The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Monday, October 23, 2017
Here for You - Serving Jesus
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Messages by the District Superintendent - 2016
 December 30, 2016
 
Let me begin by thanking you for the most generous and thoughtful Christmas gift you gave to Linda and me.   We appreciate your love and support more than you will ever know. 
 
Tuesday before Christmas, we had to admit Linda’s mother into the hospital.  She went into the ICU in Andalusia and then we had to transfer her to Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan.  Linda and I have been swapping days to stay with her.  I am at the hospital now as I write this.  We are now waiting word as to whether she should have a feeding tube.  It has been a busy time for us and we are both pretty weary.  This is the first Christmas we were not able to be at home together to open our presents from one another.  I was pretty bummed about that and was having a pity party when I was reminded that Christmas is not about me anyway.  I needed to be reminded of the greatest gift: the gift of Jesus. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and the Christ child was born afresh and anew in each of our lives.
 
I don’t know about you, but I gave up on New Year’s resolutions some years back.  But this year, after living with the Christmas story from the Scriptures, I am making a list of resolutions for 2017.  I want to fully trust in God’s promises like Simeon.  I want to be totally submissive to God’s will like Mary.  I want to have the discernment, wisdom and courage of the wise men.  I want to have the compassion and acceptance of others like Joseph.  There is so much for us to learn from the Christmas story.  I pray that all of us will continue to live with the characters of the Story as we enter the new year. 
 
Like many of you, I must hit the ground running next week.  You will be receiving dates for your consultation and the SPR committees will be receiving information as well.  January is going to be a busy month.
 
I wish for each of you a Happy New Year filled with love, hope, peace, and love.  I recently read something written by Jane Bailey Bain.  It is written in the Celtic Blessing Tradition.  This is my prayer for each of you.
 
                                         May the way be smooth before you
                                         The skies shine clear above you
                                         The wind be always at your back
 
                                         May you have fire bright to warm you
                                         Good friendships to cheer you
                                         Food to break your fast
 
                                         May you have work for your hands
                                         Books to nourish your mind
                                         Music to lift your soul
 
2016 was a great year for us in the Pensacola District.  I look forward to a great 2017 as we continue to do Kingdom work.  God bless each of you and Happy New Year!!!
 
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

December 6, 2016
 
I regret that we had to call off our Christmas party scheduled for tonight.  I got a call from FUMC yesterday afternoon and it looked like they were going to be flooded again.  Their Charge Conference was scheduled for last evening and we had to reschedule.  I had to make a quick decision to go ahead and cancel our Christmas party before the food was prepped and decorations were set out.  Fortunately, the building was not flooded.  The water got up to the sidewalk but held off.  If I was going to have to cancel the party, I simply couldn’t wait until today to do it.  I regret it but it is just one of those things.  Please make sure your friends have gotten the word.  I would feel even worse if someone didn’t get the word and showed up.
 
Sunday I had the good pleasure to preach at Milton FUMC while Rev. Kathy Knight is recuperating from her surgery.  We are thankful that she is doing well.  One could say I preached up a storm!  Although the weather wasn’t accommodating for worship, we had two great services.  The music was wonderful.  They have a hand bell choir and I think they outdid themselves.  This is a Church that is making a difference in their community.  They are involved in so many ministries and missions.  I always enjoy being there.
 
As we lit the candle representing hope, I thought about how important hope is.  I remember writing a paper on “utopia” in college.  I was the only one who wrote that I wouldn’t want to live in a utopian society.  My argument was (and still is) that the one thing that would be missing in a utopian society would be hope.  There would simply be nothing to hope for.  We can’t live without hope.
 
I had a friend working in a pharmacy and we were talking about hope while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled.  She took me over to the pregnancy testing kits.  She showed me two identical packages except that one had a picture of a baby on it.  It was two dollars more than the plain box.  She showed me that both were made by the same company, were indeed the same in every way except for the picture of the baby.  She said those who want to be pregnant buy the one with the picture on the box.  She said, “People will pay for hope.”
 
I think about the people in North Carolina who are still recovering from the floods that took place a couple months ago.  I think about those in the Tennessee area who have experience recent fires.  I think about those who are recovering from recent storms.  I think about the terrible fire in Oakland where thirty-nine have died.  The list can go on and on. 
 
I think about all of us who are so blessed.  We haven’t had fires, tornadoes, sinkholes, etc.  We are blessed!  Where do we place our hope?  We are reminded our hope is in Jesus Christ.  He came into our world to bring us hope!
 
This is the season to celebrate hope, love, joy, and peace.  This is the season to reach out to and pray for those who are going through a tough time.  It is a time for us to be mindful and thankful for all the ways we are blessed.  It is a time for us to celebrate the greatest gift any of us have – the gift of the Christ child!
 
I pray God’s blessing for each of you as we all continue to hope! 
 
Pensacola District Superintendent

 

 
November 20, 2016
 
I just got in from conducting five Charge Conferences today.  They were all great!  Thanks to everyone who has done so much to make Charge Conferences a good experience.
 
I started the day off worshiping at Trinity UMC in Ft. Walton.  Rev. Dr. Sterling Boykin preached a wonderful sermon on “Christ the King.”  It was a great way to start the day and end the Christian year. 
 
And now, we look forward to Thanksgiving!  Three women were discussing church.  One said, “Our attendance is down to thirty or forty some Sunday nights now.” “That’s nothing,” another replied.  “Sometimes we have only nine or ten. A third meekly remarked, “It’s so bad in our church on Sunday night that when the preacher says, ‘Dearly beloved,’ it makes me blush!”
 
Many of us do not take the proper time to give God the worship and thanks He deserves on Sunday morning, much less Sunday night.  Clement of Alexandria said there is only one offering we can make to God – a thankful heart. Thanksgiving season is a good time to make that offering.  It is also a good time for deciding to make it all year long.
 
I’ve learned that thanksgiving is more than an emotion or action, it is an attitude.  Do I have an attitude of gratitude?
 
Several months ago, I decided to change the way I pray at the close of the day.  I get quiet and still and then I begin to pray but I start out by recapping my day.  I give God thanks for things we usually take for granted.  I thank God for the fact that I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, etc.  I think about what I have been blessed to eat, a vehicle to drive, a job to go to.  I then recap my day and I thank about the ministry I have been able to engage in, the people I have met, the friends that I have, etc.  I give God thanks for family.  I then pray for individuals and situations.  It takes much longer for me to pray this way but I find that the more I pray this way, the more thankful I am and don’t take so many things for granted.  The more I pray this way, the more I develop an attitude of gratitude.
 
Tonight, I will give God thanks for the usual things.  I will give God thanks for the Churches where I held Charge Conference.  I will give thanks for the pastors of those Churches and their families.  I will give God thanks for the laity of those Churches who do so much in the life of the Church.  I will give God thanks for the baptisms and professions of faith reported today. I will give God thanks for each of you, the wonderful clergy and laity of the Pensacola District.
 
Linda and I will be leaving Tuesday morning for Houston, Texas, to have Thanksgiving with family.  We wish for each of you a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.  I will be returning next Sunday to continue my work.
 
God bless each of you and may we all work on our attitude of gratitude!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
November 15, 2016
 
Thanks to everyone who participated in our District Conference.  A special thank you to the youth group from Mt. Carmel UMC who blessed us with their music and to Rev. Larry Anderson for a good sermon!  We collected $1,227 in our offering for Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries (PUMCM)! Thank you!  The youth also collected over 350 individual food bags for PUMCM and tubs full of Vienna sausage, crackers, and such.  Thank you, youth!  Thanks also to the Navarre UMC for hosting our event.  They always do a wonderful job.  It’s not always easy to pull off a good District Conference but I think we did it.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
 
Gadsden Street UMC now has a room available for us to store flood buckets, tarps, and other disaster response items.  I would encourage all of us to work on these items and fill this room so we can be ready when the next disaster comes.
 
Sunday I had the good pleasure of preaching at St. Mark (Pensacola) for their homecoming service.  We had great music, wonderful singing and, I hope, good preaching - just a wonderful service.  After the service, we went outside and burned the mortgage! Rev. David Morris, pastor of St. Mark, led us in the mortgage burning and it was a wonderful time of celebration.  There is a new excitement and vitality at St. Mark and they are doing a wonderful work.  Working together, the Church is moving forward with new life.  I am excited about their future and look forward to the good things they will be doing.
 
I want to thank everyone for their preparations for Charge Conferences.  They have all been good and it has been a celebration at each church.  I am thankful for the numbers of baptisms and professions of faith.  Almost every church has reported at least one in each category.  Some of our small membership Churches have had a banner year.  McDavid UMC baptized nine on Easter Sunday! Allen Memorial and Farm Hill have each had several baptisms and professions of faith!  It is wonderful to see how God is working in our Churches and the great Kingdom work that is being done.  Last evening, I had Charge Conference at Cokesbury UMC.  They too, have had a great year of baptisms and professions of faith!  We celebrated the great ministries they are involved in and I had an opportunity to thank them personally for the work they did at their Summit Park campus after the tornadoes hit Pensacola and the work they did with disaster response during the floods in Louisiana.  They are doing a great work!
 
It seems that all I have been doing lately is going to meetings.  Week before last I was in Jacksonville for a quadrennial summit meeting of all the Bishops, Superintendents, and extended Cabinet members in the United States.  We discussed the four areas of focus for the next quadrennium.  What I was excited about is our Conference is already ahead of the curve and way ahead of some of the other Conferences in these four areas.  I will be saying more about this soon.  Last week I was in Cabinet meeting.  We must take care of a lot of business, but it is also a time of worship, devotion, prayer and sharing.  Bishop David Graves is giving us great leadership and is such a wonderful person to work with.  We have a great leader with a great spirit leading us.  I thank God for him and Nancy.  We are blessed to have them.  I encourage you to be in prayer for them. 
 
