The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Here for You - Serving Jesus
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More than 130 people in the community came to receive ashes by driving up to the church on Ash Wednesday.
 
 
A Word from District Superintendent Tim Trent
February 14, 2018
 
Today is the beginning of Lent.  It is Ash Wednesday.  Today, all across the world, Christians will worship and have ashes imparted on their forehead.  It is also Valentine’s Day.  Today is like a two-for-one special! (By the way, Easter this year falls on April Fool’s Day!)  I can’t remember when Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day were on the same day.  But why not?  Both days are all about love!
 
Today we begin a journey. Today, as Christians, we begin our journey, in symbolic ways, making our way toward Jerusalem and our destination is to kneel at the foot of the cross of Jesus the Christ!  Hopefully, through prayer, worship, spending time in reading the scriptures, and devotional time, we will all journey together toward the cross of Christ.  And, hopefully, we will experience the crucifixion of our Lord.

A lot of people will not do much through this holy season.  They will show up in church on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection. But they will not experience the resurrection, they will have just gone to church.  You see, you cannot experience the resurrection if you do not experience the crucifixion.  You cannot experience the resurrection if you are not willing to experience the death of our Lord.  It is incumbent on each of us to use these forty days to go to the cross with Christ and experience His death, to realize we are the ones who placed Him there, and to take ownership in His death.

Today people will begin the season of Lent by giving up something.  I have known people who have given up chocolate.  Some have given up drinking soft drinks. The list goes on.  People give up things and, when they have a craving or temptation for the things they have given up, they enter into a time of prayer to bring them closer to the Christ.

But Lent is not just a time to give up something.  Some find it meaningful not to give up something but instead find it meaningful to start doing something.  Not give up but do!  Again, I have known some who have committed themselves to start a time of daily prayer and devotional habits.  Some have chosen to visit the nursing home on a regular basis.  I know of one who has decided for lent she will drive the speed limit! For some, that is a difficult thing to do!  Again, the list can go on.

All of us choose whether to give up something or to do something to help make our Lenten journey more meaningful.  The purpose is to bring us closer to the Christ.

Today we begin our journey.  Today is all about love.  I hope each of us will express our deep and abiding love to those who mean so much to us.  I hope each of us will express our deep and abiding love to Jesus the Christ and be willing to journey with him to the cross.  Remember, we cannot experience the true joy of the resurrection on Easter if we do not experience His death!

I wish you well on your Lenten journey.  Remember, there are many around the world who will be traveling to Jerusalem with us.  May we be in prayer for one another.

Grace and peace to all!
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent  
 
Death Announcement
(LetUsPray) - Sympathy is expressed to the family of Rev. Oscar W. Brooks, retired elder of 21 years. Rev. Brooks passed away Tuesday, February 6, 2018, in Moulton, AL.  He served St. Paul UMC, Pensacola, FL prior to retiring.
 
 
Destin & Crosspoint Land on Len Wilson's 2018 Edition of "Fastest Growing Churches"
(AWFC-UMC 2/8/2018) - "Three churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference are on LenWilson's 'Top 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches, 2018 Edition.' According to the Website, 'The purpose of the fastest growing churches list is to celebrate hearts, lives and communities being changed through the ministries of congregations across the United States.' The site also explains that the list is generated on attendance trends from the past five years and numbers that are reported to GCFA.  Crosspoint UMC, led by Rev. Rurel Ausley, is listed as number seven; Destin UMC led by Dr. Barry Carpenter is number seventeen; and number eighteen on the list is Covenant UMC, led by Dr. Hays McKay." Click here to see the 2018 edition.  To view previous  lists select the year: 2017 ...  2016 ... 2015 ... 2011.
 
Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop March 10
(CenteringPrayerPensacola.org) - "Contemplative Outreach of Pensacola serves Centering Prayer practitioners and support groups of diverse denominations in the greater Pensacola area.  One of the chapter’s primary goals is to offer the Centering Prayer Introductory Program. We also support Centering Prayer groups and individuals by offering other workshops, mornings of silence, retreats, and formation programs focused on the contemplative life. The chapter’s 12-Step Outreach Program offers Centering Prayer as an 11th step prayer/meditation practice to people in all 12-Step fellowships."
 
Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Pensacola will host a Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop March 10, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The cost will be $30 and includes the study/guide book and a box lunch from Jason's Deli. The presenter will be Minta McDavid. Please register before March 6, 2018. To register go to centeringprayerpensacola.org.
 
Here are locations and times of local Centering Prayer Groups.
         
