Welcome to the “New”
Gulf Central District
I hope you are enjoying your summer throughout the quad county area (Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Polk) of our new Gulf Central District. This is my first supper in the Gulf Central area, and I’m enjoying the sunny, long, hot, rainy days that make up the month of July. I know I’m in the Tampa Bay area when I’m driving on Highway 19 and the sun is shining—yet by the time I reach I-275N/I-4E the sky has darkened, the traffic has worsened, and I’m now in a summer thunderstorm. When my car comes to a standstill, it’s easy for me to become frustrated wondering if I’m going to get to my destination on time.
Sitting in traffic, I’m learning to exhale, pause, and remember 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which invites us to “Rejoice continually, give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. On my good days, I find myself praying continually to get through the storm always discovering on the other side of the thunderstorm, when the shines again. Before I got out my car, recently, I looked up and discovered a beautiful double rainbow in the sky!! Another reason to rejoice. I hope that you are finding reasons to rejoice this summer even if you have to pray continually to get through the storm.
I see God growing and strengthening these five Areas of Focus in all eighty-nine (89) churches in our District.
- Making "new" disciples of Jesus Christ and strengthening existing disciples who will grow vital congregations that will transform the world in their communities within our quad county area (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties).
- Starting new Fresh Expressions of missions and ministries and starting new churches to reach more people, more young people, and more diverse people.
- Strengthening our Church and School connections throughout our quad county area.
- Increasing intentional missional engagement - through intentional mercy and justice ministries throughout our quad county area.
- Developing lay leadership development and cultivating the call with new and next generation laity and clergy.
Thanks for taking the time to read and share our monthly newsletter throughout your congregation. It includes important information about upcoming meetings, educational and training opportunities happening throughout our District, and our news from our UMC Connection. We will also be sharing resources to assist you in making new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and your community.
I am honored to serve as your District Superintendent and chief missional strategist. I look forward to being a partner with you in this amazing mission and ministry to which we have been called.
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Dr. Candace M. Lewis
Superintendent, Gulf Central District
1498 Rosery Road East
Largo, FL 33770-1656
email@example.com … (727) 585-1207