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ECD August 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Peace of mind – It’s something that we all want, isn’t? Something that we all long for. Whether it’s a professional person facing various pressures and deadlines and expectations at the office, a parent trying to do what’s best in raising their children, a student working hard to make it through the latest semester . . . wherever we are in life, we all want peace of mind.

And yet peace of mind can be an elusive thing, can’t it?  Often, we find ourselves experiencing more stress than we experience peace. Studies tell us that people in the United States consume fifteen tons of aspirin every day. Sales of tranquilizers are at an all-time high. Books that address dealing with stress, how to find peace of mind, often become instant best sellers. 

In one of his old Tonight Show monologies Jay Leno referred to an article about Madonna in People magazine. Leno said that in the article Madonna was quoted as having said she had been exhausted since she started her world tour. She said there hadn’t been a second of her life that wasn’t taken up looking after her family or thinking of her show – that her day was filled with problems connected with work and family. 

Leno’s retort?  “Someone should tell her that everyone else calls that ‘life.’”

It’s reality for many – perhaps most – of us, that often we find ourselves dealing with more than we think we can handle. Sometimes we ask ourselves how we got ourselves in this situation, anyway, and we experience what seems like more than our share of stress and angst and struggle.

How can we find that peace that we all seek?

That’s a promise made by Jesus to his followers toward the end of his ministry: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you (John 14:7). It’s a different kind of peace than that defined by the world, he said. Don’t be troubled or afraid.

This peace that Jesus gives is a gift. We can’t work for it or earn it. We can’t psych ourselves up for it or try really hard to get it. It’s a gift for us to accept: My peace I give to you, says Jesus. It’s a different peace than that given by the world.

Perhaps you know this familiar prayer used in Alcoholics Anonymous and its companion group, Al Anon: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The wonderful result of such prayer made an integral part of our lives will be peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Grace and Peace, 


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

East Central District 
Florida Conference of the UMC

PO Box 4064
Enterprise, FL  32725
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm

Claudia Sava, Senior Administrative Assistant may be reached by email or phone.


Introducing, Rev. Ben Collins
East Central District Fresh Expressions Cultivator

As I step into the role of cultivating Fresh Expressions in the district, I do so on the heels of, and full of gratitude for, such good work.  I am also already connected with and eager for the partnership of many who are already doing this.

If you’re not familiar, 

A Fresh Expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. It will come into being through principles of listening, service, incarnational mission and making disciples. It will have the potential to become a mature expression of church shaped by the gospel and the enduring marks of the church and for its cultural context. These communities can be analog, digital, or hybrid.

Or to summarize, “new people, new places, new ways.”

I hope to connect with district churches and cultivators to offer my experience as a Fresh Expressions starter and practitioner for over twenty years. I use a consultative and coaching approach to the FX process above, and ultimately listen for the calling of the leaders, a local community and spiritual discernment. I am excited to begin this good work with you. 

Feel free to email me about your Fresh Expressions needs, ideas and contributions. I hope you’ll consider joining us for a monthly hybrid district cultivators meeting. Our first will be:

Wednesday, September 7th at 10-11:30AM at First UMC Orlando, and on Zoom.

I look forward to serving you and our district,


Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Disaffiliation lawsuits

July 20, 2022

Dear Clergy and Laity of the Florida Conference:

Last week we made you aware of a lawsuit that has been filed against The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church.

We have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions in order to answer some common questions. 

We invite you to be in prayer for our Conference leaders as we go through this process. The FAQ document may be updated as needed.

The Continuing United Methodist Church
August 22 - Sanlando UMC, Longwood

Dr. Bob Bushong will present the Continuing UMC at Sanlando UMC on Monday, August 22 at 7:00pm. This gathering is meant to provide information to laity and clergy about what is happening in the larger United Methodist Church and to assist you as leaders in guiding your congregations during this time. This is the perfect time for your church leadership to come and learn information about what is before us: postponement of the General Conference until 2024 which means no changes to the Book of Discipline, the launch of the Global Methodist Church (and the process for disaffiliation for those who choose to exit), a vision for the a vision for the Continuing United Methodist Church, and the ways to thoughtfully discern next steps in leadership and witness with patience and grace during this season.

There is no registration, come if you are interested.

