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WEEKLY NOTES June 16, 2022

Dear Friends:

Last week I attended Annual Conference in Lakeland, FL along with both Rev. Kandace Brooks and Rev. Latricia Scriven.  At Saint Paul's we have two retired clergy that are part of our congregation: Rev. David Gill and Rev. Anne Godbold.  They attended as well, along with David's wife, Susan Gill.  Our lay delegates were Debbie Eggebraaten and Connie Zeigler, and we also had two youth delegates that attended as district delegates: Kaden Rokitowski and Parker Keaton.  Dora Thomas also attended.  I encourage you to engage these folks in conversations about what stood out to them most about this gathering.  

Most of you have probably heard by now that the 16 candidates that were to be commissioned as provisional elders and provisional deacons were denied that status.  At the opening of Annual Conference the clergy gather together for Clergy Session, and vote to approve those who are slated to be licensed as local pastors, commissioned as provisional elders and deacons, and ordained as elders and deacons in full connection. 

This is usually a rubber-stamp vote on the extensive work that the Board of Ordained Ministry has already done in examining the candidates.  However, this year the commissioning group contained two known members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  In order to be approved at the clergy session, these individuals needed a 75% vote of "yes."  They received a vote of 72.5%.  It has been the custom of the Florida Conference to vote on each group as a whole, rather than as individuals, and the group voted to maintain that tradition prior to the vote.  Therefore all 16 candidates were denied commissioning.  

I found this heartbreaking because I believe strongly that God can and does call and equip all sorts of people for ministry.  I am not so naive to think that we all feel the same about this.  I do not disparage those who voted their consciences and voted against the candidates.  Wrestling with our theology is part of what we do through holy conferencing.  However, it was frustrating that many of those who voted against them had already announced their plans to exit the denomination and align with the new Global Methodist Church.  This felt spiteful to me, and unethical.

Despite the discouraging events surrounding this decision (and if you wish to hear more details I would be happy to talk with you or point you to more resources), I was incredibly encouraged by the Conference as a whole.  72.5% is not a small margin of support and indicates to me that we are becoming a more inclusive church.  We passed a resolution against gun violence.  We heard from our missionaries in Latin America.  We collected funds to help rural churches with technology needs.  The youth delegates united together to speak words of justice.  Our co-lay leaders, Alice Williams and Derrick Scott II, told incredible stories of hope.  We elected Florida's first Episcopal Nominee that is a person of color.  Our work on anti-racism continues strong.  There was so much to celebrate.  There IS so much to celebrate.  God is doing great things through the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church!  I am glad to be a part of it, and I am glad you are a part of it as well.  

Grace and peace,
Rev. Becky Rokitowski


How are wisdom and holiness connected?  This Sunday we will explore how Proverbs gives us guidance for groing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Let's seek God's wisdom together this Sunday!


Order of Worship, June 19, 2022
Register your Worship Attendance Here


Pastor Becky will lead both Wednesday classes (10am in-person in room 325, and 6:30pm on Zoom) as we continue our journey into Proverbs.  Please note - we have a NEW Zoom link starting this week!

This week's readings:
June 9:  Proverbs 14
June 10:  Proverbs15
June 11:  Proverbs 16
June 12:  Proverbs 17-18
June 13:  Proverbs 19-20
June 14:  Proverbs 21-22
June 15:  Proverbs 23

Zoom Link for Bible Talk

Saint Paul's Is Hosting a District Training Event

Perhaps you have felt God calling you to become more involved in your church and community. Or perhaps you have discerned the need to develop your leadership skills. If so, LayServant Ministries courses can help you.

LayServant Ministries courses will prepare you for a multitude of missions and ministries, or improve your teaching and leadership skills, guide you in improving your devotional time, help you become an accountable disciple, or help you develop confidence in leading prayer.

Entering Lay Servant Ministries is a process that requires approval from your pastor and charge conference or Church Council. Each lay servant is to be a professing member of the United Methodist Church and there are requirements for continued study in order to maintain the status of lay servant.

We have four certified Lay Servants at Saint Paul's UMC: Fotena Zirps, Nick Fugate, Debbie Eggebraaten, and Gary Eggebraaten!

