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 December 14, 2015
 
Messages by the District Superintendent - 2015
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One of my favorite Christmas stories is Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  While all the Whos in Who-ville loved Christmas, the Grinch tried his best to take that special day away from them.  He concocted a plan to steal all their toys and trees and food.  Certainly, he decided, this will put an end to what was for him the absolutely worst part of Christmas—their singing of carols in the town square.
 
No one quite knew why the Grinch wanted to steal Christmas.  Some said his shoes were too tight, or his “head wasn’t screwed on just right.”  Perhaps “the most likely reason of all was the fact that his heart was two sizes too small.”  However, in spite of his successful attempt to steal all the trimmings of the Whos’ Christmas, the next day he heard them singing anyway.  Suddenly, the Grinch learned something.  Christmas doesn’t “come from a store....  Christmas means a little bit more.”  He took everything back.  He gave gifts to the Whos.  In Who-ville they say “that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”
 
Why do we like this story so much?  Hearing that someone as terrible as the Grinch can end up with a big heart makes a wonderful story.  This story gives us hope, too.  There’s something magical about Christmas that makes our hearts grow bigger.  This is a gift that doesn’t come from a store.  God gives us such a gift of love at Christmas time that we want to give to others.
 
While we may not want to steal Christmas like the Grinch, we all have times we act rather “grinchy” or “grouchy.”  We may get mad because we don’t get a certain present or because something is too expensive for us to buy and give.  We need to remember that Christmas doesn’t come from a store.  It is a time for our hearts to grow, when they might be a little too small.  This is a time for us to remember the real gift of Christmas and what that gift really means.
 
The office will close Wednesday at noon and open again January 4, 2016.  This will be my last article until then.  Linda and I wish for each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  May the Christ Child be born anew in each of our lives.  May we all experience the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace that only He can bring.  And, remember, Christmas doesn’t “come from a store.”  Don’t lose the greatest gift in the midst of the wrinkled wrappings!  Merry Christmas to all!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
December 7, 2015
 
Let me begin by saying a big “Thank You!” to all who attended our District Christmas dinner at FUMC Pensacola last week.  Thank you Pensacola FUMC for doing such a great job hosting us. The meal was great and the fellowship was even better.     
 
Linda and I wish to thank all of you for the wonderful, most generous gift you presented to us.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!  Everyone has given us such a warm welcome and showered us with nothing but love and support.  We feel very blessed to be working in partnership with you and look forward to our future together.  Linda and I wish for each of you a blessed Advent season as we all make our journey toward Bethlehem.
 
I sometimes hear people having discussion about how to have a meaningful Christmas.  There is a story I read back about 1987 that I think contains the answer. 
 
In England during the Second World War, some soldiers were on furlough in London.  They walked around the city and witnessed all its devastation after the bombing from German planes.  As it happened, they passed by a children’s home on Christmas Day, and they wondered what kind of Christmas these children had had in this difficult time.  They went into the building and saw that there were no Christmas decorations, no tree, and no presents, because there had been no money at all to buy anything for these children.  As the soldiers walked among the children, they reached in their pockets to see if they had anything to give.  They gave them a piece of string, a coin, a stick of chewing gum, a pocketknife, whatever they had in their pockets.  They wanted to give something to the children to say, “Merry Christmas!”  One soldier went up to a young boy who reminded him so much of his nephew back home.  As he looked at the boy he asked, “Son, what would you like for Christmas?”  The little boy answered, “Mister, I just want somebody to love me.”
 
I think that is how we truly experience Christmas: find someone who needs to be loved and show them love.  Monday is Pearl Harbor Day.  If you see a soldier, thank him/her for their service.  Let them know you appreciated them.  If you see one in a restaurant, perhaps pay for his/her meal.  If you know of someone whose spouse is deployed, give them a call or go visit them.  Let them know you care.
 
Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy.  It is not for a lot of people.  There are those who are elderly who rarely get a visit or phone call.  There are those who will experience Christmas this year without a loved one they’ve had in years past.  Seek out these persons, show them they are thought of, remembered, and loved. Isn’t that really the message of the Christmas story?  God sent us his Son to show us we are loved and in response to that great love we love others.
 
Linda and I wish for each of you that all of us will experience the Christ child afresh and anew as we draw closer to Bethlehem.  May we all experience the hope, love, peach, and joy that can only be found in the Christ child.
 
Want to have a wonderful, meaningful Christmas?  Go love someone who just wants to be loved!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent       
 

 
December 1, 2015
 
Last week I wished for you a Happy Thanksgiving.  This week I want to wish you Happy New Year!  Perhaps you think all the Charge Conferences have gotten to me and I am losing my mind.  No.  The Church has a calendar just like the rest of society, but the new year for the Church began this past Sunday.

Like the seasons of the year, the Church calendar has seasons as well.  Sunday we began our Church year beginning with Advent.  In Advent the Church celebrates the coming of Jesus into our world as the Son of God.  We also celebrate the fact that He is coming back again! We then enter into Epiphany.  During this season we celebrate the baptism, temptation, and beginning of the teaching ministry of Jesus.  Lent is next.  We remember and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. Then we move into the wonderful season of Pentecost and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.  Then we move into Kingdomtide/Ordinary Time.  This is a time we study and try to follow the teachings of Christ.  On Sunday, November 22nd, we ended the Sundays in our Church year by celebrating “Christ the King” Sunday.  We worshipped Christ who is King over our lives, the Church, and the world.

Usually for January 1st we make New Year’s resolutions.  We resolve to lose weight, exercise more, stop a habit, etc.  I like to think this is a time for us to make some spiritual resolutions.  How is your prayer life?  Maybe this is a time to resolve to spend more time in prayer.  How is your life of worship?  Sometimes our worship is in a church building, sometimes it is at home, driving a car, etc.  Maybe we need to resolve to spend more time in worship.  How is your stewardship?  I’m not just talking about money, I’m talking about your life.  Do you give of yourself?  Do you use your gifts and talents for the glory of God? 

This is a good time to give some thought to your new Church year.  It’s a good time to make some spiritual changes.  It’s a good time for a closer walk with God.

Happy New Year!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
November 23, 2015
 
Every year during Thanksgiving week, I re-read Luke 2:22-38.  It is the story of Jesus being presented in the temple.  It is a wonderful story of Simeon and Anna.  To me, it brings together Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent.  I love both of these characters but during Thanksgiving week my emphasis is on Anna.  She was of “great age.”  “She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.”  Then, (according to one translation) “at that very moment, she came up thankful, praising God and speaking about the child (Jesus) to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

I love the thought of “coming up thankful.”  It reminds me that every morning I can either start my day off by saying, “Good morning, Lord,” or “Good Lord, morning!”  I learned a long time ago that Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude.  Thanks-giving is really thanks-living.  If we are truly thankful, it will change our attitude and how we live each day.  Thanksgiving should not be celebrated one day a year.  It should be the way we live each day.

