The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Here for You - Serving Jesus
July 16, 2017


Messages by the District Superintendent - 2017

Linda and I had the good pleasure of being at Crestview FUMC today. I preached at their three morning services.  It was a joy!  Rev. Michael Precht and the congregation at Crestview are doing a splendid work.  Next week they will have Vacation Bible School and they have a record number registered.  The first thing I noticed in their bulletin was the entire backside had a listing of the different areas people can “plug in.”  They are offering so many opportunities for people to grow and serve.  There is also a prominent level of excitement in their church.  Their worship services are positive, uplifting, and invitational.  It’s great to worship at a church where people are excited about Kingdom work.   

I also got to see a high school friend that I have not seen since we graduated high school.  That is more years than I care to figure.  It was great to see him and catch up with each other a bit.
One of the things I have learned through the years is we need to remember to forget and we need not forget to remember.  I’m like everyone else, I have made plenty of foolish decisions, done some dumb things, and even harmed people along the way.  But some things need to be forgotten.  Some things I did were done out of ignorance, some out of selfishness, some out of pure stupidity.  But I don’t need to cling to those mistakes.  I’ve been forgiven for my sins and I can’t go back and change a single thing.
But I also try not to forget to remember.  I remember those who have helped shape my faith and help me along my faith journey.  Today I got to see one of those persons, Mrs. Coker.  She meant a great deal to me in my formative years.  She was and still is so dedicated to the church.  She always had a calm demeanor.  She was always soft spoken.  Her life spoke volumes to me and still does.  She was a good friend to my mother for which I am thankful.  

May we all remember to forget and not forget to remember!  We have much to thankful for.  We have many persons to be thankful for.  Maybe this week we can pray a prayer of thanksgiving for those persons who helped shape us into who we are.
Tomorrow, Monday, I will be in a meeting at the Foundation in Dothan.  I have scheduled appointments throughout the week.  On Saturday I will be at the Celebration of Life ceremony for Rev. Charles Walker.  I am thankful for his life as well.  Next Sunday I will be preaching at Navarre.
Have a wonderful week and may we all continue in our work of serving Him, doing Kingdom work, and being thankful!  God bless you all!
Pensacola District Superintendent 

July 12, 2017
Linda and I had the good pleasure of worshiping at New Bethel UMC (Crestview) Sunday morning.  Rev. Gary Jones preached a thought provoking sermon on giving our troubles to God and putting our trust in Him.  It was good to be back at a church that is part of my faith journey.  I was delighted to see Mrs. Mary Aderhold.  She taught my elementary Sunday School class in the Friendship UMC (now St. Mark).  She is very much a part of my faith story as well.  I give God thanks for Mary Aderhold and others who taught me.  I look back on those days with gratitude!  I often wonder where and what I would be today if it had not been for them.  They were dedicated and committed to teach us young minds about Jesus and His love.  I give God thanks for those churches in the Crestview area that were my safe haven and formed me into who I am today.  God blessed me with wonderful people in my formative years and because of that I have always known and experienced the love of God.  I am blessed indeed!
A few months ago, we changed the name of our Pensacola District Board of Missions to the Pensacola District Board of Church Development.  This group was formed in the 1950’s and is responsible for establishing almost 50 churches.  Churches like Shalimar, Orange Beach, St. Luke (Pensacola), Navarre, Perdido Bay, Wesley Memorial, and Woodbine are just some of those churches.  We changed the name to better describe the work that this Board does.
Rev. Andreś Doimeadios is the pastor of our Hispanic Ministries.  He has ministries in Pensacola, Mary Esther, and Ft. Walton Beach.  He has over 700 people involved in Hispanic Ministries in our District.  Andreś informed us a couple months ago that the property in Pensacola where they worship was being sold by the owner.  They had until July 1st to find a new place.  To make a long story short, property was found on Pace Avenue (close to Cervantes), and on June 29 a ceremony was held and members of the Board of Church Development handed over the deed to the new property, the keys to the three buildings, and a check for $10,000 to help them remodel for a new place to worship.  It was a wonderful day in the Pensacola District!  As soon as Andreś and his people can get the remodeling done, we will have an open house for everyone to see.  We will let you know when that is going to be and I hope you will come and help us celebrate the future of this great ministry.  If you were at Annual Conference, you will remember Andreś was awarded the Denman Award.  He and his ministry have led over 90 persons to Christ this last year!  Pray for Andreś and our Hispanic Ministry.
I also want to thank the good folks at Mary Esther UMC and Rev. Jeff Spicer for their continued support for this ministry on the east end of our District.  Without their support, it just wouldn’t happen.  God bless them for their faithfulness.
Gadsden Street UMC is starting a new ministry this Friday evening.  They will be showing movies in their parking lot on Friday evenings, along with popcorn, etc.  This is another way they are trying to reach out to their community.  Pray that it won’t rain!!!  Gadsden Street, under the leadership of Rev. Gail Baughman, is making a concentrated effort to reach out to the community in innovative ways.  There is a renewed Spirit in their church and I am thankful for them and their willingness to think outside the box and try new things.  May we all be in prayer for them as they try new things to help people come to know the love of Christ!