 
Mental Health Symposium
Wednesdays January 10 - February 28, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church (Chapel)
 
We are extremely blessed to offer this symposium led by Don Winslett, Ed. D. and John Hodges, Ph. D. Each week will cover a different topic; therefore, it is not necessary to attend every session. There is no charge and no registration is needed. Dinner will be available at 5:00 p.m. for $5 per person/$15 per family. Sessions will begin at 6:00 p.m. Childcare available. Begins January 10, 2018, in the Chapel.

Dates, Topics, and Presenters:
Jan. 10 - "Depression, Treatment and Care" (Don Winslett)
Jan. 17 - "Suicide - Causes and Care" (Don Winslett)
Jan. 24 - "I'm Stressed, but What is It?" (John Hodges)
Jan. 31 - "Substance Abuse - How and Where to Find Help" (Don Winslett)
Feb. 7 - "Managing Grief and Bereavement" (Don Winslett)

Feb. 14 - Ash Wednesday
Feb. 21 - "Do I Call It ADD or ADHD?" (John Hodges)
Feb. 28 - "Caring for God's People" (Don Winslett)

This program is open to pastors, laypeople, church staff, those who work in the mental health field, and others interested in improving mental health.  For more information visit http://www.gbumc.org/mental-health-.
                               
Lay Servant Training March 9 & 10
The Pensacola District will hold Lay Servant Ministries Training on Friday, March 9, 2018, and Saturday, March 10, 2018, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Click here for the event page and flyer.

 

 
Groundbreaking Held for Century UMC
(North Escambia News 1/22/2018) - A groundbreaking was held Sunday morning for the reconstruction of the historic Century United Methodist Church, which was damaged beyond repair in the February 15, 2016, EF-3 tornado in Century. Continue here for the article.

 

Positions Available


 

 

Administrative Announcements 

Update from GCFA Legal
Re: Judge's Ruling That Housing Allowance Tax Exemption Is Unconstitutional
(GCFA.org 12/18/2017) -  Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin recently found the housing allowance tax exemption for clergy to be unconstitutional, violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Legal Services Department at GCFA has reviewed the decision and prepared a thoughtful analysis of its contents and the reasoning of the judge. The Legal Services Department will continue to monitor this case and will update its analysis when necessary. Updates will be found at www.gcfa.org.  If you should have any questions, please feel free to e-mail  legal@gcfa.orgClick here to read the analysis of the ruling from the Legal Services Department of GCFA and view the most recent update.  
                        
 
Continuing Education Chair
If you are planning a clergy continuing education event and need credit authorization or have questions about continuing education, the contact person is Reverend Dr. Jeff Spicer. Dr. Spicer is the AWF Conference Chairperson of Continuing Education. Here is his contact information.
 
Coaching Resources for Ministers
Here is a list from the AWFC Cabinet of coaches available for ministers. This is not a requirement, but if you can sign on with a coach (of course, their services require payment), you will find this can be very helpful. If you have any questions about this, you can contact our district superintendent, Tim Trent.
 
Information for Local Church Officers
Have you been elected to a local church leadership or committee position and you're not sure what your responsibilities are? Visit http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/ChurchLeadershipRoles.  There's a lot of helpful information for Staff-Parish/Pastor-Parish Relations Committees at http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/SPR, including training booklet.  If your church elects a new treasurer inform sharon@awfumc.org! Their system is not connected with the AWFC database.
 
See Also: 
 
Finance and Administration Resources from Around the Web
For more items related to Finance and Administration see our "Around the Web" section below.
                                                     

 

Around the Conference 

Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)   

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Online Clergy Pictorial Directory
There's a new Quick Link on the AWF Conference's home page: "Clergy Pictorial Directory."  You can now view the AWF Conference's quadrennial directory by clicking on the Quick Link or going to https://www.awfumc.org/clergypicturedirectory.
 
Two Conference Positions Available
(AWFC-UMC 2/9/2018) - "Two conference staff positions are available and applications are now being accepted. Both positions are located in the Alabama-West Florida Conference office in Montgomery, AL. The Director of Connectional Ministries & Conference Secretary position will be open July 1, 2018. Applications will be accepted now through March 15. Rev. Nancy Watson, current AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, will return to the local church. Dr. David Saliba, current AWF Conference Secretary, will serve through the 2018 session of annual conference and then focus on a rapidly growing Perdido Bay UMC and surrounding area. The Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services position is currently being filled by Mr. Mickey Wilson, interim treasurer. Wilson is serving in this capacity after Mr. Frank Dunnewind retired on December 31, 2017. He will continue to serve alongside the chosen candidate until an agreed upon date by conference leadership. Applications will be accepted and reviewed now through March 11, 2018. More here."
 