It’s rather ironic, isn’t it?  God can be so good to us that we forget all we have received.  What do you have now that you did not have a year ago?  Maybe a bill paid off, food in the freezer, a new job, a new baby.  Maybe you reached a goal, got a raise, drive a new car, got a new TV, or maybe even a new house.  Whatever it is, whom did you thank for it?  Yourself?  MasterCard?  Anyone at all?

All too often, when things are going well, we develop “thanksgiving amnesia.”  We forget how fortunate we are.  We fail to see daily how much God has blessed us.  Be thankful, not only today but daily.  If thanksgiving amnesia has become a way of life, maybe this is a time for you to recover your memory.

I am thankful for all of you in the Pensacola District.  I’m thankful for our churches, our laity and clergy.  It is a joy to work with you and I am thankful for all that you do in building God’s kingdom through ministry and mission.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and may we all come up thankful!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
November 17, 2015
 
I was reading some of the Apostle Paul’s writings and it caused me to have a flashback to elementary school.  We were learning how to form sentences using periods and commas.  We had to write a one-page story.  I wrote mine and was soon called up to the teacher’s desk.  She said, “Tim, you’ve written a good story but this whole page is one sentence.”  I must have looked at her as though I was saying, “So?”  She went on to point out that the whole page couldn’t be one sentence.  I had to break my story down to sentences using periods and not so many commas.  (I have always loved commas and have used my fair share.) Of course, I rewrote my story using a lot of periods and few commas. (Bummer!)

Many of us have visited the TV living room of Archie and Edith Bunker.  Archie and Edith, along with their daughter, Gloria, and son-in-law, Mike, have made quite an impact on our society. In one episode Mike asks Archie, “If there really is a God, then why is there so much unhappiness in the world?” Archie rephrases the question to Edith, “Hey, Dingbat,” he says, “why did God put so much unhappiness in the world?” Edith replies, “So we would know when we’re happy, I suppose.”

Has unhappiness recently invaded your life?  That is always painful, but remember, unhappy feelings seldom go on forever.  Unhappy sentences, even long ones, always have a period at the end.

Amazing improvement in feelings can come from frequently putting three simple words into your emotional psyche: Nothing lasts forever.  If you are suffering from tremendous stress, tension, or problems, remember - nothing lasts forever. If you are in despair, sad, disappointed, unhappy or lonely, remember - nothing lasts forever.  If you are harboring a huge sin or find you just cannot forgive; if you are hungry, sick, apathetic, ready to give up or weak, remember - nothing lasts forever.

There is always an end to every sentence we are living out.  Remembering that can help us more quickly finish that sentence with an exclamation mark, rather than letting it run on for twenty dreary lines and end with a series of question marks.

Tomorrow is a new day, and the sooner you remember that the sooner you begin to experience the feelings which will come with it. Some of us live our lives with question marks.  Some live with commas and periods.  May we all live our lives with exclamation points!

Today I will be with Neil McDavid as we travel part of our District to see where we might start a new church.  Wednesday, I have three Charge Conferences.  Thursday, I have meetings and Charge Conferences.  Sunday, I will be preaching the three mornings services at Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton.  Sunday afternoon I will conduct five Charge Conferences.

I look forward to seeing some of you this week. This week live an exclamation point life and be thankful the Apostle Paul didn’t have my teacher!!!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
November 9, 2015
 
I was reading recently about a minister from Thailand who was telling about his church of 400 members where each person gives ten percent of his or her income.  These people receive less than twenty cents a week, but a tenth of it goes to their church.  As a result, they are able to pay their own preacher and have sent two missionary families to remote parts of the world.  They do all sorts of work for what they call the “unfortunate,” and their Christian charity is known far and wide.
 
But the most startling fact about this church is that it is not just a church; it is a leper colony.  Every single member has leprosy!  With every reason to be negative and dead-ended in life, they take two cents a week and reach out to make a positive difference in the lives of countless others whom they consider less fortunate than themselves.
 
Two cents can have a lot of worth if you have compassion and determination to give it.  The question is, “What are we doing with ours?”
 
I sometimes hear people say, “Well, let me give you my two cents worth.”  They are not talking about money, they are talking about sharing their opinion about something or someone.  What would happen if for every time we found ourselves sharing what we think about something or someone, we put two cents in a jar?  It would be interesting to see how much money we would have by the end of the year.  We could give that money to a mission endeavor that helps people. 
 
As I conduct Charge Conferences, I am amazed at hearing and seeing what some churches are doing with very little.  I commend all our churches for your sense and spirit of missions and ministry.  We hear so much negative information about the church.  We hear about how many churches, on average, close each week.  We hear about how many members we are losing each year.
 
Let me say, from my perspective, the church in the Pensacola District is alive and well!  I see God at work everywhere I go.  I see people giving their two cents and changing someone’s life.  A great work is being done and I thank each of you for all that you do (and it is a lot!).
 
I will be in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.  I have appointments scheduled for Thursday.  I will be preaching at all three morning services at Crestview FUMC on Sunday and conduct four Charge Conferences that afternoon.
 
May we continue to do Kingdom work as we work together and give our two cents!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
November 2, 2015
 
Linda and I have two dogs and four cats.  All are rescue animals except one cat.  We love our animals and are thankful we can provide them with a good home and loving care.  One of our dogs is named Harley.  Both dogs are Beagles but Harley has long legs like a Walker hound.  Harley is my buddy.  He follows me around everywhere and is always by my side.
 
When I come home, Harley gets so excited.  As soon as he sees me driving up the driveway, he goes into his doggy dance.  He not only wags his tail about as fast as a ceiling fan, he wags his entire hips.  He almost looks like a slinky from the side.  You think from his excitement he is going to throw something out of joint.  When I walk in the door, he is beside himself with excitement. 
 
I was thinking the other day, after coming home and being greeted by Harley, what it would look like if we got excited when someone visits our church.  I’ve been to some churches and was not even spoken to until they found out I was the D.S.  What would it look like if we welcomed, with excitement, everyone who visits our church?  There is a difference between welcoming people and making people feel wanted.  Excitement on our part would let people know we want them there. 
 
I once heard an elderly man exclaim why dogs are called man’s best friend.  He said, “Sonny boy, go home and lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car.  After thirty minutes, open the trunk and see which one is glad to see you!”  I’m not brave enough to try that.  I’m afraid I wouldn’t be around to enjoy Harley.  But I think our dogs can teach us something about love, acceptance, forgiveness and evangelism. 
 
Thank you to Dr. Alan Cassady and all the staff and membership of Navarre UMC for hosting our District Conference.  Sixty-seven people came out in terrible weather to support this event.  With the weather like it was, I was overjoyed by the attendance.  Thank all of you who participated. 
 
We collected over $700 for the “No More Malaria” Campaign.  Thank you for your support of this.  I had asked for each church to take up a special offering for this.  If you have money to go towards this, please send it to the District office as soon as possible so we finish up this campaign.
 