This week, I have more meetings and more Charge Conferences - but amid all of this there is much to celebrate.  May we continue praying for one another, sharing with one another, and encouraging one another. We are in partnership doing Kingdom work and I don’t know of anything that is more important. 
 
Thank you for the great work you are doing, both clergy and laity!  God bless you all!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 


 
October 24, 2016
 
We all have what we consider bad days. But how often do you have a bad week?  I had intended to take last week off for some much needed rest and relaxation.  I headed out to my home in Andalusia and had dreams of working on my motorcycles, fishing equipment, etc.  I just wanted to relax and peddle. On the way home, Linda called and told me our privacy fence had fallen down.  There was no storm, no wind, it just fell down!  I got home and walked in and Linda greeted me by telling me that our AC had stopped working.  I found out the motor had burned up.  While I was getting our privacy fence replaced with a chain-link fence and getting our AC repaired, Linda started getting sick.  I am a little overly sensitive worrying about women having different signs of a heart attack.  They don’t necessarily have the same symptoms as men.  So many times, women’s signs of an upcoming heart attack are masked.  She was nauseated, hurting between the shoulder blades, and was sweating and felt clammy.  I took her to the ER.  She spent the night.  In the meantime, I had my regular visit with my doctor and found out I had inflamed rib cartilage.  It only hurt when I moved!  We got home and I had to repair the sink in my wife’s bathroom that was leaking.  My ceiling fan in my bathroom stopped working.  It seemed I was inundated with phone calls dealing with the District.  It wasn’t a week off!
 
As I was driving home to Pensacola Saturday, I was all alone having a pity party.  I was thinking about what a difficult week it was and then I realized it was a great week!  I found out the motor on the AC was still under warranty.  With the new chain-link fence, my two dogs can now see what they are actually barking at.  I was also thankful that I had the money to replace the fence.  I remember when I didn’t have the money for such things.  Linda was not having a heart attack.  Through the tests she had, we found out that she has a great heart (in more ways than one!).  Evidently she had food poisoning (not my cooking!).  I was able to repair her sink and it leaks no more.  The inflammation in my rib cartilage is better and my blood work came back great.  My ceiling fan in my bathroom will wait for another time.  I am still getting phone calls, which symbolizes I am still employed.  I realized that I didn’t have a bad week, I had a great week!
 
I thought about the story of a carpenter who was having a rough day.  A flat tire made him lose an hour of work.  His electric saw quit on him.  Then his truck wouldn’t start.  The woman who had hired him offered to drive him home.  On arriving, he invited her in to meet his family.  As they walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree and touched the tips of the branches with both hands.  Then, opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation.  He had nothing but smiles and hugs for his family. As he walked his employer back to her car, she asked about the tree.  “That’s my ‘trouble tree,’” he said.  “I know I can’t help having them on the job, but they don’t belong in my home.  So, I just hang them on the tree every night; then, in the morning I pick them up again.  And, funny thing,” he said smilingly, “there never seem to be as many to pick up the next morning as I hang there the night before.”
 
So, while you may be having what you think is a bad day or a bad week, don’t forget to see what you have to be thankful for.  Things may be better than you think!  And, oh yes, get you a worry tree!
 
God bless each of you in the great Kingdom work you are doing!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent  
 


 
September 22, 2016
 
Now that I have had a little time to finally catch my breath, I felt like writing to you.  For all of us, the last couple of weeks have been heartbreaking.  One of our brothers in Christ, a fellow laborer in the field, has fallen. Has broken covenant and a sacred trust.
 
Our hearts have ached for David and Jennie, their family, their Church, their community, our District, our Conference, and all affected by what has transpired.  So many people, so much hurt.  We have felt a wide range of emotions and feelings and, if you are like me, still feel an overwhelming sense of sadness.
 
I have learned a few things through this experience.  First, we don’t know how to talk about this kind of thing.  In the last few years we, as a Conference, have had about five different experiences with those in covenant with us breaking covenant.  We talk about it but with a whisper.  We somehow think it’s wrong to talk about it.  We think it is more akin to gossip.  Folks, talk to one another!  One of our problems as clergy, as I see it, is we “visit” with one another but we really don’t know how to talk openly and honestly with one another.  I encourage you to be in a group of two or three and make a covenant with each other that you are going to speak openly and honestly with each other and have the trust and openness to speak from the gut.
 
Secondly, I realize we don’t know how to deal with our own feelings and emotions.  With this situation I have been on an emotional roller coaster.  I have felt sadness, betrayal, hurt, disillusionment, disbelief, anger and then guilt for feeling angry.  A few years ago I got therapy for being a child of an alcoholic.  There were a couple of things I learned.  One is alcoholic families live in secrecy, or at least we think we do!  The community knows, but we try to keep it a secret and we don’t talk about what is going on.  I see that happening with us in dealing with our grief about David.  Folks, what has happened is no secret.  It has been publicized from USA Today to the Washington Post!  Talk about your feelings and emotions.  You’re not feeling anything everyone else isn’t feeling.  I still have an issue of sharing my real feelings and emotions with those I’m closest to (child of an alcoholic!) but I’m a work in progress.  I also learned that you'd better own your feelings and emotions or they will own you!  Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling, name it and claim it, and know that whatever the feeling or emotion is, it is okay.  You have the right to feel what you feel. 
 
Finally, I want to say, we will continue to love David and Jennie and their family and minister to them however we can.  Right now, they are broken vessels and it is incumbent upon us to try to hold the pieces together so the Potter can do His work!  I was reminded Wednesday before last that that date in 1963 was when the church bombing took place at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. That day four precious, innocent children lost their lives.  We grieved as a nation.  What I find fascinating about that Sunday is the sermon titled for that Sunday morning: “A Love That Forgives.”  How prophetic and profound! My friends, that is our role in this as we minister to David and Jennie and their family. We have to have a love that forgives. 
 
So we support them, we support each other.  We pray for them, we pray for one another.  We minister to them, we minister to one another.  We care for them, we care for one another. Please lean on each other in these times.  We have all been affected.  May we love each other with a love that forgives!
 
May the Peace of Christ be with you all!
Dr. Tim Trent  
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
September 5, 2016
 
I hope each of you is having a good Labor Day.  In 1882 a parade was held to show the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations."  Labor Day has become for us the unofficial end of summer and a shopping bonanza.  What particular labor are you grateful for today?
 
I find it interesting how attitudes about things change through time. There are those who wish they could find work and earn a decent living.  If you have a good job, you tend to look at "labor" a little differently.  One of the unfortunate things in our society is that sometimes people view work as a curse.  Many believe that work is the curse that God placed upon us at the fall of Adam and Eve.  But this is not the Biblical attitude toward work.  When you read the Genesis account carefully, you find that in the story man was placed in the Garden to till the garden before the curse was given.  Man is set to work naming the animals and caring for the garden.  Men/women are involved in work as co-creators with the Creator.  Work is not a curse but a blessing.  Work is a gift to us from God who invites us to engage with Him as His workers in the world.
 
We have a butterfly flower garden at the edge of our house.  I have to work to keep the plants trimmed.  It is worth it to see all the beautiful butterflies come and feed on the flowers.  They feed on the pollen and go on their way.  I have many pictures of the butterflies enjoying a great meal of pollen!  Now what a butterfly does after they feed I do not know, but I have a certain satisfaction in knowing that I provided food for some of God's creatures.  It requires a little work, but it is worth effort!

On this date in 1774, the Continental Congress assembled for the first time in Philadelphia.  After electing its president (its first official action), it voted to open Congress with prayers.  Episcopal preacher Jacob Duché is selected to deliver the invocations, which he started the following day.  Just as our attitudes about labor have changed, our attitudes about prayer and patriotism have changed (for some). 
 
I am thankful my parents taught me to have good manners, be respectful, and be patriotic.  I don't wish to enter any political discussion, but I find "athletes" (?) refusing to stand for the national anthem appalling.  Firstly, these people are making more money for their "labor" than most people in the world make.  Secondly, they have done absolutely nothing to have the freedoms they so much enjoy (like not standing for the national anthem!).   I served in the Air Force for seven years.  I was blessed in that I never saw battlefield action.  But six of my friends died in battle.  Those who pay nothing for their freedom have no idea what freedom costs!
 
On this Labor Day, offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for the labor that you have or have had.  Give God thanks for living in a nation that offers freedoms that most of the world does not have.  Thank God for being a co-creator with Him.  And today, if you hear the National Anthem, stand, place your hand on your heart, and give God thanks for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms!
 
Blessings Upon You!

Dr. Tim Trent  
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
August 17, 2016
 
Crosspoint is the ninth fastest growing large membership United Methodist Church in the United States.  It is obvious they know what they are doing.  They are holding a seminar at their Niceville campus on Friday evening (6:30-9:00 PM) and Saturday (8:30-2:00), the 26th and 27th of August.  The seminar is entitled "Becoming a Healthy, Growing Church."  The cost is $30. You do need to register for this event and the registration deadline is August 23.  I encourage you to attend this workshop no matter what size church you serve.  I guarantee it will be well worth your time.  More detailed information can be found on our District website (or click here).
 
There will be two receptions for Bishop David and Nancy Graves.  The first reception will also include an installation service and it will be at Montgomery FUMC September 11 at 4:00 PM.  The second reception will be at Crosspoint (Niceville campus) September 18 at 4:00 PM.  I hope you will mark your calendars and plan to make one of them.  Let's show Bishop and Mrs. Graves a warm Alabama-West Florida welcome!
 
