The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Here for You - Serving Jesus
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Clergy Birthdays in December 
 Happy birthday to Tom Sharron,
Lee Bateman, Carl Carnley,
Malcolm Franklin, Virginia Beckham,
Larry Anderson, Mark Roberts,
Stuart Worth, Chris Hawkins,
Chris Terrell, and Jeff Spicer!
 
 
 
 
  
 
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Around the Pensacola District  
 
                     
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Important Save-the-Dates
Dear friends, as I was looking at the AWF Conference calendar this morning, I noted some big events coming up and made sure they are on our Pensacola District calendar. Here they are, in case you want to add these to your calendar, too:
 
Lay Servant Ministry Training January/February 2017
The Pensacola District will offer Lay Servant Ministry advanced courses five consecutive Thursday evening beginning January 26, 2017. The event page is here. Please spread the word in your congregation.  The deadline for registration is January 13, 2017.  Click here for the pdf flyer.
 
Night to Shine February 10, 2017
at Community Life United Methodist Church, Gulf Breeze, FL
Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs. As a part of this worldwide movement, more than 350 churches, representing 27 denominations, and 100,000 volunteers in 50 states and 10 countries will come together on one night to celebrate more than 50,000 honored guests with special needs, ages 14 and older.
 
Every guest of Night to Shine enters this complimentary event on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi. Once inside, guests receive the royal treatment, including limousine rides, professional photography, hair and makeup stations, corsages and boutonnieres, shoe shines, a catered dinner, karaoke room and, of course, a dance floor… all leading up to the moment when each guest is crowned a king or queen of the prom.
 
Please watch this video for more info:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6q2zJluLpE

Volunteer at http://goo.gl/vKMoHo
Register a guest at http://goo.gl/VOUazc

 
LITE Day Postcards
 
Pensacola District Town Hall Meetings with Bishop Graves February 26-28
Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, will visit the Pensacola District February 26-28, 2017. He will meet with district leadership, clergy and laity over the course of the three-day period. The event page is here.
 
 
Video about Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries
A video from the August 15, 2016, webinar about Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries is now posted at https://vimeo.com/179055193 as well as on the Pensacola District's Community Ministries page (here.)  The video is courtesy of Alabama-West Florida Conference United Methodist Church Mission & Outreach.
 
 
Positions Available
Submit job posts at AWFUMC.org/Classifieds then send us the link after your ad is posted!
Here are the most recent positions:
For employment opportunities at Crosspoint UMC see yourcrosspoint.org/employment.
 
District Leadership Inspirational Training Event (LITE Day) January 22
Save the date and spread the word!  The Pensacola District CORE Team will be offering a Leadership Inspirational Training Event January 22, 2 p.m.-4:45 p.m., at Navarre United Methodist Church. Further details will be announced at a later date and posted on the Pensacola District Message Board. Download here Save-the-Date postcards to publicize LITE Day 2017.
 
Youth Meltdown January 27-29 
at Boardwalk Beach Resort, Panama City Beach, FL. The speaker will be Carlos Whittaker.
The band will be Calling Glory. The website is here.
 
Meltdown is an annual youth conference that brings together students from all over Northwest Florida and South Alabama for a weekend that will draw them closer to God and to each other. Organized by a team of youth pastors and church workers, Meltdown’s mission is to empower youth groups and their churches by offering a dynamic, inspiring, and challenging worship experience brought through an awesome worship team, speaker, and through a variety of breakout sessions. For details visit http://meltdownretreat.org/youth/meltdown-2017/.
 
 
From Century United Methodist Church:  Thank You!
Thank you to all who supported Century after a tornado ripped through their area in February 2016!
Century UMC Pastor Janet Lee sent the district a thank-you card that read as follows:
It is overwhelming to be the recipient of such a gracious gift from the Pensacola District. Behind the monetary expression, I sense love and support. Such has been true throughout the conference. The tie that binds us is surely real and strong. 
 
Thank you from all of us at Century Methodist.
 
Janet
 
Pensacola U.M. Community Ministries Celebrates New Saints
Click here for July's baptism photos from Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries (PUMCM) >> (Ministers pictured in the photos are Robin Noble and Joe Mullen.)
 
Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries (PUMCM) is in need of items for the Ministry Shop.  Items may be dropped off 9-5 Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2600 West Strong Street, one block off Cervantes between "T" and "U" Streets. PUMCM is located at Richards Memorial United Methodist Church in the Brownsville area of Pensacola.  The website is http://pumcm.org/.