I have scheduled appointments all through the day on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday I will be at Blue Lake for a meeting then with Charge Conferences that evening.  Thursday is my monthly spiritual retreat day.  Saturday I will be in Gulf Shores.  Sunday I have five charge conferences.
 
Thanks again for your prayers and support.  I feel honored to serve with you in the Pensacola District.   When you go to church Sunday and see a visitor, think of Harley!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
October 27, 2015
 
There are many things about my assignment as Pensacola District Superintendent that I am enjoying, but one of the things I am enjoying the most is conducting Charge Conferences.  It is a joy to be in each church, to meet with the leadership, and to hear what they have done and what they plan to do. I have been both amazed and thankful as I have listened to many of the reports about ministry and mission. Some of our churches are so creative in what they are doing. Some churches have caught on to the fact that it is oftentimes the small things we do that make a big difference. I celebrate with each of you in the great work you are doing and thankful for the work God is doing through you!

Let me remind you of our District Conference this coming Sunday at the Navarre UMC at 4:00 P.M.  Our District Conference is like a Charge Conference in that we will celebrate our work as a District, set the budget, and approve nominations.  We will not have classes this year for our District Conference. We will be offering leadership classes in January. This will be a worship service to celebrate the life, ministry, and mission of the Pensacola District. I hope you will make every effort to be in attendance as we celebrate the work of our District together.

In conjunction with this is the FUSED event planned for our youth.  This will be held at the Soundside UMC campus, as in previous years.  Our youth leadership in the District has worked hard planning this event and it will be a great experience for our youth.  Be sure and publicize this event in your church.

I love the short story that has a very unusual title.  It is called “The Man Whose Wife’s Hair Was Too Long But Whose Understanding of Music Was Too Short.” In the story, the husband is playing a cello.  He plays the same note over and over again.  His wife, who is slowly going crazy listening to this one note, asks, “Why do you play the same note over and over?  Other cellists play different notes. Why don’t you?”

The husband responds, “Other cellists play different notes because they are trying to find the right one. I’ve found mine!”

The husband’s musical ability may be questionable, but his point accurately applies to a lot of other things.  Many people spend their entire lives looking for the right note. They move up and down the scale forever - without playing anything that makes a positive contribution to the world or other people.

If you are fortunate enough to find your note (gift, talent), don’t lose it.  Play it for all you’re worth!

I hope to see you Sunday where we will all play our different notes together and make beautiful music!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent  
      

 
October 19, 2015
 
I had the good pleasure of having breakfast yesterday with a dear friend.  We have a lot in common in how we were raised.  What I mean by that is that our mothers, not our fathers, made sure we were in church each Sunday.
 
We shared stories about going to church as children and then as youth.  We talked about how things have changed, and now there is so much competing with the church for people’s time.  We both knew there were a lot of times we didn’t know what was going on in terms of the liturgy, we didn’t always understand what the preacher was saying, but we both knew it was important because our mothers were there every time the doors were opened.  Church was just a part of who we were and what we did.  We both commented on how our mothers took us to church, not sent us to church.  What a difference that made!

We both decided that of all the gifts we have been given, what our mothers gave us has been the single most important gift of our life.  We didn’t realize the importance of the gift, or even that it was a gift, until we got older, but we both were given a wonderful gift.

My friend told me, “You know, as a young adult I drifted away from church and from God, but when the time came for me to straighten up my life, I knew where to go!”  Wow!  Thank you to our mothers who gave us that foundation, those roots which have given our life direction, even when we have drifted away.

I see so many young people, so many children who aren’t given that gift.  I see so many people who have not been to church outside of a wedding or a funeral.  How do they know where to go and whom to turn to when life gets tough or they want to make a real change in the direction of their lives?
             
All of us need to be on the lookout for such persons.  We find them everywhere: our social circles, work place, recreation, etc.  Trust me, they are everywhere.  We need to be a witness to those who are searching but don’t know which way to go.  We need to love them to the cross!  We don’t need to judge, we don’t need to preach, we don’t need to condemn.  We need to listen, love, and understand.

Mine and Ralph’s mothers are no longer with us, but we give God thanks for the gift they gave both of us.  If you have been blessed with such a mother that has given you such a gift and she is still alive, thank her.  If she is no longer alive, pray a prayer of thanksgiving for her life and her gift.

Monday I will be out of town for a dental appointment.  Tuesday I will be in the office and about the District.  Wednesday and Thursday I will be in Montgomery for a Cabinet meeting.  Saturday, Blue Lake for United Methodist Women’s Day.  Sunday I will be at Mary Esther UMC to celebrate with them their 50th anniversary.  Sunday afternoon and early evening, Charge Conferences.

Hope to see you soon.  God bless you all for the great work you are doing.
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
October 12, 2015
 
In the Nevada mountains there are large trees called General Sherman trees.  These trees are members of the Sequoia tree family, stand over 270 feet tall, are 36 feet in diameter, and weigh over a thousand tons. In many ponds and streams we find a growth of duckweed.  These tiny specks of floating greenness are a mere 1/25 of an inch in diameter.  These two creations – one giant and the other tiny – point to the fact that size and usefulness bear no necessary relationship to each other.  A house cannot be built from duckweed, and fish cannot feed on Sequoias. 
 
The smallest and the largest are all part of a wondrous plan.  Just like churches.  Just like you and me.
 
I have been reminded of this truth as I have conducted Charge Conferences.  The Pensacola District is blessed with large membership churches, small membership churches, and everything in between.  Some have formal worship, some contemporary, some blended.  I’ve heard some churches almost apologize for being a small membership church.  I don’t buy into the idea that a church has to be large to be significant.  I grew up in a small membership church and I know firsthand the value of that.  I am amazed at how much and how creatively some of our small membership churches are involved in ministry and mission.  When you compare their size to some larger churches, percentage wise, they are doing more.
 
I’m thankful that we have churches of all sizes.  I’m thankful that we offer different types of worship.  I’m thankful that God uses each church to build His Kingdom, no matter what their size.  There is a place for all of us in His work.  Some are Sequoias, some are duckweed.  We are all of great value in the eyes of God and the work of His Kingdom. 
 
I’m thankful for each of you and the work you are doing.  May we continue building His Kingdom in the Pensacola District!
 
I have meetings scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Sunday I will be preaching homecoming at Clear Springs and then conduct four Charge Conferences.
 
God bless you all and the work you do. I hope to see you soon.
 
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent    
 

 
October 5, 2015
 
It is Monday evening and I just got home after a long day.  I find it difficult to collect my thoughts.  I’m not only tired, but sad.
 
Sunday, I lost two people that meant a lot to me.  The first was a church member in Andalusia.  His name was Emmett.  Emmett was an interesting person.  He was a federal detective before he retired to Andalusia.  He was a man that you could listen to all day, share detective stories and never get bored.  He knew detectives in every major police department in the U.S.  Listening to him was like listening to a David Baldacci book on tape! 
 