Courageous Conversations in the AWF Conference
(AWFC-UMC 2/8/2018) - Starting February 22, 2018, Courageous Conversations will begin in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. These conversations will be held in twenty-seven locations throughout the bounds of the conference, with one session being offered in Spanish. Bishop David Graves is inviting all to come together for Christ-honoring time together regarding human sexuality and the United Methodist Church. The "Courageous Conversations" project will be used to hold these conversations. Full details here.
 
A Word from Bishop David Graves January 30, 2018
(AWF-UMC 1/30/18) - All clergy and lay members to annual conference are strongly encouraged to watch this video message from Bishop David Graves. There are preparation assignments for both Bishop's Day Apart and 2018 Annual Conference.  Click here for the video.  Click here for the written transcript.  You may also listen to this message as an audio-only podcast by clicking here, by searching for "AWFUMC Podcasts" on iTunes or in your preferred podcast player. We invite you to subscribe to these podcasts.
 
 
Bishop's Day Apart Feb. 20 in Montgomery
There's reading to do in advance!  Here is the event page with more information.
The event page says, "Please read The Anatomy of Peace prior to the meeting. If you are able, Real's The New Rules of Marriage is suggested reading."   
 
Recording of GCFA Webinar Available RE: New Tax Laws and What You Need to Know
The recorded Webinar and the PowerPoint presentation in pdf format are available here.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now in place.  It is wide-ranging tax reform that will impact ALL taxpayers including individuals, non-profits, and businesses.  In this presentation, we will break down the details of the new law in order to understand its impact.  We will also address questions individual taxpayers and non-profits should be asking.
                        
 
2018 Training Videos for Local Church Committees
Here are videos and transcripts that will help local churches train new and current Staff-Parish/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members, Finance Committee members, and Trustees.  For audio-only podcast click here.  See also https://www.awfumc.org/leadershipserieswebinars. If your church doesn't have internet or it is slow, you can contact Luke Lucas at the AWF Conference Communications office and he can send downloadable files. You will need internet to access the files but you can play the files without internet. Luke can be reached at luke@awfumc.org.
 
 
2018 Health & Wellness Initiative, Clergy Requirements
(AWF-UMC 1/3/2018) - "The AWF Conference Board of Pension & Health Benefits will continue the Health and Wellness Initiative Program as a goal of encouraging our pastors and their dependents to live healthier lifestyles; providing them with personal health information, screening and coaching thus helping the Conference to reduce and control the cost of health insurance claims. 
 
"The Health & Wellness Initiative will continue beginning January 1, 2018. Clergy members on the Conference's active health insurance plan are required to complete the online Health Quotient (HQ) and the Biometric Screening by August 31, 2018. Dependents, retired clergy over age 65 and lay employees who are on the annual conference health plan are not required to complete the HQ and Biometric Screening but are encouraged to participate.

"The following two steps are required:
*  To complete your online HQ assessment, login or register (if you do not have an account setup) at www.mybluewellness.  The online HQ can also be completed at Annual Conference during the health screening process (June 2018).  
 
* A Biometric Health Screening is required. You may choose from one of the following options to complete the screening: 
Option 1: An on-site Biometric Health Screening will be available at Annual Conference.  Biometric Screening will be held from 7:30 am until 12:30 pm on Monday and Tuesday.  It is a fasting screening.

Option 2:  You may choose to go to your personal physician for the biometric health screening.  Co-pays are applicable to this doctor's visit. Please download and print the physician's form from the Conference‘s website and take with you.
 

"Failure to complete the 2 requirements will result in a monthly wellness charge of $50 beginning January 2019."
                   
2017 AWF  Conference Journal Available
(AWFC-UMC on FB 12/13/2017) - "The 2017 Journal is now available. You may download the free pdf or order hard copies for $25 each through Amazon.com. The pdf download can be found on www.awfumc.org under "Quick Links" or click here to find it on Amazon." 
           
Annual Conference Deadlines
(AWF-UMC 11/27/2017) - The Committee on Standing Rules has begun its work in preparation for the 2018 Annual Conference session June 3-6, 2018, at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL. The committee will be reviewing the Conference Standing Rules and recommending revisions. Please be aware of upcoming deadlines specified in our Standing Rules: 
  • Any proposed changes to the Standing Rules should be received in writing by the chairperson of the Committee on Standing Rules no later than February 1, 2018.  You may submit proposed changes by email to swoodie171@troycable.net or by mail to Shirley H. Woodie, 171 Meadowview Drive, Ozark, AL 36360.
     