PUMCM Thrift Shop Now Has a Facebook Page
Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries (PUMCM) now has a Facebook page for their thrift shop. Let’s all work the connection by liking the page, sharing the page, shopping in the store, and donating gently-used items. The page is https://www.Facebook.com/CommunityMinistryThriftShop.  The thrift shop is located at 2600 West Strong Street in Pensacola. Hours are 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
 
Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries Needs Shelving
(From Rev. Robin Noble, Director:)
Greetings from PUMCM!
 
Exciting things are happening at Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries. We are in the process of improving the space in our thrift shop in order to better serve ministry needs of our neighbors and in the hopes of attracting even more bargain hunters to the store.
 
I'm writing this today to ask for your partnership in this effort. We are in dire need of more shelving. We need units that can display toys, home goods, books, and electronics. Metal, wood, and plastic units would all be welcomed.
 
Here's how you can help:
* Pray for our ministry.
* Recruit groups in your congregation (Sunday School classes, youth groups, UMM, etc.) to host a "build" event to benefit the store. You can choose the size, design, and color of the unit. We would love it if you branded it somehow to show the group that built it.
* Donate shelves that are in good condition.
* Individuals can underwrite the cost of new shelving. You fund, we handle the purchase.
* Did I mention pray for our ministry? 
 
Items can be dropped off at 2600 West Strong Street in Pensacola Tuesdays through Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.   If you need more information contact Pastor Robin Noble at 850-454-7652.
 
Thank you for helping us serve our Brownsville Community with love!
 

 
Administrative Announcements 
 
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Commissioning and Ordination Requirements
For information about commissioning and ordination requirements, deadlines, and to download the required forms visit http://www.awfumc.org/commissioningandordination. Look for the PACKETS.
 
New Clergy?
Important information for newly-appointed clergy is at http://umcpensacoladistrict.org/RightStart.
 
Deadline for 2016 Apportionment Giving

The last day apportionment payments can be applied for the 2016 year is Monday, January 9, 2017. Payments must be received in the conference office by 3pm so they can be deposited before the close of business. Payments can also be deposited directly into the conference bank account at Regions Bank no later than 4pm on January 9, 2017. If a church wishes to do so, they need to call or e-mail the AWF Conference fiscal office staff (toll free #888-873-3127) so that they can provide you with the account information.

Changes in January 2017 for AWFC Clergy & Lay Insurance
Download the pdf report here.
 
Database Deadline
December 11 is the deadline for churches of the Pensacola District to update their Staff-Parish/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee chairperson information in the AWF Conference database. Please be sure that the chairperson's information includes a current e-mail address and current mailing address.  December 15 is the deadline to update all other lay leadership and church information in the database.  For more information and how to enter the database by logging into the Church Dashboard, please visit the Pensacola District's Online Reports page.
 
Write and Share Your Church's History
For information on how to write your Church's history, visit http://www.gcah.org/resources/How-to-Write-a-Local-Church-History.  See also "Guidelines for Managing Records" at http://www.awfumc.org/guidelinesformanagingrecordsoftheannualconferenceandlocalchurch.
 
Clarification about Lay Servant / Lay Speaking Positions and Forms:
For 2016 we'll be using the same Lay Servant / Lay Speaker forms we used in 2015. Here's some clarification about those positions and forms:
  • A Lay Servant is one who is not yet a Lay Speaker. So the reports are different.
  • Local Church Lay servant is one that can serve in the local congregation only. This person has only taken the Basic course. They must file an annual renewal report.
  • A Certified Lay Servant is one that has taken the Basic course and an advanced course and can serve on a limited basis outside the local congregation. They must file an annual report.
  • Both Local Church and Certified Lay Servant file the same renewal. 
  • A Lay Speaker is a Certified Lay Servant that has taken the 7 required courses and been approved by the district and conference committee. May supply pulpits. This person files the Lay Speaker Annual Report.
If you have questions about Lay Servant/Speaking Ministries, see also http://www.awfumc.org/layservantministries or http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/LayServantMinistry.  
 
 
 
Information for Local Church Officers
Have you been elected to a local church leadership or committee position and you're not sure what your responsibilities are?  Be sure to visit the Pensacola District's Church Leadership Roles page at http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/ChurchLeadershipRoles.
 
Have you visited the Pensacola District's SPR page?  We've posted a lot of helpful information for Staff-Parish at http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/SPR, including the booklet used by Pensacola District Superintendent Tim Trent at our Leadership Inspirational Training Event (LITE Day) January 10, 2016. 
 
