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Find out what happened last month or what will happen this month with our monthly newsletter, the Monthly Tidings – Click here. You’ll find lots of photos of what’s been happening around the church. You’ll also find Dr. Wiatt’s column, Music news, Youth news, UMW news, and Health Wellness Ministry news. Stay current with what’s happening at the church with the Monthly Tidings.
Here are the latest posts…
Service Opportunity – Divine Dirt
Through the Green Faith Alliance, Trinity is partnering with the iGrow Community Garden Movement. The iGrow is a Frenchtown based youth empowerment and urban agricultural program of the Tallahassee Food Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to grow community- based food systems to ensure food security and accessibility and providing healthy, affordable food for all.
The DIVINE DIRT project will help us build relationships with this traditionally underserved served community and foster racial harmony while we work together to grow food.
Under the supervision of Miaisha Mitchell, Trinity members work in the garden located at 611-Dent Street, Monday mornings from 9-11 a.m. Others working alongside us are members of the Green Faith Alliance, representing faith communities such as St Paul’s UMC, Temple Israel, Holy Comforter, and the Quaker community. All workers wear masks, gloves and maintain social distancing. They all bring their own water supply.
Throughout the summer months, members prepare new garden plots ,raised beds, water existing beds, weed, plant new beds, trim bushes and help maintain the garden space on Dent St.
Proposed fall garden projects are as follows: build new raised beds on available land, encourage more Trinity member participation, involve our youths to learn gardening skills, dialogue with community church members and neighborhood residents. Winter crops that are anticipated would be lettuces, collards, kale and other seasonal vegetables.
Times and day would be determined by the director as well as polling of Trinity volunteers. Produce from the garden would be distributed for the area residents or sold at other community gardens.
Our goals are to build awareness of sustainable food, healthy eating and cooking and work toward environmental, climate and social justice. By working together as ONE we can make this happen.
If interested, please contact our Trinity representatives below:
Linda Rogers: [email protected]
Mary Ann Moore: [email protected]
Green Faith Alliance representatives for Trinity United Methodist Church
Helping God in “Transforming Lives Through the Arts”: Trinity Welcomes Chris Titko as Director of Music
On June 21 in worship, we bid farewell to Mark and Cindy Repasky, and on July 1, 2020, we welcomed our new Director of Music, Christopher Titko.
“God transforming lives through the arts.” This is what Chris feels he is called to facilitate. His United Methodist journey began as a preacher’s kid in Ohio where his grandfather was a United Methodist minister as well as his father. So Chris is a PK twice over!
Mr. Titko earned his bachelor’s degree in sacred music from Westminster Choir College and holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Indiana University. He pursued further post-graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Oklahoma.
For the past five years, Chris served as the church music editor for J.W. Pepper, one of the largest print and digital music publishers in the United States.
In his over 40 years of ministry, Chris has led performances with orchestra of major choral works as well as musical theater.
Chris has three children and enjoys singing, playing piano and organ, going to the movies, snorkeling, and growing in his faith.
Chris can be reached by email at [email protected].
Dear Laity and Clergy of the Florida Annual Conference:
Below you will find a statement from our cabinet. We realize it has been eleven days since the death of George Floyd. We have responded on social media and in clergy meetings and we felt like a more formal statement was important at this time. We also commend the statement of the SEJ College of Bishops, which was released today. We know you will find ways to address this in worship and you may choose to use these statements in some way. To our Black clergy colleagues, we see you, we hear you and we stand with you at this time. We are asking our White clergy to fully engage with this. We are working on actionable steps including training in the fall and the creation of an Anti-Racism Task Force. If you have input to this work, please communicate at this time with Alex Shanks at [email protected] You can also find a list of resources for this work here.
The Peace of the Lord,
The Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference
Cabinet Statement in Response to Racial Injustice
From the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
We join in the outrage expressed by multiple groups and leaders within our connection. The outrage is not only over the death of George Floyd (and countless others) but over the way in which systemic racism and white supremacy are imbedded in the history of our nation and of our church. This act of violence was perpetrated at the hands of those charged with protecting citizens and maintaining the peace. Racism is not new. White supremacy, xenophobia, and white privilege are interwoven within our social, political, and religious structures. Racism is a sin and is blatantly incompatible with Christian teaching.
As Jesus’ people we begin with the knowledge that all persons are created in the image of God. We believe all lives won’t matter until black lives matter.
We seek to name the injustices within the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church and work toward healing and unity. We acknowledge our complicity and our collective need to develop greater self-awareness. We repent of our individual and collective sins of omission and commission, particularly our silence and when we have not actively worked for racial justice.
We commit to listening. We commit to peace with justice. We commit to the urgency of educating ourselves. We commit to change. We commit to further training of our clergy and resourcing local churches in order to create heart transformation for all Florida United Methodists. We encourage Florida United Methodists to work toward eliminating obstacles to voting. We ask people to move towards one another and build new relationships.
We join you in prayer with a commitment to build a future with hope. The truth of this statement will be made known as we witness these words put into action.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave, Lakeland, FL 33815
During the last week we have watched an incredible outpouring of emotion across our nation. In conversation with friends and clergy of color we have heard pain, fear, sadness, anger, and more. We too have wrestled with those same feelings. The reality is that George Floyd’s death is the most recent example of how black lives are so quickly taken in our society. The uneven effects of COVID, the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the threat against Christian Cooper, the killing by and of Tony McDade locally, and countless personal stories we will never hear have left so many of our human family feeling deeply vulnerable and downright unsafe. People are clamoring for answers, many are filing into the streets across the country, and our community has joined the widespread outcry and call for change.
