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ECD March 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent


Beginning with Ash Wednesday this week, we are entering into the liturgical season of Lent in preparation for the celebration of Easter on Sunday, April 17. 

Lent is a season of penitence and remembrance and preparation that ties in to Jesus' forty days of fasting and prayer and temptation in the wilderness after his baptism. 

Lent is a time of growth and renewal in which many people give up something and/or take on something as a way to remember and symbolically live into the sacrifice of Christ as well as the claim that that sacrifice has on the lives of people of faith. 

While our Lenten focus during March and much of April helps us prepare for the celebration of Easter, I'd like to ask you to put a special opportunity on your calendar the weekend after Easter that will be a unique and meaningful way to respond to the new life through Christ that we celebrate on Easter.

The date is April Saturday, April 23 from 9:00 - noon. 
The event is The Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE)
The location is First UMC, Orlando. 
Click HERE to register.

COPE offers an eye-opening orientation to poverty, through an hour or so long interactive experience followed by a meaningful period of sharing and debriefing. It is an experience that sets the stage for participants to grapple with tough issues related to socio-economic inequities that exist in our culture. 

In this three-hour opportunity, participants will follow the footsteps of a fictional family based on the reality in which many people live every day as they try to pay bills, have a safe place to live, go to work and school, and have enough food to eat. 

This experience is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the realities with which thousands of people in Central Florida live everyday, and those who would like to be a part of addressing these realities. It's a great experience for families with children who are fourth and fifth grade and above to experience together. 

In Luke, 4:16-19 we read that after his baptism and his experience of temptation in the wilderness, Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth, and in the synagogue he reads from the Prophet Isaiah words that set the stage for his ministry: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free . . ." 

My prayer for all of us during Lent this year is for a meaningful experience of that leads us into a powerful celebration of Easter and a response that reminds us of the claim that Jesus makes upon our lives to be signs and vehicles of his love in our broken and hurting world. 

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


East Central District Spring Clergy Meeting

All full-time clergy appointed in the local church are expected to attend. All part time, lay supply, and clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend.

Date: Thursday, March 3
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Where:  San Pedro Center
2400 Dike Road
Winter Park, FL 32792

Theme: “Growing New Roots”
Facilitator: Dr. Brian Russell

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)

  • March 2: The Basics of Anti-Racism II
  • April 6: How to talk to People about Race I (Including laity, clergy, family, children, and people we disagree with)
  • May 4: How to talk to People about Race II (Including laity, clergy, family, children, and people we disagree with)
  • June 1: What is MLK’s “Beloved Community?” I
  • 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

March 31st Reports

There are seven "March 31st Reports" coming due on...March 31st! I have put in (  ) the committee that is typically responsible for completing the reports. Please have one person from your church send all reports in one email to Claudia Sava at Do not mail hard copies. If you have made revisions to any of your policies, please send the entire document.

  • Fiscal Responsibility and Management Policies. Financial Controls, Policies, and Procedures (Finance) - Review & renew annually. Once in compliance, submit a signed copy of the one page Annual Review and Renewal Document as well as the Document Retention Policy to the district office.  Click here for Fiscal Responsibility and Management Policies in Local Churches.  
  • Fund Balance Report for the Year End 2021 (Finance) - This report is located in your church dashboard. Report available via the church dashboard login under Fund Balance. Do not send a hard copy to the District Office
  • Employee Conduct Policy Adoption (SPRC). FL Conference Revised Local Church Policy last revised April 2015.  Review and renew annually.
    CLERGY FORMClick here for ECP for clergy. Submit the signed clergy copy to the district office
    EMPLOYEE FORMClick here for ECP for local church employees. Copies of the local church employee forms should not be submitted to the district office but should be filed in their employee file at the local church. 
    ADOPTION AGREEMENT: Click here - Adopt the revised ECP and submit a signed copy of the Adoption Agreement to the district office.
  • Child and Youth Protection Policy Review & renew annually (SPRC). Submit a signed copy of the Annual Review & Renewal Signature page of the Child/Youth Protection Policy to the district office. (Should the policy undergo major revisions, submit a complete copy to the district office.) See Ministry Protection webpage for more information.
  • Annual Report to the District Housing Committee / Parsonage Checklist (Trustees) - Review & renew annually. Submit a signed copy of the Annual Parsonage Review to the district office.

Click HERE for the 2022 Calendar of Reports Due throughout the year.

The Future of The United Methodist Church
Rev. Alex Shanks

 Rev. Alex Shanks

Rev. Shanks, Assistant to Bishop Carter, will speak at St. John's UMC on The Future of the UMC. Clergy and laity are invited to attend.

April 19
6:00pm - 7:00pm
St John's UMC
1800 Cypress Gardens Blvd
Winter Haven, FL  33884

Below are the links to watch the presentation remotely.

Church Site:

2022 Conference Wide Local Church Training!
Zoom Meetings

We are halfway through our six weeks of trainings! We have completed Finance, Human Resources/SPRC, and Trustees. We have CYPP, Local Church Representative for the Children’s Home, and Lay Leader/LayMember to Annual Conference to go. Please share these training opportunities with your church leaders. Click HERE to register. Click HERE for the flyer. Each session will start on time and last no more than one hour. The Zoom link will be emailed to you the day before the session.

