The Latest from Fresh Expressions Florida and Beyond
An update on events and opportunities from our team
Santa's elves at Fresh Expressions Florida have been busy! Here are some exciting gifts to help you bring in the Christmas cheer…
First, check out our new podcast, New People // New Ways. Hosted by Michael Adam Beck and Piper Ramsey-Sumner, this show is a partnership with Fresh Expressions Florida and Fresh Expressions UM from Path 1 at UMC Discipleship Ministries.
Our first episode features Bishop Ken Carter, resident bishop of Florida and Western North Carolina. Tune in if you desire to reach new people in new places through new ways!
Second, our monthly conversations with leading Wesley scholars about the emerging United Methodist Church of the twenty-first century is underway. We have organized the symposium as a series of conversations between two theologians on the first Thursday of every month from 6:30-7:30, p.m., EST. These will be followed with one larger gathering where all the speakers come together on September 21, 2023, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
The structure of the symposium is a series of free live-streamed events using Zoom. Each speaker will consider a core theological distinction that needs to be reappropriated to “serve the present age” and then respond live to your questions. The recordings from these conversations will be made available with a study guide for your teams to work through together.
This month’s resident theologians are Elaine Heath and Martyn Atkins! Let us introduce them to you:
Elaine is an author, speaker, retreat leader, consultant, and abbess. After growing up in poverty, Elaine earned a PhD in theology, was ordained in the United Methodist Church, served as a professor for eleven years at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and as dean and professor of missional and pastoral theology at Duke Divinity School, Duke University. She retired from Duke to lead Neighborhood Seminary, which she co-founded with several friends.
She now lives with her spouse at Spring Forest, a new monastic community in rural North Carolina, where, along with friends, they tend a forest and small farm. Spring Forest supports refugee resettlement through sponsorships and an ESL program. They also donate fresh produce to area food banks, host a range of spiritual formation ministries, children's programs, and much more.
Rev. Dr. Martyn Atkins has been a British Methodist pastor for more than forty years. He served as professor of mission and evangelism, then as president of Cliff College – a Methodist training institute in England; was elected as the president of the Methodist Church in Britain and was for seven years its general secretary. He was superintendent of Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, working closely with Westminster Abbey and Parliament
Over the past twenty years, Fresh Expressions and Mission Shaped Churches has been a lasting interest of his, and he has written several books on this and related subjects. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the World Methodist Council. He has preached and spoken at events in twenty countries over the past twenty years. He is married with three grown children and (currently) three grandchildren.
Remaining symposium speakers include:
Jong Chun Park
Please register at the link below. We will use the same registration for each event. If you can’t make it to the conversation live, you may listen to a recording that will be available afterward:
Third, our Fresh Expressions eLearning experiences resume on the last Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m., Eastern Time. We will continue providing free webinars featuring experts and practitioners, laity and clergy, from local and global perspectives, working in both traditional and non-traditional settings.
On January 26, our 2023 opening speaker is Rev. Kris Sledge. Kris is the lead/founding pastor of The Journey Church, an almost four-year-old church plant in urban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He remains humbled and grateful to be leading this diverse, inclusive, and Jesus-centered faith community that is intentional about creating space for all people to experience Jesus’ liberative spirit. The Journey celebrates both its ability to connect with young adults (approximately 65% of the church is under the age of 40) and its diversity (55% identify as white and 45% identify as people of color). They believe that through the empowerment and love of the Holy Spirit, we can make a space where all are welcome, address difficult topics in love, acknowledge our differences, and find deep belonging regardless of our differences.
Kris was born and raised in central Pennsylvania and grew up attending a local church. Even though his biological family did not have a faith orientation, this church nurtured and cared for him as a young child, forming in him a deep love of God and people that propelled Kris to be the person he is today.
Outside of ministry, Kris is a proud husband to Hannah, father to Lydia, and friend. He loves to travel and explore new places in the United States and around the world. Thus far, he has visited six out of the seven continents, and he has a goal of traveling to fifty countries before the age of fifty! If he's not traveling, Kris enjoys laughing with friends, reading at local coffee shops, and enjoying craft beer.