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ECD July 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

As I write this, it’s Friday morning, July 1, the start of an extended weekend of celebration for the founding of our country, the United States of America. As has been the case in other segments of our history, we are in troubled times as a nation, and as a larger world.

As I turned to God in prayer this morning, I felt drawn to a particular hymn that speaks into my heart and seems appropriate to refer to today. It’s number 437 in our United Methodist Hymnal and is called “This Is My Song”:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms;
Thy kingdom come; on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
and hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations,
myself I give thee; let thy will be done.

This weekend is a time set aside to pull us together as Americans, even in our differences. For people of faith, it’s also a time to remember that we are part of a larger human family that transcends national boundaries and allegiances.

It’s a time to renew our focus on Christ, a time to pray that we might be those whose lives do indeed “let Christ be lifted up,” that we would allow God to use us in ways that point to a day when “all shall serve him, and hearts united learn to live as one.”

Grace and Peace, 


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

East Central District 
Florida Conference of the UMC

PO Box 4064
Enterprise, FL  32725

Claudia Sava, ECD Administrative Assistant is available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm by phone 321-295-8801 or email


Annual Conference 2022
Rebuilding the Church
Re-membering the Body

Click HERE for the AC2022 Summary Report
Click HERE for the 2022 Annual Conference Videos.
Click HERE for details on the Bishop's Offering.

Congratulations to the East Central District Elders who have retired! Thank you for your ministries!

Kim Griffith
25 Years
Jim Mitchell
44 Years
Cruz Edwin Santos
32 Years
Walker Walker
20 Years

Congratulations to the East Central District clergy who were Licensed and Ordained!

Local Pastor
Brian Lawson - Zellwood UMC

Full Deacon
Michele Van Son Neill - CRAVE

Full Elder
Frank Adams - New Horizon UMC, Haines City
Nicole Logan - Pasadena Community, St Petersburg
Eliantus Valmyr - Emmanuel Haitian Mission, Orlando
Caitlin White - Stetson Wesley and Trinity UMC, DeLand

Blessings to all our Clergy with New Appointments and their ministries!


Azalea Park UMC, Orlando - Matt Findley
Bear Lake UMC, Apopka - Wade Eshelman
Edge Memorial UMC, Groveland - Linda Johnson
First Auburndale UMC - CJ Hill
Osteen UMC - Ben Collins
Solid Rock UMC, Orlando - Theo Jackson

Extensions -
Ben Collins - ECD Fresh Expressions Cultivator
Jack Jackson - United Theological Seminary
David Joseph - DeLand Counseling Co-operative
Shawn Klein - Community Church - Memphis, TN

Mark your calendars now for Annual Conference 2023 & 2024
All appointed clergy are required to attend. 

2016 Book of Discipline ¶602.8 It is the duty of every member and all provisional members and local pastors of the annual conference to attend its sessions and furnish such reports in such form as the Discipline may require. Any such person unable to attend shall report by letter to the conference secretary, setting forth the reason for the absence. Should any ordained minister in active service be absent from the session of the annual conference without a satisfactory reason for the absence, the matter shall be referred by the conference secretary to the Board of Ordained Ministry.

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)

  • July 6: What is MLK’s “Beloved Community?” II
  • 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

Florida Conference Guidance Re: Use of New BSA Affiliation Agreement

The original June 30 deadline for the expiration of the current BSA charter agreements has now been extended to October 31, 2022. There is no need for you to do anything at the current time regarding your relationship with the BSA.

Late last week a meeting was hosted by the BSA/UMC Team and the General Commission on United Methodist Men Center for Scouting Ministries. The primary purpose of that meeting was to introduce the new Affiliation Agreement that is being offered to replace the former Charter Agreement and to explain the process of entering into the new Affiliation Agreements with your local Scouting Units and Councils. During that meeting, it was also discussed that the BSA was agreeable to the continued use of a Facilities Use Agreement.

Many questions and concerns were raised during that meeting, not only related to the language of the new Affiliation Agreement, but also related to the logistics of having every church that sponsors a Scouting unit enter into agreements before the June 30, 2022 deadline. As noted above, the United Methodist Church has negotiated with the Boy Scouts of America to extend the deadline to enter into new agreements until October 31, 2022, extending the current Charters or Facility Use Agreements an additional 120 days.

In the meantime the United Methodist Church and the Boy Scouts of America will execute an interim agreement, in which the Boy Scouts will agree that the detailed insurance and indemnity provisions of the new agreement will go into effect immediately for all UMC entities engaged in Scouting whether they currently operate under a Charter Agreement or a Facility Use Agreement with their Scouting Unit. This will also give time for a new standard Facility Use Agreement, approved by both the Boy Scouts and the United Methodist Church, to be completed and made available to local churches.

A new standard Facility Use Agreement is important to the leadership of the Florida Conference. After reviewing the new Affiliation Agreement that was presented last week, we do not recommend that churches use the new Affiliation Agreement with their local scouting units, but instead use the new standard Facility Use Agreement when it becomes available. We do not feel that the new Affiliation Agreement adequately protects the local churches from potential liability claims brought against them arising from incidents that happen during Scouting activities. As a result, we are recommending that churches which wish to host a Scouting unit at their church, enter into the new Facility Use Agreement that will be issued soon instead of the new Affiliation Agreement that was published last week. We believe this is in the best interest of the mission of the local church and scouting.

