Florida Annual Conference

Fl Annual conference 2014 graphicOur church’s delegates and alternates, Bruce and Jane Dent, and Everett and Adleen Rawlings, attended the 2014 Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church from June 11-14. The theme of the conference this year was “The Mission of God.” Below is their submitted report:

Speakers: Dr. Thomas Kemper, the general secretary and top executive of the General Board of Global Ministries. A map was shown where missionaries serve and the countries that sent them which included countries we served are now able to send missionaries out into the world. Every Christian is a missionary. Many lay members in our conference shared their experience, in Mission with God.

Dr. Robert G. Tuttle Jr., was the Bible Study Leader Thurs. and Fri. mornings.

James H. Salley, associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement for African University in Zimbabwe, was the key speaker Thursday evening following the concert given by the African University Choir.

The Rev. Pam Cahoon, former executive director of CROS ministries gave the address for the Service of Remembrance. Gladys Jenkins, wife of Pastor Robert Jenkins, died 3/31/14. It was good to see Bob, he served our church in the 1980’s, just before his retirement.

Louisiana Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, addressed the more than 50 individuals who were ordained, licensed, or commissioned during this service.

Resident Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr. was the key speaker for the opening and closing services of annual conference. The books of Luke and Acts were the bases of his messages. Think out of the box to reach the unchurched; Yoga Chapel, Bikers Church were examples.

Enrichment Sessions were held for the first time as part of the afternoon conference schedule. We could attend one of many that were offered. They dealt with many of today’s social issues and how the local church can be involved.

The music throughout the conference was exceptional. Michelle Weger (Grace UMC, Cape Coral) and Jeremy Hearn (FUMC, Lakeland) were the leaders.

Stop Hunger Now, yearlong FL Conference campaign to provide 1,000,000 meals was exceeded by 1,685,801, almost 70%.

Bishop’s Annual Offering was $73,000 given by our conference churches to be divided equally for scholarships for students in the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance and School of Theology at African University and support for young adults who will serve for a mission year here in FL. This equips them to be Christian leaders of the future. Our congregation’s contribution was $800 collected in April’s mission giving.

Church Membership was 262,000 in 2013 down 7000 or 2.6% from 2012.

Church paying apportionments at 100% was up from 394 in 2012 to 400 in 2013. We wore a special ribbon on our name tag showing we were 100%.

2015 budget request is 1.89% more than 2014.

Ministries of 6 churches were discontinued.

The presentation of Retiring Ministers was held Thurs. afternoon. In addition to our Pastor Ken Roughton, Warren Langer and Pam Cahoon also retired.

We had breakfast Thurs. morning with our new Pastor, Marcus Zillman and Tom Tift. Fortunately, we had met Marcus and his wife, Rebecca soon after we arrived at conference.

Respectively Submitted,

Jane Dent and Adleen Rawlings, 2014 Lay Member Delegates to FL Annual Conference

Contact www.acflorida.org for more details.

Getting ready

The team is getting packed and ready as we are excited for our upcoming trip. Join the students and their families in the 9:30 east service this Sunday as Pastor Marcus will be praying for us. The group will be traveling after the service to Ocala for the night, before arriving in Panama City Monday. Please keep the team in your prayers as we get ready to go!

We’re here!

After two days of travel with lots of food and fun we’ve arrived in Panama City Beach! We have some time to relax and rest before our first session of worship and teaching tonight. Here are just a few pictures from our travels.

Imagine: Grace

We had our first session of worship and teaching and we are in for some awesome, encouraging and challenging messages this week! Shannon Chapman spoke about imagine; grace. He talked about how grace comes through Jesus, is free, resistible, and limitless. Although Shannon walked us through many verses, tonight’s focus was 2 Cor. 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

The theme this week is all about “Imagine” with different focuses each night. The challenge is for us to even try to imagine all the things God wants to do through us and for us. The theme verse is Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

We found out we’ll be doing our work starting tomorrow at a local orphanage with various projects to help better the ministry and to love on the children there.

Here are a few more pictures from today…

Anchorage Children’s Home

Today was our first day of work and we had a variety of work projects at the Anchorage Children’s home, a local orphanage specializing in keeping siblings together. We weeded and flattened the ground around and under their playground set and began to lay mulch there. We also weeded a smaller garden walkway area and will be laying the mulch for that tomorrow. Lots of students took turns pressure washing the carport and drive way and we’ll finish the washing of the basketball court and and sides of the house tomorrow. We also did some repairs to areas of their fence that were loosening up and beginning to come un done. A few students worked on cleaning out the gutters that were filled with debris.

We’ll be returning tomorrow to finish our projects and add on a few more to help improve the house for the kids.

Imagine: Hope

Tonight’s teaching by Frank Clark was imagine: hope. Frank spoke about having our hope in Jesus and anchoring our lives to that hope. He really pushed us to dream big and imagine with God, and that if we dream with God and he wants us to do something then he’ll help us do it. And to not dream or imagine small but to dream BIG with God.

Frank expanded on the weeks verse into Ephesians 3:20-21 and highlighted how God works with his power, for HIS glory, and he has been there for generations before us and will continue after us. We also looked at Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,” and spoke about Jesus, the curtain, being our anchor of hope.

We learned a cool picture of the word “imagine” that if you look at it like imag[in]e and move the “in” to the front you get [in image], and we are created in God’s image to dream big.

The students had great small group times sharing what we put our hope in, and how and why to start putting our hope in Jesus.

Here’s a picture of Frank from teaching tonight and of the kids playing a game of knockout basketball.

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Anchorage Children’s home, day 2

We finished our projects today at the children’s home and what an amazing difference! Our students worked so hard and completed all our scheduled tasks- mulching the playground, pressure cleaning, mulching the garden, painting a picnic table and bench, cleaning the gutters, and planting flowers. Here are some final pictures from our work today.

Imagine: Love

Tonight’s message was imagining love given by Danny Hesterly. He spoke about how God created us with a purpose and mission, to connect with him on the deepest, most intimate level.

We heard about how God’s love for us is not based on anything we do but on who God is. Danny showed us a great illustration of not just being filled with God’s love,but how as we are filled with his love and passion we become compassionate and it pours out to others.

The students were given an opportunity to pray with us, Brad and Jill, for either Jesus, passion or both. It was an amazing opportunity that we had when every single student came up to us for prayer for either one or the other or both.

Pray for the students who prayed for Jesus for either the first time or for just more of Jesus in their lives. Pray that they continue to seek and find more of Jesus and their personal relationship with God grows. Also pray for those students who need more passion in their lives to live for God. It was a great night and our prayer is that it doesn’t just end with tonight but continues as we go home and all of us seek for more Jesus and more passion.

Anchorage Children’s Home, day 3

Today was our third and final day of work. We went to a different campus of the Anchorage Children’s Home today, one that focuses on ages 12-17 with the capability of transitional living for 16-22 years old. A few of our group worked in the morning hours to help clear out some over grown bushes and such that we’re blocking a drainage ditch. The remainder of our group interacted with the students that were there through sports, games, and just talking, getting to know them. Because of confidentiality and safety for the kids that live there we were not allowed to take pictures of them. Here are a few from the bush clearing and just of our students hanging.