 
Cokesbury Cares Program
The Cokesbury Cares Program is designed to help churches who've had a catastrophic event by offering FREE resources to help the get back on their feet.  Application requires signature by the church's district superintendent and can be emailed to swoolum@cokesbury.com or plunn@umpublishing.org. Here is a brochure, but please note that the address on the brochure has changed to 2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37228-0988. 
                                                     

 
Around the Conference  

      
Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)   

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AWFC Prayer & Resources Calendars for 2017 Now Available!
The AWFC Prayer and Resources Calendar for 2017 are now available and can be ordered online for $5 each at https://awf-reg.brtapp.com/2017Calendarpurchase. The 2017 calendar features pictures of conference ministries and was put together by Luke Lucas, AWFC Communications Specialist. (Posted 11/30/2016)
 
White Christmas Offering Materials Available      
The White Christmas offering, collected on behalf of the United Methodist Children’s Home, is a heart-felt tradition dating back to the 1930s. During the Advent season Methodist congregations across both the North Alabama and Alabama-West Florida Conferences gather generous offerings in support of UMCH’s transformational ministries. Click here to order your supplies:  http://www.umch.net/white-christmas.html.
 
AWFC Advance Special Ministries Application Deadline January 1st
The Conference Board of Global Ministries has approved a new application and updated the Conference Advance guidelines. Applications are due each year on January 1. The Advance Committee will review the applications and make recommendations that will be voted on for approval at the following Annual Conference. For more information, the application and guidelines, and to view the current list of AWF Conference Advance Special Ministries, visit http://www.awfumc.org/advance
 
Updated Safe Sanctuaries Training Video (Posted 11/15/2016)  
The updated Safe Sanctuaries training video is now online at https://vimeo.com/153825661. For those who may prefer to listen in their car, it is also available in an audio-only podcast. Search “AWFUMC Podcasts” in iTunes. 
 
How to Complete the Local Church Statistical Report (Posted 11/14/2016)
For a video on how to do January's Local Church Report:  https://vimeo.com/191041088
 
A Word from Bishop David Graves about General Conference & Town Hall Meetings
(AWFC-UMC 11/10/2016) - We invite you to hear a word from Bishop David Graves about the upcoming special called general conference session and the AWF district town hall meetings. Click here to watch video or on the image below. Click here to read written transcript.  You may also listen to this message as an audio-only podcast by clicking here, by searching for "AWFUMC Podcasts" on iTunes or in your preferred podcast player. We invite you to subscribe to these podcasts.

Town Hall Meetings with Bishop David Graves

(AWFC-UMC 10/28/2016) - Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, will visit each district starting in January. He will meet with district leadership, clergy and laity over the course of the three-day period. More details, including location, are forthcoming. Below are the district dates:
January 8-10 in Montgomery-Prattville District
January 22-24 in Mobile District
January 29-31 in Montgomery-Opelika District
February 12-14 in Dothan District
February 26-28 in Pensacola District
March 5-7 in Marianna/Panama City District
March 26-28 in Demopolis District
April 2-4 in Baypines District     
      
Wespath Clergy Benefits Academy February 6-8 in Pensacola
Wespath Benefits & Investments has announced their upcoming Clergy Benefits Academy for all active clergy members of the United Methodist Church. The event is scheduled for February 6-8, 2017, in Pensacola, Florida. The Alabama-West Florida Conference Board of Pension & Health Benefits will not host the 2017 February Pre-retirement seminar so that the conference clergy members will be able to attend this event. The Conference Board is encouraging all active members to attend. This event is on the AWFC website here  and on the Wespath website here with even more details.
       
Huntingdon College Leadership Academy
(Huntingdon College) - Nomination and registration forms open November 1, 2016. Churches nominate youth who will be entering their junior or senior year of high school to participate in the year-long HLA program. Students participate in a week of summer residency at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and take part in several online gatherings over the course of the year with members of their cohort and Huntingdon College faculty and staff. Together, churches and families contribute $100 of the cost per participant. The remaining cost is entirely covered through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment.
 
PASTORS:    To nominate, please use this form: Leadership Academy Sponsorship Form. (Please submit one form per student.)
STUDENTS: To register, please use this form: HLA Student Registration Form.
MORE INFO: Follow the HLA on Facebook and Instagram for updates and more information!
 
Send your registration fee to Huntingdon Leadership Academy, Huntingdon College, 1500 E. Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106.  If you are a church official or student who has questions, or if your church would like to send a list of students for consideration, please speak with director of the HLA, Sophy Shore, at 334-833-4455 or sshore@hawks.huntingdon.edu.
 

MORE INFO: Follow the HLA on Facebook and Instagram for updates!     

     
 
AWFC Disaster Response Update
(AWFC-UMC) - "The congregations of the Alabama-West Florida Conference have been so very generous to our neighbors affected by natural disasters this fall. The response to the Louisiana flooding was especially wonderful. Thank you for the supplies and volunteer hours you have provided." Continue here for the article. Posted 10/17/2016
 
Blue Lake Newsletter October 2016
Click here to view as a pdf. For a different format click on the graphic (pictured right).
 

