A Letter from Our Bishop


A Message from Bishop Ken Carter on Advent in this Season of Global Pandemic

Bishop Carter
To the Laity and Clergy of the Florida Conference,Grace and peace to you in this season of Advent. I write in a season of new beginnings, in anticipation of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I want to lift up again these opportunities for Bible study, prayer and worship. Thank you for your participation in the Fill The Table Initiative. We have a goal of sharing three million meals with our neighbors across Florida and thus far you have served 1.3 million meals!

I also write in a season of the extended global health pandemic. The state of Florida has experienced over one million known cases of COVID-19, with 19,000 known deaths. Our cabinet has offered consistent guidance to local churches related to health and safety since March. You can access these protocols here and here. Our latest guidance remains, and I urge you to become reacquainted with it.

Pastors, staff and lay leaders live in the tension of wanting to gather in this season, to remain safe and not to contribute to the spread of the virus. In this way we express love for God, our neighbor and ourselves (Matthew 22). Houses of worship are consistently ranked among the top three to five settings for greatest risk. I write in the context of the recent Supreme Court decisions, which exempt faith communities from closure, the recent statement by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and an evangelical Christian, advising churches to worship through online services, and our Florida demographic, which has the second oldest average age of any U.S. state.

I encourage you and your local church leadership teams to make safe and wise decisions, in your context. If you need to reevaluate programs and services already planned, please know that this may be the most faithful decision. This is a unique Christmas. As we move through the Sundays of Advent and toward Christmas Eve, know that the way of offering the gospel that will reach the most people is through online and digital formats. It also happens that this is the safest way, now. I recommend that you continue to place your greatest energies in offering creative, faithful worship in online formats.

The good news is that vaccines are being readied for distribution to the most vulnerable across our state and nation. The caution is that we are in the most explosive and critical stage in the virus and in a time when we are accustomed to gathering, and weary of not being together. The best decisions are in the interest of our long-term health, as communities, as local churches and as individuals.  

So I appeal to you. Wear masks. Maintain physical distances. Extend grace to each other. Find ways to meet outdoors with these protocols. This is not guidance based in fear. It is a call for maturity, for love of neighbor, for a deeper spiritual search for the true meaning of who Jesus Christ really is. We have the opportunity to be a part of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in our communities, our state and our nation in this pandemic.  

The Peace of the Lord,
+Ken Carter
Bishop, Florida Conference

The United Methodist Church


Forward this email             View in browser

emilymcgee@bellsouth.net is receiving this email from Bishop Ken Carter because you have an existing relationship with us. To ensure that you continue to receive emails from us, add no-replies@flumc.org to your address book or safe sender list.

The Gathering! Sunday Mornings at 10:00 am

In-Person Worship in the Sanctuary

We welcome you back for in-person, socially distanced worship in our sanctuary. Please view the following video that illustrates changes and new procedures to keep us all safe in the pandemic.


From the Task Force...

Come to The Gathering! on Sunday Mornings, at 10:00 am - a socially distanced, masked in-person blended worship service as well as our online Home Worship. Also:

  • Individual Prayer in the Sanctuary: we welcome you to pray in the sanctuary on Wednesday mornings from 8:30-11:00 am.
  • The Oceanview Waves our monthly newsletter is published on the first Thursday of the month and sent primarily by email, but you may register to receive the Waves in the postal mail by calling the church office 561.626.2500 or send an email oceanviewumc@comcast.net.

 Please review these protocols below that are put in place to keep you safe and healthy when you come to the property.

“Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” -Philippians 2:6

Here are some things you can expect on a Sunday morning.

  • You will be asked to wear a face-covering "I wear my mask to protect you, you wear your mask to

    protect me. "

  • There will be no singing either in the congregation, choir loft, chancel area

  • When you arrive, you will be asked to socially distance yourself before taking your seat on one of the pews. An usher will guide you.

  • When the service has concluded, and it's time to leave, the ushers will guide you so that we can be

    socially distant when exiting the sanctuary.

  • You need to register prior to attending. 

  • The Gathering service will be abbreviated, lasting around 45 minutes.

  • On communion Sundays, the individual communion elements will be previously placed in the pews. The offering will be collected in the lobby/narthex as worshipers exit the building or done as TEXT to GIVE.

  • No Coffee or snacks will be provided or offered; however, you are welcome to bring your own.

  • Families will sit together as Kid's Church is suspended until further notice.

The sanctuary will be disinfected before service. The Church Office is now open Monday-Wednesday from 9:00 am to 12 noon. As always, appointments may be made to meet with pastors anytime.

Please do not let our return to an in-person gathering pressure you into attending if you do not feel comfortable doing so. All acts of worship are by invitation, meaning it is not required nor compulsory that you attend. Home Worship on the website will continue indefinitely. If you need assistance accessing the internet from your home, let us know we are working on solutions for the few that have these limitations.

Your love and support mean so much during this time. The church is here for you, whether in person or not. Please reach out with any needs 561.626.2500, the church office, or email emily@oceanviewumc.com.