Our hearts are aching for all our brothers and sisters in Louisiana as they deal with the flooding.  We are at the beginning stages of recovery.  PLEASE DO NOT send any disaster relief teams in at this time.  They will extend an invitation to us soon to send work teams in.  In the meantime, let us begin to collect items that you can find on our District website (or view here).  Right now we do not have the designated drop points identified for the Pensacola District.  That will be coming shortly and we will let you know where they are.  If your Church would like to be a drop point, please contact the District office.  We will be in touch as soon as recovery starts so we can send teams in. *

We have much to pray about.  We need to pray for the upcoming elections.  We need to pray for communities who are experiencing racial tension.  We need to pray for our own United Methodist Church and our leadership.  Pray for Bishop Leeland as he begins his new assignment.  Pray for Bishop Graves and Nancy as they come to lead us.  Pray for those who have experienced floods. Pray for those in different parts of the country who are experiencing the ravages of fire.  Pray for our military.  Pray for all our police and firemen.  Pray for all the first responders.  Pray for your Church and pastor.  Pray for yourself.  There is plenty to keep us all on our knees praying without ceasing.
 
This weekend I will be in Jacksonville conducting a wedding.  I will be out of town next week but will return in time for the workshop at Crosspoint.  I hope to see you there.
 
Blessings Upon You!
Dr. Tim Trent  

 
August 8, 2016
 
Yesterday I preached at Mt. Carmel UMC.  They are presently without an appointed pastor so I am thankful for Rev. Jim Jines who has been preaching and serving as pastor to the Church in July and August.  As many of you know, the Mt. Carmel church was struck by lightning a few years ago and was totally destroyed.  They have now built a beautiful fellowship hall and are making great progress on their new sanctuary.  When their church was destroyed, another local church of another denomination offered their previous church building for them to use while they were rebuilding.  They outgrew this building and built a new facility.  Mt. Carmel was able to move in and never miss a beat!  I am thankful for their spirit, joy, and love for their church and community.  I am blessed every time I meet with them.
 
Next Sunday has been designated Blue Lake Sunday for the Pensacola District.  We are asking each church to receive a special offering on this day for Blue Lake.  Blue Lake is one of our Conference’s crown jewels!  We are thankful for all the leadership and staff do for our Conference.  Please promote and support this effort in your local church.  I thank you in advance for your support of this.
 
Also next Sunday, there will be a reception for Bishop and Mrs. Paul Leeland.  Bishop Leeland has served us for eight years and has been appointed to the Western North Carolina Conference effective September 1st.  The reception will be at Montgomery FUMC August 14 at 4:00 P.M.  in Wesley Hall.  This will be a time for us to show our appreciation and wish them well.
 
In September there will be two receptions for our new Episcopal leader, Bishop and Mrs. Graves.  Go ahead and mark your calendars for September 11 at 4:00 P.M. at Montgomery FUMC.  This will also include an installation service.  Then on September 18 at 4:00 P.M. at Crosspoint (Niceville) there will be a reception only.  Go ahead and mark your calendars and I will be saying more about this as we get closer to the time. 
 
I thank each of you for your faithfulness and commitment in spreading the Gospel through word and deed.  May God continue to bless each of you in your work!
 
With Thanksgiving,
Pensacola District Superintendent           
 

 
July 25, 2016
 
We all have been inundated with bad news lately.  There is certainly enough to keep us all praying day and night.  I thought I would share with you some news that is not just good but great!
 
Many of you are familiar with Richards Memorial United Methodist Church and how it has been in decline for several years.  You are also familiar with Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries that operates out of the Richards Memorial UMC facilities.  I am happy to report that on Sunday, July 17th, they baptized six adults!  These are adults who have gone through some of their programs, have made a major change in their life, accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, dedicated their lives to Him, and asked to be baptized!  Wow!  And they have more on the calendar to be baptized!  God is doing a wonderful work through Rev. Robin Noble and Rev. Joe Mullen.  Here is an example for all of us.
 
I am surprised at the number of our churches who have not taken in one member by profession of faith nor had a single baptism.  This has been the case for several years for some of our churches.  The question has to be asked, “If Richards Memorial can do this, why can’t we?” 
 
We celebrate the great work that is going on at Richards and thank God for the movement of His Spirit in their midst.  God is doing and will continue to do a great work there because they are open to being a willing vessel and letting God work through them.  Please keep this ministry in your prayers as they continue to do a great work!
 
Milton FUMC hosted a Society of St. Andrew Potato Drop on July 23 as part of the Santa Rosa Day of Service.  They bagged over 20,000 pounds of potatoes in less than two hours.  More than 200 volunteers worked diligently so that 60,000 servings of potatoes will be distributed by the Society of St. Andrew to the agencies that serve the hungry in Santa Rosa County.  They had people from Pace High School ROTC, students at Milton High School, enlisted personnel at NAS Whiting Field, employees of the Santa Rosa Credit Union, employees of the Santa Rosa Health Department, and members of two volunteer fire departments, among others who were not known to the church.  The team captains for this event were members of FUMC Milton. 
 
A representative from the Society of St. Andrew informed Milton FUMC that through their financial giving during the past eight years and the Potato Drop, they have provided one-half million servings of nutritious food to the hungry in the United States.  One church making a HUGE difference!!!!  Thanks to Rev. Kathy Knight who has led Milton FUMC in this ministry.  God is doing a great work there as well!!!
 
My mother taught me that we usually see what we are looking for.  The older I get, the more I understand what she said.  God is doing a great work all around us.  Will we choose to dwell on the negative and bad, or will we cast our eyes on what great things God is doing through His Church and being a part of that?
 
Thanks to all of you for the great work you are doing in the building of God’s Kingdom in the Pensacola District. Hope to see you soon!
 
Grace and Peace,
Pensacola District Superintendent  
 

 
July 17, 2016
 
As most of you have heard or read by now, we have been assigned a new bishop effective September 1, 2016. Bishop David Graves was newly elected from the Holston Conference.  Bishop Graves and his wife Nancy are coming to us from Church Street UMC in Knoxville, Tennessee. We welcome Bishop Graves and his wife Nancy and look forward to a long, fruitful ministry with him.
 
Our own Bishop Paul Leeland, and Janet, are being assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference (Charlotte area).  We give God thanks for the eight years of dedicated leadership and visioning Bishop Leeland has given us.  We celebrate the fact that he will now be closer to his family and we wish he and his family nothing but the best in the years to come.
 
Rev. Dr. Lawson Bryan, senior pastor of FUMC Montgomery, was also elected to the Episcopacy. We are proud of and for Bishop Bryan and are thankful for his service and leadership in our Conference through these years.  He and Sherrill will be serving the South Georgia Conference.  We wish Lawson the best, as well.
 
There is a lot going on in the Church and in our world.  With all that is happening in the Church let me say that nothing has changed in the Alabama-West Florida Conference.  Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet are all in agreement that we will continue to abide by the Discipline of the UMC.  We will continue to work together with you and your churches into a better future.  We all need to be in prayer for our Church and our world.  These are crucial times that need to be undergirded in prayer.  Please pray for all of our Bishops as they meet to discuss some of the vital issues facing our Church.
 
And pray, pray, pray, for our world.  There is so much bad news in the world today we yearn for a bit of good news.  Pray for all those who have been affected by the various shootings and other acts of violence.  There is so much fear and hatred in our world today.  I cannot control what happens somewhere else, but I can influence my little world that I live in daily.  I can show love, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, grace, and hope wherever I am in my little world.  God does not call on me to fix the world but he does call me to fix myself!  I learned a long time ago there can be no peace in the world until there is peace in me. 
 
May we all be about showing people love, offering them peace, and giving them hope!
 
In Christ,
Pensacola District Superintendent   
 

 
July 11, 2016
 
Last Tuesday I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at our Hispanic Church here in Pensacola.  Rev. Andres Doimeadios is doing a wonderful job leading his congregations here, at Mary Esther, and Ft. Walton.  I don’t think I have ever attended worship anywhere where there was such a genuine excitement about being in worship.  I experienced pure joy in worship!  It was wonderful.  Ms. Martha Rovira, our Conference Hispanic Ministries Representative, came from Mobile to translate my sermon.  (That is the quickest way I know to turn a 20 minute sermon into 40 minutes!).  Andres played the keyboard as well as sing.  Their band was wonderful.  You know when you are in a worship service, spoken in a language you do not speak, but yet you feel the love, joy, peace, and the movement of God’s Spirit, something great is going on!  Pray for Andres and his family as he leads three congregations and please keep our Hispanic ministries in your prayers.
 

Sunday I had the joy of speaking at Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton.  I preached all three morning services and, again, felt God’s presence in a strong and wonderful way.  Congratulations to their pastor, Rev. Sterling  Boykin, who just received his Doctor of Ministry degree!  Dr. Boykin is doing a great job as well.  Trinity is doing a lot of good work in ministry and mission.

Tomorrow I will be leaving for Lake Junaluska to attend Jurisdictional Conference.  It is my understanding that we will be electing five new Bishops.  For those who may not know, Jurisdictional Conference is held every four years and their main work is to elect and place Bishops.  Bishops are under appointment just like any minister in the UMC.  Our Bishop, Bishop Paul Leeland, has been with us for eight years.  He could be reappointed to serve four more years, or they could assign him to another Conference.  Please be in prayer this week as the election process takes place.  We need Godly men and women with great leadership ability more than ever!  It is an important work being done.  Please lift everyone up in prayer.
 
