This year’s Bishop’s Annual Conference Offering will support the Bishop John Yambasu Scholarship at Africa University and Gammon Theological Seminary, in honor of their new president-dean, the Rev. Candace M. Lewis. The Conference also announced the launch of the Geraldine Williams-McClellan Scholarship, which will be offered to students from the Florida Conference. Click here to donate to this year's Bishop’s Offering. Donations also can be made through the United Methodist Foundation.
The Revs. David Allen and Emily Hotho will begin appointments as district superintendents in the Florida Conference starting January 1, 2022. Allen will serve the North Central District succeeding the Rev. June Edwards as she takes time for renewal and family responsibilities, while Hotho will serve the Gulf Central District as interim superintendents the Revs/ Sharon Austin and Clarke Campbell-Evans return to their roles in connectional ministries and missional engagement, respectively. Learn more about Allen and Hotho here.
The conference approved an overall budget of $16,329,597 for 2022. That represents a $478,122 reduction from the 2021 budget. Craig Smelser, newly elected conference treasurer, also reported that 391 churches gave 100% of their apportionments in 2020. Additionally, conference expenses were down $1.4 million in 2020 with $400,000 of those savings due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, less in-person meetings and hosting a virtual annual conference. So far, 34.5% of apportionments have been received from churches through the end of May, which is consistent with historical levels.
Laity Session/Lay Leader
Conference Lay Leader Alice Williams presented the “Four Ps” of emphasis for laity across the conference: Purpose, Presence, Partnership and Passion. She was joined by Derrick Scott III, executive director of the Campus to City Wesley Foundation, and Molly McEntire, the conference mission training and volunteer coordinator. Alice Williams later announced that Derrick Scott III has been appointed as associate lay leader. Click here to view the Laity Session.
The Conference announced it has established a Leadership Academy Pilot Program. The purpose of the academy is to equip emerging lay and clergy leaders throughout our conference to serve effectively in mission and ministry within the local church, their district, conference, and community. More information is forthcoming.
Licensing, Commissioning & Ordination Services
The services of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination were held at First United Methodist Church, Lakeland. Twenty-two people were licensed as local pastors, three were commissioned as provisional deacons, 12 were commissioned as provisional elders, and 14 were ordained as elders. Click here to view their names in the Worship Book. To watch video of each session, click here.
The following churches are celebrating milestone anniversaries:
• 175 years: Riverview, First (originally Lesley Chapel)
• 150 years: Green Cove Springs, Reddick, Mt. Zion
• 125 years: Hernando, Highlands (originally Highlands City), Miami, First, Woodville
• 100 years: Auburndale, First, Myakka City, Tampa, Seminole Heights
• 75 years: Casselberry, Community, Ft. Myers, Tice, Miami, Opa Locka, Tampa, Palma Ceia
• 50 years: Miami, Killian Pines (originally Killian Drive)
• 25 years: Jacksonville, Cross Roads, Trinity, Hope (originally New Port Richey, Hope)
The following churches were discontinued:
• Pine Ridge Fellowship (Deltona)
• Springhead (Plant City)
• Mount Bethel (Chiefland)
• Village United Methodist Church (North Lauderdale)
• Trinity UMC (Lighthouse Point)
• Ellenton (Ellenton)
The following churches have disaffiliated:
• Cork (Plant City)
• Wacissa (Wacissa)
• Worthington Springs (Worthington Springs)
Click here to view a list of local pastor appointments by district as of July 1, 2021.
Fill the Table: Last year, the conference set a goal of providing 3 million meals over the next 12 months to individuals and families facing devastation during the pandemic. Fill the Table Coordinators Molly McEntire and Emily Autry announced that to date 5,118, 376 meals have been served through our local churches and outreach ministries and 76,000 volunteers have been engaged in feeding the hungry. Learn more about Fill the Table here.
Anti-Racism Task Force: In response to the public deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, Bishop Ken Carter announced the formation of the Bishop’s Task Force on Anti-Racism last year. The task force includes three teams: Training and Accountability; Public Policy and Witness; and Beloved Community. During annual conference, the task force launched a comprehensive plan to become an anti-racist conference. The plan along with a video explaining the plan can be accessed here. It was also announced that the conference has created a part-time position for leading the continued work to implement the comprehensive plan. The Revs. Lee and Jana Hall-Perkins will share this responsibility starting July 1.
Clergy Care: Sidney Tompkins, chair of the clergy care initiative, shared that as of June 10, 2021, 531 Florida Conferenceclergy took advantage of the $1,000 grants provided by the Preachers’ Relief Board for clergy health and wellness. Learn more about the Clergy Care initiative here.
The opening day of annual conference concluded with an inspiring Service of Remembrance for the clergy and clergy spouses who died in the last year. Gammon Theological Seminary President-Dean the Rev. Candace M. Lewis offered words of comfort, starting with Jeremiah's words from Lamentations. View the service here.
The conference noted the long and dedicated service of 27 pastoral leaders who move on to retirement. They combined for 724 years of service. Click here to view a video of the service.
The following essential voting items were presented. Each item listed below was approved during the annual conference virtual plenary session. Visit flumc.org/voting-items for an explanation of each item.
1. Organizing motions from annual conference secretary around procedures, agenda and secretarial staff — Approved by 99%
2. Conference Committee on Lay Leadership Report — Approved by 96%
3. Council on Finance and Administration Budget Presentation and Recommendations — Approved by 97%
4. Electing our new conference treasurer — Approved by 99%
5. Commission on Equitable Compensation Report — Approved by 98%
6. Florida United Methodist Foundation Board of Directors — Approved by 99%
7. Housing/Rental Allowance Resolution for Retired Clergy — Approved by 97%
8. Standing Rules changes — Approved 94%
9. Church Discontinuances — Approved 94%
10. Church Disaffiliations — Approved 95%
11. Sale of Episcopal Residence — Approved by 90%
a. “Option for Co-Lay Leader Structure” — Approved by 88%
b. “The QAnon Movement” — Approved by 57%
c. “Non-Binary Gender Resolution” — Approved by 52%
d. “Solar Sanctuaries Advocacy” — Approved by 74%
e. “Valuing God’s Gift in Uncertain Times” — Approved 58%
f. “Ethnic, Gender and Racial Equity in Clergy Compensation, Responsibilities and Appointments — Approved by 90%
g. “A Prophetic Call for White Responsibility and Accountability in Dismantling Racism” — Approved by 61%
13. Setting the location and date of 2022 Annual Conference — Approved by 97%
14. Committee on Journal Motion — Approved by 98%
Complete coverage of this year’s annual conference event is available at flumc.org/news.
Full ministry reports are included in the 2021 Annual Conference Workbook here.
Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.