About Us: Congregational Vitality

Rev. Dr. Rinaldo D. Hernandez is a 4th generation Methodist, who was born in Jovellanos, Matanzas Province of Cuba. He was a Pastor, District Superintendent and Seminary Professor of The Methodist Church in Cuba for 23 years (1978-2001) before coming to serve in the United States. Rini got both his Bachelor of Theology (1984) and Master of Theology (1998) degrees from Matanzas Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba. He completed his Doctor of Ministry work at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia in 2000.

Rini answered his call to Pastoral Ministry in December of 1977. His service in Cuba included 7 appointments to local churches, the longest of those at University Methodist Church in Havana (1992-2000). He also served as instructor of Wesleyan Theology and New Testament Greek for 13 years. Rini also served as the President of the Theology Commission for The Methodist Church in Cuba.

On September 9, 2001 Rini and his family moved to Miami, FL where he started a New church (La Nueva Iglesia) where he served for 10 years. The new Church outgrew their existing facility 6 times, forcing them to move, before they settled at their current location in Doral, FL. 

In 2011 then Bishop Timothy Whitaker extended Rini an invitation to become the SW District Superintendent in The Florida Annual Conference with residence in Sarasota, where he served for 8 years (2011-2019). In July of 2019 Rini was appointed by Bishop Ken Carter, Jr. to serve as the Conference Director of New Church Development and Latino/a Ministries. He has also served as a member of the Methodists United in Prayer Team (formerly known as The Cuba-Florida Covenant Team), the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (2004-2011), the Hispanic Assembly (2004-2008) and the Bishop's Strategic Leadership Team since 2010 to the present.

Rini and his wife Maggie have been married for 41 years and have two grown-up kids: Judy and Andy. Both of them are highly skilled worship leaders and Music Directors in two mega-churches in Miami. They have two granddaughters: Natalia (14) and Carolina (13). 

You may contact Rini by e-mail at rhernandez@flumc.org

Janet Earls has been serving the Florida Conference's Office of Congregational Vitality as the Director of Church Vitality and Leadership Development since June 1, 2013.

According to Bishop Carter, "Janet Earls has a deep spiritual commitment to lead others in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. She was a key leader in the growth of one of our larger churches in Florida, one of our denomination's most vital churches, where she was a member, at the same time, she has worked as a coach alongside some of our most distressed congregations. As a lay person, she will bring additional diversity to our conference leadership team through her experiences in corporate and congregational life."

Earls worked close to six years in the East Central District as a contracted church coach as well as volunteering in district leadership roles. Janet was the past chair of the EC District Center for Congregational Excellence; and for five years, she built a track record of success in guiding churches in crisis and coaching church leadership or transition teams through a vision process. Prior to working with churches, she has more than 10 years of experience coaching, training, facilitating and mentoring high performance teams in other secular industries.

Janet is a professional coach certified by Spiritual Leadership, Inc., graduate of Coach U, Kolbe Consultant - Copper Level, member of the Talent Development and area Suncoast Chapter. Janet is a member of the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and was a Lay Delegate to the 2012 and 2016 General Conferences. She is a member of First UMC Lakeland. Janet has been married to Lee for 28 years and has two adult children; Son, Ryan, married to Caroline and adorable granddaughter, Cora, living in Gainesville, and daughter, Jenna, living in Atlanta, Geogia.

You may contact Janet by e-mail at jearls@flumc.org or by phone at (863) 393-1429.


Contact Us

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011