A woman came to confide in her minister. “Preacher,” she said, “I want to confess a great sin.”  “Of course,” he said, “what is it?”  “The sin of pride,” she answered.  “Why, just this morning I sat for an hour before my mirror admiring my beauty.”  “Sister,” said the minister, “that’s not a sin of pride.  That’s a sin of imagination!”
 
Most of us either imagine ourselves to be much more than we really are, or we think too little of ourselves.  Both are sins of imagination.  Don’t exaggerate your value.  That’s sinful.  But don’t belittle yourself either.  That’s also a sin. You are what you are.  You are who you are.  You cannot add to or subtract from yourself like inflating or deflating a balloon.  So be yourself.  Take what you have and float where you can with it.
 
Have a great week and God bless!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
June 22, 2016
 
Linda and I wish to thank you for your prayers and expressions of love, care, and support during the loss of our twin grandsons.  It has been a difficult time but we have been sustained and strengthened by your prayers and God’s comforting Spirit.  Please keep us in your prayers in the days to come.

We congratulate Rev. Faith Parry (Navarre UMC), on being commissioned as a provisional elder at Annual Conference.  We also congratulate Rev. Levi Gardner (Perdido Bay UMC) and Rev. David Morris (newly appointed to St. Mark, Pensacola) on being ordained as elders in full connection.  We are thankful for and proud of the accomplishments of all of these individuals and are proud to call them our own!

As we come to a new appointive year we say good bye to some ministers who have served us faithfully.  Rev. Clive Knights (Bagdad) is retiring.  Rev. Samantha Lewis (Crestview FUMC Associate) is transferring to another conference.  Rev. Bobby Ellisor (Gadsden Street) is appointed to Prattville FUMC.  Dr. Lester Spencer (Gulf Breeze UMC) is appointed to St. James, Montgomery.  Janeese Spencer (Gulf Breeze UMC) is taking a leave of absence.  Rev. Brian Pullin (Mt. Carmel) is transferring to another conference.  Rev. Scott Grantland (Pensacola FUMC) is taking a leave of absence.  Rev. Laura Weant (St. Mark, Pensacola) is taking a family leave of absence.  Rev. Mark Dees (Wesley Memorial) is being appointed to Thomasville UMC.  Dr. Darren McClellan (Perdido Bay) is appointed superintendent of the Mobile District. All of these persons have served us well and we wish them the best and pray for them and their families as they continue in fruitful ministry.

We welcome into our District and those transferring within our District the following:  Rev. Robert C. Warren (Bagdad), Rev. John Webb (Baker), Rev. David W. Cook (Cottage Hill), Rev. Gail P. Baughman (Gadsden Street), Dr. Daniel W. Morris (Gulf Breeze), Rev. Lance Whorton (New Church), Rev. Brandon Bures (Pensacola FUMC Associate), Dr. David Saliba (Perdido Bay), Rev. David Morris (St. Mark), Rev. Christina Shaver (St. Paul, Gulf Breeze), and Rev. Danny Gilroy (Wesley Memorial).

We welcome all of these persons and their families to the Pensacola District.  We look forward to working with them and will undergird them and their new churches in prayer as they begin this new venture in serving God in a new place.  This can be an exciting time for all who are moving but it is stressful.  Please keep all of these and their families in your prayers.

I have appointments scheduled for the remainder of the week.  Sunday I will be preaching at Gadsden Street UMC.  The following week I plan to be on vacation.

God bless each of you as we continue in Kingdom work in the Pensacola District!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
June 6, 2016
 
Duane Keck is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Ft. Walton Beach, FL and a leader in our District and Conference.  I remember meeting Duane when I first came to the Pensacola District in 1985.  Through the years we have worked together on many new church projects.  Through the years I have grown to appreciate Duane more and more.  He loves the Church like few people I have ever met.  I treasure our friendship.  
 
Four years ago, he was a delegate to General Conference and was asked to give the laity address. A couple weeks ago we were having a District Board of Missions meeting and, for Duane's devotion that morning, he shared a short part of his laity address.  I thought it was great and asked if I could borrow it to share with the District.  He graciously agreed and gave me a copy before we left the meeting.  It is titled "Goose Sense." 
 
When you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in a "V" formation, you may wonder why they always fly in that exact formation.  Researchers have discovered that there is a distinct aerodynamic reason for this kind of formation, which the geese seem to understand.  Each time a bird flaps its wings, it creates an aerodynamic updraft that lifts the bird immediately behind.  The researchers found that by flying in the "V" formation the whole flock has at least 71% greater flying range that if each bird flew on its own. 
 
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the aerodynamic lift from the bird immediately in front.  When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the formation and lets another bird fly the point.  They say that geese honk from behind to encourage those up front. 
 
When a goose is wounded by gunshot or becomes ill and falls out of the formation, two well geese fall out of formation and go down with the wounded goose to protect him.  They stay with the sick or wounded goose until he is either dead or able to fly again, then they launch out with him, in formation, to catch up with the original group.   
 
Those of us in the church who strike out alone cannot help but feel the drag of not having the lift from others.  When a lead goose gets tired, he rotates back into formation, whereas we tend to wear out our leaders and we keep young and potentially effective leaders from having a go at it. 
 
In a society where we tend to shoot our wounded and take little or no time with those who are hurt, we could do well to consider using simple goose sense in our relationships. My friends, if God's geese know and understand the benefits of partnership, shouldn't God's people who are called United Methodist? In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  
 
Well said, Duane.  Well said. 
 
We are the host District for Annual Conference this year.  We will be providing all of our speakers and guests leading our Conference with gift baskets full of all kinds of snacks.  Our laity will be providing the prayers during our sessions.  As a delegate from the Pensacola District please offer help and hospitality to all you encounter. 
 
I will be having meetings this week with churches and laity.  I will also be preparing for Annual Conference which starts Sunday evening.  Please be in prayer for our Annual Conference sessions.  God bless you all as we continue to move forward in building God's Kingdom! 
 
Dr. Tim Trent  
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
May 22, 2016
 
Linda and I had the good pleasure of worshipping at Milton First United Methodist Church today.  Rev. Kathy Knight is doing a great job leading this church into new ways of doing ministry and mission.  This church is so active throughout the community.  It is a genuinely friendly church and very welcoming.  I have said for years there is a difference between making people feel welcome and making people feel wanted.  When you go to FUMC Milton you certainly feel both.  We had two wonderful worship services celebrating Trinity Sunday.  We celebrated two baptisms and Rev. Knight did an excellent job not only putting the service together but leading it as well.  It was a great day!
 
As I think about the friendliness of the Milton FUMC, I am reminded of the story of a service in a large, downtown church that was about to begin.  A man sitting near the front was wearing a large hat.  An usher walked down and quietly asked the man to remove his hat.  Getting no response, the usher summoned a deacon.  The deacon came and made the same request - and got the same results.  The request was repeated by an elder and the president of the women’s organization - but the hat remained.
 
When the opening hymn began, the man stood up, removed his hat, and did not put it on again.  After the service, the usher confronted the man, asking why he had not removed the hat sooner.  “I’ve been attending this church for two months,” he said, “and nobody has ever tried to get acquainted with me.  Today, I’ve met an usher, a deacon, an elder, and the president of the women’s group!”
 
Fortunately, that kind of thing does not happen in many churches, but it does happen.  I’m in a different church almost every Sunday.  I hear people talk about how friendly their church is.  Without realizing it, many they are friendly to each other “in” the church, but not so friendly and welcoming to those coming from “outside” the church.
 
How is your church?  Friendly and welcoming to all, or just to those who are already part of the church family?  Who knows, maybe all our visitors need to wear a big hat!
 
I will be in Montgomery attending meetings Monday evening through Thursday.  I hope all of you have a blessed week!
 
Dr. Tim Trent  
Pensacola District Superintendent      

P.S.  The deep sea fishing trip was great!   
 

 
May 17, 2016
 
Last week I had my car in the shop to repair my air conditioner.  I got it out of the shop on Wednesday and by Friday it had died on me again.  Frustrated!  Sunday, with no air conditioning, I was on my way to Crosspoint UMC to hold a special Charge Conference to launch another campus church that will be in Blue Water Bay.  I was excited about being with the folks at Crosspoint to vote on this.  This Church has an absolutely wonderful Spirit and attitude!  When I got close to Crestview I noticed my battery light came on.  Frustrated!  I knew I would soon be in trouble.  In a little while, my whole dash board lit up and my car went dead.  Frustrated!  I called Crosspoint in Niceville and told them I wouldn’t be coming to our meeting.  Now get this:  my Honda Accord only has 270,000 miles on it.  Why would the alternator be going out? (Laugh!)
 
Have you ever wanted to be upset about something but couldn’t because you were so blessed?  Oh, I wanted to be upset but couldn’t.  Then I felt like being upset because I had no right to be upset.  My blessings outweighed my troubles.
 
Now please understand this.  I really wanted to be at Crosspoint, to be there for the vote to start another new church.  What could be a better way to celebrate Pentecost Sunday?!  I broke down just around the corner from where my brother lives, so he was able to come keep me company while the wrecker came to haul my car to Pensacola.  We sat for over an hour in his vehicle which was wonderfully air conditioned!  My wife came from Andalusia to take me back to my apartment in Pensacola.  More time for us to be together. Again, my blessings outweighed my troubles.
 
Yesterday I got my car back.  I have a new alternator and a new battery, which was shorted out by the alternator going bad.  They replaced an air conditioning hose that had a leak in it that was causing my AC problems.  My total bill for towing and repair work was over $1,300.  But I was able to pay for it.  I remember times that I didn’t have the money to buy a tire, much less a battery.  Again, my blessings outweighed my troubles.
 