Protocol for Groups Meeting at Oceanview

  • Covid-19 precautions for groups using the facility 

    1. Maximum capacity for fellowship hall space is 30 

    2. Groups may not enter or use the kitchen area

    3. Leave nothing behind. If you store materials at the church, make sure they are put away before you leave. 

    4. Maintain social distancing 6-10 feet apart at all times. 

    5. Wear face coverings when meeting and on the property (out of car mask on)

    6. Wipe down all common surfaces (handrails, tables, chairs, restrooms) with furnished cleaning supplies. 

September 8, 2020: FL Conference UMC Updated COVID-19 Guidance


Date September 8, 2020
Subject: COVID-19 Updated Guidance from the Florida Conference

Dear Florida Conference Clergy and Laity:

We continue to pray for you and your communities as we enter the sixth month since we began actively giving guidance to our churches regarding the COVID-19 virus. We pray especially for the over 637,000 persons in Florida who have experienced the COVID-19 virus and the 11,800 persons who have died.
We know this has been a very difficult season for you to navigate as clergy and lay leaders. All of us have had to adapt to this ever-changing reality and learn new ways of doing life and ministry together as a church. We have watched as you have persevered. We applaud your resilience and creativity.
Our consistent guidance has been grounded in Matthew 22, the healing ministry of Jesus and the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor. In a global health crisis, we do this by maintaining a social distance, and by honoring many of our older and more vulnerable members.
As we continue this journey together, Bishop Carter and the Cabinet, with guidance from other conference leaders and medical professionals, reaffirm that our COVID-19 safety protocols remain in place.  Our COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines are connected to the ongoing guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
Specifically, we want to remind you of some key parts of our ongoing guidance:

  1. At all times persons must maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups.
  2. Masks or cloth face coverings are required when any group gathers (except for children under the age of 2).
  3. Monitor your symptoms. Stay home if you are sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive should adhere to the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine. 
  4. All inside activities must be in well ventilated spaces that allow for persons to maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups. Outside activities are preferred over inside activities. See the bottom of this email for additional notes from one of the infectious disease experts who has consulted with us. 

We ask that you please continue to offer on-line worship and virtual ministry opportunities. It is important that opportunities are readily available for people in your church who are not ready to return to your campus. Persons in vulnerable populations or with underlying health conditions as defined by the CDC should be encouraged to stay home.
Decisions about in-person activities will vary according to your church context. We understand there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach for every church around the conference. Contexts are different as cases rise at different rates (click here for a county and zip code break down). At all times churches should carefully follow the guidance of your city and county officials. Any decision to resume in-person activities should be affirmed by the pastor in consultation with a team of leaders and should be communicated to your District Superintendent. We know many of you have already communicated to your District offices your fall plans to offer a variety of hybrid models that include continued virtual ministry, outside experiences, along with limited in-person activities according to the safety protocols.
Our conference team encourages you to review the other guidance and recommendations found in the FAQ section of our COVID-19 website. This includes our guidance and recommendation around singing, schools and other activities. All of our previous updates and resources are found on our COVID-19 website. If you have questions, please reach out to your District Superintendent or contact the Episcopal Office at ashanks@flumc.org.
As we enter this fall and winter season, we commit to continuing to offer guidance and resources to you. Most of all we commit to praying with and for you in this time.
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Ken Carter and The Cabinet of The Florida Annual Conference
Additional Notes regarding COVID-19 from one of the infectious disease experts who has consulted with us:
One of the infectious disease experts we have consulted with continues to emphasize that large gatherings in closed indoor spaces are very dangerous, especially if there are persons present who are early in the infection timeline. During this time, anyone has the potential of being a super spreader. Super spreaders can produce more infectious aerosol when speaking and breathing and even more so when singing.
One way to mitigate these concerns for those persons planning to attend an in-person event is to more closely monitor their symptoms by performing daily temperature checks at home. If someone’s temperature increases 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or more above their normal temperature, the person should not attend the gathering. Persons with such temperature change should consider getting a COVID-19 RTPCR test or antigen test if available and as advised by their local health department or personal physician. 
Finally, our expert, along with the CDC (Flu FAQ), believes it is very important to get the flu vaccine this year in order to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. A coinfection of COVID-19 and the flu could be devastating. 

June 11 2020 Webinar with Dr. Fred Southwick, Infectious Disease expert


On June 11, over 400 of you joined us for a webinar with Dr. Fred Southwick, an infectious disease expert who attends a Florida United Methodist Church. Here are some key things he shared that may help augment your returning to in-person worship plans:

  • Being outside is much safer than being inside. There is much less transmission of the virus outside especially when people remain appropriately distanced.
  • The virus spreads mostly from droplets and aerosols released from infected people when they talk, cough, sneeze, and sing. For this reason, wearing masks and remaining six feet apart are essential.
  • Singing is the most dangerous activity you could do in church. Aerosols created by singing are not stopped by a mask or face shields. We recommend no congregational singing. Dr. Southwick recommended any soloist who leads singing should be tested every two weeks as well as remain appropriately distanced.
  • Although cleaning high touch areas like doors and restroom counters between services is important, it is not prudent to spend thousands of dollars on a deep clean each week because the virus does not stay active on surfaces beyond three days. 
  • Older adults and those with other medical conditions are more likely to develop complications from being infected. They should remain especially vigilant and avoid gatherings.
  • Children’s ministry in smaller groups with limited capacity, wearing masks and social distancing that does not involve volunteers in the vulnerable population can be done safely. Children who live with vulnerable adults should remain careful not to spread the disease at home.

To watch the entire webinar click HERE.  To download the PowerPoint slides from Dr. Southwick click HERE.  If you or your church have additional questions about returning to in person worship please visit our COVID-19 resource page or email Alex Shanks at ashanks@flumc.org.