AC February 2020

Staying Still When We Want to Run


“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: 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 ~



Bishop Carter Podcast


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.



District Opportunities  


Child and Youth Protection Policy Training

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Trinity UMC - Palm Beach Gardens

10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon

For more information or to register, please click here.

Early Response Team (ERT) Training

February 29, 2020

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

First UMC - Jupiter-Tequesta

Early Response Teams (ERT) are specially trained, self-contained teams who enter a disaster zone at the invitation of local emergency management officials, the local church or other recognized agencies requesting assistance. ERTs offer a Christian presence and are trained to provide various types of physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to disaster survivors. ERTs are registered with the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the Florida Conference and Disaster Recovery coordinates team placement to get help where it is needed most after a disaster. ERT training focuses on types, phases and levels of a disaster and explains what is meant by early response. Participants learn the importance of spiritual and emotional care, tarping, flood clean-up, chainsaw safety, team requirements and much more. Participants are trained by UMCOR-certified trainers and receive a badge identifying them with UMCOR and the Florida Conference.

Participants must be 18 or older and pass a background check. Training fee is $20 per person, $30 per couple.

Space is limited to 25 people and registration is required. Please go to

Administrative Assistant Day

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. 

The Florida Conference Celebrates its 175th Anniversary

February 6, 2020

It is with great excitement that we share with you that today, February 6, the Florida Conference celebrates its 175th Anniversary! On February 6, 1845, one month before Florida was granted statehood, the Florida Conference held the first session at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee. 

"I am grateful for all of the streams of history that have flowed into the present day life of the Florida Conference", Bishop Ken Cater recently noted."Over one hundred and seventy-five years, our state has changed dramatically and our churches have grown with and adapted to the changing landscape of peoples who have arrived. I am in awe of the faithfulness of laity and clergy who have been an outward and visible sign of God’s grace across Florida."

To read more about the 175th Anniversary, visit the Florida Conference website at

The Black Methodist for Church Renewal Caucus
of The Florida Conference


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

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!


  • End-of-Year Reports - Please submit no later than close of business day on Friday, February 7, 2020. 
  • February and March Reports Due - Please visit the Conference website for all reports due in February and March. Click here for the link. 
  • 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. For details and to register, click here.
    • Wednesday, February 12  l  10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon  l  Trinity - Palm Beach Gardens

  • Administrative Assistant Day - In 2020, we invite our AC District local church Administrative Assistants to join us for a time of learning, making connections, and sharing a meal. Registration will open on Monday, February  10.
    • Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM  l  First - Vero Beach
  • 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. 
    • This Event has been rescheduled for August 2020
  • 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


May 10 - Missional Vital Signs Due

Please remember to submit your Missional Vital Signs (MVS) each month no later than the 10th of the month. Click here to enter stats.

February 15 - Florida United Methodist Children's Home Career Fair

The Florida United Methodist Children's Home is having a Career Fair! They are seeking qualified candidates to fill many open positions. Click HERE for their website with details on all the opportunities.    Positions in Residential Care for at-risk youth Residential Manager Campus Security (Part -time, nights) Contemporary Youth Worship Leader Contract Therapist Cook Montessori and Preschool Teachers Truck Driver (Part-time) Benefits include: Florida Blue Medical & Dental Insurance 403(B) Retirement With Matching Life Insurance Long Term Disability Montessori Child Care Available On Site at 50% Discount For Employees Longevity Bonuses

February 29 - Music Festival book and bake sale at Christ UMC - Palm Bay

Join us Leaping into the Music Festival with a variety of music. When the Music Festival ends we will have a book and bake sale. We welcome all to come and enjoy our free concert. We will collect a love offering at the end.


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  

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