I thought about my car losing its power in regards to the Church.  The Church is in danger of breaking down (just like my car) when we lose the power of the Holy Spirit.  That’s where we get our power.  We start trying to do things our way, we start trying to own the Church, run the Church, without seeking the guidance of the real power, the Holy Spirit! I have been amazed at how some people want to “run” the Church and I have been equally amazed at how many persons seek power in the Church.  The Church is of God.  When we squeeze out the Holy Spirit and don’t allow the Spirit to work, we are in danger of breaking down.
 
Wednesday I will be in Dothan for a United Methodist Foundation meeting.  Thursday is my birthday, and my wonderful wife has planned for us a deep sea fishing trip.  I’ve never been deep sea fishing before but it is one of my bucket list things.  (I wonder if the Captain’s boat has an alternator on it!)  Sunday, I am honored to be preaching at Milton FUMC.
 
I hope all of you have a great week!  When you are facing troubles look closely, and I think you will find your blessings outweigh your troubles!  God Bless!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent       
 

 
May 9, 2016
 
The woman was a retired school teacher.  Still quite active in church and community work, she remarked, “You know, time is a funny thing.  The days often seem quite long, the weeks even longer.  But the years seem to pass so quickly!”
 
We often misunderstand time.  We shouldn’t try to measure it in minutes or days or weeks or even years.  We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not moments; in feelings, not hands on the clock.  The person who thinks most, feels the most, and makes the most of what they have is the person who really lives.
 
The greatest danger with time is not that it will pass too quickly.  The greatest danger is that we will pass through time without letting times of intense thinking, deep feelings, and great aspirations pass through us.  Time will pass.  There is no way to stop it.  Just be sure you live as long as you have life!
 
General Conference begins Tuesday in Portland, Oregon.  It will end on May 20th.  Please be in prayer for all the delegates who will be making major decisions that will affect the future of our Church.  They will spend long hours and hear a lot of debates.  Pray for them and The United Methodist Church daily the next two weeks.
 
On Monday I will be with Perdido Bay UMC.  Tuesday I have appointments scheduled.  Wednesday I will be looking at a new church site in Blue Water Bay.  Thursday I plan to have lunch with our female clergy.  Saturday I will be at Blue Lake for their open house.  This celebration is from 2:00 to 8:00 P.M. and all are invited.  I hope you plan to attend and show your support and appreciation for this vital ministry of our Conference.
 
I hope all of you have a wonderful week.  May God bless each of you as you continue to do Kingdom work!
 

 
May 1, 2016
 
Yesterday I went to the Spiritual Formation workshop on Enneagrams. Rev. Pam Avery did a wonderful job teaching the class and her team did a great job putting this all together.  We plan to offer a Spiritual Formation class every quarter.  It is a continuing education event and is open to clergy and laity.  I encourage you to be looking for future announcements and mark your calendar to participate in the next one.
 
Linda and I attended homecoming at Mt. Carmel today.  Wow!  What a service!  I’ve never seen a church that size with so much musical talent.  I preached and then we went to their new fellowship hall where they are building their new church.  It is beautiful fellowship hall and the footing for the new sanctuary has been poured.  Rev. Brian Pullin is doing a great job leading the church in a rebuilding program after their church was lost to fire.  There is a great spirit and attitude at Mt. Carmel and they are doing a wonderful work.
 
Monday I will be in Birmingham with a friend and his wife as he has surgery.  I have appointments every day this week with churches, clergy and laity.
 
I love the story that tells how God sent an angel down from heaven to find the most beautiful thing on earth.  When the angel saw the flowers in the springtime, he decided they must be the most beautiful things on earth and gathered a bouquet to take back to heaven.  As he began to leave, he met a beautiful child with golden hair and a lovely smile.  Nothing could be sweeter or lovelier, the angel decided.  But as he continued his journey, he came to a humble cottage.  There sat a mother with an infant in her arms.  “This is the most beautiful of all,” said the angel, and he left for heaven.
 
By the time the angel reached the gates of heaven, the flowers had faded and died.  The smile on the child’s face had turned to a frown.  But the mother’s love was unchanged.  Thank God for mothers.  None of them is perfect, but they possess a quality similar to the nature of God.  They never stop loving us, no matter what.  That is, indeed, the most beautiful thing on earth.
 
I wish for each of our mothers Happy Mother’s Day this coming Sunday!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
April 25, 2016
 
Sunday I had the honor of preaching at Lillian UMC for their Heritage Sunday.  I think this is the first time I have been asked to preach a “Heritage Sunday” sermon in another church other than my own.  I have been asked to preach many “homecoming” sermons.  I gave considerable thought to the difference between “homecoming” and “heritage.”  What I came to understand is “homecoming” is going back to where you’ve already been.  “Heritage,” on the other hand, celebrates what you have been given and looks to the future.  It begs the question, “What are we going to do with what we have been given?”

I think of one of my favorite passages of Scripture, found in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy.  To paraphrase, we are reminded that we all drink from wells we have not dug and eat from vineyards we have not dug.  None of us has gotten where we are, especially our faith journey, on our own.  We all owe a debt to so many.

The Lillian UMC is a great church.  It is full of energy and excitement.  Rev. Daniel Randall is doing a great work there.  But they have not gotten there on their own.  Others dreamed the dream, had the vision, and worked and sacrificed to bring that dream and vision to fruition. They have been given a great heritage and they will do well in passing it on, even greater, to the next generation.  Then, one day, they will celebrate their heritage – what they have been given!

One of the joys of yesterday’s service was two people joined the church. Both adults, who have been unchurched until coming to Lillian, joined by reaffirmation of their faith.  What is interesting about this is that they came through a car show the church hosts every year.  They helped work the car show and then started coming to the church.  Wow!  That is evangelism at work.  I was reminded how many persons joined our church in Andalusia from my developing a relationship with them at Burger King where I ate breakfast almost every morning.

When I got home, my sister Olivia, who goes to church at Pine Forest, called to let me know they had just hosted a prospective new member lunch and eight persons expressed a desire to join Pine Forest.  Again, WOW!  God is doing a great work all over the District.  Dr. Andy Blackmon is also doing a great work.  Pine Forest UMC is alive and well and moving forward building the Kingdom of God!

I thank all of you for your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.  The church continues to show love and care and touching so many lives in so many ways.  I thank each of you for your faithfulness in Kingdom building.

I have a meeting today with the District Board of Mission.  Tuesday I have appointments with individuals all day.  Wednesday, so far, I just get to breathe.  Thursday I will be having our first District SLI meeting.  Friday I will be in Montgomery.  Saturday I plan to be at our Enneagram Workshop, led by our District Spiritual Formation team.  Sunday I will be preaching the homecoming service at Mt. Carmel.

May God continue to bless each of you as you continue your great work in the Pensacola.
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
April 18, 2016
 
Early last week I was caught in a heavy rain in front of Sacred Heart Hospital.  I stopped behind a car at the traffic light and saw a little girl’s hand reach out from her window in the back seat.  She felt of the rain falling on her little hand.  She withdrew her hand and a few seconds later I saw her reach back out the window but this time she was holding her naked Barbie doll.  I sat there and watched her gently stroke her baby doll's hair and body as she gave her a bath in the downpour.  I was impressed with how gentle she was in taking care of her Barbie doll and giving her a bath. In a short while the traffic light turned green and she pulled in her baby doll and I guess rolled up her window. 
 
I thought about when Linda and I traveled to Rome and visited the Sistine Chapel.  We saw Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling called “The Creation of Adam.”  It is that wonderful painting of God reaching out His hand to touch Adam in creation.  I’ve heard some refer to that work of art as “the Hand of God.”
 
While I watched the little girl bathe her Barbie I thought about the hand of God.  I thought about my baptism and how my sins have been washed away.  I gave God thanks.  I thought about how gentle she was and was reminded at how God has dealt so gently with me.  I gave God thanks.  I thought about how Jesus loved children and was sometimes asked questions about the Kingdom of God.  So many times He answered the questions with a child.  Again, I gave God thanks.
 
There was something about that moment that I will always remember.  Right there in a downpour on Ninth Avenue in front of Sacred Heart Hospital, for a moment I saw the hand of God.  I continue to give God thanks!
 
I am in Montgomery this week for meetings.  Today we continued our Spiritual Leadership Training.  Tomorrow I will be meeting with all the ministers who are moving.  Wednesday I will be in a Cabinet meeting.  Thursday morning I will be at a Conference Nominations meeting.  Thursday afternoon I will be in an Annual Conference planning session.
 
I hope all of you have a great week and I hope we all see the great, gentle, loving hand of God!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent     
 

 
April 11, 2016
 
Congratulations to Crosspoint UMC!  They have just been named as being number nine in the top twenty-five fastest growing large UMC churches in America.  Located in Niceville with two campuses in Crestview, Crosspoint was number 12 on the list last year.  They have an average Sunday worship attendance of 2,898.*  Rev. Rurel Ausley, senior pastor, and all his ministry team and staff, are doing a wonderful job in staying focused on their mission and that is to make disciples for Jesus Christ!  That is it!  That is their main focus and they don't waver from that mission. 
 
* Correction:
Here is a correction on my article for today that I rejoice in making.  When writing about Crosspoint I gave their attendance as 2898.  I did not know this was for the end of 2014.  At the end of 2015 their average worship attendance was 3264.  At present (drum roll!) their average attendance is now over 3800!  I love those kind of mistakes! - Dr. Tim Trent
 
I always enjoy going to Crosspoint.  The spirit and attitude of the church is absolutely wonderful and exciting.  They are always asking the question, “What can we do?”  They never ask what they can get out of doing.  You will be hearing more about Crosspoint and all they are doing in the future.  This is a church that is giving all of Methodism a model of how church can be. 
 