Before I went to Andalusia FUMC, Emmett came to our church three or four Sundays.  Not a single person spoke to him!  He left vowing never to come back.  I finally met Emmett at our monthly amateur radio meeting.  He was interested in getting his license.  I welcomed him to our HAM Radio Club, brought him the books he needed to study for his license, and spent time with him.   He found out I was the new pastor of the church and decided to give it another chance.  He and his wife, Beverly, soon started coming to our church and got involved in several areas in the life of our church.  The church had changed and welcomed them with open arms and let them know they were not only welcome but wanted!  I had the joy of baptizing Emmett, and he and Beverly not only joined our church but truly became part of our church family. 
 
I’m very thankful for the relationship Linda and I had with Emmett and Beverly.  Emmett reminded me of the importance of my ministry outside the church.  He reminded me how God can take a rough, tough detective and turn him into a humble, soft spoken, dedicated Christian.  I will miss Emmett but always give God thanks that we found each other.
 
The other loss for me is Rev. Cliff Abbott.  When I was new, young, and green in the ministry, Cliff was serving Enterprise FUMC.  He was the pastor of a large First Church.  He was a leader in our Annual Conference.  He was a powerful preacher and leader.  He was a great pastor and hard worker.  For me, new to the ministry, he was a role model.  One of the things I always appreciated about Cliff Abbott was he knew who I was!  He wasn’t so big that he didn’t pay attention to us new, green ministers.  Instead, he learned who we were, knew us by name, knew where we served, and treated us like we were somebody.  I will never forget him.  He always had time to listen and offer advice.  He always showed an interest in those of us just beginning our ministerial journey.  He always had time for us.  He knew who we were.
 
I learned from Cliff that no matter how far up the ladder you get, don’t forget those who are just beginning their climb.  He taught me to know who they are, show that I care, always give them my time, and encourage them along the way.  I will never forget Cliff and will always give God thanks for his life.  Please keep his family in your prayers. 
 
I am sad at the loss of two great men but I give God thanks for their life and witness.  They both have made me a better person.  I know where they are and I rejoice!
 
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent    

 
September 28, 2015
 
I have been busy today doing follow-up on some flooding in our District.  If you have had any flooding or damage, please let us know. Tomorrow I have several appointments scheduled and I will end the day at Christ Church, Milton, for their low country boil.  Wednesday, another Charge Conference.

Thursday will be a spiritual retreat day.  I try to reserve the first Thursday of each month for a day to just be alone and spend time in prayer and meditation.  It is a day with no phone, no computer, no television.  I try to unplug and just spend time reading, meditating, and praying.

Sunday I will be at Aldersgate UMC for their 50th year celebration.  That evening, more Charge Conference celebrations.

 One of the things I like about my role as a district superintendent is conducting Charge Conferences.  I get to see a bigger picture of the church.  I get to see and celebrate with our churches what they are doing in ministry and mission.  I am amazed at what some of you are doing.  I am amazed at the creative ministries that so many of you are involved in.  All of my Charge Conferences have been great.  I have enjoyed meeting so many of you and I thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality.  I commend all of you for the great work you are doing.

Several years ago, Guidepost magazine told the story of little Jamie, who was trying out for a part in the school play.  His mother, knowing that he had his heart set on being in the play, was afraid he might not be chosen.  On the day the parts were to be awarded, his mother decided to pick him up after school.  She was mentally prepared to help him with what she feared would be a terrible blow to his ego because he hadn’t been chosen.

But when the school doors opened, little Jamie’s eyes were shining with pride and excitement.  “I made it!” he exclaimed.  “I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer!”

Have you noticed that only a few people seem destined to play major roles on center stage?  Most of us do the clapping and cheering.  But all the roles are important!  Maybe there is someone you and I need to clap and cheer for.  Whatever our role, may we play it well.

God bless each of you for the work you do in the Pensacola District!
 
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent      
 

 
September 21, 2015
 
Saturday I had the privilege of participating in the District United Methodist Women’s Annual Day.  The St. Paul UMC ladies shared a wonderful song entitled “Completely Yes.”  They did a wonderful job singing this great song.  I couldn’t help but be moved by the words of the song.  I commented on the fact that that’s what God wants from us; not a kind-of yes, not a partial yes, but completely yes!  As we did our ceremony installing the leadership for next year, they all answered questions about service and commitment with an excited, “Completely yes!”  After that a young lady from St. Paul UMC, Jasmine Taylor, did a praise dance that was absolutely wonderful.  She was really into what she was doing and the song and her dance were truly an offering to us and to God.  I thank all the UM ladies of our District for the great work that you do.  I left that meeting with my spirits lifted!

Sunday morning I preached at the homecoming service for the Bellview UMC.  Rev. Nancy Hammond is doing a wonderful work there.  Again, the church was friendly, welcoming, and an energetic spirit.  People of all ages and races, including many children, made up the congregation.  We had a wonderful time just praising God.  We had great music, great fellowship, and a great time together.  I thank Rev. Hammond and the good folks at Bellview for their wonderful welcome and hospitality.

Sunday evening I was at the Gonzalez UMC for a special called charge conference.  Rev. Dan Pezet has been working with them to becoming participants in the Antioch Project.  Dan is doing some of the most important work in our Annual Conference.  He is serving us well!  There were 59 people voting and all 59 voted yes to participate in the Antioch Project!  Unanimous!  We had a wonderful time together as the Church is really starting the process of celebrating their past and visioning the future.  We had a wonderful time together and there was such a unified spirit.  I thank the people of Gonzalez for starting this process and it is going to be exciting to see what God is going to do through them.  

Tomorrow I will be in the office taking care of administrative matters and a noon nominations meeting.  Tuesday evening I will be in Foley for the Baypines District UMM dinner.  Our own Ed Cotton will be doing his Jerry Clower program.  Wednesday I will be a Gulf Breeze UMC for a special called Church Conference.  Wednesday evening I will be holding Charge Conferences at Warrington and St. Paul.  Sunday I will be preaching at Gadsden Street at their homecoming service.  That evening I will be holding Charge Conference.

How exciting it is to see and be a part of all that is going on in the Pensacola District!   Thank you to all our laity and clergy for the great work you are doing in building God’s kingdom in this part of the world.  I give God thanks for each of you and for the work you do.  May we all serve Him with a “Completely Yes!”

Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent       
 

 
September 14, 2015
 
I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year.  The temperatures are beginning to change and there is a slight hint of fall in the air.  Kids are excited about being back in school and parents are excited their kids are back in school.  There are football games, band practice, new subjects to study, and a regular schedule for most.  You can just feel excitement and anticipation in the air.