  • Resolutions shall be submitted to the Committee on Resolutions and Petitions by February 15, 2018, except in cases where it can be demonstrated by the author of a late petition that the situation which gave rise to making the petition was not apparent until after the deadline for petitions. The committee shall provide copies of all resolutions submitted by February 15 to all voting members present at the conference session. The maker of the late resolution shall supply these copies of his/her resolution if submitted after February 15.  No resolution will be received on the last day of the session.  The Chairperson of the Committee on Resolutions and Petitions is Rev. Christina Shaver. You may contact her at revchristinashaver@gmail.com.
     
  • Materials and reports to be included in the Book of Reports shall be in the hands of the Journal editor NO LATER THAN February 26, 2018. Please email materials and reports to Rev. Jackie Slaughter, Journal Editor:  theladyvicar@gmail.com.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me.
 
Shirley H. Woodie, Chairperson
AWFC Committee on Standing Rules
334-774-5516 (home)
334-379-7207 (cell)
   
Image goes here.
Interim Treasurer Named for Alabama-West Florida Conference
(AWFC-UMC 1/03/2018) - The Alabama-West Florida Conference is pleased to announce that Mr. Mickey Wilson has been named Interim Treasurer in the conference office. Wilson begins his service January 3, 2018. Prior to coming to the Alabama-West Florida Conference, he served as Treasurer of the Florida Annual Conference for ten years. He also worked at the General Commission on Finance and Administration as their CFO and was president of a leasing company that partnered with Nashville area’s largest bank. Wilson is a current general conference delegate in the Florida Annual Conference and has been one since 2008.  “I hope you will join me in welcoming Mickey Wilson to our conference on this interim basis,” said Bishop David Graves. "The conference CFA committee and I feel he will be an asset in helping our conference and fiscal office move ahead in this new year. His expertise and knowledge will allow us to effectively serve our local churches and continue to align the fiscal office with the mission of the United Methodist Church.” For more of the article continue here. >>  See Also: Two Staff Changes at Montgomery Office
 
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Disability Awareness Sunday February 25
(AWFC-UMC Focus on Mission Newsletter 1/11/2018) - "Disability Awareness Sunday calls the Church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the Church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community.”(¶265.4)

Berta Hurston, member of the AWF Conference Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns, Division of Disability Concerns stated, “This special Sunday will allow our local churches to acknowledge and show appreciation to those with disabilities. Often times these members are overlooked in our congregations because they are perceived to have limitations. We want to bring awareness that many of these members with disabilities bring a unique perspective to our congregations and can be leaders and contributing members to the United Methodist Church and our communities.” 

For more information about Disabilities Awareness Sunday and other disability ministry resources visit https://www.awfumc.org/disabilityministries.
 
Small Membership Church Summit March 2 & 3 at Blue Lake
This summit will be an opportunity for members of small membership churches (membership under 200) to come together to learn from each other and a few specialists about topics that are relevant for small churches. Open for all lay and clergy, .8 CEU available for participants. For details and to register, here is the event page.
 
"Take the Next Step" Event April 14 at Andalusia First UMC
Click here or on the graphic (right) for the April 14, 2018, event flyer.
Click here to search for more about "Next Step Ministry" at the AWF Conference website.
 
Resources Prompted by Church Tragedies
(AWFC-UMC 11/16/2017) - "After the terrible tragedy in Texas, many churches are considering how they can best prepare for an emergency in their community or congregation and how United Methodists can take a stand against gun violence. Click here for some of the resources available to clergy, trustees committees, church leaders, and others on this topic." 
 
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David Bowen, AWFC Director
Lay Servant Training 2018
(AWFC-UMC 12/02/2017) -  The Pensacola District will hold Lay Servant Ministries Training on Friday, March 9, 2018, and Saturday, March 10, 2018, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. [Here is the event page and flyer.] For questions about this training contact Bruce Knecht at acftmechcso@att.net.
        
There will be no Conference Blue Lake Training in 2018. We will hold a large training event at First United Methodist Church, Montgomery from Thursday, July 12, 2018, through Saturday, July 14, 2018, as we host the Southeastern Jurisdiction Annual Conference and District Directors meeting. There will be four or five Advanced Courses available as well as the Basic Course. Registration will be available in the spring of 2018. You may attend courses in any district. You are never limited to courses in your own particular district. For questions about Lay Servant Ministries in the Alabama-West Florida Conference contact David Bowen at david.bowenjr@gmail.com.
 
Event Promotion Guidelines (PDF)
(AWF-UMC 10/16/2017) - The Alabama-West Florida Conference cabinet and CORE team have approved new guidelines for promoting events in the conference. This will streamline how information is submitted, where events are promoted and also provides suggestions on how groups can help promote their events.  Click here for the pdf document.  
 