Click HERE to view some of the .ppt presentations that were shared. 

Cokesbury sells Guidebooks for many different leadership roles in the United Methodist Church. Click HERE to order the guidebooks. 

East Central District Lay Servant Training
April 1 & 2 and April 8 & 9

Lay Servant training prepares laity to be in ministry through caring, communication and leadership. The key emphasis of Lay Servant Training is equipping and empowering lay servants to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, who then go and make other disciples.

This will be a FREE Lay Servant Training via Zoom. Everyone will be responsible to purchase their own book with the exception of Jim Boesch's class. Claudia Sava will get those books to the participants of that class. Click on the title of the course to order from the seller. We will meet together and then we will split into our class. You will need to attend the entire schedule below. Certification requires ten hours of class time.

Friday, April 1, 2022 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday, April 2, 2022 9:00am - 1:00pm
Friday, April 8, 2022 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday, April 9, 2022 9:00am - 1:00pm

You are encouraged to take the Basic LSM course before taking an advanced course. Once you have completed the Basic LSM and one Advanced course, you will be a Certified Lay Servant.

Discover the many ways lay servants are called to be in ministry through leading, teaching, serving, proclaiming the gospel, disciple-making, storytelling, and spiritual growth.

Basic Lay Servant in English Facilitator:  Lynn Campbell
Basic Lay Servant in Spanish Facilitator:  Luz Ortiz

Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations by Junius Dotson Facilitator:  Jim Boesch (Claudia Sava will send it to you.)
Tired of researching community demographics, pouring over worship attendance metrics, and fixing their aging structures? We can’t program our way back to vitality. Rather, it requires a discipleship-making and a process that reaches into your community.

Opening Ourselves to Grace: Discipleship in the Wesleyan Spirit by Steven Manskar Facilitator:  Rev. Kate Ling 
Opening Ourselves to Grace is an introduction to grace and the means of grace as foundational to the pursuit of holiness of heart and life in the Wesleyan Methodist tradition.

Cost of Poverty Experience
First United Methodist Church Orlando
April 23 9:00am - 12:00pm

The East Central District is sponsoring The Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE).  This event is open for the first 120 people to register. The cost of admittance is an item for United Against Poverty. Click HERE to see what they need. They prefer canned vegetables, instead of canned potatoes. In addition to diapers, they need wipes. They do not need Ensure. Click HERE to learn more about United Against Poverty.

An immersive poverty simulation designed to offer a glimpse into the lives of low-income individuals and families living in our communities.

Many organizations and communities across the nation use COPE to work more effectively with low-income families. COPE gives participants and volunteers an opportunity to experience poverty firsthand through the eyes of real families. The experiential nature of this training helps organizations and communities more deeply understand the complexities of poverty, paving the way for addressing the issues of poverty more comprehensively.

COPE is a tool that will help your team:

  • Deepen their understanding of the realities of poverty in America.
  • Improve practices and approaches to better engage low-income individuals and their families.
  • Build partnerships with the broader community to improve outcomes for low-income families.

Good News from the Ministry Protection Insurance Program!

Last year was one of the costliest years on record for insurance companies.  A staggering 401 notable natural disaster events around the world plagued the industry, from a cyclone making a rare landfall in Oman, to major hailstorms in Australia, to catastrophic Hurricane Ida, the fourth-costliest hurricane in U.S. history.  All toll, the economic loss estimate for natural disasters worldwide in 2021 is $343 billion, of which approximately $130 billion was insured. 

The record-breaking natural disasters, along with monumental legal exposures, like the one brought on by the Boy Scouts bankruptcy filing, and the lingering uncertainties of COVID-19 could paint a very dire picture for any insurance program seeking to provide quality products at affordable prices in an ever-changing economy.
Even with all the dire reports, we still have good news from the Ministry Protection Insurance Program! 

  1. Though the cost of insurance for the program increased by almost 10% over the previous year, that increase will not be passed on to the local church/ministry. 

    Based on the strength of the insurance program, the Ministry Protection Committee voted to forego passing any of the year’s increase on to local churches.

    NOTE:  This benefit may not be feasible and thus not offered in future years.
  2. The 2% early payment discount is back!  As in years past, if your church insurance allocation is paid in full by 3/31/22, you will receive a 2% discount off the billed amount.  Invoices are now available online and can be accessed here.

    Choose “PC/Workers Comp” from the drop-down menu and enter your church’s GCFA number. A packet containing insurance information will also be mailed to you in the coming days and will include a paper copy of the invoices and the 2022 Insurance Summary of coverages.
  3. The market for Cyber Liability Insurance tightened considerably in the past year, with much stricter underwriting standards for all industries, making the coverage unattainable for many programs, including our own.  Though we could not find a company willing to underwrite our cyber liability exposure for this year, the Ministry Protection Insurance Program is offering, free of charge, to Florida Conference churches and related ministries, an industry-leading cyber security training program.  The program will be offered in the spring and again in the fall.  Stay tuned for details about this valuable training.

