Last week Bishop Ken Carter held a Zoom meeting for clergy in the Florida Conference to talk about some priorities that he described as "signs of the times." Just as he felt the need to gather everyone together to talk about our mission and where we are going, we at Tuskawilla feel a similar need to get focused on our mission. We have begun The Red Letter Challenge to become even more vital in our walk with Christ.
The Bishop Highlights 4 ways to read the Signs of the Times
The Local Church
It is a priority for the Florida Conference to help local churches become vital, sustainable, and innovative.
Here at Tuskawilla, we are working on all three of these priorities. Our vitality comes from deeply devoted followers of Jesus who are engaged in making disciples who belong, grow, and serve. We are currently working on a stewardship campaign to help our church understand the level of giving needed for our ministry to be sustainable. We are working on some Fresh Expression initiatives that are helping us to go out into the community in new ways, such as Kathryn's Story Time in the Park and her Moms and Babies group. Our choir is reaching into the community to invite people outside of our church to become involved in our music program. We continue our ministry at The Tremont. We reach many in our community through the Pumpkin Patch and this year will add a small Rummage Sale to that event.
2. Journey of Anti-Racism
As disciples of Jesus, we grow in his likeness and understand that every person is created in the image of God. TUMC has been a leading presence in building a district-wide anti-racism group, The Bridge Builders, which meets on Zoom, every second Sunday, where we have discussions about racism with a diverse group of clergy and lay people. We have been intentional about having people of color represented on our staff and also have sought to have more multicultural music in worship, to reach out to a wider variety of people. We continue the journey to recognize the racism in ourselves and to pray for reconciliation and forgiveness.
The conference has highlighted the importance of good health and resiliency of clergy and spiritual leaders during this challenging time of ministry. As your pastor, I continue to be intentional about tending to my self-care through daily disciplines of prayer and scripture, meeting with a spiritual director, and observing a restoring Sabbath day each week.
As the Florida Conference continues to give direction to local churches about COVID, we continue to adapt our practices to create an environment of safety and comfort.
4. The Continuing United Methodist Church
The Bishop describes our denomination as a Big Tent, where there is a spiritual home for all of us, where no one will be sent away. Our General Conference was postponed until September of 2022, so we have not yet had resolution on the disagreements our church has over the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons. While Tuskawilla is still governed by the Book of Discipline, we continue to invite and welcome all people to be part of our church family. All are welcome to become members of our church and to serve in leadership roles. We continue our learning this weekend as we begin a class with Dr. Steve Harper called Faithful and Inclusive. This is a Zoom meeting that will take place on the 4th Sunday of each month to learn more about how to be obedient to scripture, while also loving and accepting all of God's people.
We are the church together. I am honored and privileged to serve with you!