Conversations on Race

Join us for a monthly half-hour conversation with various speakers and share your thoughts about anti-racism efforts in our Conference. Hosted by The Beloved Community. CLICK HERE for more information.

Webinar Schedule (All sessions begin at 12 noon)

  • August 3: The History of Race in Florida I
  • September 7: The History of Race in Florida II
  • October 5: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries I
  • November 2: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries II
  • December 7: Celebrating Anti-Racism Ministries in the Florida Conference

Cultivating a Scriptural Imagination
Free Online Adult Sunday School 

What does it mean to have a scriptural imagination? Now available from Duke Divinity School, Cultivating a Scriptural Imagination is a free course that will expand your capacity to see how the hopeful vision of Scripture might be realized in your church and community. Designed as a 4-week group experience for small groups, adult classes, and leadership development, the course includes video content and a printable workbook available online. This is the second course in the Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism series. Visit to learn more and register. 

2022 Annual Church Conferences

The 2022 Charge Conference forms are now available. Click HERE for the instructions. Be sure to download the Conference and East Central District specific forms. Dr. Bob Bushong will preside over individual church conferences which will be held at 17 different host locations.  The church conference will last no longer than one hour. Click HERE for the current schedule. As churches sign up, they will be added to the conference calendar. BOD P248 All professing members of the local church present at the church conference may vote.

  • Click HERE for the ECD Instructions.
  • We are not asking for a Senior Pastor's Report.
  • The following reports are to be emailed to Claudia Sava at least one week prior to your CC: ECD Voting Matters Agenda, 2023 Clergy Compensation form(s), Housing Resolution(s), and Accountable Reimbursement Policy (ies). Signatures are not required at this time. Click HERE for Claudia's email address.
  • Deacons beyond the local church and Extension Minister's Annual Reports are NOT part of Charge Conference forms. Their Annual Reports are due December 31 of each year. Click HERE for the Office of Clergy Excellence page with those details.
  • Clergy who do have reports due to be turned into their Charge Conference for the Fall Annual Charge Conference are: 

Report of the Retired Clergy
Report of Clergy on Honorable Location
Report of Clergy on Voluntary Leave of Absence

Claudia Sava will hold a Zoom training on August 10 at 10:00am on how to prepare the charge conference documents. Laity and clergy involved in charge conference documents are welcome to join. It will be especially beneficial for those who have never prepared charge conference documents before.

Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training
November 17 7:00pm

The Annual East Central District Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training Event will provide you with the effective tools needed in your responsibilities. Dr. Bob Bushong our District Superintendent will lead the meeting. Debbie Mitchell our District Lay Leader and Claudia Sava, Senior Administrative Assistant will participate.

Cokesbury offers guidelines for leading your congregation. Click HERE to see the various committee specific resources.

Pastors, SPRC Chairpersons and Committee Members, and Lay Leaders are encouraged to attend this important training event. Click on the button below to sign up to attend this important meeting. This meeting is especially important to those who have just been elected to this new leadership role effective January 1, 2023.


Renfro Grant

The Renfro Grant is for the purpose of establishing and supporting United Methodist churches in rural areas of the United States within the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The term "rural areas" shall be interpreted to mean towns of less than 10,000, villages, and open country. The maximum amount for each grant shall be $5,000. For more information, guidelines, and application visit www.sejumcorg/renfrotrustfund. Applications should be sent to the attention of Icel Rodriguez, Global Missions Director at The Florida United Methodist Conference. Questions?  Email Icel.

R-10 & Counting - Clergy Retirement Seminar
September 12-14 - First UMC, Lakeland

R-10 and Counting, a comprehensive retirement planning seminar sponsored by the Florida United Methodist Foundation for clergy planning to retire within the next 10 years, will be held Sept. 12-14 at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland.  
Registrations will be accepted until Aug. 12, but participants are encouraged to register early because space is limited to 30 clergy. Spouses are also encouraged to attend.
This popular, annual seminar provides information critical to retirement planning. It covers a range of topics, including what to expect in retirement, clergy taxes, Social Security, pension and benefits, financial planning, health insurance, housing issues, and estate planning. 

Clergy may register online or download the registration form and send it to the foundation offices, attention Nadara Bledsoe. More information is available at R-10 and Counting Seminar. Questions? Contact Nadara by  email or 866-363-9673, ext 7113.