 
How We Can Partner With You?
(AWF United Methodist Foundation) - "The Development Fund would like to help your church build, expand, or renovate. We loan money to churches at rates that are significantly lower than typical commercial rates and we offer loan terms of up to 15 years. In addition, the Development Fund charges no points or closing costs.  Because we are a non-profit that serves our conference, the Development Fund Board is made up of United Methodists with financial backgrounds and also has experience complying to the Book of Discipline guidelines for building and loan projects. The reward received from helping churches ... is "why we do what we do," says Terri Turner, Executive Director of the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Foundation.  When considering finance options for your next project we invite you to fill out a loan application at www.alwfumf.org.   To get started on a new loan for your ministry contact Terri at 334-793-6820 or foundation@alwfumf.org."
 
A Shift to Digital in the Ordained Ministry Residency Program
(AWF-UMC 10/4/2017) - A shift toward digital resources in the Alabama-West Florida Conference is making it easier for newly commissioned ministers to navigate the challenging path to ordination.  Conference officials say the decision to make its Residency in Ordained Ministry program accessible through an online portal has resulted in more efficiency and greater connections among the candidates. For more continue here.   
  
Bishop Forms New Team to Help Congregations in Crisis
(Kari Barlow for the AWF Conference) - A new 19-member Bishop’s Response Team now stands ready to support congregations across the Alabama-West Florida Conference in times of crisis. Bishop David Graves, along with his cabinet and the Board of Ordained Ministry, began forming the team in May, after recognizing the need to provide more tangible support to churches dealing with a wide range of disruptive and life-altering events. “His vision is to deploy a response team of trained persons into a church and community whenever there is a traumatic event,” said Rev. June Jernigan, Assistant to Graves and Director of Ministerial Services. “He wants the congregation, complainant, clergy and clergy family to find support, encouragement and healing.” Full story here.
        
Information about Lay Servant Ministries
                    
 
 
You Can Use Amazon to Support UMCH!
Making purchases online? If you use smile.amazon.com when shopping, the United Methodist Children's Home will receive 0.5% of your purchase. More here. >>
 
Alabama-West Florida Conference News
You can subscribe to the AWFC NewsCONNECTION here.
For the AWFC NewsCONNECTION archives visit http://AWFUMC.org/Newsletters.

Video for Training Your Church Leaders about Safe Sanctuaries
(AWFC 6/22/2017) - If your church has already adopted and put into practice a Safe Sanctuaries policy, wonderful! Now we ask you to assist your fellow members in becoming knowledgeable about the requirements, including the essential requirement of ongoing training and reporting. If your church has not established a local Safe Sanctuaries policy, we sincerely recommend that you place this important topic on the agenda of your next Administrative Board meeting and take an active role in complying with the Annual Conference directives regarding this matter.
 
A training video has been prepared and a link to it is attached here. Accessing the video is easier now as there is a link to it on the home page of our conference website. We hope that you will ensure that it will be viewed by every member of your staff and every person who volunteers in Sunday School, youth ministry and any other church-related activity which involves children and vulnerable adults. The Trustees would also like to encourage you to invite all of your Adult Sunday School classes to use it for a class lesson. 

Yours in Christ,
Sue Bell Cobb
Chair, AWF Conference Trustees Safe Sanctuaries Committee
 
Do You Have Students Attending UWF or PSC?
The Wesley Foundation would like to contact students from your church if they are attending The University of West Florida or Pensacola State College.  If you have students currently attending, or heading that way in the fall, they would love to have their contact information so that they may welcome and invite them to be a part of our Wesley Foundation family.  Please e-mail this information to stuartworth@gmail.com.   
 
Safe Sanctuaries
                                 

 

Around the Web 

 
 
Lenten Devotions
Lenten Devotions by daily e-mail or pdf booklet are available from the Society of St. Andrew at http://endhunger.org/lent/.
 
Webinar on "Clergy Taxes: Don't Live in Fear"
10 a.m. CST Monday, February 12 (If you miss the seminar, check back again soon for the recording.)
(UMCDiscipleship) - Description:  "Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like social security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. Your corner tax preparer may not understand the unique situation of clergy, and finding one who does can save you substantially in money and aggravation. Join us as the Rev. Don Joiner, a certified financial planner and clergy tax preparer, helps us navigate the preparation of taxes and planning for a sound financial future. "  For more information and to register visit https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/clergy-taxes-dont-live-in-fear.
 
