Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ
                                   EMBRACING  THE  VISION



Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ
                                Where  God  is still  speaking...

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We have a New Conference Minister

Rev. John Vertigan

Delegates to our 2014 Fall Gathering held at First United Church of Christ in Orlando have Called the Rev. John Vertigan “to be and become the next Conference Minister of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ.” His ministry among us will begin on January 1.

Rev. Vertigan was presented to the delegates by Ed Pritchett and Rev. Bruce Haven, co-chairs the search committee after which Rev. Vertigan introduced himself and offered a few words from his heart about the plague of violence in the United States over the weekend. This was then followed by a series of hard ball questions from delegates covering a number of topics and concerns in the church and Conference which Rev. Vertigan addressed with unusual depth, insight and faithfulness.

The theme of the Gathering was “Standing at the Threshold” and that theme was expressed in the worship and the business of the Conference. Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, Western Regional Conference Minister, spoke about what she sees at the threshold as she prepares to leave Florida.  Three other voices of the UCC in Florida spoke about what they see; Rev. Dr. Guillermo Marquez-Sterling (Coral Gables), Haley Knapp (Indian Rocks Beach) and Rick Carson (St. Petersburg Beach). 

In business sessions a balanced 2015 budget was adopted as presented, the proposed bylaw amendment was adopted, and gifts were presented to David McFarland as he ends his term as chair of the Endowment Corporation Board and to Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund as she ends her minister here to become Vice President for Advancement at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

A highlight of the day was a brilliant presentation of the Financial Reports and the proposed 2015 budget by Amy Luek following which delegates requested copies of the presentation to share with their congregations.  Amy is exploring ways to make this happen including a possibility of a youtube presentation. Amy spoke of the real possibility of finishing 2014 in the black if we continue to keep expenses low and congregations and individulas meet OCWM, per capita and Friends of the Florida Conference projections.

It was a beautiful weather day for the Gathering and delegates had opportunities to eat outside and had time to visit with colleagues, friends and meet new friends.  This included interacting with Tim and Diane Fonderlin UCC sponsored Global Ministries missionaries in Haiti and Charles Hollingsworth of the UCC Cornerstone Fund and to visit the extensive display of the Florida UCC Disaster Response and Recovery Ministry by Rev Dr. Bill Wealand and Deanna Wealand.

The Conference thanks the members of First UCC and their pastor Rev. Leigh McCaffrey for the extravagant welcome they offered and to all who led worship in including the many talented musicians from Windermere and Winter Park. 

Conference Moderator Rev. Phil Garrison closed the Gathering with an invitation to the Spring Gathering on May 2, 2015, in Coral Gables.