“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still
and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.’” Exodus 14:13-14 NLT
“Moses’ effectiveness ... had to do with that even though he was fully aware
of the people’s emotion, he was even more attuned to the reality of God’s presence”
(Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, 96).
How is your soul? It’s the question I am asked monthly by my spiritual director. Last March, as the anxiety rose after Special Called General Conference 2019, one of my close friends could see that I needed to reengage with a spiritual director. I needed to see where God was at work in my life even amidst the storms. And because I have given permission for a couple close friends to speak into my life, she reminded me that I needed “to take my own advice” J. Countless times I have recommended people to seek spiritual direction! It has made all the difference over the year.
And now with the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation, we all have entered into a new season of “anxiety in the system” of the greater church which trickles down to the local church and our personal lives. This past weekend, I joined a group and attended the Havana District Conference of the Methodist Church in Cuba. We had so many God-sightings and words that filled our lives. During one of the preaching times, a visiting District Superintendent said, ‘Everything can affect you or you can affect everything.’ That is a true statement that I needed to be reminded of. When we feel like things are out of control, we forget sometimes that we have a choice of how we will respond: Will we allow the fears and anxieties to overtake us or will we continue to be people who respond in the Fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
But this kind of response is learned and needs to be practiced. It does not come naturally. We need to cultivate the Holy Spirit, being still long enough to remember that we control how we respond. In the midst of a cantankerous bunch of scared Israelites who were probably yelling lots of opinions on what to do as the Egyptians chased them, Moses commanded the people to stand still, remain calm, and allow God to lead. That’s the word for me, and that’s the word for you in this season of unrest in The United Methodist Church.
So, what should we “do” at this time? Continue to follow Jesus, seeking the Holy Spirit by praying, fasting, attending worship, serving, giving, partaking in Holy Communion ... to name a few things. Also, it is vitally important that you are informed. I will be offering six “Listening and Learning Sessions” across the Atlantic Central District to learn and talk through the Protocol:
Sunday, March 22 – Two “North District” sessions
Sunday, March 29 – Two “South District” sessions
Monday, March 30 - One "Central District" session
Tuesday, April 7 – One “Central District” session
Times and locations will be published by the beginning of next week via e-mail, on the Atlantic Central District webpage, and on the Atlantic Central Facebook page. I hope many clergy and laity will attend. If needed, I can make myself available to schedule meetings with individual churches.
Please contact the District Office if you have any questions: email@example.com or 772-299-0255.
My prayer as we live in these anxious times that we will be the presence of Christ for others so that everyone would know that best of all, God is with us!
Grace and peace ~
Join Bishop Carter's conversation with Dionne Hammond, the Atlantic Central District Superintendent, about her life and call into ordained ministry. May her story inspire you to lead yourself and others toward God's voice, calling, and direction. Click here to listen to the conversation.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Trinity UMC - Palm Beach Gardens
10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon
For more information or to register, please click here.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
First UMC - Vero Beach
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
We invite all of the Administrative Assistants in the AC District to join us for a time of worship, fellowship, sharing a meal, and learning. Our hope is that this will be a day of renewal and making new friends!
If your church does not have an Administrative Assistant, please invite someone on your ministry team to join us that would help fill this role in your local church.
Rev. Dionne Hammond, DS; Paula McDonald, Senior Administrative Assistant; and Marilyn Waldis, Administrative Assistant look forward to meeting each of you and sharing this time together!
We hope you will join us!
Registration will begin on Monday, February 10, 2020.
Clergy and Laity are invited to join us for a day together to discuss plans and options for the Black Church.
Date: Saturday, March 14, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Host Church: First United Methodist Church l 72 Lake Morton Drive l Lakeland, FL
Contact: 863.686.3163 l www.firstumc.org
Cost: $12.00 includes lunch l Due at time of registration l Register individually
Event information and key speakers can be found by clicking here for the event flyer. This flyer is also for distribution.
To register, please click here. Registration is open through March 6, 2020.
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!
Wednesday, February 12 l 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon l Trinity - Palm Beach Gardens
If you have any questions about the above information, please contact the Atlantic Central District office by calling 772-299-0255 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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