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ECD December 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

A Prayer for Faithfulness Inspired by the Season of Advent

Eternal and loving God, like the apostles, we too have fears and doubts. We have struggles and questions. We want to believe with all our hearts the story of Incarnation and Redemption that we have embraced, and yet so often daily life and all that it brings gets in the way.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us wisdom, O God, and in that wisdom the patience that we need to listen to what You have to say to us about faithful living, about priorities, about how easily we are seduced by the multitude of options around us that seek to pull us away from You.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us hearts of love, and remind us of the many opportunities that You place before us to share that gift with others in very simple ways: offering a listening ear or a kind and encouraging word. Open our hearts to the movement of Your Spirit as You challenge us to give generously of our time and resources, even to sacrifice, for the sake of those who are in need.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us a passion for peace that begins in our own heart and in our home and our church and our community. May we welcome the Spirit in ways that enable us to receive the insight, strength, and humility to honor differences that we have with others in ways that keep disagreements and differing perspectives from getting in the way of relating to one another with a sense of civility and kindness and respect.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, teach us to receive Your forgiveness and to extend it to others. Remind us, O God, to release the grudges that we hold against others. Give us the strength to stay on the journey toward forgiveness with those whose hurtful actions continue to reside painfully within us. Enable us to forgive ourselves as well for the ways that we have not been our best and for the guilt we carry from the ways that we have hurt others.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us hearts of gratitude for all the blessings that flow from You into our lives. May our constant sense of gratitude lift us beyond any discouragement that we may experience in the moment to a larger and clearer view of the depth of Your love reflected by the ongoing movement of Your Creative Spirit in our lives.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, hold us in Your warm embrace. Give us the strength to maintain our spiritual center. Heal us from the burdens that we carry that weigh heavily on our hearts.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, may patience, peace, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude reside and grow ever more deeply in our hearts, that the faith that we proclaim becomes for us a way of living that emerges out of our deep and abiding, life-transforming relationship with You.

Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, we offer these prayers to You, O Loving God. Amen.

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 phone or

Does your title sometimes feel unclear?  Do you often wonder how others with the same title function? Some titles are a mouthful now are they not? Are you newly elected after Charge Conference to any of these roles? Have you been serving and still have questions? Do you have thoughts on how best you can serve your church? What about your own faith walk? Would you like to explore your strengths and what you can bring to the table?

I would love to have you join me, Debbie Mitchell, District Lay Leader on Saturday, December 3 to unpack these and other queries as we work together to craft a vision to help us serve. Lynn Campbell will join us and together we will explore leadership strategies and guidelines to help in your role. Please register for a time of worship, fellowship, growth exploration and unpacking of some gifts and truths to help us along this journey.  

Cokesbury sells the Lay Leader/Lay Member Guidelines. This is a great reference to have on hand. You may purchase it HERE.


Email Debbie Mitchell, East Central District Lay Leader

December 5 | 7:00 pm - 8:30pm 

We will be live at FUMC Orlando and on Zoom

You won’t want to miss the conversations and opportunities present:

  • Exploring connections between the CRAVE Model, and operationalizing Fresh Expressions among clergy and lay pioneers.
  • Awaiting a grant for Spiritual Formation with Brian McLarren around spiritual resilience among innovators.
  • Awaiting a grant to study and explore missional metrics for emerging forms of church / worship, like Fresh Expressions.
  • Reviewing recent charge conference reports on Fresh Expressions in our District, and how we encourage and resource these movements. 

Time: Dec 5, 2022, 07:00 PM 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 830 5935 5700
Passcode: 549539

Dial In: 929-205-6099

Please make a point to join us. Everyone is welcome! Questions? Contact Rev. Ben Collins, East Central District Fresh Expressions Cultivator. 

Email Ben Collins

November 04, 2022

By Joe Henderson | FLUMC

 Bishop Ken Carter

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, whose leadership helped guide the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church through a season of change, turbulent times of a pandemic, and controversy over the role of gays and lesbians in the denomination, will move full-time to Western Carolina Conference.

Newly confirmed Bishop Tom Berlin will assume Bishop Carter's duties in the Florida Conference starting Jan. 1, 2023.