Disaster Preparedness for Local Churches (Posted 8/24/2016)
If your Church wants to know how to be better prepared for a disaster, here's the video of a recent AWFC webinar: https://vimeo.com/173934300.
 
(AWFC-UMC September 1, 2016) -  "[This is] an appropriate time to review our conference protocol of reporting damage. Should your local church experience damage from [any] storm, first contact your district disaster response coordinator. They will assist you in assessing the damage and reporting it to your district superintendent and our conference leadership. You may find several other forms and documents helpful to ensure your church is prepared. Our connectional system is often at its best when we come together to help those in need. We sincerely appreciate the help many of you have given to the Louisiana flood recovery efforts
 

                    
         Alabama-West Florida Conference
        Daily Cares and Concerns
 
           Prayer Calendar
           Prayer Wall
           Submit Prayer Requests
 

 
 
Let Us Pray! Daily Prayer Unites Conference
(Dr. Cory Smith) - It is a joy to announce a new venture in prayer for the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Hopefully by now you have seen the daily prayer requests that have come from the Office of Connectional Ministries. These updates will also include prayers for individual churches and appointed pastors. Through the year we will prayer for every appointed pastor and for every church! The churches for which we are praying are the same listed on the printed wall calendars and also available here. In addition to the prayer email, a prayer page is available for details of prayer needs from the throughout the conference. What better way for us to connect with God and one another than prayer! As John Wesley stated years ago, “I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God's creational intentions.” May we join together in daily prayer for the mission of the church and for the community of people who are part of the Alabama-West Florida Conference! If you are not receiving the daily prayer newsletter and would like to, click here and check the "Let us Pray" box.  Update:  The Pensacola District archives the daily prayer concerns on their website's Ministers Page. Click here to view
 
2016 Optional Standard Mileage Rates
(IRS) - The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be as follows.... Click here to continue.
 
The AWF Conference App
You can navigate the conference Website easier by downloading the free AWF app. Scan the QR code (pictured right) to download. Available for iPhones, iPads and Droid mobile devices.
 
AWF Conference News
You can subscribe to the AWFC NewsCONNECTION here.
For the AWFC NewsCONNECTION archives visit http://AWFUMC.org/Newsletters.  
 
Continuing Education Chair
Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz is overseeing continuing education credit.  If your local church offers an event  and wants CEUs awarded, please reach out to Dr. Lentz. (Posted 10/30/2014)
 
Do You Have Students Attending UWF or PSC?
The Wesley Foundation would like to contact students from your church if they are attending The University of West Florida or Pensacola State College.  If you have students currently attending, or heading that way in the fall, they would love to have their contact information so that they may welcome and invite them to be a part of our Wesley Foundation family.  Please e-mail this information to stuartworth@gmail.com.  
 
Safe Sanctuaries
The United Methodist Church is and has been vocal and active in its campaign for safe spaces for the vulnerable. For information about Safe Sanctuaries please visit http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/safe-sanctuaries. This link provides resources, tools, and guidelines to help reduce risks for the vulnerable.  
 
 
 
United Methodist Women has been very active in programs of educating and providing tools and resources against human trafficking and for protecting women and children. More information is available at http://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/human-trafficking.
                               

 
Around the Web 
 
United Methodists in the News
 
 
Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)
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Scholarship/Loan and Other Dates on the GBHEM Calendar
(* General Board of Higher Education and Ministry)
  • NOVUM Collegiate Ministry Winter Retreat: NOVUM 2017 will be January 3-6 in La Casa de Maria, Santa Barbara, California. The last chance to register is December 1. Read more here.
  • Thirkland-Jones Lecture Series: Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson, assistant general secretary, Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns, to give lecture at Gammon Seminary, December 6-7. Read more here.
  • Spring/Summer Term Loan Application opens December 13. Read more here.
  • Scholarship Enrollment Period: January 3 - March 1, 2017. Read more here.
  • Excellence Scholarship opens January 2017. Read more here.
  • Exploration 2017: Save the date! Exploration 2017 is coming to Portland, Oregon, November 3-5, 2017. Read more here.
  • Story Telling as Spiritual Exploration: This workshop with Rev. Dr. Michael Williams is designed for chaplains and pastoral counselors through the UMEA office.
 
Clergy Finance Resources
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership and Wesley Theological Seminary have gathered free resources to help pastors better understand and manage their personal finances. The resources are available at https://www.churchleadership.com/clergyfinances. (Posted 11/10/2016)  
 
 
Council of Bishops to Call for 2019 General Conference
(UMNS 11/02/2016) - Through an affirmative vote at their fall meeting this week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their intent to call for a special session of the General Conference in either February or March 2019 and asked the business manager of the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. More here at awfumc.org.
 