Webinar from GCFA on the New Tax Laws and What You Need to Know
Missed the live webinar?  You can still get the information at http://www.gcfa.org/taxreformwebinar:

Spring Loan Application Available from GBHEM
GBHEM offers United Methodist students the lowest interest rates for student loans in the U.S. to help minimize debt levels. Students may borrow up to $5,000 per calendar year. Spring loan applications are available now through May 2, 2018. For more information continue here.
 
 
The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship Fund
(GBHEM 1/9/2018) - The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is honored to announce the latest addition to its more than 70 scholarship funds. The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance to individuals attending one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries and pursuing ordination as a deacon.
 
The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship will provide an initial endowment of $20,000 for United Methodist students on a deacon track.  For the complete article announcing this new scholarship continue here.
 
 
Financial Planning Services for Certified Candidates
(GBHEM.org 6/27/2017) - The Candidacy Office of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has partnered with Wespath and EY (formerly Ernst & Young) to offer financial planning services to certified candidates for licensed and ordained ministry. The services will be offered at no cost to candidates upon certification by their district committees on ordained ministry. For more information visit https://www.gbhem.org/article/gbhem-candidacy-office-offers-financial-planning-services-certified-candidates.
 
Toolbox for the Annual Campaign
Will your church be planning an annual campaign this year?  If you missed July's live webinar on the topic, you can still view it online at your leisure. To view click here. After you complete the registration form the recording will begin.  

Assess Your Church's Financial Health
(UMC-org) - Click here for the website summary of the article, here for the full 3-page article in pdf.
 
Finance and Stewardship Webinar for Local Churches
Are you looking for new ways to financially support your church’s ministry? United Methodist Communications offered a webinar September 7 on the topic of finance and stewardship. If you missed the live Webinar, look for the archived recording here. Resources such as this are available because of the generous contributions of Churches to the World Service Fund.

 
 
Agency Partners with Church Software Company 
(GCFA) - Responding to inquiries from local churches about the need for church software to help manage church administrative functions, Church Windows, a leading provider of church management software, is the latest organization to partner with GCFA to support local church ministries. Details here
 
How to Care for the Children in Your Congregation
(UMC.org) - We can easily overlook or ignore children. That should not be the case in church. Does your church reach out to families? If so, make every effort to affirm the children in your congregation. How can you minister to the needs of the youngest members of your congregation? Acknowledge them. Include them. Protect them. Continue here for the article.
 
 
"Financial Tips for Clergy: Take the Bite Out of Taxes"    
You can view a recorded Webinar on this topic here.
"Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like social security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. It is important to know the rules, but also the way to minimize the impact of your tax liability. Not every tax preparer understands the unique situation of clergy, and finding one who does can save you substantially in money and aggravation...."  
                     
Finance Resources for Clergy
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership and Wesley Theological Seminary have gathered free resources to help pastors better understand and manage their personal finances. The resources are available at https://www.churchleadership.com/clergyfinances. (Posted 11/10/2016)  
 
Free Clergy Tax Video Available
Clergy face some distinctive tax regulations and often need guidance from tax professionals with experience working with clergy. The Lewis Center has prepared an informational video to help seminary students and clergy understand better the issues to which they and their tax preparers need to give attention. We use it as part of our seminary class on Personal Finances for Religious Professionals. If you feel this 12-minute video, Clergy Compensation and Taxes, may be useful to clergy with whom you work, feel free to share it.
 
Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Professor of Church Leadership
Director, Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Wesley Theological Seminary    
 
How to Apply for a Loan with the AWF United Methodist Foundation
Crestview First United Methodist Church was featured on page 3 of the AWF United Methodist Foundation's winter 2016 newsletter, GENEROSITY MATTERS. The article is about how to apply for a church loan.  For more information click here for the newsletter, visit http://alwfumf.org, or click here for the AWFUMF Facebook page.  
 
Free Special Sunday Resources
"How We Give" page at UMCgiving.org
What Are "Special Sundays?"
Six times throughout the year United Methodist congregations celebrate church-wide Special Sundays with offerings. United Methodists contribute to a variety of educational, community development, health and social welfare programs, many of which are administrated fully or in part through the General Board of Global Ministries. General Conference created six unique Special Sundays to help congregations work with communities, rebuild shattered lives, strengthen self-sufficiency, encourage partnerships, nurture Native American ministries, model peace and justice, provide scholarships and loans for United Methodist students, and much more. Special Sundays include Human Relations Day, One Great Hour of Sharing, Native American Ministries Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday, World Communion Sunday, and United Methodist Student Day. 
 
