Confidence & Connection

Dear Church Family,

When I look back on my life so far, I realize that I owe much of who I am today to people who came alongside, encouraged and supported me, and saw gifts in me that quite frankly I didn’t see in myself. This is especially true when it comes to who I am as a pastor. I think about Christ Church United Methodist in Fort Lauderdale, the congregation in which I grew up, where I said “yes” to God’s love, and where I first experienced my call to the ministry. I also fondly recall First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, FL, where I interned in college, and Elevation United Methodist Church in Benson, NC, where I interned in seminary. These congregations patiently sat through first attempts at sermons and Bible studies and still responded as if I were Billy Graham. I am thankful for them!

I am also thankful that Community of Faith has played that same of kind of role for a few of our congregants, including Frank Adams (now serving New Horizon United Methodist Church in Haines City, FL), Mary Downey (now leading the Community Hope Center in Kissimmee, FL), Chris Agoranos (now serving Elizabeth Street United Methodist Church in Durham, NC), and others over the years. Further, we should be proud that we now have two other persons to add to this list! The first is Alejandra Salemi, who on Monday night appeared (via the Internet) before the members of our Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC). During that meeting, Alejandra (who recently began seminary at Harvard Divinity School) received the full support of the SPRC. Her next step is to appear before our Charge Conference in October, which you will you hear more information about soon. The second is Trace Rudolph, who received the support of SPRC and Charge Conference earlier this year and is now beginning seminary at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA.

Speaking of Trace, he’s going to be delivering the message this weekend. His message is entitled “Confidence & Connection.” Trace will be preaching from Exodus 3, which contains the story of God’s calling to Moses at the burning bush. Trace will expand on Moses’ calling and how this calling relates to his own. Please don’t miss this important message!

Additionally, as I mentioned last weekend and you’ll hear me say again this weekend, we have an opportunity to support Trace financially through a love offering that we’ll take up. To give to this offering, you can do so online (go to and then select the “Trace Rudolph donations” tab) or by mailing in your donation (9120 Teacher Lane Davenport, FL 33897). If you mail in your donation, please remember to make your check payable to Community of Faith and then write “Trace Rudolph” in the memo line. Thank you for your generosity toward Trace, which will help him with seminary expenses. We’ll have a similar opportunity to be generous with Alejandra later this year.

There’s no question that God is using our Motley Crew to raise up a new generation of pastoral leaders. The future is bright. Praise be to God!



p.s. Please continue to pray for all those in the path of Hurricane Laura. After the storm passes, we’ll talk about how our congregation can be supportive of the folks there.