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  • Writer's pictureMemorial Fernandina

June 9th, 2023 | Rev. Dr. Mark Charles

As I write, I am sitting in the Branscomb Auditorium at Florida Southern College, where the plenary sessions of the Florida Annual Conference 2023 are taking place. It’s day two of our business and things have been going very well. Yesterday was one of the most worship-centered, hope-filled, joyful days of Conferencing I have ever been a part of.

The arrival of a new Bishop is always an exciting time for an Annual Conference, with the excitement always building a little more as the Annual Conference gathering approaches. As Bishop Berlin led us yesterday, he was clear in naming the reality that the Florida Conference has been moving through a difficult season in which numerous churches have disaffiliated their membership of the denomination, but he refused to park us there. Instead, our new Bishop called us to remember that we are people of resurrection faith and that we are called to continue joining in on the mission of God, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

As I got to the end of a long day in which we had collectively remembered our baptisms, been intentional in blessing those friends who are no longer with us as a result of disaffiliations, worshiped together in song, heard reports of the difference-making ministry that is happening throughout the Florida Conference, and voted to approve the licensing, commissioning, or ordination to ministry of 47 people, I couldn’t help but be amazed and encouraged by the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the people called United Methodist in Florida.

Sometimes in local church life we too easily forget that are part of something bigger, but as United Methodists we really are. Our connection to one another makes us stronger and can be a source of inspiration and encouragement. I often say that it’s a good time to be part of what God is doing through Memorial, and that is very true. But it is also a good time to be part of what God is doing through the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, too.

As I return home from Annual Conference tomorrow, I am encouraged to be a United Methodist, and I am remarkably proud of the work we are doing together in the Florida Conference.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Charlie

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