I had the honor of conducting a wedding at the Emerald Grande in Destin Saturday.  It was my third wedding there.  It is a beautiful, scenic place for a wedding. Out on the deck where the wedding took place, with the Gulf behind me and in front of the couple, it was a sight to see.  Two young people, both having gone through painful divorces, finding each other years later and falling in love and now getting married.  One of the tourist boats going by fired a canon.  The crowd beneath us in a sports bar was cheering during the Alabama football game.  It almost seemed they fired the canon and were cheering for the couple.  It was beautiful and wonderful!

Sunday morning I spoke at the United Methodist Men’s Fellowship at the Gadsden Street UMC.  It was a wonderful gathering and great food.  We were joined by several women from the church, which certainly added some beauty to our gathering!  I met an old friend from my days in Rotary here in Pensacola.  We had not seen each other in 25 years.  What a joy to see him and to be with the good people of Gadsden Street!  The UMM there are doing some wonderful things and I am thankful for them and the work they do.

I then went to preach at St. Paul UMC (Midway/Gulf Breeze).  Wow! Rev. Lance Whorton and his wife, Laurie, are doing a great work there.  When I was driving up, I saw a large group of people walking up the street beside the church to come to worship.  I found out later they were coming from a halfway house near the church.  I was able to talk to some of those people before I left, and they shared with me how much that church means to them.  I was greeted and welcomed in the parking lot - and that was before they knew I was the new D.S.! The service was absolutely wonderful!  It was a mixture of people from birth to 99 years young. It was such a wonderful mixture of God’s people: young, elderly, men, women, black, white, and others as well.  The church was full of excitement, energy and anticipation.  St. Paul UMC has a welcoming attitude, where I think anyone would feel welcome.  

Lance had a prayer of consecration for the newly remodeled sanctuary.  It is beautiful!  He gave awards to persons who have used their gifts and talents in many great ways in the life of the Church.  A young lady about 10 years of age did a wonderful job singing a song she had learned at camp. This was a song that meant a lot to her and she just wanted to share it.  The church was full but she stood up and sang it without music, all by herself, and sang from her heart.  All of us experienced the presence of God in that moment.  That alone was worth the time and effort I made to be there.
 
The service was a blend of contemporary and traditional.  They have a great choir and great band.  The service was informal, with a very welcoming spirit.  I loved preaching that morning.  The people were attentive and prayerful.  I told Lance, “If you can’t preach well at this church, you just simply can’t preach.  If you have a sermon in you, they will get it out!”  I left St. Paul knowing that I had truly been in worship, experienced the very presence of God, and saw God at work in many ways.

Tuesday I will be meeting with our District Core team to make some final plans for the fall.  The end of the week, I will be in Montgomery for a Cabinet Meeting.  Saturday I will be participating with our United Methodist Women in their District Day Apart and helping install officers for the coming year.  Sunda, I will be preaching at Bellview UMC for their homecoming celebration.  Sunday evening I will be at Gonzalez UMC to hold a special Charge Conference as they decide to move forward with the Antioch Project.

God is doing a wonderful work in the Pensacola District.  I see so many churches doing so many wonderful things.  I am thankful that I can witness and be a part of God’s work in the Pensacola District.  Let us all, clergy and laity, continue to work together, moving forward, fulfilling the Great Commission, living out our faith, using our gifts and talents, allowing God to do a mighty work in and through us!

Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
September 7, 2015
 
We express our love and sympathy to our District Lay Leader, Beverly Maddox, and her family due to the death of her husband, Tim, who passed away Friday morning. Tim had fought cancer for some time and now the battle is over. Visitation will be Thursday, September 10, from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Faith Chapel North. The funeral will be at the Clear Springs UMC on Friday, September 11, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation at the church 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Please keep Beverly and her family in your prayers.
 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend. I thank God for each of you and the work you do in our District. It is wonderful to serve side by side with all of you, clergy and laity. There are some wonderful things happening in our District as we join together in ministry and mission. I will have more to say about some of these a little later.
 
Tomorrow I will be in various meetings scheduled for the day. I also have meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. When I have spare time, I will be visiting throughout the District. Next Sunday I will be speaking to the United Methodist Men’s Fellowship at Gadsden Street UMC. Then later that morning I will be preaching at St. Paul (Midway). 
 
Linda and I have a home outside of Andalusia, near Gant Lake. We have two acres that have to be mowed quite often. At the corner of our property is a huge, old oak tree. I love that tree! I seem to have a fascination with trees. I look at that old tree and wonder how old it is. I wonder what all it has seen, how many storms it has survived. I wonder if that old tree could talk, what stories it could tell me. That tree was there when Dunns Bridge Road was a rut road. Then it witnessed the rut road turning into a dirt road. Then a gravel farm-to-market road. And now, a heavily traveled asphalt road.
 
That old tree has taught me two great lessons about life. I have a couple of friends who work in the forestry field. They have told me that the size of the root system of a tree like my old oak tree is the same size as its canopy. Wow! That’s something within itself to think about. I think about how that tree has weathered storm after storm. She has had her branches ripped off her. Some limbs have died and fallen off. How has she made it this long? She is well rooted and grounded. There is a lesson in that for all of us. If we are going to make it in this world, if we are going to be able to face whatever life throws at us, we, too, must be grounded and rooted. From an early age my mother taught me the importance of being rooted in Christ and grounded in His love. That has been what has gotten me through some tough times.
 
The other lesson that I am reminded of is my old oak tree knows when and how to let go. In the fall of the year she sheds her leaves. First come the acorns that the squirrels use to fatten up for the winter. It’s like that old tree wants to give a gift of nature to the animals. Then she sheds her leaves. It is a job to clean up all of that, but I can’t help but smile when I do. I am reminded that there are things in my life that I need to let go of. I just hope I can learn to do it with the grace and beauty of my old oak tree.
 
My old tree has brought a lot of smiles to Linda and me and given us much to think about. I’ve known people like that tree and they made me smile as well.
 
I hope to see you Sunday where we can work on being grounded and rooted and learn how to let go. Who knows, we may just hug a tree and be thankful for all that God’s beautiful nature teaches us!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent   
 

 
August 30, 2015
 
As I mentioned last week, I have spent the week at Lake Junaluska.  All the new district superintendents from across the nation were there for training.  We had wonderful weather and a great learning experience.  I made new friends across our Church and I am thankful for those new relationships.
 
This morning I preached at Richards Memorial UMC.  When I drove up to the front of the church, I couldn’t help notice the cornerstone for the sanctuary.  It said the sanctuary was dedicated on May 18, 1952.  I was struck by that because I was born the day after, May 19, 1952.  We had a wonderful time worshiping together.
 
Tonight I went to Christ UMC in Milton for their fifth Sunday singing.  What a wonderful way of seeing our connection at work.  Churches in the area bring their choirs and they sing, with the congregation singing between choirs.  It was wonderful!!  You just couldn’t listen to the beautiful music without patting your foot or clapping your hands.  After the service we had a wonderful meal and time of fellowship.
 