 
Amidst Uncertain Future,
Methodists Launch the Wesleyan Covenant Association 
In their e-newsletter October 11, 2016, the Wesleyan Covenant Association wrote:
 
"During the first hour of its launch event in Chicago on October 7, leaders of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) were scrambling to find more chairs to accommodate the standing-room-only gathering.... The inaugural gathering was a high-energy mixture of affirmative messages on the Lordship of Jesus, the Wesleyan drive to transform the world through Christian discipleship and social holiness, the centrality of the Scriptures in the life of the Church....  With more than 1,800 participants, the Donald E. Stevens Convention Center near O’Hare Airport in Chicago was flooded with enthusiastic United Methodists from every conference across the denomination in the United States and from ten conferences in Africa."
 
"Through a 'Chicago Declaration' that was affirmed by a standing ovation and cheers, the group asked the Council of Bishops to 'swiftly name the members' of the Commission on the Way Forward and 'approve the call for a special General Conference in early 2018 to enable resolution of the conflict that divides us before further harm is done to United Methodist members, congregations, conferences, and ministries.'”  
 
"'We believe it is imperative for the commission to propose a plan that calls for accountability and integrity to our covenant, and restores the good order of our church’s polity,' states the Declaration. 'If the commission determines no such plan is possible, then we believe it should prepare a plan of separation that honors the consciences of all the people of the church and allows them to go forward in peace and good will. A plan that requires traditionalists to compromise their principles and understanding of Scripture, including any form of the "local option" around ordination and marriage, will not be acceptable to the members of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, stands little chance of passing General Conference, would not definitively resolve our conflict, and would, in fact, lead to the fracturing of the church.' 
 
“'If we are one church, we need to stop acting like two churches,' said the Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter, pastor of a multi-site United Methodist congregation around Geneseo, Illinois, in presenting the statement. 'If we are two churches, we need to stop pretending we are one. I say these things as someone who has worked passionately for the cause of church unity over the past few years.'”
 
See also:  
 
Membership Selection for Commission on the Way Forward
(This article is posted on the Alabama-West Florida Conference website here.)
(UMNS 10/05/2016) - The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops has narrowed the list of potential nominees for membership on the Commission on the Way Forward from over 300 persons to 29. The group includes 8 bishops, 13 clergy, and 8 laity who are representative of our global connection and theological diversity. Letters have been sent to those individuals informing them they have been nominated for membership on the Commission, sharing the mission, vision and scope of the work before them, as well as a projected meeting schedule. Potential members were asked to prayerfully consider whether they are willing and available to serve and respond within a couple of days.
 
Following those responses, the Executive Committee will make additions or modifications as necessary, and will then propose a final list of nominees by email to the full Council of Bishops for their consideration.  Following action by the Council of Bishops, individuals who are selected will receive an invitation to serve on the Commission and the membership list will be made available. These remaining steps are expected to take a couple of weeks. The moderator team, which consists of Bishop Ken Carter, Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball and Bishop David Yemba, will convene the Commission this fall, possibly by telephone or video conference, to begin organizing the Commission's work.
 
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council, acknowledged that the selection process has taken longer than initially hoped. He said that vetting the nominee list, consultations and gathering biographical and contact information for potential nominees have all contributed to the time needed to complete this critical task. “We are working to move this process forward with as much dispatch and care as possible,” said Bishop Ough. “The additional time has honored the values we have of being a global church, seeking representative voices and experiences, and creating space for the discernment of the nominees and the bishops who are guiding the selection process.
 
Way Forward Commission Makeup Challenged
(UMNS 10/06/2016) - "A group of mostly current and former lay leaders is drafting a response to the bishops addressing concern about the commission’s makeup, saying that General Conference guidelines on membership of commissions and other agencies call for one-third clergy (including bishops), one-third lay women and one-third lay men...."
 
"'Laity are foundational to The United Methodist Church,' said Irene R. DeMaris, one of the lead organizers of the petition. A lay member living in Alexandria, Virginia, she has a master of divinity from Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry. 'The Wesleyan movement has been fueled by the faith of our laity and therefore it is vital for our voices to be a part of one of the most important conversations of our time,' she said."
 
"One lay leader called on the church to give the commission a chance."
 