All our new pastors have moved in and things are going well.  May we remember each other in prayer, pray for our churches, and pray that the Pensacola District will continue doing great Kingdom work.
Blessing to all!
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent

June 12, 2017
I am still living in the afterglow of Annual Conference.  It was the best I have attended in my forty-three years of going.  It was truly a Spirit-filled Conference.  Worship was outstanding!  The music was the best!  Even the reports were positive!  I’ve never really enjoyed going to Conference but I find myself looking forward to next year.  Bishop Graves set the tone and gave great leadership.  It is a new day in the Alabama-West Florida Conference!
It is the time of year we say, “Good bye” to some and “welcome” to others.  We are grateful for the ministry of those leaving us and wish them well.  Rev. Michael Cobb who has been serving Allen Memorial is being transferred to Dalraida UMC in Montgomery.  Rev. John Edwards who has been serving Clear Springs is being transferred to Allen Memorial.  Dr. Alan Cassady who has been serving Navarre is being transferred to Eufaula FUMC.  Rev. Jonathan Hart who has been serving as associate minister at Shalimar UMC will now be serving Robertsdale UMC.  Dr. Sterling Boykin who has been serving Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, is being transferred to Ashland Place UMC, Mobile.  Rev. Mike Roberts who has been serving Pace FUMC along with Rev. John Webb, will retire (again!) and John will continue to serve Baker FUMC.  Rev. Faith Parry has been serving as an associate at Navarre and now will be serving as associate at Shalimar UMC.  We thank these who are moving out of the District and wish for them the very best and we thank them for their ministry in the Pensacola District.  For those who are transferring within the District, we look forward to our continued relationship with you as we continue to do Kingdom work in the Pensacola District.
Rev. Billy Russell has finished licensing school and will be appointed to Crosspoint as associate.  Barry Carpenter, Jr. has been assigned to Clear Springs.  Dr. Alan McBride will be serving Navarre and is coming to us from Orange Beach UMC.  Rev. Mark Lilly, who has been serving at Opp FUMC, will now be serving at Pace FUMC.  Dr. Scott Hohn will be serving Trinity UMC (Ft. Walton Beach) and he comes to us from Eufaula FUMC.  We welcome these persons to the Pensacola District!  We look forward to working with them.
This has been an anxious time for all who are moving.  Moving is always difficult, even at its best.  Please keep all of these pastors and their families in your prayers.  Pray for the churches who are having changes.
The Pensacola District was well represented at Annual Conference and I thank all who were present.  We now move forward to another appointive year.  May God bless us as we strive to be a blessing to Him!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent

April 13, 2017
Have you ever visited a jewelry store and asked to see a diamond?  The jeweler usually lays a piece of black felt or velvet cloth over the counter.  He or she then places the sparkling diamond against that jet-black background.  The black surroundings make the diamond sparkle with more brightness and glitter than ever.
This is Holy Week. It’s Maundy Thursday as I write this.  Nearly 2,000 years ago, against a background of darkness and rejection, God revealed to us a Gem of divine love and forgiveness.  Today, Jesus Christ still shines out against the backdrop of darkness that surrounds us.  What a contrast His message makes against our often-loveless ways and unforgiving spirits!  That’s one of the reasons it is good to remember those last dark days of His life once a year at Easter.  How very much like some of our own dark days they are!  Yet Jesus overcame that darkness.  And He can overcome ours, too – if we look in His direction.
I’ve always been amazed at how many people just come to worship on Easter Sunday but do not participate in anything during Holy Week.  It’s like they want to experience the resurrection without experiencing the pain of the crucifixion.  It can’t be done.  You cannot experience the joy of the resurrection without experiencing the pain, ugliness, and tragedy of the crucifixion.  You simply cannot experience the fullness of the resurrection without experiencing the darkness of the crucifixion.  We cannot understand the beauty of the resurrection without understanding the darkness of the crucifixion.  What does it all mean?
The world watched in admiration as the great Henry “Hank” Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking the remarkable record of the great Babe Ruth.  What was going through Hank Aaron’s mind at that historical moment?  This is what he said: "I don’t remember the noise or the two kids that ran on the field.  My teammates at home plate, I remember seeing them.  I remember my mother out there and her hugging me.  That’s what I’ll remember more than anything about that home run when I think back on it.  I don’t know where she came from, but she was there….”
Holy Week carries a similar message.  Through all the crowds and defeats and triumphs in life, a powerful love is always reaching out to us.  He doesn’t sit at home in heaven, waiting to see how well we play the game.  Jesus Christ made it clear that God is always right here with us!
Happy Easter, and may the new life that is offered to us in and through Jesus Christ bring new life to each of us!
Pensacola District Superintendent