During the service we received an offering to support our “No More Malaria” campaign.  I am happy and thankful to announce that that group of good Methodists gave $481 for the campaign.  That collective effort has the potential of saving 48 lives.  I thank everyone who gave.
 
Our District Conference will be November 1st at 4:00 at the Navarre UMC.  I am asking every church to take up a special offering for our "No More Malaria" campaign between now and then, and bring your offering with you to the District Conference.  We are only $40,000 away from our $1,000,000.00 goal!  Please support this in your local church and encourage giving toward it.  Just think, we have already potentially saved 96,000 lives!  What else can you give $10 to that has the potential to save a life?  Let’s give this our prayerful attention and together we will reach our goal.
 
I will be in the office Monday taking care of administrative matters.  Tuesday I will be spending the day with Bishop Leeland as he comes to visit our District.  Wednesday I will be in Montgomery at an Annual Conference planning meeting.  On Thursday I will be at Blue Lake for a Conference Core Team meeting.
 
As I think about Labor Day weekend coming up, I think about what a difficult task it is to be a homemaker.  The whole process is so routine and daily.  Sweeping the same floors, vacuuming the same carpets, cooking the same meals, making the same beds, washing the same dishes – it can get pretty uninspiring and dull at times.  I read somewhere that in twenty years a homemaker will wash the same dish 20,000 times (if it lasts that long)!
 
We think, "Oh, if I could just do something important, something productive!"  Martin Luther, the great theologian-leader of the Lutheran Church, said something dramatic about this common feeling.  He said your labor - whatever it is - is sacred.  That’s right – sacred.  He said that whatever constitutes the major part of your time on earth is not just work; it is your ministry – just as much a ministry as that of a priest in a parish or a pastor in a pulpit.  Whatever God has given you to do, do it with all your heart, and your head held high.  You are God’s minister for this time and place.  Happy Labor Day!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent            
 

 
August 24, 2015
 
By the time you read this I will be at Lake Junaluska for District Superintendents training.  I will be there all week learning more about my role as District Superintendent.  Please keep all of us in your prayers.  There is much information to process and a lot to learn.  Pray that we will have safe travels and a meaningful week.
 
Last week I met with the leadership of our District Missions Board.  These people do wonderful work in planting new churches in our district.  When I come to lead your Charge Conference, I will be asking for a form that every church should have listing the name of an interested person from your church who is willing to serve as a representative for the Missions Board.  We do not want just a name to fill a position. We want persons who are genuinely interested in planting new churches.  I am asking all pastors and churches to give this their careful, prayerful attention.  We have much work to do in our district in planting new churches and we need everyone’s help.  Thank you in advance for your attention to this. 
 
I am also asking that each church in the Pensacola area please consider putting some amount in your 2016 budget for Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries.  This ministry, led by Rev. Robin Noble, is doing a great work!  We will have our next clergy meeting at Richards Memorial and tour the facilities so that we can all see what they are doing and how our help is needed.  On September 1st Bishop Leeland and I will tour the facilities and meet some of the persons ministered to.   If you have any questions about this great ministry and how you and your church can help, feel free to call me or Rev. Robin Noble.
 
In 1902 a young poet had his poems returned by a publisher.  Enclosed was the usual rejection slip.  But Robert Frost rejected this rejection.  In 1905 a Ph.D. candidate had his dissertation turned down.  But Albert Einstein rejected this rejection.  A teacher once wrote on a sixteen-year-old’s report card: “A conspicuous lack of success.”  But Winston Churchill rejected this rejection.
 
Rejection comes in many forms to all of us.  If it doesn’t, we are not doing anything.  Yet failure never need be final.  One of God’s greatest gifts is being able to try again.  God is the God of the second chance!
 
How about you?  Have you been rejected?  I’m sure you have.  We all have.  But that doesn’t mean all your choices have been eliminated.  Why not reject your rejection?
 
I hope to see some of you Sunday where we will worship a God that shows us, through Christ, that we can reject our rejection and become more than we ever thought to bring glory to the God of the second chance!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent            

 
 
August 17, 2015
 
This morning I am in Montgomery for a Cabinet meeting.  I will be back in the office on Thursday and I will be meeting with our District Missions Board.  On Friday and Saturday I will be at Gonzalez for their Antioch Project.  Next Sunday I will be leaving for Lake Junaluska for District Superintendent training.  Please keep us all in your prayers for safe travel and a great learning experience.
 
If you have heard me speak, you know that I am big on attitude.  We all have attitudes and so do our churches.  I am often amazed seeing how some people handle difficulties with such a good attitude, while others don’t.  I am also amazed at how many of our churches have an attitude of growth while some churches don’t.  I can’t help but ask of people and churches, “What makes the difference?”
 
In one of the old spring houses which served as refrigerators during the last century, two frogs fell into a bucket of cream.  It looked like an impossible situation to the first frog, so he gave up without any effort.  He knew drowning was certain.
 
It seemed an impossible situation to the second frog, too, but he refused to give up.  “If I drown,” he said to himself, “I’m going to drown trying!”  So he began to kick and crawl and leap and fight.  The harder he kicked, the more determined he became.  Soon, he could feel something solid under his feet.  He continued his battle, and he noticed he was getting closer to the top.  He struggled even more, and finally, with one last exhausted but powerful kick, he leaped out of the bucket to his freedom.  Through his determination and unwillingness to give up, he had churned the cream into butter.
 
Our situations often seem impossible.  We are tempted to throw up our hands and say, “What’s the use?”  But there is always a solution if we are willing to keep on trying.  Don’t give up.  Cream only becomes butter for those who keep working at it.
 
I hope to see you soon.  Maybe together we can turn some cream into butter!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent            
 

 
August 9, 2015
 
These are busy times.  School is starting back.  People are trying to take those last few days of vacation.  It’s fun now that my children are grown to watch parents in Wal-Mart and other stores buying school supplies.  The kids are full of excitement wanting this and wanting that, while the parents are frustrated just wanting it all to be over with so they can have a little peace and quiet.
 
Things are busy in the Church, too.  Many of our churches return to their regular programs when school starts back.  It’s a busy time for us all. 
 
The women clergy of our District and I will meet and have lunch together on Monday.  They do a wonderful job and I look forward to meeting with them. Tuesday, I have several appointments with clergy.  Wednesday, I will be in Mary Esther for their annual Blessing of the Teachers.  Thursday, I will meet with some of our leadership on our District Board of Missions.  Sunday , Linda and  I will visit Navarre UMC. The next week, I will be in a Cabinet meeting. 
 
This past Saturday I had the honor of helping conduct a memorial service for a wonderful woman.  We found out a couple of months before I left Andalusia that she had cancer in several places and didn’t have long to live. 
 