"Dr. Steve Furr, past president of the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders,* was more disturbed by the commission composition. 'I got almost physically sick. I never dreamed this would happened. I thought at most it would be 50-50 lay and clergy. I expected it to be based on General Conference,' Furr said. The association of lay leaders is not involved in writing or circulating the petition, but members have been discussing the makeup of the commission since it was announced. 'We don’t know who those eight lay people are, but laity are clearly underrepresented,' Furr said. 'They need to hear our voice on this. It’s hard for us to trust the process when we don’t feel represented. This is not the polity of The United Methodist Church.'”
 
[* Dr. Steve Furr is also former Lay Leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. He was elected as the Southeastern Jurisdictional Representative for the Commission on General Conference May 16, 2016. (AWF-UMC article here.)  Furr joins twenty-four delegates from other jurisdictions and central conferences who were also elected. He was nominated by the SEJ College of Bishops.]
 
           
 Are Your Worship Songs Appropriate? Do They Line Up with Good Theology?
(Discipleship Ministries 8/12/2016) - Songs are an important part of worship. They carry a message. But not all songs carry the right message. Some are inappropriate. Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church offers a tool to help worship leaders discern which songs to include in worship. Continue here for the article. >>
 
Advent Devotions Booklets, Advent Daily E-mail
from The Society of Saint Andrew
Continue here for http://endhunger.org/advent/.
 
 
Free Special Sunday Resources
"How We Give" page at UMCgiving.org
What Are "Special Sundays?"
Six times throughout the year United Methodist congregations celebrate church-wide Special Sundays with offerings. United Methodists contribute to a variety of educational, community development, health and social welfare programs, many of which are administrated fully or in part through the General Board of Global Ministries. General Conference created six unique Special Sundays to help congregations work with communities, rebuild shattered lives, strengthen self-sufficiency, encourage partnerships, nurture Native American ministries, model peace and justice, provide scholarships and loans for United Methodist students, and much more. Special Sundays include Human Relations Day, One Great Hour of Sharing, Native American Ministries Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday, World Communion Sunday, and United Methodist Student Day. 
 
How to Write Your Way to Better Bible Study
(UMCom.org) - Combining note-taking and journaling can enhance your Bible study, prayer time, and sermon preparation. United Methodist Communications has an article about this here.
   
2016 Clergy Age Trends Report
The 2016 edition of the Lewis Center’s annual Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church is now available at https://www.churchleadership.com/clergyage. [Download here the 2016 Clergy Age Trends Report.]  A five-minute video summary of the report is also available.  Below are some highlights from the report. Figures for each conference can be found in the report.
 
Decade-Long Modest but Steady Increase in Young Elders Continues
Growth among young elders has been slow but relatively steady (about 14 per year) since 2005, the low point when only 850 or 4.69 percent of elders were under 35. In 2016, there are 1,003 young elders that comprise 6.84 percent of the pool of active elders, the highest since the 1990s. The overall pool of active elders is now smaller by almost 3,500 elders since 2005.
 
Fewer Middle Age Elders
Unfortunately, the modest gain in the presence of young elders was offset by a continuing substantive decline in the number and percentage of elders aged 35 to 54. This mid-age group continues to shrink, from 65 percent of all active elders in 2000 to 37 percent in 2016.
 
Proportion of Older Clergy Continues to Grow
Elders between ages 55 and 72 comprise 56 percent of all active elders, the highest percentage in history. This group reached 50 percent for the first time ever in 2010. This age cohort represented only 30 percent of active elders as recently as 2000.  
 
Clergy Are Retiring Later
Since 2000, there has been a fairly consistent increase in the age at which clergy retire. The average age at which United Methodist clergy retired in 2000 was just under 64. By 2015, the last full year of data, the average retirement age had increased to just over 66.
 
Much more information is available in the complete Clergy Age Trends report, which is available for download free of charge. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is pleased to provide this report as a service to the church.   If you do not currently receive Leading Ideas, the Center’s free online newsletter, please consider subscribing today at www.churchleadership.com.    

South Central Jurisdiction Realignment Studied
(UMNS) - A task force has been making plans for the possible realignment of the South Central Jurisdiction. The work is under way because of the likelihood that the jurisdiction will, due to membership losses and Book of Discipline requirements, lose a bishop in 2020. The Texas Conference reports. Read story. (Posted 8/11/2016)

SEJ Episcopal Nominee Videos Available Online
Fourteen Episcopal candidates from the Southeastern Jurisdiction presented to delegates and guests on Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18, 2016, during lunch breaks at General Conference. All candidates were asked to answer two questions within a six-minute time frame. The first question asked nominees to name two of the most important accomplishments in their ministry, while the next question allowed this group to inform SEJ delegates where their passion lies and how they would bring it to life, if elected. Elections for Bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference will be held July 12-15, 2016, at Lake Junaluska, NC. Click here to see nominee videos.
 