The moves were announced Friday morning as the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference concluded at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

Bishop Carter leaves after ten years as the Florida Conference’s resident bishop, although he also served as the interim bishop in Western Carolina since 2021. Under his leadership, the Florida Conference and its more than 800 member churches were noted for the growth of fresh expressions, campus ministries, and inclusion.

Bishop Carter helped guide the Conference through recovery efforts from two Category 4 hurricanes (Irma in 2017 and Ian in September of this year) and the Surfside condominium collapse in 2021.

He provided leadership following the 2016 murders of 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and the 2018 Parkland massacre in Miami..

After Category 5 Hurricane Michael devastated parts of the Florida panhandle in the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 2018, Bishop Carter urged churches in the Florida Conference to take up a special offering for victims of that storm.

He wrote, “We know all too well the shock and helpless feeling hurricane survivors are left with when the storms pass. After a weather event of this magnitude, there are many ways to help, but monetary donations are crucial in the immediate aftermath.”

Bishop Carter served as the president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church from 2018-2020 and became a leading voice for inclusion. He was one of three moderators of The Commission on a Way Forward from 2016 to 2018.

In addition to his responsibilities with The Florida Conference, he serves as the bishop in residence for the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. He also is a consulting faculty member at the Duke University Divinity School.

Bishop Carter is the author of 18 books, including a memoir, “God Will Make a Way” (Abingdon, 2021). He has preached in 20 countries on four continents and served as a local church pastor for 28 years.

He earned degrees from Columbus College, Duke Divinity School, the University of Virginia, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Bishop Carter and his wife Pam have been married for more than 40 years. Pam has served as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, most recently in disaster recovery.

Bishop Tom Berlin

 Bishop Tom Berlin

Bishop Berlin is a native of Winchester, Va, and a graduate of Virginia Tech University and the Candler School of Theology. 

As he noted on his website, he has served as the Lead Pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va., since 1997. It is a multi-site congregation with vital mission partnerships in Northern Virginia and around the globe.

SEJ delegates chose him as the first of three bishops they elected this week.

“You all have been such a great blessing to my life and to be elected as a bishop is a singular honor,” Berlin said after his election.

He added, “Thank you. It is oddly humbling to stand before you and to accept this special assignment.”

UM News reported that “Berlin increasingly has taken on denominational leadership roles in efforts to help The United Methodist Church cross its deep divisions over LGBTQ inclusion. The Council of Bishops appointed Berlin to serve on the Commission on a Way Forward that developed proposals for the special 2019 General Conference intended to resolve the decades-long debate.”

He and his wife, Karen, have four daughters.

There was a friendly competition between South East, Gulf Central, and East Central Districts to see who would earn bragging rights for raising the most money on behalf of Florida Justice for Our Neighbors (FLJFON).

Bragging rights go to the South East District!! Congratulations to our friends in the South East District!!
The true winner is FLJFON who received $10,603.47 from our district challenge!! 

Thank you to everyone who contributed. If you want to make a donation, please mail it to: Florida Justice for Our Neighbors 1999 SW 27th Ave, 2nd Floor, Miami, FL  33145. If you or your church would like more information about FLJFON, please Click HERE for their website or contact Grace Rogers, Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator at  email.

Apportionment payments for 2022 must be received in the lockbox at Regions Bank or paid online by Monday January 9, 2023.  This is not a postmarked by date but is the last day by which monies must be received in the Conference or our bank lockbox to be included in 2022 apportionments receipts.  Any payments received after that date will be applied to 2023 apportionments.  Any payments received between January 1 and January 9 must be clearly marked as to which year they are to be applied.

All apportionment payments should be accompanied by a completed Remittance Report. Click HERE for the report or Click HERE to pay online.
Complete the Remittance Form with the following information:
  • Church Name
  • GCFA Number
  • Preparer contact information
  • Allocation amounts for each fund

Any amounts due for Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits at the end of the year will continue to show as outstanding on your statement in 2023. To ensure proper processing of these payments and avoid errors, payments should contain the following information on the check, check stub or statement:

  • Church Name
  • GCFA Number
  • Invoice Number (include all letters and any 0's)
  • Allocation amounts for each invoice

When mailing payments to Regions take note of the billing address for each of these types of payments. The last 4 numbers after the zip code are different for each and very important to include to ensure your payment is processed properly.