Nancy was a beautiful soul, full of life.  She had a difficult time much of her life.  She suffered the loss of her husband.  Then she lost a son.  Nancy was very involved at Andalusia FUMC.  She gave leadership in so many positions.  She headed up our Christmas party for all the children under the care of the United Methodist Children’s Home Therapeutic Foster Care Program in Covington County.  It was some event!  There was Santa Claus and all his helpers.  There was face painting and singing.  There were tables filled with things the children could pick out for presents for others.  There were people there to help them wrap their presents.  And there was food everywhere.  Sometimes there was more help than there were kids.  You just couldn’t say no to Nancy.
 
Nancy’s mind was always going a mile a minute.  Sometimes she would come into my office to discuss something with me and she would speak in half-sentences.  When she left, I realized I had no idea what she came in to talk to me about.  But that was Nancy and I loved her. 
 
Nancy had one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen.  When she smiled she glowed.  Everyone who had any contact with Nancy knew she was a Christian.  They knew her faith and her church were her life.  She simply loved Jesus!  Although her life had been difficult at times, she was one of the most thankful people I have ever known.  She would proclaim often that she was blessed beyond measure.  I think of the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 where he lists the fruit of the Spirit: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Nancy had every one of these! 
 
Nancy faced her death the same way she faced life.  She simply put her life in the hands of Jesus and prayed, “Your will be done.”  She taught us not only how to live, she taught us how to die. I am a better person because I knew Nancy.  I have witnessed, through her life and death, what a simple but profound faith really looks like.  At the end of the service we sang that song we all learned as children, "Jesus Loves Me."  Nancy would often say, “That’s all you need to know.” 
 
I think about the story of the great theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Barth.  One day a student asked him what the most profound thing he had ever learned was.  Karl Barth replied, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  My friends, until we know that, nothing else matters.  When we learn that, nothing else matters.  Nancy taught me that and I am thankful.
 
Hope to see you Sunday.  Perhaps we can all sing, “Jesus Love Me!”

 

Dr. Tim Trent

Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
August 2, 2015
 
My mother passed away several years ago.  She died six months to the day after my dad’s death.  After she died I was given her old sewing machine.  I have many fond memories of my mother sewing while I was playing on the floor with my cars or toy soldiers.  When I received the machine the cabinet was in pretty rough shape.  The machine itself did not work; the belt was missing and the motor was frozen.  I decided this last year to have it restored.  I had the cabinet completely refinished.  It turned out to be a beautiful piece of furniture! A couple weeks ago I took the machine to a man who works on sewing machines.  David, the man who restored it, did a wonderful job.  He got the motor working, put a new light on it, shined it up, and it sews like new.  I look at it now and my mind is filled with wonderful memories.
 
I do not do Facebook, but Linda does.  She posted a picture of the machine on Friday with a brief statement that it was my mom’s machine and I had it refurbished.  As of writing this, we have had 196 responses!  What is wonderful about the responses is that so many mention their mom’s or grandmother’s machine.  Some have wanted to know where and whom I got to do the work.  Some now have the idea to get their mom’s or grandmother’s machine refurbished.  So many have shared memories they have about their mom or grandmother sewing on her machine.
 
As I think about this experience I think about how much of who we are and what we do is grounded in memory.  So much about worship is about memory.  The Lord’s Supper, the Apostle’s Creed, and many other practices in worship would have little meaning if it were not for memory.
 
One of the things I have celebrated in coming to the Pensacola District is having my memory refreshed by you.  So many of you I have not seen in several years.  In Crestview, I saw a classmate I have not seen since 1970.  I saw Mary Aderhold who taught me Sunday school at the old Friendship UMC for several years when I was a child.  Without people like her and Artis and Harry Kemper giving me that spiritual foundation to build on, I might not be in the ministry today!  I can’t help but give God thanks for memory!
 
On the other hand, Linda and I see after her mother who has Alzheimer’s.  She is in the Florala nursing home.  We have watched her slowly lose her memory.  First she lost her short-term memory and now she has lost most of her long-term memory.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and is a lovely spirit.  I try to have dinner with her every Thursday evening.  That is our time together.  She once laughed and told me her memory wasn’t working but her “forgettery” was!
 
Her statement reminded me of something of great importance.  There are things we need to remember and things we need to forget.  Worship, prayer, and devotional time all help us with that.
 
Monday is Linda’s and my anniversary.  I will be spending time with her as we remember together.  The rest of the week will be filled with appointments and visits with preachers and churches.  Saturday I will be out of town, participating in a memorial service where we will remember and celebrate the life of a sweet soul.  Sunday I will be preaching at Pensacola FUMC.
 
I hope to see you Sunday where we will celebrate memory together.

Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
July 26, 2015
 
I want to thank everyone who attended our meeting in Crestview last Tuesday. It was stormy weather but you came anyway! Thank you!  Thanks also to all the good folks at Crestview FUMC for hosting us and their warm welcome.

Today we had our "Welcome" meeting at Crosspoint South Crestview Campus. The weather was great and so was the welcome of Linda and me and the food and fellowship! Again, thank you to all the folks of Crosspoint UMC that went to great lengths for all of us to have a good time.

On the way to Crestview, in Baker, Linda and I had a fender bender. No one was hurt but Linda's car has to go to the shop. I will be out of the office on Monday seeing about her car and renting her another while hers is getting repaired.

On Tuesday I will be meeting with the District Core Team (Leadership Team) at the office. I hope everyone on the Leadership Team will make every effort to be present.  On Wednesday I will be involved with another Webinar in the office as I prepare for District Superintendent's training next month at Lake Junaluska.  On Thursday morning I will be at the hospital with someone having surgery and visiting someone who is already there. That afternoon I will be about the District visiting.  On Sunday I will be at the Navarre UMC to hold a special Charge Conference.

After our car accident today, I thought about the insurance agent who was writing a policy for a cowboy.
"Have you ever had any accidents?" the agent asked.
"No, not really," replied the cowboy. "A horse kicked in a few of my ribs once. I got bit a couple of time by a rattlesnake, but that's about it."
"Don't you call those accidents?" demanded the agent. "Oh, no," came the reply, "they did that on purpose."
 
That cowboy's humorous definition of accidents is similar to less humorous ways by which many people define all the bad things that happen in their lives. They are "blamers." For them, all accidents are caused by someone else. For them, all the other people in this world are like that horse and rattlesnake - "out to get them." In its extreme form, this tendency is given a psychiatric label: paranoia. In its milder forms, we call it a negative attitude.

How do you define your "accidents"? All I will say is the first thing my wife said when we got back into the car was, "I'm sure glad you were driving!"

I look forward to seeing some of you this Sunday. We will work on defining our "accidents" together and I promise not to park too close! 

Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent          
 

 
July 20,2015
 
One of the joys that Linda and I are experiencing being on the District is worshipping in different churches each Sunday. Yesterday, I had the honor of preaching at FUMC Pensacola. Talking about a church that has a rich history! I was impressed by their celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion during each worship service. Rev. Scott Grantland and Rev. Ken Autrey did a wonderful job leading the services. I saw old friends and found new ones! As I think about the worship service, I remember on this date in 1969, Buzz Aldrin, a Presbyterian elder, celebrated the sacrament of Holy Communion on the moon during the Apollo 11 landing. Now that would be a Holy Communion to remember! Thanks, Dr. Wesley Wachob, for the invitation to preach and to FUMC for their welcome of us and gracious hospitality.
 
