The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Sunday, February 01, 2015
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A Word from Our District Superintendent
January 25, 2015

Greetings in the name of Christ!  I am back from a week of continuing education at St. Simons Island, GA, where I took part in the Southeastern Jurisdiction Cabinet Consultation, a gathering of district superintendents, directors of connectional ministries, assistants to our bishops and other leaders from annual conferences.  Our focus was on poverty as it affects our communities in our respective areas.  I was shocked to learn that 59% of students in the state of Florida qualify for free and reduced lunch programs in our schools.  When basic needs, like proper nutrition, are not met, learning skills that can help to lift persons from impoverished conditions becomes more difficult.

As part of our time together, each person there participated in a poverty simulation, where we were given real life situations of persons that had presented to social service agencies and we were charged with trying to make ends meet using very meager resources to pay for rent, utilities, food, childcare and other basic necessities.  I saw first hand the challenges faced, as I tried to make the best possible decisions to improve my circumstance, but at the end of simulation, my choices resulted in my utilities being cut off and a loss of my benefits.  Other superintendents found themselves evicted from their dwelling or without transportation.  Still others - district superintendents mind you - resorted to crime to try to make ends meet during the simulation!

What became apparent was how close so many people are to finding themselves in poverty.  It could happen because of layoffs at work, an unexpected illness or extensive medical bills, the death of a loved one who was the breadwinner in the household, or a host of other situations.  It also was evident that this was an area where churches could respond to meet the needs of their community in very tangible ways, seeking to alleviate the suffering of those who do not have adequate food.

Thankfully, many of our congregation take part in efforts to address poverty throughout the Pensacola District, with local church missions committees running food pantries and partnering with other agencies, such as the Society of St. Andrew or Stop Hunger Now, to provide meals to those in need.  Still, the needs are great and the opportunities to impact the lives of others are many.  If you are interested in learning of ways your church can respond to the poverty stricken in your community, please feel free to contact the District Office and we will be more than happy to assist in providing resources and connecting you with those who will be able to help your church in this endeavor.

This week, I will be in Montgomery for a Cabinet meeting.  We continue to immerse ourselves in the practices related to coaching, seeking to fulfill our disciplinary role as "Chief Missional Strategists" for our respective districts.  I will return to the office on Thursday.  Please feel free to email me or call should you have need of me.  Remember, Friday is the deadline for the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and Pastor Preference forms to be submitted indicating your desires for the 2015-16 appointment year.  Also, Friday is the deadline for Table I, II, and III data to be submitted.  Should you have any difficulty with either of these items, please contact Mary at the office an she will be glad to help you.  Also, consultations start a week from tomorrow.  The consultation schedule can be accessed here.  If you need to change your consultation time, please contact someone else on the list to swap your time and also let us know at the office so that we are aware of the change.  Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time as that will help keep the day moving.

Thank you for your leadership in what I believe is the best district in all of Methodism!  It is a joy to serve together and I pray that we will continue to fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!


Blessings and peace,

Coming January 30-February 1, 2015!


Meltdown 2015

Meltdown 2015 will be January 30 - February 1, 2015, at the Boardwalk Beach Resort on the beautiful Panama City Beach.  Meltdown is an annual youth conference that brings together students from all over Northwest Florida and South Alabama for a weekend that will draw them closer to God and to each other.  Organized by a team of youth pastors and church workers, Meltdown's mission is to empower youth groups and their churches by offering a dynamic, inspiring and challenging worship experience brought through an awesome worship team, speaker, and through a variety of breakout sessions.  This year our speaker is Andy Cartee and worship will be led by the Ben Nelson Band.   
Meltdown is designed for youth grades 6-12 and their adult leaders.  The cost is $125 if registered before Christmas, and $135 if registered after Christmas. For more information and to register visit

Meltdown is sponsored by local churches in the Northwest Florida/Southwest Alabama area. Meltdown is a non-profit event led by volunteers who have a heart for Youth Ministry.

About the Pensacola District
The Pensacola District is one of eight districts comprising the Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. True to biblical mandate and denominational priority, we are committed to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ; discipling residents, tourists, and snowbirds alike; establishing new congregations; and nurturing existing ones.

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