AC December 2019



“ ... When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God”
                                    - Acts 27:15 NLT

Right now on Facebook, there is a “challenge” to post a picture of yourself from 10 years ago and then one today.  For me, it’s been fun and encouraging because I know many of my FB friends’ stories.  Their pictures then and now make me thankful for God’s faithfulness in their lives.  It’s made me think about my story and God’s faithfulness in ten-year increments:

  • 2009 - Ten years ago this week, I was on my second mission trip to Haiti, one that especially impacted my family’s life.  It was our first medical mission trip and set my oldest daughter on a journey of pursuing medicine.  Two months later, Haiti experienced a massive earthquake.  All of it was life-changing for me.
  • 1999 – Twenty years ago this week, I was two weeks or so away from giving birth to our third child, Connor.  I was at the end of a troubled pregnancy that included genetic testing for Cystic Fibrosis which ended up being negative.  The tests revealed family information that I did not know (a story for another day).  Again, my life was changed.
  • 1989 – Thirty years ago this week, we were digging out of an early snowstorm on Long Island, where I grew up, getting ready for our wedding in early December.  Craig and I worked in New York City and planned to stay and do that for a very long time.  We were just a couple days away from buying our first home.  Unknown to me, my life was going to change in so many ways.

As Paul made his journey to Rome, he came upon the shore and a group of believers, only a handful in a large ancient city, who were there to greet him.  Instead of choosing discouragement or anger – he was on the journey that would ultimately end his life – he chose to be encouraged and thanked God when he saw the believers.  His present problems didn’t end, and things only got harder, but Paul experienced God’s presence in his sisters and brothers.

Wherever you are this Thanksgiving Week, just a few days away from the beginning of Advent, I hope you can be encouraged by God’s goodness and faithfulness.  My prayer is that your Thanksgiving dinner table will hold people who you can encourage and can encourage you.  Life is not easy, and we need each other.

Maybe look back on your life in 10-year increments and see how God has moved.  And when anxiety and worry sets in, and you are at risk of losing your joy, remember that God has been with you working through each situation and promises to continue to be.  That gives me great hope and courage.

Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you +


Unstuck 2020 Training Event

Saturday, February 29, 2019  l  10:00 AM - 3:00 PM  l  Beach UMC, Jacksonville Beach, FL. Join the North East District for their 2020 Training Event entitled EQUIP 2020 - Unstuck.

All appointed clergy and church leaders are invited to participate in the training event. Tony Morgan from The Unstuck Group will be speaking on the following topics:

  • Interruption and Assessment: Interruptions challenge us to pause and assess what's happening, then build a plan to respond. Without interruption, every church has the potential to go through a very similar life cycle. In this session, Tony Morgan shares the seven phases of the typical church life cycle and helps you learn how to discover if your church is really stuck.
  • Planning and Action:  Where do churches most often get stuck? In this session, Tony digs deeper into two phases of the life cycle where churches tend to get stuck. He will offer practical frameworks and discussions around clarifying mission, vision and strategy, building a structure that reflects your strategy, and reducing complexity. You will walk away with a clearer understanding of the next step God has for your church.

This event is best attended as a team from your church. We encourage your leadership team to attend with the pastor.

Registration is now open! Click here for details and to register! You can register as an individual or as a group. Cost is $10.00 per person to attend. Registration is limited to 750 participants. No walk-ins or onsite registrations. You must register in advance due to the limitations of space. We hope to see you there!


Online Deep Dives are focused sharing on one topic by expert hosts giving tips, ideas, and what to avoid. Topics vary from Children's Ministries, and Church/School Partnerships. Coming soon are topics on Finance and Human Resources for the local church!

The conference is currently offering online opportunities for training in the following areas:

  •  Children's Ministry in the Small Church - in this 2-part session with guest host, Bob McLeary from Cokesbury, participants will learn how to adapt for everything for ministries that have 3 - 15 children. 

  • Church/School Partnerships - in this session, hear from Anne Foote Hill from New Covenant, The Villages about their very successful mentoring program at Wildwood Middle High School.

Visit the Deep Dive online webpage at for details!

Staff Parish Relations Committee Training Event

Thanks go to everyone who participated in the training events in November! Our final training event for 2019 will be on Sunday, December 15 at 3:30 PM at First - Melbourne. If your Pastor and/or Staff Parish chairperson/team did not attend one of the trainings in November, please ask them to register for and attend on December 15. Important information will be shared by DS Dionne Hammond. For information and to register, please click here

Church and Clergy Profiles

On Sunday, December 1, 2019 the Church and Clergy Profile portals will be open for updates. The deadline for completing updates is Saturday, February 1, 2020. If your pastor will be meeting with DS Dionne, the profiles must be completed as least one week prior to your meeting. For details and instructions, please visit the conference website at  It is the responsibility of the SPRC to complete the Church Profile, and the Pastor to complete the Pastor Profile. If you have any questions, please contact the AC District office. 

Church Leadership in EZRA

The AC District Office Staff is currently in the process of setting up e-mail groups for the leadership provided in EZRA by each church. Please check your EZRA account to be sure you have all of the leadership areas covered. If you do not have someone for an area, i.e. Lay Leader, please assign a person to the area who will receive information sent from the District or Conference office. If you do not have a contact person listed, your church may miss receiving vital information. If you have any questions, please contact the AC District office. 