We also congratulate Woodlawn UMC in Panama City who is listed at number 18 on this list.  Led by Rev. Joe Lay, this church is doing a wonderful work as well.  We are blessed to have two of the fastest growing large United Methodist Churches in our Annual Conference.  Again, Congratulations!!!!!!
 
Yesterday Linda and I enjoyed worshiping at FUMC, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  They were celebrating their 70th anniversary.  It was a wonderful celebration.  Rev. Dave Barkalow is the senior minister and this is another one of our churches that is doing a great work.
 
It was wonderful to see many of their former pastors who not only served this church but our Conference as well.  We are indebted to people like Dr. Roy Sublette, Dr. Billy Gaither, and Rev. Jim Ross.  I believe Jim Ross had the longest tenure at FUMC, serving for 12 years.  They’ve had some great associate ministers that went on to serve us in great ways as well: Dr. Gerald Freeman, Rev. Libba Stinson, Rev. Joe Lay (now serving Woodlawn UMC mentioned above), Dr. Dan Morris, Rev. Francis Turner, Rev. Mark Lilly, and others.

Denise Severson, their children’s ministry director, shared information about their history.  They have had a pre-school for 35 years and more than 4,000 children have gone through their school.  Their school is certified by the State of Florida, and this next year they plan to start a kindergarten.

Frank Butler spoke about the choir and music ministry of the church.  Frank has been a member of the choir at FUMC for 65 years!  He shared how a lay person visited them shortly after moving to Ft. Walton and invited them to sing in the choir.  It never crossed Frank's and his wife’s minds to ever sing in the choir but they joined the next Sunday.  This was all because someone extended the invitation!

Sabrina Lobner, a senior in high school, shared how the church has shaped her life.  What touched Linda and me about her talk was how she thanked so many by name who have strongly influenced her life.  This was certainly a testimony of how so many took the time to give to the youth a listening ear and a caring heart.

Mrs. Mazie Glover, one of two living founding members, spoke of what a blessing the church has been.  She said, “The church is greater than any of the 13 charter members ever imagined.”  Wow!  What is the vision we have for our church!

Rev. David Henderson serves a UMC church in Mississippi but grew up in FUMC.  He preached a wonderful sermon on discipleship.

One of the fascinating things I learned about FUMC is the church played a significant role in the establishment of other churches in the area.  These churches include Shalimar (1951), Destin (1958), Trinity (1960), Mary Esther (1965), and Navarre (early 70’s).  In most cases the minister at FUMC also conducted services for these churches pending assignment of their own minister.

So, we congratulate Crosspoint, Woodlawn, and Ft. Walton Beach First on a great job of making disciples for the transformation of the world!  These churches serve as wonderful examples that we can all learn from.

I have appointments all day every day this week.  Have a great week and let us continue to build God’s Kingdom in the Pensacola District.
 
Thank you for your messages and prayers last week as I dealt with and helped conduct the funeral for my dear friend.  I felt your prayers.  The service of celebration was just that.  Even in the midst of tragedy we were able to celebrate his life and give God thanks!  But, then again, that’s what Easter people do in a time of death.  We grieve but trust the One who is bigger than our grief.  That turns into a celebration.  And celebrate we did.
 
God bless you all and I look forward to seeing you soon.
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 

 
April 3, 2016
 
I want all of our men to know we had a great Men’s Advance at Blue Lake this past week.  Bishop James E. Swanson, who serves the Mississippi area and is also the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, preached two powerful, Spirit-filled sermons.  Wow! We were all moved and challenged.  Jim Boesch is a deployed staff member of the General Commission on United Methodist Men and is one of the first persons to be certified as a men’s ministry specialist.  He did a wonderful job sharing information and leading our workshop time together. 
 
I am happy to announce that Mr. Chuck Christian from the Cokesbury UMC received the first “Robert Powell Award.”  I don’t know of anyone more deserving of this award than Chuck.  I got to know him when I first came to Pensacola in 1985 and we have worked on several things together through the years.  I don’t know of anyone who has done more to promote UMM in our District and Conference than Chuck.  Congratulations, Chuck!  We are proud of you and thankful for you.
 
I will soon get out the date for our next Men’s Advance for 2017.  I hope you will mark your calendars and plan to be there next year.  You are going to be hearing a lot about UMM in the Pensacola District in the months ahead.
 
Go ahead and mark your calendars for a Spiritual Formation day on Saturday, April 30.  You will find more information about this particular event on our website.  It will be held at FUMC Pensacola and we will be learning about the Enneagram.  Ministers will receive .5 CEUs for this event.  We plan to offer one Spiritual Formation opportunity per quarter.   Mark your calendars and plan to be in attendance.  I hope to see all of you there.
 
Monday I will be at a Conference CORE Team meeting in Niceville.  Tuesday I will be in a Cabinet meeting with the Board of Ordained Ministry.  Wednesday and Thursday I will be in and out of the office with appointments and meetings.
 
Thank you for your messages and prayers last week as I dealt with and helped conduct the funeral for my dear friend.  I felt your prayers.  The service of Celebration was just that.  Even in the midst of tragedy we were able to celebrate his life and give God thanks!  But, then again, that’s what Easter people do in a time of death.  We grieve but trust the One who is bigger than our grief.  That turns into a celebration.  And celebrate we did.
 
God bless you all and I look forward to seeing you soon.
 
Pensacola District Superintendent    
 

 
March 29, 2016
 
I hope everyone had a glorious Easter.  I know a lot of our preachers and music persons are still recovering from Holy Week and Easter.  I know the weather was not good for Easter but the beautiful Monday made up for it. 
 
This year as I celebrated Easter I thought about the words of John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) who was a bishop in the Orthodox Church.  In an Easter sermon preached around 400 AD, he said of the crucifixion and resurrection: “Hell took a body, and discovered God.  It took earth, and encountered Heaven.  It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.”
 
There was more going on with the crucifixion and resurrection than our minds will ever comprehend.  But, this one thing we know: it was all done for us.  So, as Chrysostom continued to say: “Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!  Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!  Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!”
 
If you have tried to call the office yesterday and today and didn’t get an answer Mary had to be out of town.  Yesterday I was called out because a good friend of mine was killed in a hunting accident.  John was a dear friend of mine and a good friend.  He was a devout family man and devout Christian.  He helped others and was a dear friend to many.  As I visited with the family, I thought of what all we had been through together.  There have been family weddings, births, baptisms, and deaths.  We have shared a lot of joys and sorrows together.  I will be going back to Andalusia this evening to assist his new pastor in celebrating his life and trying to bring comfort to the family.
 
The Resurrection of our Lord gives us hope in such difficult times.  We cling to that promise of resurrection.  We cling to the promise of His Comforting Spirit.  We cling to His offer of grace to see us through.  We cling to each other in love, thanksgiving, and comfort.
 
Remember, Easter is not just a date on a calendar.  Easter is every day for those of us who believe and trust in the Resurrection.  Again, Happy Easter!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent      
 

 
March 20, 2016
 
I wish to thank everyone for your prayers as the Bishop and Cabinet have been busy making appointments.  As we will be meeting again this week, I ask that you continue to be in prayer for us, as well as the ministers and churches who will be getting a new assignment. This is an anxious time for many and a flood of emotions to deal with. 

Today I had the opportunity to preach at the Bagdad United Methodist Church.  Both morning services were wonderful.  Today is Palm Sunday and I trust that everyone celebrated Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

When we began Lent, we began a journey to Jerusalem to experience the crucifixion of our Lord which culminates with the glorious resurrection on Easter.  Remember, to truly experience the joy of the resurrection one must experience the crucifixion.  Today begins Holy Week.  This should be a week of special services that enable us to do just that.  I hope you take advantage of the many opportunities that our various churches will provide to help us experience the depth of meaning this week has.

Linda and I wish for each of you a glorious Easter!  May the resurrected Christ be resurrected in our hearts and minds as well. Happy Easter!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent  
 

 
February 29, 2016
 
Today is not only a new day, it is an additional day.  It is a gift to us.  I hope you enjoy your extra day and live it to its fullest.
 
Disaster relief efforts continue.  Recovery is going well in both Century and Pensacola.  I want to thank all who have responded with support for the tornado victims.  It is in times like these that I am proud of being a United Methodist.  I love to see the Connectional Church in action.  Immediately after the tornadoes in in Pensacola, Cokesbury UMC opened up their Summit campus as a shelter.  They stepped up to the plate and minister to our community in a great and loving way.  Rev. Paul Wolfe and Rev. Ashley Meyer made a quick decision that enabled those who had lost their homes to have a safe, comfortable place to go.  They were fed well and had a place to sleep.
 
Rev. Ashley Meyer has done a wonderful job organizing help and food for the shelter.  This is her first time doing disaster relief work but she has handled it like a pro.
 
Please continue to keep all of the storm victims in your prayers.  Also continue to pray for those who are helping around the clock to bring some normalcy in the communities with storm damage.  Let us continue to do whatever we can to help all who are in need.
 
I will be continuing my meetings with pastors and SPR committees who are expecting a change in appointment.  This is a stressful time for them and for those of us who are having to make those decisions.  Please keep us all in your prayers in the coming days.
 
God bless you all as we continue to work together doing Kingdom work.

Pensacola District Superintendent       
 

 
February 22, 2016
 
As I write this, I am in Montgomery for the “Bishop’s Day Apart.”  These are wonderful learning experiences for the clergy of our Conference to remove ourselves from our normal work schedules, come together to be in fellowship and prayer, and be instructed by a great speaker.  It is a day-long event but very worthwhile.
 