March 7, 2017
I want to thank so many of you for your expressions of love and concern for Linda and me during the recent death of my mother-in-law, Bettie Haynes.  Mom had a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  There is an old saying: “The real grief starts when all the potato salad is gone.”  It takes about that long for all the company to leave and you try to get back into a routine.  All our potato salad is gone and now we are just tired and sad.  I was very close to my mother-in law.  We shared a lot of good times and laughter together.  It was an honor for us to care for her.  She will be missed greatly but we know she is in a much better place.  She is whole and complete and we give God thanks.
Curtis Henderson, my dear friend, also passed away.  He too had a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s.  I had the privilege of working with Curtis at Conference Headquarters.  We also were in the three-year covenant group for spiritual formation together.  We became soul brothers – we shared our souls with each other.  Curtis was a great lay person.  He served the Church well.  From the Pensacola District, he served in many capacities.  He served on committees on the District, Conference, Jurisdiction, and National Church levels.  He was a dear friend and a good and faithful servant.  He, too, is in a better place and, again, I give God thanks.
Last Wednesday night I had the honor of preaching the Ash Wednesday sermon at Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton Beach.  It was a great service!  Attendance was good and we had over forty youth present.  With all the sadness that I have been experiencing, I needed that service.
I was reminded that Ash Wednesday began in 1099 A.D. Think about how many persons have received the imparting of the ashes over the years all around the world.  Of course, it is the beginning of that great season of Lent.  It is a time for repentance, renewal, and growth.  It is a time for prayer and fasting.  It is a time for self-reflection and change.  It is a time to be reminded that Christ died for us all!
When I’m going through a period like I am now, I look to the cross of Christ and am reminded that there is no depth that I can go that Christ has not already been!  I am reminded through the cross that Christ understands fully my hurting heart and sense of loss.  I’m reminded that he cares and hurts with us, because He has been there.
There is much sadness with a lot of people right now.  Let us be diligent in praying for one another.  Let us be diligent in reaching out to those who are hurting even as Christ reaches out to us.
I wish for each of you a meaningful Lenten season.  May it be a season where we are drawn closer to the Christ.  Max Lucado says, “We are sometimes so close to the cross, but so far from the Christ.”  May that not be true of us in this Holy season.  
God Bless!
Pensacola District Superintendent

February 10, 2017
Dear Clergy and Laity of the Pensacola District:
Bishop David Graves will be in the Pensacola District February 26-28.  On Sunday, February 26, at 4 p.m., we will have the Bishop’s “Town Hall Meeting” for the LAITY of our District at Pensacola First United Methodist Church. A light dinner of soup and sandwiches will be provided. If you plan to be in attendance, we ask you to call or e-mail the Pensacola District Office no later than Friday, February 17, by 12:00 noon.*  There will be no cost for the dinner.  This will be a great time for the laity to meet with Bishop Graves in a Town Hall Meeting format and ask him questions that may be on your mind and heart.
On Monday, February 27, at 10:00 a.m., we will have a District PREACHERS’ MEETING with the Bishop at Ft. Walton Beach First United Methodist Church.  This will also give you the opportunity to ask the Bishop questions that may be of concern.  That evening at 6:00 p.m. we will have another Preachers’ meeting for our LOCAL PASTORS at Bellview United Methodist Church.  If you are a local pastor and can come to the 10:00 a.m. meeting, you are more than welcome to do so.  If you are an elder or other clergy status and can’t be at the 10:00 a.m. meeting, you are welcome to come to the one in the evening.  Some of our Local Pastors have other jobs during the day and we want them to have time with the Bishop as well.
Fellow colleagues, this is IMPORTANT!  I expect “all hands on deck” or an excuse why you can’t be there.  I know some will be at the Board of Ordained Ministry meeting.  I know some will be out of town for required classes.  If you can’t be there, let the District Office know.  If not, I expect to see you at one of our meetings.
On Tuesday the 28th, we will be visiting ministers and churches across the District.
If you have any questions or issues, give me a call and we will talk about it.  I look forward to seeing you and to our time with Bishop Graves.
Thanks in advance for your attention and consideration in this matter.

Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent
* We have been experiencing some e-mail issues, so if you respond by e-mail please look for a personal reply confirming that your message was received.

