First United Methodist Church

Service Times

9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

Clergy Transitions

Hi Church Family – As the co-chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, I have the honor and responsibility of sharing important information around clergy transitions. We are headed into the season when clergy transitions are finalized.

As you may know, our church is a local church that is part of the Florida Annual Conference. And, within our denomination, clergy are provided to local churches using an appointment system. In the appointment system, the higher level of leadership within the Conference, which is called the Cabinet, oversees the placement of clergy.

The Cabinet works with local churches and the Staff Parish Relations Committees of all the local churches to understand the needs of each specific church. During this multi-faceted process, the Cabinet looks to support churches with clergy who hold skills and strengths to help local churches flourish. This an annual process that happens every Spring. The process brought us, Pastor David, several years ago and Pastor Rachel last year!  

And today I have a few announcements of upcoming clergy changes for our church family to begin to process and live-in together in the coming months

  • We shared with you recently that Michael LeBlanc, our Director of Student Ministry was recommended by the Board of Ordained Ministry as a Provisional Elder. Along with his ordination, Michael is now a part of the clergy appointment system within the Florida Conference. Michael has led our youth for the past six years. I invite you to celebrate with us that Pastor Michael will serve in his first appointment starting this July. 
  • Pastor Rick joined our church family as our Director of Family Ministry. He has been vital in our Children’s Program, Nursey Ministry, and creative “Children’s Moment” during worship. We appreciate the footprint he has left on our Family Ministry with his creative approach to engaging our kids. We are thankful for the News Team he launched with our 5th Graders and his use of technology to further the spiritual development of our kids. As a Local Pastor within our denomination, Pastor Rick will be moving to a new appointment starting in July. 

To honor the process within the denomination, we are not able to announce the location of Pastor Michael and Pastor Rick’s next appointments quite yet. Know that we are excited for them and their next steps as clergy leaders within the Florida Conference. 

Finally, I have one more transition to announce that will impact our church family this summer as well. Dr. Jon and his fiancé Austin will be relocating to North Carolina this June. Austin completed medical school and will begin her residency at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill North Carolina. Dr. Jon started with our church as the Young Adult Pastor 9 years ago and has most recently served as one of our associate pastors. Please join me in celebrating Dr. Jon and Austin’s next steps as a family.

Our church family has truly been blessed by the presence of Dr. Jon, Pastor Rick and Pastor Michael. I know I have personally been impacted by all of their ministries and that they will be greatly missed.

In the coming weeks, we will announce information on how we will celebrate these Pastors and their contributions to our church and community. We will also be sharing the church’s interim plans for the ministries that Dr. Jon, Pastor Rick, and Pastor Michael have been leading.

I ask you to join me in praying over their future ministries, pray for their families during this time of transition and continue to pray for our church family in this season of change. Thank you.

Mission Moment from Ivor Singer- Inua Partners In Hope

Learn more about Inua at the link below!

Devotion from Michael LeBlanc (Mar. 31)

Devotion from Pastor Rachel (Mar. 30)

Devotion from Dr. Jon (Mar. 29)

Pastor David & Craig Smelser Discuss Apportionments and the Conference Budget

Faithful Giving Allows Vital Conference Work to Continue

The COVID-19 pandemic forced every church in the Florida Conference to give extra scrutiny to each expenditure. But as the new year dawned, it was clear that United Methodist churches throughout the state came through for the Conference’s shared ministries.

Overall, churches paid a surprising 83.1% of apportionments, money that supports Conference ministries throughout the state, nation, and globe.

Historically, the churches of the Florida Conference combined normally pay about 88% of apportionments. Considering the obstacles in 2020, to come that close to the historical average goal enabled the Conference to continue its vital work of serving communities throughout Florida and beyond.

Read the full article from The Flordia Conference at the link below.

Devotion from Dr. Jon (Mar. 25)

Characteristics of a Stephen Minister

As you have been reading about the Stephen Minister these last few weeks, have you felt God tugging at your heart, as if to say this is something you can do? But then you find yourself wondering if you have the right gifts and temperament to explore this further. If so, wonder no more.

Here are the qualities and characteristics of the Stephen Minister:

The person of the caregiver follows the Caregiver’s Compass which leads in the following directions:  Compassion, Faith based, Skilled in listening, openess, acceptance with a nonjudgmental attitude, and finally Trustworthiness.

The caregiver self-examines himself or herself in each of these areas.  And asks the question of themselves:

Am I…

  • Compassionate?  Which means that I understand and am willing to share others’ pain.
  • Full of Faith?  Which means that I have unshakable faith in Jesus, pray without ceasing, and always hope in God.
  • Skilled?  Which means I am willing to grow in or already competent in caregiving skills.  I can respond to difficult feelings such as anger, hurt, frustration, irritation, resentment, suspicion, loneliness, grief, misery, guilt and shame, sadness, despair and confusion.
  • Trustworthy? Which means I am reliable and committed to serving as a Stephen Minister.
  • Christ-centered?  Which means that I keep Christ at the center of all I do as a Christian and as a caregiver.

Furthermore, the Stephen Minister agrees to the Covenant of Care:

  • I will glorify God with a grateful heart.
  • I will depend on God for the results in my caregiving.
  • I will worship God regularly.
  • I will promote respect among fellow ministers and church leaders.
  • I will help my care receiver find needed care when he or she needs more than I can give.
  • I will guard the reputation of Stephen Ministry.
  • I will serve without expecting or accepting financial reward.
  • I will maintain confidentiality.
  • I will discipline myself to meet my care receiver’s needs.
  • I am willing to receive direction and supervision.

Now let me ask you, is this something God has called you to explore and learn more about? If so, we hope you would consider applying to be a Stephen Minister and beginning classes this summer. Click here to learn more!

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NRSV

Devotion from Pastor Rick (Mar. 24)

Devotion from Michael LeBlanc (Mar. 23)