Yesterday, Linda and I worshiped with the Century United Methodist Church congregation.  What a wonderful experience!  Their pastor, Rev. Janet Lee, led us in a wonderful service of remembering, praise, and thanksgiving.  There was a beautiful solo, singing without instrumental accompaniment, “Amazing Grace.”  Everyone sang softly along.   Then Janet read what some of their youth had written about the destruction of their old sanctuary.  Tears flowed freely from us all!
 
I spoke briefly of the importance of our Connectional system, reminding them they are not in this alone.  Many of our churches received special offerings for Century.  All, I’m sure, joined in prayer. 
 
I heard a quote last week on NPR that I thought explained our Connection (the quote had nothing to do with the United Methodist Church): “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.” Right after the storm we were there.  We are there now.  We will be with them until they rebuild.  We will “go far” because we are a Connectional Church and we go together.  When one hurts, we all hurt.  When one rejoices, we all rejoice.
 
Century will have to rebuild their church.  I ask each of our churches to be in prayer for not only the Century United Methodist Church, but the Century community.  There are those who have lost their homes (many uninsured) and automobiles.  I am working closely with Amelia Fletcher, our Conference Disaster Coordinator, and we will be sending work teams in soon.  I will keep you posted.
 
I hope you would also take up a special love offering for the Century Church.  They are insured but if you’ve experienced something like this you know it is rarely ever enough.  You can send your offering to the Conference or to the District. 
 
I will be in Montgomery today through Wednesday.  Tuesday and Wednesday are Cabinet meeting days.  Please keep us in your prayers.  Thursday I will be in Columbus, Georgia.  Friday, I hope I can just rest.
 
I hope all of you have a blessed week.  Remember and give God thanks that you are part of our Connection.  “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  We continue to go forward together, experiencing the grace of God all along the way.  God bless you all!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent      
 

 
February 18, 2016
 
Dear Colleagues in Ministry:
 
I just got back from Century and wanted to give each of you an update.  Clean-up is progressing well.  The congregation of Century  UMC has a temporary place to worship.  Looks like everything is progressing.
 
Many of you have called and indicated you wanted to help.  Many stated they plan to take up a special offering Sunday.  Right now that is the best thing you can do.  Right now it looks like the sanctuary will have to be torn down and replaced.  We are waiting for the final word.  As you well know, insurance is never enough.  Rebuilding will require all the help we can give.
 
Please DO NOT send clothing or food items.  There is no place for the clothing and there is no way, at the present time, for many to cook the food.
 
We are now making an assessment as to whether or not to send in work teams.  The community has come together and are doing a great job on their own.
 
I hope to be with them for worship Sunday.  We will rejoice and give God thanks for the good things!  Please continue to lift this community up in prayer and I will continue to keep you informed.
 
Grace and peace, 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 
(Pictured here is the Century United Methodist Church following Monday's tornado.)  
 

 
February 17, 2016
 
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
 

I thank each of you for your inquiries about how we can help the people in Century.  I just got back to the office from visiting the church site with Rev. Janet Lee and some of her church members.  There is major damage to the sanctuary and I do not think it is salvageable. There is major damage all through the community and many have lost their homes.

They are to open the roads today at 3:00 p.m.  Let me remind anyone who wants to go in and help, you have to be trained and certified in order to get in and help.  There will be a place to register your team and then you will be sent where needed.
 
I have already heard from several pastors that they intend to take up a special offering to help with the Century disaster this Sunday.  We encourage you to do so.  There will be some long-term needs that we can’t see right now.  Right now we are in need of gift cards in $25.00 increments for Wal-Mart, What-a-Burger, Hardees, and McDonald’s.  This is the quickest assistance we can give at this time.
 
Right now we are not accepting clothing or food items. (There is no way to cook the food!)  This may come in time, but right now please do not collect any of these items.
 
Please keep in your prayers Rev. Janet Lee, the congregation of Century United Methodist Church, the Century community, and those working around the clock giving aid to get these people back to some reasonable normalcy. 
 
We will keep you informed of the needs as we progress.  Thank you for all you continue to do!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent
 
To all who have been through UMCOR's Early Response Team training, please be on standby for response in Century, FL. A tornado went through Century on Monday and destroyed 30 homes and damaged more, and also damaged Century United Methodist Church. The community is not open to volunteers at this time, but some assistance is likely needed in the days and weeks to come. Amelia Fletcher, conference disaster response coordinator, is in contact with the local emergency organization leaders, and we will keep you posted as we learn more.  Click here to see pictures and read more from a local media outlet:  http://www.northescambia.com/2016/02/government-aid-not-likely-for-century-tornado-victims-with-photo-gallery.  
 

 
February 14, 2016
 
I was heading to my home in Andalusia Friday to celebrate Valentine’s weekend with my wife, Linda.  She informed me we would have to celebrate it early because she could not wrap my gift.  She said it was too large to wrap. Well, that got the old mind churning!  I wondered what she could have gotten me that was too large to wrap.  She had already given me a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for Christmas a few years ago.
 
I got home and she led me into the kitchen.  There stood a brand new refrigerator!  For years I have wanted a refrigerator that you could get ice, in particular crushed ice, and water from the door.  We have had a “regular” refrigerator for years and it just wouldn’t die!  I never could bring myself to buy a new one while the old one still worked.  This thing is all fancy with all kinds of computerized stuff on it.  It even tells you how many ounces of water you have put in your glass!  He is high tech!  I was so proud of it, I started to wrap up in a quilt and sleep in it.  I don’t know how much crushed ice I have eaten this weekend, nor how much water I have had, but it has been wonderful!
 
Once, when I was getting some more crushed ice, I decided to try out the whole ice.  As it poured into my glass I thought about how that ice dispenser was a metaphor for God.  Just like my new, computerized refrigerator, God knows when I am whole and when I am crushed (broken).
 
I read a devotion sometime back about Jesus healing the leper.  It went through explaining how lepers were considered “unclean” and how no one was allowed to touch them.  It explained how a leper would have to announce his/her coming into a town, warning people.  I’ve even read commentaries that some wore bells, like a cow bell, that would announce their coming.  But Jesus touched the leper, who was crushed and broken.
 
Then the devotional asked two questions that I have not been able to shake.  The first question asked what is my leprosy?  What is there about me that is broken, crushed, or unclean?  The second question asked who is it that I need to touch?  Who do I consider the untouchables, those that are unclean, different, crushed and broken?  People that I have not been willing to touch but Jesus has.
 
I will be back in Andalusia Tuesday to celebrate Linda’s birthday and spend the day with her.  I really don’t know what to get her but I can tell you the pressure is on!  Maybe a new washer and dryer.  But then again, I may just give her a nice glass of crushed ice! (Just kidding. She will be reading this.)
 
Remember, God knows your brokenness and when you are whole.  He is ready to touch you no matter what.  What is your leprosy?  How are you unclean, crushed, and broken?  Who do you need to touch?  Find someone today and be willing to touch them.  Maybe even offer them some crushed ice!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
February 7, 2016
 
Harry Emerson Fosdick once told the story of a woman who was left a widow fairly young in life.  Having to earn a living, she put an ad in the paper saying that for $2.50 an hour she would listen to anybody talk about anything.  Her idea was such a success that within two years she had a staff of almost fifty people just listening to others.
 
That story may be an exaggeration but it contains a hard core truth about life.  Most of us are much better at talking than we are at listening. 
 
Many of us don’t know how to really listen.  Yet, as one person put it, “If the Lord had meant for us to talk more than we listen, he would have given us two mouths and one ear.”  Learning the art of listening is much harder than learning the art of talking.  But it is well worth the effort.
 
How does the cross of Christ speak to you?  What do you think the cross of Christ says to you?  Wednesday is known as Ash Wednesday.  The name arose from the ancient tradition of saving the palm branches that were used on Palm Sunday the previous year and burning them on Ash Wednesday.  Those ashes were then applied to the forehead in the sign of the cross.
 
Ash Wednesday is a very important day in the Christian year.  It begins the season of Lent.  Lent, of course, leads us to the glorious Easter celebration.  But before we can celebrate, we need to experience.  Wednesday begins our experience.  In our hearts, on our lips, and through our living we wear the ashes of Ash Wednesday.  Jesus Christ, Suffering Servant and Savior, is offering us himself and his way.  As he offers, so let us offer our willingness to wear the ashes of service.
 
May we all take time during this Lenten season to listen to what the Cross says to us.  I challenge us all to spend regular time in silent prayer, just being in the presence of Christ and His cross, and listen to what His Spirit is saying to us through His cross. Don’t mess up a good prayer with words, just listen.  You may be surprised at what He says!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent    
 

 
January 31, 2016
 
If you haven’t heard by now, I want everyone to know that we, the Alabama-West Florida Conference, have now reached our $1,000,000 goal for our “Imagine No Malaria” Campaign.  This amount translates into possibly saving 100,000 lives.  When we started the campaign someone died, on average, every 15 seconds from malaria.  Through the efforts of the United Methodist Church, that number is now one in about every two minutes.  We have made a huge difference!
 
The Pensacola District reached 63.7% of our goal.  That means we were seventh out of eight Districts in reaching our goal.  We gave $133,680.03, which translates into 13,368 lives!  I commend all of you who gave.  Many worked hard at this and did some creative things and for that I thank you.  While we fell short in reaching our goal, the Pensacola District was third in the amount given among our Districts.  Again, thank you!
 