February 3, 2017
Since I was a young boy, I loved hearing or reading stories of John.  I always have a visual of what John looked like and sometimes I’ve even thought I knew how he must have sounded.  I also like the fact that he was very comfortable with his role of being second to Jesus.
You probably know that the Iditarod is an annual race in Alaska in which racers and their dog teams cover 1,049 grueling miles across rugged terrain during extreme weather conditions.  The winner, understandably, receives accolades for completing this challenging race ahead of all other competitors.  But did you know that there is also another award given out as this annual event?  It’s called the Red Lantern Award.
Given to the competitor who comes in last, the Red Lantern is a symbol for perseverance.  It is an acknowledgment that the competitor kept going and that their endurance lasted despite the harshness of the contest.  I love the idea of the Red Lantern Award and that it represents the tenacity it takes to finish even when you’re dead last.  It’s easy to measure the time it takes to complete a race.  It is much harder to measure courage and determination.
Today’s society places far too much emphasis on finishing first.  Ancient wisdom tells us that success in life goes to the one who is willing to try and try again and yet again.  Louisa May Alcott wrote, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”  Steadfastness and resilience are qualities that all spiritual masters share.  May we have the dedication to cultivate those qualities in our own lives.
God bless each of you in your work in the Pensacola District.
Holding my red lantern,
Pensacola District Superintendent

January 19, 2017
As I write this, I am at the SEJ DS consultations on St. Simon’s Island.  It is a beautiful, peaceful setting.  I will be heading back to Pensacola tomorrow.  During my break from our sessions, I wanted to remind you of a couple of things.
I hope you have made plans to attend our Spiritual Formation Session this Saturday.  You have received e-mails about this and can find information on our District website.  This is an offering our District makes every quarter.  They have all been of good quality.  They are held at Pensacola FUMC from 8:30 – 2:00.  Lunch is provided.  You also receive .5 CEUs.  I hope to see you there.
Sunday afternoon (3:00-4:45) is our annual LITE Day Training Session.  There is detailed information on our website about this as well.  I hope both clergy and laity will be present.  I know the weather is questionable but if you can, I hope you will come and get training.
I would ask all of you to pencil in February 26-28 on your calendar.  Bishop Graves will be in our District those three days.  There will be a chance for both clergy and laity to be in meetings with him.  We are just now in the planning stage for this.  As we get the schedule and the places for our meetings nailed down, we will share this with you.  It is going to be a great three days!  Please reserve those dates on your calendars now.
My break time is over and it is time for me to get back to my class.  Thinking of you and giving God thanks for the privilege that is mine to be in ministry with you. Blessing upon each of you as we continue to be doing Kingdom work together!
Grace and peace!
Pensacola District Superintendent

January 9, 2017
I read with sadness today that the Pioneer Cabin Tree in the Calaveras Big Tree State Park, one hundred miles southeast of Sacramento, was destroyed by flood waters yesterday.  This was the iconic sequoia tree that we all saw pictures of that had a hole cut in it for cars to pass through.  This was cut out in the 1880’s and for the last few years only hikers could pass through.  They can be over a thousand years old and grow to over 100 yards high (the length of a football field!).
Today I was at Wesley Memorial UMC in Pace.  I was doing consultations all day and will be there all day tomorrow (Tuesday).  They have huge oak trees on their property.  Some look like three or four trees grew together through the years.  They are tremendous trees.
If you read much of what I write, you know that I love trees!  Here’s what I find fascinating about the trees I saw today and the giant sequoias:  no matter how big and strong they are, they all started out as a seed.  I don’t know much about how the sequoias start but I do know that each of these magnificent trees at Wesley Memorial started out as an acorn!  Wow!  Something so big can begin so small.
I saw in those trees somewhat of a parable about our Christian journey.  We, too, start our Christian walk as babies, but hopefully through years of prayer, study, meditation, studying the scriptures, and worship, our faith grows into something much larger.  The trees have deep roots and arms (limbs) that reach out for sun and nutrients.  We, too, must have deep roots and reach out to others to learn from and, just like the tree, we grow in our faith.
I’m thankful today for my roots in the faith.  I’m thankful for the countless numbers of persons who have helped me along the way to help me grow in the faith.  I wouldn’t say that I am a mighty oak or sequoia, but I am no longer an acorn!  How about you?  Are you still growing?  If God will help an oak grow into a magnificent tree from an acorn, what more will he do for us!
I will be in consultations tomorrow and in Montgomery Wednesday and Thursday for Cabinet meetings.  May we all be in prayer in this season of consultations.
I hope you have a great week!  Who knows, you may just see a great tree!
God Bless!
Pensacola District Superintendent