Prison Ministry
(AWFC-UMC Focus on Mission 6/28/2017) - Is your church already involved in some form of ministry to prisoners, released offenders, or their family members? Please be in touch with us because we would like to know more and how we can support you in your efforts.  We would also like to form a ministry team that will help churches become more involved in prison ministry. If you are interested in being part of this team, or just learning more, or will share what your church is already doing, contact Frank Clem (pictured right) at frankaclem@gmail.com or Susan Hunt at 334-356-8014 or susan@awfumc.org. Visit http://www.awfumc.org/prisonministry to read Frank's powerful testimony about his own prison experience and the redemption and healing he found. Frank is a member at Millbrook First UMC.  
 
UMC Federal Credit Union
(UMC-FCU) - "The United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union (UMC FCU) was established to financially serve you, a member of the United Methodist Church. Ministers, lay members, employees, church staff and employees of organizations and ministries affiliated with the United Methodist Church of the Alabama West Florida Conference are eligible to join. Immediate family members of our members are also eligible to join.  Banking with the UMC FCU is a smart choice, as we are owned and operated by the people who use us. That’s why we’re dedicated to the things that really matter to you specifically positioned to offer you better rates, services, and products that often out match traditional or conventional financial institutions while also supporting the UMC mission.  We’ve taken great strides to provide you services the way you like. Online and mobile banking and new technology that will make your experience with us easy.  To learn how to become a valued member of the UMC FCU, visit our new website at UMCfcu.com. Be sure to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Twitter!"
 
2017 Clergy Age Trends Report
The latest edition of the Lewis Center’s annual "Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church" is now available at https://www.churchleadership.com/clergyage.
If you do not currently receive Leading Ideas, the Center’s free online newsletter, you can subscribe at www.churchleadership.com
 
    
UMC Handbook
(UMCOM 6/22/2017) - The new United Methodist Church Handbook for this quadrennium is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination’s beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about The United Methodist Church and is helpful for leaders and new members. “The United Methodist Church Handbook is one of the most appreciated resources generated in the church, and rightly so,” said Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Connectional Ministries at Discipleship Ministries. “Whether it’s a question about our theology of grace, new annual conference boundaries, or how money from the Ministerial Education Fund is spent, you will look here first.” Details here.            

UMCom Launches Bi-weekly E-newsletter for Church Members
(UMCOM 4/11/2017) - United Methodist Communications has launched a new bi-weekly e-newsletter that is "the first publication to carry the voice of the denomination directly to members by delivering inspirational and informational content specifically designed for them." A reflection of UMC.org, the newsletter is called UNITED Methodist NOW.  Members can subscribe to the free e-newsletter and view the most recent articles at UMC.org/newsletter. Members who would like to share inspiring stories in the e-newsletters can send ideas to UMNow@UMC.org for consideration.  For the article continue here.
 
 
Booklet Offers Resources "Way Forward" Has Used
(UMC.org Daily Digest 12/12/2017) - The United Methodist Council of Bishops offers an 88-page booklet that contains some of the resources the Commission on a Way Forward has used so far in its work. The booklet contains information on three proposals the bishops will discuss in their respective areas. The bishop-appointed commission has the task of trying to move the denomination past its impasse around homosexuality. See booklet here, United Methodist News Service (UMNS) story on three models under consideration here.
 
Bishops Set the Date for the Special Session
of General Conference: February 23-26, 2019
(AWFC-UMC 4/25/2017) - (WASHINGTON, D.C.) "The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.... The purpose ... will be 'limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.' 
 
For the entire article at awfumc.org please continue here.
For the original article at UMC.org continue here
Click here for a pdf of the full letter sent to the heads of delegations to the 2016 General Conference (or successors), Secretary of the General Conference, and the Chairperson of the Commission on the General Conference.
 
See also:
 
 
Evangelical Group Plans for What’s Next   
(UMNS 5/01/2017) - "The United Methodist Church could be on the verge of a Paul and Barnabas moment — where Christian leaders decide to go their separate ways.  'Paul and Barnabas don’t allow their personal disagreement to derail the mission because the mission’s more important,' the Rev. Jeff Greenway said, citing Acts 15: 36-41. 'So Paul takes Silas and he goes off to missionary fame, and Barnabas takes John Mark, and we never hear from him again.'  Greenway was speaking to the second public gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a newly formed unofficial United Methodist group that holds church prohibitions against the practice of homosexuality to be part of Christian orthodoxy. Greenway is the chair of the association’s leadership council as well as lead pastor of Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church near Columbus, Ohio...." To read the rest of the article, please continue here. ###   
 
Website Development Grants
(UMC.org) - "United Methodist Communications is now offering a Website Development Grant to local United Methodist churches and church entities who do not currently have a website or who want to replace their current website with a new WordPress site. " For more information continue here
 
"Rethinking Your New Front Door"
Topic: Church Website Training

Cost: $39.99
Course Start Date: Open enrollment, start any time.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:

* Navigate & build a website on the WordPress platform.
* Identify your website’s target audience.
* Craft the goal of your website and your overall message.
* Create and design content for a church website.
* Develop menus and proper page structure.
* Access resources, training and support through United Methodist Communications and its web and internet technology sites, forums and events.

