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Office of Church Relations

Celebrating the Connection

Florida Southern College, founded by the Florida Conference of the Methodist Church in 1883, is proud of its heritage with and connection to the United Methodist Church of today.

The Office of Church Relations was established in order to enhance and strengthen the relationship between Florida Southern College and the members of the United Methodist Church, particularly in the Florida Annual Conference. The office serves as a liaison between the College and the Church by providing programs for United Methodists of all ages both on campus and in the individual churches; by assisting and encouraging United Methodist young people in becoming students at Florida Southern; and, by serving as a resource center for the Conference.

Bishop in Residence

Bishop Robert E. Fannin, a 1958 FSC graduate and former senior minister of First United Methodist Church of Lakeland is the Bishop in Residence of Florida Southern College.

Following completion of his master’s and doctoral studies at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Fannin served in the Florida Annual Conference of UMC in Lake Alfred, Gainesville, Stuart, Lakeland and Miami, where he was district superintendent of the Miami district. He was involved there as a member of the Hispanic Social Services board of directors; trustee of the South Florida Center for Theological Studies and the Haitian Advisory Council; and member of the coalition of Religious Leaders in Miami. To honor his work, Metropolitan Dade County declared June 9, 1991 Dr. Robert E. Fannin Day. Upon election to the Episcopacy at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July 1992, Fannin was assigned to the Birmingham area.

Fannin was a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conference in 1984, 1988 and 1992, and to the World Methodist Conference in 1986, 1992, 1997 and 2002. He serves as vice-chair of World Evangelism of the World Methodist Council; he has previously served as vice-chair of General Council on Finance and Administration; vice-chair of Emory University Board of Trustees; and president of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Court of Appeals. He has served as a board member of several national boards and agencies of UMC including the General Council on Ministries and Board of Higher Education and Ministry; as a member of the board of trustees of Birmingham-Southern College, Bethune-Cookman College and Huntingdon College. He is a past president of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Administrative Council.

Christmas Gala

In order to “Celebrate our Connection,” United Methodist Churches from across the Conference are invited to bring groups to the annual Church Christmas Gala. The collective instrumental and vocal talents of students and faculty in the FSC Department of Music are showcased in a spectacular Christmas program. The Gala and lunch are a great way for church groups to begin to celebrate Christmas!

The Church Gala this year is December 7 at 2:30 PM in Branscomb Auditorium and tickets are $10 each, with an optional $13 buffet lunch. Register Here

Please call the Chaplain’s Office for tickets at 863.680.4297 or email Alexa Cole at for additional information.

We are also offering an optional buffet lunch served from noon until 1:30 PM in the Lakeview Room in Wynee’s Bistro (our main dining facility) for $13 per person.

Questions? Contact

Michael Standifer Michael Standifer

Director of Church Relations