How to Apply for a Loan with the AWF United Methodist Foundation
Crestview First United Methodist Church was featured on page 3 of the AWF United Methodist Foundation's winter 2016 newsletter, GENEROSITY MATTERS. The article is about how to apply for a church loan.  For more information click here for the newsletter, visit http://alwfumf.org, or click here for the AWFUMF Facebook page.
 
Free Clergy Tax Video Available
Clergy face some distinctive tax regulations and often need guidance from tax professionals with experience working with clergy. The Lewis Center has prepared an informational video to help seminary students and clergy understand better the issues to which they and their tax preparers need to give attention. We use it as part of our seminary class on Personal Finances for Religious Professionals. If you feel this 12-minute video, Clergy Compensation and Taxes, may be useful to clergy with whom you work, feel free to share it.
 
Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Professor of Church Leadership
Director, Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Wesley Theological Seminary        
 
Free Online Audio Bible 
At the link below you can hear a dramatic reading of the Bible. You can set it to the Bible translation you prefer, start at a particular passage, run or not run continuously, and pause it and restart at any time.  https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/
 
Test Your Knowledge of United Methodist History
(Article here) - The United Methodist Church has existed in various forms for more than 200 years. Test your knowledge of its history with these questions. Pass on this quiz to others to encourage them to test their knowledge as well. This quiz is a partnership between United Methodist Communications and the General Commission on Archives and History
 
Explore Methodist History
At the History section of UMC.org there are features where you can learn about many of the pioneers of the Methodist Movement and their faith stories. Look under the Who We Are section and enjoy discovering more about the denomination's roots. Perfect to share with new and longtime members! For more continue here.
 
Resources for Clergy and Congregations
(From The Lewis Center) - Includes the topics "Concluding Ministry in One Setting" and "Beginning Ministry in a New Setting."
 
Five Ways to Support Your Pastor's Family
(Ministry Matters) - It’s no secret that the life of a pastor’s family is filled with unique challenges. There are few roles that mix work and family life as closely as pastoral ministry, which creates for clergy families a constant battle to maintain healthy boundaries. The pressure from the church and the surrounding community will inevitably take a toll on families unless adequate support is provided. For the complete article, posted November 3, 2014, please click here 

Free E-Newsletter from the Lewis Center
Leading Ideas is a weekly online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. Each week subscribers receive information, resources, and strategies to help advance God’s mission in ministry. To check it out and subscribe go to www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
 
Articles about Burn-out
 
Online Training Courses
 
12 Ways to Stay Connected with College Students
United Methodist Communications has an article on this topic at http://www.umcom.org/learn/12-ways-to-stay-connected-with-college-students.  Tips include things you can do before the students leave, while they are at college, and when they come home.  
 
Safe Sanctuary Policies
 
5 Things Small Churches Can Uniquely Offer
(Rev. Ben Gosden) - "Church leadership has long held a bent toward the 'bigger is better'....  Instead of trying to mimmick [sic] what the large churches in your area are doing (only to come up short of their quality because you don’t have the money or resources to duplicate it), here are 5 things I believe small churches can uniquely offer the world right where they are...."   More here
 
Church Newsletters
 
United Methodist Men - Chartering
Click here for UMM news and information about chartering.  
 
The United Methodist Church and Social Issues
 
Safe Sanctuaries
 
Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women has been very active in programs of educating and providing tools and resources against human trafficking and for protecting women and children. More information is available at http://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/human-trafficking.
 
Abortion
"5 Reasons the Church Should Talk About Abortion"
(Seedbed 7/30/2015) - "Last week, a YouTube video surfaced showing Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, discussing how she procures intact organs while performing abortions.... While the video has sparked renewed outrage over abortion, it has arguably prompted even more silence -  even among Christians. The silence has been so deafening that it prompted Ed Stetzer at Christianity Today to write an article headlined, “Where are the Mainline and Progressive Evangelical Voices Speaking Up after that Planned Parenthood Tragedy?” “If this moment does not bring you to outrage and to tears,” Stetzer writes, “there is something wrong.” Continue here for the entire article. >>
 

The silence from Christians
about abortion is deafening.
"If this moment does not
bring you  to outrage
and to tears,
there is something wrong.”
- Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today

 
 
What Does The United Methodist Church Believe About Abortion?
Planned Parenthood has been in the news a lot, especially in relation to life and rights of the unborn. The question is asked, "What does the The United Methodist Church believe about abortion?" For this visit http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-is-the-united-methodist-position-on-abortion.
 
In relation to this, there is also the question "What does the Church believe about being a nurturing community?" For this visit http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-nurturing-community#abortion.
 