Click here for more information about this and other training opportunities offered at UMC.org.
                  
50 Ways to Reach Your Community
(The Lewis Center 11/24/2014) -  Here's an old but good article.... "These 50 Ways provide tips on reaching beyond the walls of your church with worship, community events, ministries, and service."  Continue here for the article.  Here's the information as a pdf you can share with others.
  
Update Your Find-A-Church Listing
Provided by United Methodist Communications and the local church, Find-A-Church allows you to introduce your church family to the community. By updating your church profile, you will help seekers find your church. Your profile serves as a powerful online tool for evangelism. Find-A-Church has almost 35,000 United Methodist Church profiles gaining more than 12,000 page views daily. Take advantage of this tool and get started now!  Update your church's profile by searching here.  By updating your church profile, you can:
  • Welcome visitors personally to your congregation.
  • Display your church's ministries and activities.
  • Add details about your worship schedule.
  • Link to your church's Web site for a closer look. 
     
New Worship Service Times?
Pastors/Secretaries, if your church's worship and Sunday School times have changed, please log-in and update the Local Church information. Your District Superintendent is visiting churches, and your Church Locator Page will need to show the correct information.  Thank you!
 
Disabilities Ministry Manual Available Online      
A new, comprehensive manual that covers disability ministries in the local church is available at the website of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. The resource will connect United Methodists with answers about this essential ministry area. Visit http://www.bwcumc.org/ministries/disability-ministries/.
 
 
Free Resources to Equip Church Leaders
(Discipleship Ministries-UMC) - Guidebooks from Discipleship Resources are available for quality leadership team training for your church’s key staff, laity in leadership positions and pastor. Topics of the four TeamWorks Guidebooks are Spiritual Life of the Leaders, Connecting with Your Community, Creating a Discipleship System and Futurecasting. Each contains seminars, personal devotions, tools and articles, and downloadable presentation slides and webinars are available at the TeamWorks website. For more information go to www.TeamWorksUMC.org or contact Craig Kennet Miller at cmiller@umcdiscipleship.org.
 
United Methodist Webinars
Webinars offered by UMC Discipleship are posted at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars.
 
"How to Break Bad News to a Congregation and Community"
(UMCOM.org) - "Whether the boiler just failed in the middle of winter, there’s been a break-in, or a staff member was unexpectedly let go, bad news travels fast and can create chaos in your church. The actions and words of the pastor and church leaders can shape the perception of how the congregation and community feel and may have broad ramifications that last well beyond the moment and must be handled with extreme care...." Continue here for the article >> 
 
Name Change for PAUMCS - But Acronym Still "PAUMCS"
(VAUMC) - The Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries' (PAUMCS) 35th annual conference was hosted by the Northern Illinois Annual Conference PAUMCS Chapter in Chicago, Illinois May 3-6, 2017.  At the meeting, the association membership voted to change the name of and adopt a new logo for the organization.  Beginning immediately, the organization is known as the Professional Administrators of the United Methodist Connectional Structure. The acronym, PAUMCS, remains the same.
                 
"Easy Exercises You Can Do in Your Chair" 
(AWFC-UMC 4/5/2017) - Here's an item with office staff in mind.... Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama suggests some easy exercises you can do at your desk.  For the pdf click here.
 
How to Write Your Way to Better Bible Study
(UMCom.org) - Combining note-taking and journaling can enhance your Bible study, prayer time, and sermon preparation. United Methodist Communications has an article about this here.
 
Free Online Audio Bible 
At the link below you can hear a dramatic reading of the Bible. You can set it to the Bible translation you prefer, start at a particular passage, run or not run continuously, and pause it and restart at any time.  https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/
 
If You Happen to Find Any Broken Web Links....
At http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org we try to keep the Web links updated, but if you come across one that gives you a message like "page no longer exists" or "file not found," try going to the source's home page (first part of the link URL) and doing a word search on the topic at the site. As resources improve and update their websites, this sometimes breaks links we've shared with you on our site. It's all good, all a part of progress! The information may still be there, but just might take a little personal digging on your part to find where it was moved - or please contact the district office. We'll be glad to help!  - Mary, Pensacola District Administrative Assistant  
 

 
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