jesus to get us through. Look forward to this new year with the grace, peace and love of our Lord Jesus in your hearts and minds!

News and articles for our Christmas newsletter are reproduced below. An email newsletter is sent out to all subscribers, but you can find a PDF version here.

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Rob Renfroe Event at New Hope UMC in Brandon

Many members of the FLUME Steering Committee joined with about 100 attendees to the Balancing Truth and Grace Event with Rev. Rob Renfroe, President of Good News, at New Hope (the old First UMC Brandon on November 22nd. Rob led us through his book, The Trouble with the Truth, before lunch, and then discussed legislative proposals for General Conference organization for the coming year. Everyone had a great time. Old friendships were renewed, and new ones made. We all came away inspired, with greater understanding to refresh our walks and discipleship in these troubled and confusing times. Thanks to Rob Renfroe for coming and for New Hope Brandon for hosting this great event!

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A Review of “The Trouble with the Truth: Balancing Truth and Grace”

by Rod Groom

Rev. Rob Renfroe’s book calls us to the full gospel treatment of balancing truth and grace. We all have preferences one way or another. Some of us prefer to tell the truth of the Gospel, no matter how bad that might make one feel. Some of us would rather err on the side of grace, even if that conflicts with the truth of the Gospel. As Rob tells us, we must balance these. Like God, we must have a heart of holiness as well as a heart of love. “Grace is essential and truth matters!”

For several decades, we have been fighting what some call “culture wars” in this country. We cannot agree on what is right and what isn’t. Not only do we no longer agree on the truth, we cannot even agree on where to look for it. Continue reading

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Jesus is…

by Mason Dorsey

(Joh 1:1-2 NAU) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.”

Stanley Kubrick, director of Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket, didn’t see any particular source of light or life in the universe. Instead: “The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. … The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it’s hostile but that it is indifferent. … However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

And there are those who would agree with Kubrick. It seems that life has a meaningless quality to it. And the universe is indifferent. Continue reading

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God with Us

by Carolyn Welsh

Each month, my husband John and I do a church service at a nursing home in Stuart. A sweet little lady of 95 plays the piano, a tone-deaf lady of about 80 leads the singing, I read the Scripture and John gives the message. Christmas can be a very sad and lonely time for those in nursing facilities. When I read the editorial by Rob Renfroe in the November/December issue of Good News, I was inspired to give his message to these dear people. The title of his editorial is  Rob’s message is that God wants to be more than God above us, or God against us, or even God for us. It is in the heart of God to be God with us. “Why is there a Christmas?” he asks. Because God doesn’t ever want us to be alone. The certainty of Rob’s message is that God is with us and he will never forsake us. We are not alone. God is here now. If you haven’t read the article, I highly recommend it. The message is simple and filled with TRUTH.

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