Later that afternoon we went to Cokesbury UMC for the first of the “welcoming” events held for us. It was during a heavy rain with a lot of lightning but we had a great turn-out anyway. I thank all who came out in the bad weather to welcome us. Thanks to Rev. Daniel Randall and all the Superintendency Committee for the warm welcome. Thanks to Rev. Paul Wolfe and the great folks at Cokesbury for their gracious hospitality. Thanks to Dr. Addie June Hall for the wonderful prayer. What a blessing it is to hear her pray! It was a great event. Linda and I are so thankful to be serving the Pensacola District and look forward to getting to know each of you.
 
Today is filled with appointments. Tuesday I will be in Crestview for the Foundations Scholarship meeting. Tuesday evening we will have our District “Welcoming” meeting at FUMC, Crestview. Wednesday morning I will be participating in a webinar in preparation for the District Superintendents School I will be attending in August. On Thursday I will be visiting ministers and churches in the District. Sunday we will be back in Crestview for the “welcoming” event at Crosspoint South Crestview Campus.
 
One of the words that you will hear me use a lot is the word “perspective.” Life is a matter of perspective. It’s all in how we look at things. Two men working for the same shoe company were sent to a remote part of the world to sell their product. They had not been gone long when the first one wrote back, “Do not sent order blanks. No one here wears shoes.” The second man encountered the same situation, but his reply was a bit different: “Send all the order blanks you can,” he said. “No one here wears shoes.”
 
You always have a choice of viewing things in your world as impossible or as exciting and challenging. Let your eyes do more than merely see. See with your heart! Allow your eyes and your heart to show you pictures filled with excitement, determination, and hope!
 
I hope to see you Sunday where we will work on our “perspective” together, seeing things as God would have us see them!
 
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent           
 

July 13, 2015
 
Linda and I worshiped at Gadsden Street UMC yesterday. As we were walking up to the front door of the sanctuary she turned to me and said, “We have been married for thirteen years and I don’t know where you like to sit.” I then turned to her and said, “We have been married for thirteen years and I don’t know where I like to sit!” It is an adjustment moving from the pulpit to the pew.
 
The worship service at Gadsden Street was absolutely wonderful! I want to comment on a couple of things that I think will serve us all well. First, the people here not only welcomed us but also made us feel wanted. When I worked at the Conference office I did a lot of evangelism workshops. One of the sessions I did dealt with this issue. It is one thing to make people feel welcome, it is another to make them feel wanted. Gadsden Street did both in a warm, caring, and beautiful way. 
 
Secondly, the worship service was “visitor” friendly. As I experienced the worship service, I couldn’t help but think a visitor or non-churched person would find the worship service easy to follow and navigate. A non-churched person would not have been intimidated at all.
 
Rev. Bobby Ellisor preached a wonderful, thought-provoking sermon. For those of us who are seasoned Christians, he gave us food-for-thought to help us grow in our walk with Christ. If non-Christians had been there, they would have been able to understand the message and would have received a message to give them guidance as well. We celebrated the sacrament of Holy Communion and I was impressed with not only how it was done but how it was explained as well.
 
What I am trying to say is Gadsden Street has mastered the art of a “visitor friendly” church. There was something in that worship service for everyone. Linda and I went to lunch after church and we enjoyed discussing the sermon (which is new for me!). Rev. Bobby Ellisor preached a sermon that was simple but yet profound. I’m still feeding on some of the points he made.
 
I share this only to encourage all of us to be aware of making people not only feel welcome but to feel wanted as well and to be aware of making our worship visitor friendly.
 
Today I will be meeting the pastors in the Milton area for lunch. This afternoon I will be meeting with the pastor and leadership of the Richards Memorial UMC and seeing what all our Pensacola Ministries is doing. Tuesday I will be in the office in the morning and then visiting some of our pastors in the afternoon. Wednesday I will be in Gulf Breeze. Thursday I plan to be in the Ft. Walton-Shalimar area. Sunday I will be preaching at Pensacola FUMC.
 
I hope to see you Sunday where we will celebrate the gift of God’s grace together.
 
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent           
 


July 7, 2015
 
When Bishop Paul Leeland called to invite me to serve on the Cabinet, I was humbled by the invitation and was as surprised as anyone could be. That's a phone call I never expected to get. I told Bishop Leeland that he really honored me by inviting me to serve in this capacity. Toward the end of our conversation he told me he wanted me to be District Superintendent of the Pensacola District. I then told him he had honored me again. Twice in one telephone call!
 
When the appointments were announced that Sunday, I immediately began getting phone calls. It took me one hour to eat my lunch after church! Many of you called, some wrote words of encouragement and thanksgiving.   
 
Linda and I thank each of you for your expressions of love, encouragement, and support. We look forward to serving alongside each of you in doing Kingdom work in the geographical bounds of the Pensacola District. I've had the honor of serving in this District before and know what a great District it is. Dr. Jeremy Pridgen has done an absolutely wonderful job in leading you and I hope to carry on where he has left off.
 
Please remember the "welcome" at Cokesbury on Sunday, July 19, 3:00-4:00 p.m. Also a "welcome" is planned for Crosspoint South Crestview Campus the following Sunday, July 26, again, 3:00-4:00. Linda and I look forward to meeting you at these two events.
 
Also, please mark your calendars for our District Welcome at FUMC Crestview on July 21, 6:00 p.m. This will be a great time of fellowship and great food. The ministers will receive their information for Charge Conference. Other items of importance will also be shared at that meeting. Please make your reservations soon so we will know how many to prepare for.  [RSVP by July 14 at http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/RSVPWelcomingDinner. See details below.]
 
I will be in and out of the office most of this week taking care of administrative matters and meeting with some of our leadership. On Thursday, I will be meeting with the District Superintendency Committee.
 
Again, thank you to all for the warm welcome. I look forward to working with you to make the Pensacola District even greater for the great cause of Christ!
                                                            
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent           

 

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Invitation to the July 21st District Welcome - RSVP Now!
 
To:         District clergy & families, local church Pastor/Staff-Parish Relations Committee Chairpersons & spouses, Lay Leaders & spouses, and CORE Team members & spouses
What:    Pensacola District Clergy Welcoming Dinner
When:    July 21, 6 p.m.
Where:  Crestview First UMC, 599 Eighth Ave., Crestview, FL 
Cost:       $8/person, $20/family maximum
Menu:     Fried catfish, chicken (baked/fried), mashed potatoes, cheese grits, green beans, coleslaw, rolls, hushpuppies, sweet/unsweet tea, water
RSVP:    Reservations are required.   Place your reservations online today at the Pensacola District website.