The Book of Resolutions 2012 (more here) says that we "care enough about people's lives to risk interpreting God's love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response." While being a nurturing community reaching out to the world to share the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, "We mourn and are committed to promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates." (See complete article here.) To learn more about life inside the womb and what happens during an abortion, presentations are available at this link.
 
AWF Petition to Withdraw from Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Passes!
(AWFC 5/19/2016) - Petition number 60837, entitled “Withdraw from Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” was passed by the 2016 General Conference voting body with a vote of in favor of 425 to 268. This petition was co-sponsored by the AWF Conference, along with the Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana and Western Pennsylvania Conferences. The petition reads, “RCRC is a one-sided political lobby that opposes all disapproval or limitation of abortion.  RCRC’s advocacy often directly contradicts our Social Principles on abortion but it still uses our Church’s name. Several annual conferences and many United Methodist leaders have urged the Church to end all association with RCRC.” Petition 60838 was also approved that requires The General Board of Church & Society to withdraw their membership from RCRC.  Click here to read the AWF petition to General Conference.   
 
Same-sex Marriage
What Does The United Methodist Church Say About  Same-sex Marriage?
(UMC.org) - "Our commitment to biblical truth does not depend upon judicial affirmation by the Supreme Court of this or any other nation," said the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, according to an article posted by UMC.org Friday, June 26. Rev. Lambrecht is vice president and general manager of "Good News," an unofficial United Methodist advocacy group that supports the denomination's teachings on homosexuality. The article quotes him as saying, “Most of the delegates who would favor retaining the church’s current position on marriage do so out of deep conviction and understand that the church is at different times and various points at odds with the culture in which it lives." Church law bans clergy from performing same-sex marriages and forbids churches from hosting such ceremonies.  Rev. Sky McCracken, a district superintendent in western Kentucky, noted that both capital punishment and abortion are legal but United Methodists challenge both.  United Methodists have varied reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that establishes same-sex civil marriage as a constitutional right, but many United Methodists agree on one thing: The decision likely will escalate a longtime denominational debate on the church's position on homosexuality. To read the entire article continue here. >>
 
Bishops Overrule Nonconformity Resolutions
(UMC.org 9/15/2016) - Two bishops, in separate rulings, have voided two resolutions in the Northeastern United States that called for defying church restrictions on gay and lesbian individuals. The full article is here.
 
Bishops Approve Plan for Sexuality Panel
(UMNS 7/25/2016) - Amid growing concerns for the denomination’s future, United Methodist bishops approved a plan for establishing a commission dealing with church teachings on homosexuality. The bishops’ executive committee also took a step toward a special session of General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, in early 2018. The Council of Bishops executive committee met July 19-20 in Chicago behind closed doors to discuss creating the Commission on a Way Forward, which General Conference authorized in May. The full council has charged its 17-member executive committee with developing a framework for the new commission. More here.
 
Other Articles:
 
Mental Illness 
Mental Illness and Churches - "Breaking the Taboo"
(UMCOM) - "Mental illness is better understood today, but some of the abuse from the past has been replaced with silence in the present. It is time for the church to step up and move beyond the taboo.... Churches are places of refuge. Church members are spiritual families. Still, it is more difficult than it seems.... The United Methodist Church’s statement of beliefs regarding ministries in mental illness encourages churches to love, welcome and pray for all individuals, especially those who are suffering. The church can be an agent of change through education and encouragement."  MORE here >>
  
Update Your Find-A-Church Listing
Provided by United Methodist Communications and the local church, Find-A-Church allows you to introduce your church family to the community. By updating your church profile, you will help seekers find your church. Your profile serves as a powerful online tool for evangelism. Find-A-Church has almost 35,000 United Methodist Church profiles gaining more than 12,000 page views daily. Take advantage of this tool and get started now!  Update your church's profile by searching here.  By updating your church profile, you can:
  • Welcome visitors personally to your congregation.
  • Display your church's ministries and activities.
  • Add details about your worship schedule.
  • Link to your church's Web site for a closer look.
New Worship Service Times?
Pastors/Secretaries, if your church's worship and Sunday School times have changed, please log-in and update the Local Church information. Your District Superintendent is visiting churches, and your Church Locator Page will need to show the correct information.  Thank you! 
 
If You Happen to Find Any Broken Web Links....
At http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org we try to keep the Web links updated, but if you come across one that gives you a message like "page no longer exists" or "file not found," try going to the source's home page (first part of the link URL) and doing a word search on the topic at the site. As resources improve and update their websites, this sometimes breaks links we've shared with you on our site. It's all good, all a part of progress! The information may still be there, but just might take a little personal digging on your part to find where it was moved - or please contact the district office. We'll be glad to help!  - Mary, Pensacola District Administrative Assistant   
 
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