ECD Fall Clergy Meeting - New Date & Location!
October 13
Sanlando UMC, Longwood

All Full-time clergy serving in the local church are expected to attend.  If you are not able to attend, please email Bob and request to be excused.  All clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend. Details & registration will be out soon!

Lands of the Bible Cruise with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter
September 22

Join us along with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter on a 13-day Lands of the Bible Cruise aboard the Celebrity Apex, starting at $4,698* from New York, Ny departing on September 22, 2022. Journey to places such as Rome, Galilee, Jerusalem, Ephesus, Bethlehem, Athens, and much more! Click HERE for details.


UMC Bishops agree to call regular sessions of jurisdictional conferences in 2022

In response to Judicial Council decision 1445, the Council of Bishops (COB) has formally set the dates for regular sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be convened November 2-5, 2022. Click HERE to read the article.

2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be November 2-4, 2022. Details will be posted HERE in August.

2023 EC District Committee on Ministry (dCOM)

East Central District Committee on Ministry meetings are all at Asbury UMC, Maitland on Thursdays. To schedule a dCOM interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar. Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.

2023 dCOM Dates Due Date Purpose
February 23 January 26 LP License Renewals
May 4 April 6 1st Provisional Interviews
August 17 July 20 Provisional Follow-ups
November 9 October 12  

Disaster Recovery

The time to create a Disaster Recovery plan is BEFORE the disaster hits. Are you ready? 

Each church should develop or review the disaster plan for your local church and put together a team who can react. The plan is not only for hurricanes. There are many types of disasters that can cause major damage. i.e., fires, tornadoes, etc.

Click HERE for a blank Church Disaster Plan for your use. Click HERE for The Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry website. Questions? Email Trish Warren, Disaster Response Coordinator.

MORE Resources for your church! Check them out...

8 steps to declutter and make the best impression:
5 types of church visitors: Are you ready for them?
From online worship to online ministry:
Rebuilding Church Choirs after a Pandemic:
Discipleship Ministries offers Worship Planning tools:
Discipleship Ministries | Worship (
This month’s: Discipleship Ministries | Equipping World-Changing Disciples (

Click HERE for the email to sign up for Discipleship e-newsletter.

Let CongregationU help you train your staff and volunteers before they start serving.

No matter what their role, all of your staff and volunteers can benefit from CongregationU training. What do you need? We offer:

  • Sexual Harassment, including state-specific training (30 min. to 2 hours)
  • Leading a Mission Trip (45 minutes)
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Worship Facility (60 minutes)
  • The Organized Church Kitchen (15 minutes)
  • Volunteer Management (30 minutes)
  • Church Van and Bus Safety (50 minutes)
  • Nursery Safety (two 45-minute courses)
  • First Aid Basics (35 minutes)
  • ...and more...Check out our course list

Faith-based online courses from CongregationU are developed from real-life scenarios and are eaisly trackable. When a user completes a course, they can print a certificate of completeion.

Missional Vital Signs Reporting Changes

Missional Vital Signs (MVS) for the local church is newly updated (April 2022). It important to remember that these numbers represent people and the vitality of the local church. They are indicators of the behaviors that produce them, and this tool can be used to discern the health of the church – what works, what does not, where should we make changes, and most importantly, how can we bring more disciples to Christ? The local church should continuously be aware of their MVS’s so that they may evaluate and make adjustments. Healthy churches are aware of their stats and can quickly adapt.

This information is gathered weekly and may be reported weekly or monthly through the church dashboard online by the “MVS Reporter” designated by the church and updated in the church dashboard. There is now the ability to enter missing data over the previous two years.

If your church receives funding (equitable compensation) that is contingent on turning in your data by the 10th of the month, know that you have grace. We sent an email with that explanation to those churches.

Please click here for a helpful video overview and guide sheet of the New MVS Weekly Reporting site.

Other resources:

Explanation of MVS’s
MVS data gathering sheet (PDF)
MVS Weekly Reporting Guide Sheet (PDF)
Tracking Online Video Views (PDF)

2022 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.

September 5 Labor Day
November 11 Veteran's Day
November 24 Thanksgiving Day
November 25 Day After Thanksgiving
December 24 (Observed December 23) Christmas Eve
December 25 (Observed December 26) Christmas

Click on the dates below for details