At our Cabinet meeting last week we also got a year-end report on apportionments.  First, let me point out that our apportionments for 2015 were the lowest they have been for our Conference in 14 years!  Yet, I think through the leadership of Bishop Paul Leeland, we are engaged in more ministry and mission than ever before. When we compare the other seven Districts to the Pensacola District, we were last in our percentage of giving.  We paid 81.61% of our apportionments in the District.  Again, we were last.
 
I hope all of us will work hard in 2016 to do a better job in the area of stewardship.  Some have told me that this is the greatest District in our Conference.  Others have said it is the greatest District in Methodism.  We are going to have to do a better job if we are going to live up to either one of those claims.
 
Please keep in mind your year-end local church (statistical) reports and your consultation forms were due by January 31.  I remind all pastors it is your responsibility to see that this is done and on time.  Please see to it these reports are finished and sent in immediately.
 
Thank all of you for the good work you do as we work together in the building of God’s Kingdom.  
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
January 25, 2016
 
I have always enjoyed cars.  Some of this comes from working at a service station while in high school.  Thus, I subscribe to a couple of automotive magazines.  I’m fascinated by car designs and how they are equipped.  I’m amazed at some of the things I read.
 
Rolls Royce is coming out with an SUV.  I can’t help but chuckle at that one.  I would love to have a Rolls to pull my little boat.  I can see me getting in it after a hard and dirty day of fishing.  I’m sorry, but I just don’t picture a Rolls Royce leaving the road for a ride in the woods.
 
It also seems that there is a war of sorts going on between car companies to see who can make a car with the most horsepower.  Now I drive a Prius.  I can appreciate a car with a lot of power, but where around this part of the country can you drive a car 200 mph?
 
Then there are the self-driving cars.  I just don’t know about this one.  I was reading about this just last week, and I chuckled as they described this elaborate “proving” ground.  They test these self-driving cars in all kinds of situations.  I thought to myself the best “proving” ground would be to drive that thing around a Wal-Mart parking lot!  If it doesn’t hit someone or someone hits it, then there should be no more tests required!
 
I once heard someone liken prayer to the steering wheel of a car.  He pointed out that all the fancy accessories on a car are nice, but without the steering wheel they won’t do you a bit of good.  Prayer, he continued, is like that.  All the luxuries in life are nice, but without prayer the whole beautiful system can get off the road and run into a tree.  Prayer is the best way we can tap into God’s guidance.  It gives life stability and focus.  It keeps us going in the right direction with our abilities and priorities.
 
Is your life full of bumps and potholes right now?  Are you thinking of making a big turn?  Are you approaching a gigantic cloverleaf filled with a lot of question marks?  In this type situation, many factors must be considered.  But don’t forget to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
 
Monday I will be continuing with consultations.  Monday evening I will be meeting with an SPR Committee.  Tuesday and Wednesday I will be in Montgomery for a Cabinet Meeting.  Thursday I will be at our Conference CORE Team Meeting, also in Montgomery.
 
May we all be in prayer for one another as we move into this season of making appointments.  May we all keep our hands on the steering wheel!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
January 19, 2016
 
I am thankful for computers but I am not one that can spend hours on one.  I have never been a “computer surfer.”  I like to get on the computer when I need its services, and I want it to do what I want it to do when I want it to do it.  It is when it doesn’t that I am tempted to just shoot it.  I’m not a violent person but a computer does try my patience.
 
I have just gone through the wonderful experience of having to change one of my passwords.  As a matter of fact, it was to my Apple account.  I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the questions I had to answer and at how many of my passwords I tried didn’t work.  Some were too short.  It had to have at least one capital letter.  It had to have a certain number of numbers.  I came up with what I thought was a good password I could remember with all the appropriate letters and numbers, and it sent me a message that my password was too simple. I thought, "What difference does it make?"  It's not like I’m coming up with a password for a secret Swiss bank account.  Even if it is hacked, there is nothing to steal.  It is a password for Apple for crying out loud! 
 
After several attempts at what I thought would take little time and be rather simple, I finally am the proud owner of a new Apple password.  I have it written down because there is no way I’m going to remember it.  It’s not simple like I thought it would be.  I can tell you right now, it is much easier to eat an apple than pick a password for Apple!
 
This got me to thinking:  If I had to pick out a password to contact God, what would I choose? I’m thankful that God doesn’t require one, and if He did it would be simple. I thought my password could be “love.”   That would fit because God is love.  Then again, it could be “forgiveness.”  That would also fit because God offers us all the great and wonderful gift of forgiveness. I thought also my password could be “repent.”  That’s always a good word to have.  It’s a reminder to me that I am in constant need of repenting.  I also thought a good password could be “prayer.”  We are reminded that we should pray without ceasing and, after all, that’s the reason I would need a password!
 
The list could go on and on, but the wonderful thing is you and I don’t need a password to be in contact with God.  All we have to do is start talking.  The connection is always available and there are no glitches.  I don’t have to worry about my words being lost in cyber space and they don’t have to be stored in my “Cloud.”
 
The problem for me has never been on God’s end, it has always been on my end.  God is always available to me and eager to be in relationship with me.  I thank God He doesn’t require a password!
 
I hope you all have a wonderful week.  If you see me and I look a little frazzled, just know I have had to change another password.  If I don’t look frazzled, you’ll know I have been talking to God!!!!!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent       
 
Update January 19, 2016:  In response to Dr. Trent's message of January 10, folks have been asking how his stress test went. This is to report that it went fine. They didn't find anything wrong with his heart. Tim jokes, "I guess I just needed documentation that I have a heart." 
 

 
January 10, 2016
 
This has been a wonderful day!  I began the day by worshipping at the new Crosspoint North Campus in Crestview.  I was there for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday.  While there, I was told they hoped the worship attendance would grow enough they would need to start a second service within a couple of months.
 
When I drove up to the church, I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Cars were parked everywhere.  There we no vacant spaces in the church parking lot!  I, along with several others, had to park across the street in the school parking lot.  When I got inside, the sanctuary was completely full!  There were probably around 100 people standing around in the lobby and couldn’t get into the sanctuary.  Completely full their first Sunday!  Of course, it was announced they would begin having two worship services next Sunday. Everyone applauded.  Rev. Jeff Burnett preached a wonderful sermon. A great first Sunday exceeding everyone’s expectations.  Please pray for our newest church and for their leadership.  The work they are doing at this point is exciting but exhausting. Pray for their spiritual well-being and their health.
 
Next I went to worship at Crestview FUMC.  That’s like going home to me.  I got to sit with Dr. Art Luckie.  Art has been a dear friend of mine my entire ministry.  We had an opportunity to reminisce and share a few laughs.  Rev. Michael Precht preached a wonderful sermon as well.
 
I then came to Navarre UMC for our LITE Day training.  We had a good attendance that continued to build as we went along.  Thanks to Dr. Alan Cassady,  Rev. Faith Parry, and all the good folks at Navarre for hosting this event.  They did a great job.  Also, thanks to Rev. Laura Weant and our District CORE Team (Leadership Team) who put this all together.  And of course, thank you to all our presenters.
 
I will be doing Consultations all day Monday.  Tuesday, I will be undergoing a nuclear stress test out of town.  Consultations will resume on Wednesday and go through Friday. Saturday I will preach at our Candidacy School.  Sunday, a meeting with a Pastor-Parish Relations Committee.
 
Let us all remember each other in prayer.  May we continue to work together to move forward in building the Kingdom of God in the Pensacola District.
 
Pensacola District Superintendent       
 

 
January 3, 2016  
 
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  For many of us, it’s now time to get back to work.
 
Today I worshiped at Pensacola FUMC. Dr. Wesley Wachob preached a wonderful sermon.  It’s the best one I’ve ever heard on Epiphany.  The Service of Holy Communion was one of the most meaningful I have ever experienced.  Maybe after a rough couple of weeks I needed it more than others, but I was deeply moved and touched.  I really felt the presence of God in that service and I am thankful.
 
I just returned home from Soundside UMC, Tiger Point, where we made it official that it is now a stand-alone church and will from henceforth be Community Life UMC.  We had an exciting Charge Conference establishing it as an official United Methodist Church.  We had a large crowd and there was a great spirit among the people.  Dr. Herb Sadler spoke briefly about how the church started.  Rev. Scott Veroneau and staff are doing a great job there.  They had 1,470 in worship this morning!  We began the church tonight with 650 official members.  By the end of the month I expect that number to be around 1,000.  You are going to hear great things about Community Life UMC in the future.  Be in prayer for them as they move forward into a great future!
 
Wednesday I will be in Crestview to celebrate with Crosspoint UMC the ribbon cutting and start of their Crosspoint North Campus.  They have built a wonderful facility and I expect it will be full their first Sunday.  Crosspoint is a great church, doing a great work.  Rev. Rurel Ausley and his staff are providing all of Methodism a great model for growing congregations.  Keep them in your prayers as they, too, move into the future.
 
Next Sunday is LITE Day Training at Navarre UMC.  Information about his training is on our District Website.  Please encourage your people to come and receive training in the different classes that we will offer.
 
By now many of us have made New Year’s resolutions.  Our intentions are good, but time has a way of slipping by.  Before we realize it, the year is gone, along with our resolutions and good intentions. During the next twelve months you have 8,700 hours at your disposal.  If you work an average of forty hours a week and sleep about eight hours a day, that will take up around 5,000 hours, leaving you with 3,700 hours.  That’s a lot of time.  What will you do with your hours?  Right now it is not too late to decide.
 
I wish for each of you a great 2016.  May we spend some of our hours in worship, prayer, and ministry as we serve God who gives us all our hours!
 
Pensacola District Superintendent        
 

 
 
 
 
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