Good News in our AC District Churches

For future e-newsletters, social media, and the AC District website, we are asking churches to submit graphics, photos, and articles to share the good kingdom work being done at the local church level. *Please remember that all people in photos must give written permission for photo use by the AC District. It is the responsibility of the local church to attain this permission prior to sending any photos to the district office. All information, photos, and graphics submitted will be posted or added to the district newsletter, website, or social media at the discretion of the district office staff. 


Bishop's Clergy Day Apart


Elders, Deacons, Local Pastors, and Laity are invited to an Advent retreat with Bishop Ken Carter


Tuesday, December 10, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Community of Faith UMC in Davenport

The focus will be on the gospel of Matthew, the lectionary gospel for 2019 Advent through 2020. For those who do not preach the lectionary, Matthew is also a great resource for growing in discipleship.

The retreat will be in three movements:

  1. Identity: Becoming a Part of a Greater Story (Matthew 1:1-17)
  2. Incarnation: The Best of All is that God is With Us (Matthew 1:18-25)
  3. Epiphany: The Long Journey to the Place Where Christ is Born (Matthew 2:1-11)

There will be times of silence, collaboration, conversation, and lectio divina. Participants will also have an opportunity to develop their own plan of spiritual reading and prayer for 2020. Participants are asked to bring a Bible, a notebook, and a 2020 calendar (or an electronic device that serves these purposes).

Space is limited. To register, click here!

Deadline to register is December 2, 2019, so that we may order lunches. 

Winter Conference at Epworth by the Sea

January 26 - 29, 2020 

Clergy are invited to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea from January 26 - 29, 2020. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia, and Florida Conferences. You might talk with some of the over 150 clergy who attended Winter Conference 2019 about their transformative experience. Len Wilson will be the keynote speaker.

Click HERE to register and receive the early bird discount. NOTE: The 2019 event sold out, so don't delay in registering!!

Changes for 2020

Effective January 1, the new Florida Minimum Wage will be $8.56 per hour. Be sure to increase any employee making below this amount for the first paycheck dated in January 2020. 

Effective January 1, the new guidelines for salary exempt status goes into effect. The new minimum salary for an exempt employee is $35,568 ($684 per week). 

New W-4 for 2020 - effective the first day of your first payroll run of 2020, all new hires MUST complete the new 2020 W-4. Current employees to not need to complete a new W-4 unless they want to.

Visit our webpage at for more information. 

General Conference 2020

Minneapolis, Minnesota  l  May 5 - 15, 2020


In 2020, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will gather in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

For details about the conference, please visit the General Conference website at

Information for the Florida Delegation to the General Conference is available at

We will send out additional details as we have them available. 

On the District Calendar

Please add the following events and meetings to your local church calendar. Details will be provided as meetings, trainings, and events are planned. Thank you!


  • District Office Closed - Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, 2019.'
  • Appointment Process Replies - Clergy and Staff Parish Teams received information regarding the appointment process. The District Office needs to hear from clergy and staff parish teams no later than December 12, 2019. 
  • End-of-Year Reports - The AC District Office will be providing training on completing the end-of-year reports on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. If you would like to receive a link to the Zoom call, please click here to RSVP for this training. Please include your name, e-mail address, and church. 
  • Atlantic Central District Charge Conference - Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 4:00 PM - First Melbourne. This District Charge Conference is being held to vote on the sale of AC District owned property. All AC District Clergy, AC District local church delegates to Annual Conference, and AC District at large delegates to Annual Conference will have voting rights. We will be sending out information in December to those who are listed in the local church EZRA dashboard. 
  • Child and Youth Protection Policy Training - Pastors, Children's Ministry Directors, Student Ministry Directors, leaders involved in planning VBS, and other leaders over areas that come into contact with children and/or students are encouraged to attend one of the following trainings:
    • Tuesday, January 28 - 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM or 6:30 - 8:30 PM  l  Location TBD
    • Wednesday, January 29 - 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM or 6:30 - 8:30 PM  l  Location TBD
  • Administrative Assistant Training - In 2020, we invited our AC District local church Administrative Assistants to join us for a time of learning, making connections, and sharing a meal. Details and locations will be announced in December. Administrative Assistants need only attend one day. 
    • Tuesday, March 3, 2020
  • District Clergy Meetings - Two dates have been set for 2020:
    • Wednesday, March 11 from 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM  l  First - Melbourne
    • Wednesday, September 9 from 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM  l  TBD
  • Leadership Event 2020 - This is for all local church leaders and teams. Focus will be on Fresh Expressions. 
    • Saturday, March 28  l  Details will be available soon
  • Regional Church Conferences - In 2020, there will be three regional church conferences. In June, you will receive a link to register for the date in in which your church will be in attendance. All church conference paperwork must be completed and turned in at the chosen regional church conference. All AC District churches are required to register for and attend ONE of these schedule church church conferences:
    • Sunday, October 25 - 4:00 PM at First - Ormond Beach
    • Sunday, November 1 - 4:00 PM at TBD
    • Sunday, November 8 - 4:00 PM at First - Melbourne


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