On behalf of the Ministry Protection Committee and Department, we are pleased to share this good news.

Thank you for your continued support and for sharing the vision of protecting and enabling ministry, to the Glory of God.

Annual Conference 2022 - Get ready to see one another!

The Florida Annual Conference 2022 session will be back to an in-person event and will be held on June 9-11 (a general schedule will be released in the new year) on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The theme for Annual Conference 2022 will be: Rebuilding the Church, Re-membering the Body: Creating a Spiritual Home for All.

“We have been through an extraordinary season with many complexities and constraints, and all of this has kept us from the joy of coming together, and we likely have taken this gift for granted,” said Bishop Ken Carter. “I am excited about the 2022 Annual Conference, and I believe God will bless us during these days.”
Thanks to vaccinations and proper protocols, we feel confident that an in-person gathering can occur in June of next year. While we will still offer a livestream option for those not able to be present in Lakeland, voting on Conference matters will only be available to in-person lay and clergy members.
As we have for the past two years, your Annual Conference planning team will continue to follow state and local health guidelines, including those of Florida Southern College as our hosts. It is possible that mask-wearing and social distancing may still be recommended so please watch for more details as we draw closer to June.

Information will be added to the AC2022 webpage as it is available.

For questions, please contact

Get AC 2022 updates delivered straight to your phone!
Text "flumc22" to 844-635-1026 to subscribe.
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Interested in becoming an East Central District at-large Lay Member to
Annual Conference 2022?

Please read the guidelines regarding District at-large Lay Members to Annual Conference. 

  • No more than three voting members from one household
  • No more than five at-large members from one local church
  • Click HERE for the role of the Lay Member to Annual Conference
  • BOD P602.4 The lay member must be a professing member in good standing of The United Methodist Church for at least two years and an active participant in The United Methodist Church for at least four years.
  • Individuals are responsible for all of their expenses related to Annual Conference.
  • You are not automatically a Lay Member to Annual Conference because you were last year. Please complete the form, if you want to be considered again.

Click HERE to submit your name. You will be notified, if you have been selected.

The Florida Annual Conference is Hiring!

Assistant to the Director of The Office of Clergy Excellence

The Florida Conference is excited to announce a search for an Assistant to the Director of The Office of Clergy Excellence (OCE).   This role will be responsible for recruiting, developing, credentialing, and support the Florida Conference Clergy Leaders. This position is responsible for maintaining and administering communication systems utilized by the Board of Ordained Ministry and Leadership and for coordinating and maintaining consistent information and resources for all persons in discernment for clergy roles and those supporting them in the process. Click HERE for job description.

District Office Administrative Assistant

The Florida Conference is a regional unit of The United Methodist Church and comprises more than 600 local churches. This religious organization is seeking a full-time Administrative Assistant to support the North Central District located in Ocala. Click HERE for job description.

Reporting New Hire/Rehire Employees and Independent Contractors to the State of Florida

On October 1, 2021, Florida Statute §409.2576 became effective which requires all employers to report newly hired and rehired employees to the State Directory of New Hires within 20 days of hire.  Previously, only employers with 250 employees or more had to report this information. We recommend you report everyone that has been hired or meets the criteria for the Independent Contractor requirements since January 1, 2022.
This Statute also requires all employers to report individuals who are independent contractors, who provide a service to the employer and are paid more than $600 per year for the services rendered. 
The reporting requirement does not apply to service providers that are business entities such as a limited liability companies (LLCs), even if owned and operated by only one person.
Reporting Requirements for Independent Contractors - Employers must report independent contractors that are subject to reporting (paid $600 or more) within 20 days after the earlier of:

  1. The date of the first payment made which requires an information return in accordance with s. 6041A(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
  2. The date on which a contract providing for such payments is entered into.
  3. Must be reported every 12 months that they receive $600 or more.

Chapter 409 Section 2576 - 2021 Florida Statutes (
To Register:
Options for Reporting:
Child Support Services for Employers Information on how to report (
Florida New Hire Reporting Form (

United Methodist Women

If you need to contact your East Central District leadership team, please email If you are interested in receiving the latest event updates in the East Central District UMW, please sign up at

Angola Malnutrition

Some of you have heard us talk about the severe malnutrition in children under five years old that has re-emerged in Angola as a devastating side effect of the COVID pandemic.  Here is an amazing opportunity that the Lord has laid before us to help the children of Quessua overcome this potentially fatal condition.  

A donation of $50 can purchase enough RUTF (ready to use therapeutic food) to restore one child to health.  Will you please share this story with your churches, family, and friends?

If you or your congregation would like more information on our mission in Angola and how you can support this ministry with your prayers and gifts, please feel free to contact Icel Rodriguez at

Lands of the Bible Cruise with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter
September 22, 2022

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.

Modified Missional Vital Signs Reporting

The Florida Conference is using a Modified MVS reporting model. Click HERE for instructions and to report MVS.

2022 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

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

April 15 Good Friday
May 30 Memorial Day
June 19 (Observed June 20) Juneteenth Independence Day
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