If you choose to commit to the development of your leadership and ministry skills by becoming a lay servant, you will be enriched and encouraged by the network of other lay servants. If you choose to take the courses but not complete the requirements for lay servant status, you will still develop your skills for leadership, mission and ministry in order to serve God both in the church and beyond to the community around you and the world.

The Northwest District is offering three courses right here, in Sanders Hall, on August 12-13.  Below are descriptions of these courses, and a link to register.  The cost is $50.  Thank you for your desire to improve your skills and may God bless your ministry!

  •  Basic Course: This course is foundational for all courses in Lay Servant Ministries. Participants are encouraged to discover and employ personal spiritual gifts as God intended and to consider the importance of exercising servant leadership, developing future leaders, remaining rooted in consistent spiritual practices, and being part of a group that holds members accountable in their discipleship.
  • Advanced: Accountable Discipleship: This course focuses on the concept of the household of God, Scripture as divine revelation, Wesleyan understandings of grace, and the importance of the class leader in the development of the Methodist movement.
  • Advanced: Living Our Beliefs:  This course will explore the special gifts of theology, witness, and organization that The United Methodist Church brings to the church universal, how we got where we are today, and how our distinctive emphases are still needed in the 21st-century church.
Register Here for the CLS Training

Children's Ministry Update

We are on the countdown to VBS and it is wonderful to see so many volunteer families and friends coming together to give their time and talent to others, to the smallest among us.  Mother Theresa's words are resonating with how I see the Holy Spirit working, " Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." 

If you feel moved to lift up our ministry please consider selecting an item or two from our VBS Supplies list or stop by to water the garden or say a prayer for our children and their families this summer. The days can feel long for everyone.  We are happy to see you and welcome you to visit anytime. With friends and faith all things are possible! 
Thank you for your faithfulness,
Bridget Weisbrod, Director of Children's Ministry
A reminder to all youth & adult volunteers helping with VBS the Child & Youth Protection Training on Thursday June 23rd from 6pm-7pm in Sander's Hall.  Childcare is available for all to attend this meeting.

This training is a great opportunity for anyone interested in helping with children at church in Sunday School, afterschool or any other program. Please contact Bridget for further details and alternate arrangements. 
VBS Needs SNACKS!  Anyone wishing to make a donation please feel free to drop by any of the following at the office: Goldfish crackers (large bags/boxes), Pretzel Rods, Graham Crackers, Hummus, Veggie Straws, Juice Boxes, Cases of Water (bottles will be re-used for crafts), Vanilla Yogurt, Blue Frosting, Swedish Fish, Gummy Worms.  Any extras will go to support nursery programs.
Parents Morning Out children testing the new climbing structure in "Sprouts Park".  This new equipment replaces a wooden piece that had to be removed for safety.  The kids all approved of this choice and we are so grateful for the love and support Saint Paul's gives to all families who visit. A big thank you from our littlest disciples! 
PMO Fall Enrollment 2022- 2023
Date Night Sign Up


The next series of classes will be June 21st. 
Classes are at:
9:30am - Infants & Toddlers
10:00am - 2- 4 year Olds
10:30am - Foster Family Focus
No sign up required.


Every Sunday our children participate in worship by bringing the light of Christ into the sanctuary, reminding us that God is here with us.  They also extinguish the candles and take the light of Christ out of the sanctuary, reminding us that God goes before us and with us when we leave.  Click the button below to sign your child up to help with this important and symbolic part of our time of worship. 
Acolyte Sign Up

Reminder for Celebrations of Life this Weekend:

The service for Mary Ann Braswell will be Friday (June 17) at 11:00 AM at Bevis Funeral Home on John Knox.

The service for Joe Winterle will be this Saturday (June 18) at 2:00 PM at Bevis Funeral Home on John Knox.  

How you can care for others...

Want to connect with others in the church who may need a word of encouragement or prayer? You can use the button below to access our current care and celebration list.  A thoughtful card or note would brighten a day and make a difference!  You may stop by the church office to pick up a printed list during office hours.
Birthday List and Address List for Care Cards
A reminder that we have online prayer gatherings on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., and Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. and all are invited to attend these.  The meetings are via Zoom, and you can contact Pastor Becky for the link.  

You can submit prayer requests by clicking the button below.  Prayer requests are always private unless permission has been given to share.  
Submit Prayer Requests Here
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