If your church decides to discontinue its relationship with the BSA your church may be presented with a “Release Letter” by your local council. We recommend that you do not sign the Release Letter as the wording of the letter is ambiguous regarding the purpose of the release.

Thank you for your patience during this extended time of uncertainty.

The Peace of the Lord,
Ken Carter                   Craig Smelser
Resident Bishop        Treasurer

IRS increases mileage rate for remainder of 2022

IR-2022-124, June 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final 6 months of 2022. Taxpayers may use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and certain other purposes.

For the final 6 months of 2022, the standard mileage rate for business travel will be 62.5 cents per mile, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of the year. The new rate for deductible medical or moving expenses (available for active-duty members of the military) will be 22 cents for the remainder of 2022, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of 2022. These new rates become effective July 1, 2022. The IRS provided legal guidance on the new rates in Announcement 2022-13PDF, issued today. Click HERE to continue reading.

Florida United Methodist Foundation has a New President!

LAKELAND (June 23, 2022 | Tita Parham) — The Florida United Methodist Foundation’s board of directors approved the Rev. Ed New as the foundation’s next president at their second quarter meeting June 18.

 Rev. Ed New

New will begin his appointment July 11, succeeding the Rev. Mark Becker, who retired at this year’s annual conference session June 9. Becker will continue in a consultative capacity for six months to ensure a smooth transition.

Becker, who joined the foundation’s board in 2009 and became its president in 2015, announced his plans to retire at the foundation’s fourth quarter board meeting last year.

“I am 66 now, and I have always said that my goal is to retire by 67,” he said. “I want to be healthy and be able to enjoy retirement with my family.”

Becker and his wife, Marie, will be relocating to the Atlanta area to be near their two daughters and grandson. The plan, Becker said, is to “enjoy being close to family and do some volunteering, and perhaps a bit of traveling and writing. We are looking forward to an active retirement.”

Board member Jane Zody led the search committee to find Becker’s replacement. Don Selvage of SHR Human Resources of Lakeland consulted with the team to conduct a national search. Their work began in early January.

After an initial candidate pool of 24 applicants, a first-round group of seven and an interview group of three, the committee narrowed the choice to New and another candidate. The team recommended New to the board as the best choice for the foundation going forward.

“It is such a privilege to have been chosen as the next president of the Florida United Methodist Foundation,” New said.  “What attracted me to the role is what continues to excite me about the journey ahead — the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and create new ones as we seek to ensure that all of our constituents, our account holders, our parishioners, our churches and our ministries have every resource they need in order to plan for a blessed and bright future.”

New was ordained an elder in full connection in the Florida Conference in 2009 and served churches in North Carolina before becoming associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland in 2013.

 Rev. Mark and Marie Becker

He most recently served as associate head of school for institutional advancement at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven, where he led a fundraising campaign raising more than $500,000 annually.

He also developed a five-year strategic plan focused on boosting the school’s institutional identity and connections within the community and directed a $550,000 micro-campaign to revitalize the school’s fine arts center.

In addition to earning a Master of Divinity at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in 2005, New earned an MBA at Southeastern University in Lakeland in 2017. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications and a minor in business administration from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, in 2001.

Becker believes the future of the foundation is strong.

“The foundation does great work, and it has been a pleasure to be a part of it,” he said. “There is a strong work ethic here and a strong commitment to ministry. As long as we stick to those values, we can look forward to a very bright future.”

New and his wife, Judi, who serves as conference archivist, have three children.


Parham is the foundation’s vice president of marketing and communications.

East Central District United Women in Faith

Florida United Methodist Children's Home Job Opportunities


Warren Willis Camp

Check out Warren Willis camp opportunities!

Summer Camp - July
Creative Spirit Camp - July 4-9
Confirmation Retreats - October 7-9
Work Camping - October - April
Plan your own church retreat - Who doesn't love Warren Willis Camp? Why not plan your own retreat?

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.

Missional Vital Signs Reporting Changes

Thank you for taking the time to update your MVS reporters in the church dashboard. We had many new MVS reporter emails added which is helpful in keeping you all up-to-date with communications of any changes.

The new MVS site is now live (click here). You are NOW able to submit March 2022 data through the church dashboard. There is the option of reporting weekly or monthly. Also, you have the ability to input missing data from the last two years without having to go through the district office. 

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 notice the changes. There are fewer data points requested and some of the definitions have been expanded. This would be helpful to share with your leadership. Your church should continue to gather whatever is expected for the Year End Report as well as other important data for your church.

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

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

MVS Team 
(Steve Loher and Janet Earls) 

2022 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

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

July 4 Independence Day
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

The conference and district offices will be closed for the holiday.

August 18 - EC dCOM

Purpose: Provisional follow-up Due Date: July 21

August 22 - East Central District Gathering on the Continuing UMC

Dr. Bob Bushong, East Central District Superintendent, will present the Continuing UMC. He will discuss the recent postponement of General Conference and give information that will be helpful to you and your church during this season. Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no registration. This event will not be livestreamed or recorded.

September 5 - Labor Day Holiday

The conference and district offices will be closed for the holiday.