Last Thursday, we wrote to you from Lakeland where, along with 10 Trinity members, we were in attendance at the 2019 Florida Annual Conference. At that time, our report focused on recapping the conflict within the UMC over the last few years on the subject of human sexuality and sharing results from the election of delegates at this year's Conference. If you missed the pastors' message last week, you can find it here.
This week, we'd like to share with you our Top Ten List from this year's Annual Conference:
The 2020 Conference Budget was reduced, which means lower apportionments for churches, resulting in more resources remaining at the local level for funding ministries.
#9 - A powerful message from Bishop Will Willimon, reminding us all that we are "Sent, Together" in ministry to the world. You can view his message here.
#8 - A
report on innovative ministries, including the exciting news that there are now 301 Fresh Expressions of church happening around the Conference. Two of those are Trinity's own No Bull Bibles & Brew and Holy Yoga.
#7 - The Service of Ordination, Commissioning and Licensing, which this year celebrated 52 persons who, having completed a process of credentialing, had their calling to ministry affirmed and blessed by the church. Rev. Lenora Rousseau was among those being ordained this year as an Elder in Full Connection. Several folks from Trinity made the trip to be there for the service and a reception that followed.
#6 - The approval of a new plan that will expand our conference ministries with Latina/Latino persons in Florida. One of the presenters for this report was Rev. Esther Rodriguez, former associate pastor of Trinity.
#5 - A report on ZOE, announcing that last year 14 Florida Conference churches launched new partnerships through a matching grant program. 14 more are expected to be launched in the coming year. That's over 2000 children who will be empowered to discover a new life for themselves!
#4 - Evidence that our United Methodist Campus Ministries are thriving, as college students served as delegates, led us in prayer, and rocked the house with some worship music on Friday night that had everyone on their feet.
#3 - A Conference Offering of over $37,000, which this year will go to support two great initiatives: 1) the purchase of facilities that will serve the revitalized and thriving FAMU Wesley campus ministry and 2) the start of a new church within the Lowell Correctional Institute, the largest women's prison in the country (did you know that women from Trinity visit Lowell several times every year as part of our Mommy Reads program?)
#2 - The election of our 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegations. The group of 46 delegates (16 General Conference, 16 additional Jurisdictional Conference, and 14 reserves) includes a nearly equal numbers of women and men, who are African-American, Caucasian, Haitian, Latina/Latino, and Pacific-Islander. Over half of the laity delegation is under the age of 40 and over half of the clergy delegation is under the age of 50. Heather Pancoast, who attends Trinity regularly with her family and serves as co-director of Gator Wesley with her husband Joel, was elected as one of the lay delegates. Rev. Esther Rodriguez, former associate pastor of Trinity, was elected as one of the clergy delegates.
#1 - At the close of the Service of Ordination, Commissioning, and Licensing, three of Trinity's delegates, Erica Penley, Joey McGinn, and Meghan Williams, responded to an invitation from Bishop Carter for anyone feeling called into ministry to come forward. Meghan has already entered the candidacy process for ordained ministry and will begin distance learning through Iliff School of Theology this fall. Pray for this new beginning for her. Pray also for Erica and Joey as they continue to listen for the specific path of ministry to which God is calling them.