To be considered a 100% connectional church in The Florida Annual Conference Journal, 100% of 2022 Apportionments must be received by January 9, 2023, and all outstanding Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits obligations must be received by December 31, 2022.

Apportionments for 2023 are available on the conference website. To access your 2023 Apportionment information:

  • Go to the conference homepage:
  • Click on the "Monthly Billing Reports" at the bottom right of the page.
  • Click on the first link on the page, "Click here to download monthly reports."
  • When you choose a Report, there will be a report on the drop-down menu called 2023 Apportionments Report. This link will take you to your 2023 Apportionments. You will need to know your GCFA Number to pull your report.

Church Profile – reviewed and updated annually. 
These forms are to be reviewed and updated annually by all church SPR Committees and all clergy in the Florida Conference. All church SPR Committees must update online annually and may begin after December 1. The Church Profile deadline requires it be completed online no later than one week prior to the pastor’s DS consultation, if having. The final date to update the Church Profile is January 31, 2023. 

Pastor Profile – reviewed and updated annually.
All pastors in the local church must update online annually and may begin after December 1. If you are currently appointed to Extension Ministry and want to be in the Local Church for the 2023 Appointment Season, please email Dr. Bob Bushong and .cc Claudia Sava. The Pastor Profile deadline requires it to be completed online no later than one week prior to the DS consultation. Though you may not anticipate a move, it is important that both the Pastor Profile and Church Profile be current and up to date at the first appointment-making session of the Cabinet. The reports should be an honest reflection of the pastoral ministry and the profile of the church. The final date to update the Pastor Profile is January 31, 2023. 

Click HERE for the detailed instructions for accessing both the Church and Pastor Profiles. Follow the step-by-step instructions to access the appropriate profile. The final date to update Profiles is January 31, 2023.Extension Minister and Deacon Annual Reports


Clergy serving as Deacons in a local church or community setting continue to be linked to the annual conference though a number of means.  Each Deacon is directly related to a charge conference and may fulfill certain roles in that context.  And each Deacon gives an annual account of their ministry. Click HERE to go to the Office of Clergy Excellence page for the Deacon Annual Report.

Extension Ministry Clergy

Clergy serving in appointments beyond the local church continue to be linked to the annual conference though a number of means.  Each extension ministry clergy is directly related to a charge conference and may fulfill certain ministerial roles in that context.  And each clergy in an extension ministry appointment gives an annual account of his/her ministry. Click HERE to go to the Office of Clergy Excellence page for the Extension Ministry Annual Report. 

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)

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  

Upcoming Candidacy Retreat Dates:

  • January 12, 2023, Application Deadline December 1, 2022
  • July 27, 2023, Application Deadline July 1, 2023

Please see the Candidacy Retreat Check List to ensure all necessary items are completed. This Check List outlines all the steps needed for Candidacy. At the Candidacy retreat you will be assigned group mentor.

The United Methodist Association of Preschools will hold its conference on February 10-11, 2023, at the Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg.

Teachers and directors will receive the state-required 10 hours for attending.

Click HERE to register. The cost varies as to the level of membership and date registered and includes room and meals. Early registration is encouraged.

UMAP has been in existence for almost 40 years and is a Gold Seal accrediting agency for the State of Florida.

Schools that meet the Association's standards, which are higher than the state's basic standards, can be accredited by UMAP. Those approved can receive state funds at a higher rate for their children in the state Readiness program.

UMAP also trains, supports, and advocates for faith-based early childhood professionals. We have met with numerous pastors to assist in church/preschool relations.

Patty Stirling of Patty's Primary Songs Interactive Learning will be the keynote speaker.

UMAP works with churches and early childhood programs in The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, as well as other conferences. It seeks to support churches and schools to provide for God's youngest children the highest quality care and education.

Missional Vital Signs (MVS) for the local church was 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. 

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)

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

December 24 (Observed December 23) Christmas Eve
December 25 (Observed December 26) Christmas

Click on the dates below for details