We offer you a pastoral word and call to lament in this moment. Many of the people who receive this communication do not live with the day to day reality of social interactions that could take our lives. For your pastors, the COVID pandemic is the longest stretch of our lives where we have had to deal with the deep fear and anxiety of not knowing if walking down the street or into the store may result in our death. This is but a glimpse into what many of our brothers and sisters of color regularly live with. We know when discomfort and uncertainty wells up inside us about how to respond or what to do in the face of our family’s pain, this story is not about us. Sitting in the discomfort we feel is a choice we must make, because we have a choice to make. Working through our uncertainty in this moment is a sign of God’s grace and equips us to better support our family.
Lamentations are part of our Christian tradition, passed down through the great cloud of witnesses to our faith from Abraham’s doubt, to Ruth’s prose, in Jesus’ tears, Wesley’s uncertainty, and Martin’s dream. We find comfort and peace in our grief thanks to God’s grace. We also find strength, together. While we must lament we must also act. Something simple to do in this moment is show love for your neighbor and check on your friends, particularly your friends of color. Let them know you care and you’re ready to listen. You don’t have to have answers or solutions, nor is this the time for lots of questions. Just sit with them, listen, engage when asked, and acknowledge the experiences they share.
Another step is to reflect on what you are doing to move God’s Kingdom forward with honor and respect for the wonderful diversity of Creation. Like the old children’s song goes, “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight,” God’s love is for everyone. You can Google antiracism resources and start some research. We’ve also included a reflection from one of our member’s, Walli Beall, with this message to serve as a guidepost for all our journeys. We can do a better job of confronting our own biases and pray for the grace to do it without harm.
Finally, if you are called to act, we encourage you to be safe. There are demonstrations happening almost daily. There is one tonight. People will gather at 7pm at the Capitol and walk to Cascades Park. Our mayor, city commission, police chief, city manager and assistant city manager, as well as several clergy made a public statement on Monday of this week supporting and encouraging peaceful demonstration. We echo their sentiment and ask that you also remember we are in the middle of a community-wide pandemic response.
We Love Being Your Pastors,
Dr. Wayne, Rev. Neal, and Dr. Nick
The Florida Conference Re-Launch Task Force along with Bishop Carter and the Cabinet met this week and decided to allow churches to consider resuming in-person worship after June 15th on a limited basis according to the following guidelines. Before proceeding, we ask that you be sure to have read carefully and completely our FLUMC guidelines, the CDC guidelines, the article “Why reopening church is different”, the FAQ document, and the Governor’s Plan for Florida’s Recovery. [Click title to read more.]
From Rev. Alex Shanks, assistant to Bishop Carter:
“Everywhere we turn, people are talking about reopening. Should churches simply follow the same guidelines regarding reopening as other institutions? I believe there are practical principles and theological reasons why reopening our church campuses requires a different kind of thinking.
The church shouldn’t be looking to sidestep the guidelines. The church shouldn’t be simply reacting to what others are doing. The church should beleading the way by modeling a method of safety for others to follow.”
Please see these guidelines that will help us be thoughtful and consistent in modeling a method of safety:
Dear Clergy and Laity of the Florida Conference:
Our cabinet formed a re-launch task force to begin looking at how we can help resource churches as they prepare to re-launch during COVID-19. We solicited input from you and received thousands of responses. Our initial guidance is downloadable below for your use. These guidelines will be regularly reviewed and updated. We have consulted government officials and health experts and will continue to review the latest guidance.
- Churches should plan to continue to offer on-line opportunities until a vaccine is readily available, knowing that many people will not feel comfortable returning to worship until that time.
- We ask that no in-person worship services take place through June 15th. The actual date for when in-person worship services will resume is still being determined but we know it will be after June 15th.
- We give guidance on some alternative worship models that could be attempted starting May 15th including house worship and drive-in worship. These require strict safety guidelines and should only be attempted in places where volunteers and staff are ready to monitor and enforce the guidelines.
- We invite you to begin preparing for what in-person worship may look like after June 15th. We know you will need to adjust worship plans to allow for safety and social distancing. Detailed descriptions are provided for a variety of worship logistics. Walking through the logistics with key volunteers and staff will be essential.
- We suggest you form a re-launch task force of lay and clergy leaders to explore how you will work through these guidelines in a way that honors your context.
- At all times we encourage proper social distancing, handwashing, the wearing of masks, and for sick persons or persons who have been in contact with the virus to remain at home. We are especially concerned that those most vulnerable to the virus be vigilant in the days ahead.
Also in this document are guiding principles and scriptural foundations. We offer this guidance from a standpoint of our faith that calls us to love our neighbors and care for the most vulnerable.
Our rationale for a no sooner than June 15th date include:
- Relaunching in-person worship presents a significant effort on behalf of church leadership. June 15th allows them enough time to prepare worship spaces and gather and train the necessary volunteer base.
- By June 15th, we will have clearer results from the reopening of the state of Florida to guide us in our decision making.
- Many in our state and in our church communities are part of the most vulnerable populations. Our clear guidance from the feedback we have received is to err on the side of safety.
We will continue to monitor the realities in our communities and adjust our guidance as needed.
Should you have specific questions, please reach out to your District Superintendent who can guide you.
May God continue to walk with us in this season. We pray now for those who are sick and all our front line workers who are keeping us safe. We remain on mission together.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave, Lakeland, FL 33815
Please access this link to get the latest news relating to the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.