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ECD November 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Today is November 1, All Saints Day in the life of the church.

Writing on the subject of saints, Bishop Will Willimon of Duke Divinity School says,

A biblical saint is not a person who lives a virtuous life. No, biblical saintliness is a matter of what God does with people. A person is called saint in the Bible because God wants that person to do something holy, not because that person is holy. Saints are people who are called by God to do God’s work. 

The New Testament shares this definition of saints: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (I Peter 2:9).

That’s how the author spoke to early Christians, adding, “that you may declare the deeds of the God who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 

The New Testament in this sense refers to the whole church as saints. Like Israel before it, out of nobodies become “somebodies,” made saints by the gracious choice and movement of God. Saints are made by listening to God and saying “Yes.” 

That’s what we’re called to do – to listen to God and to say “Yes,” and by doing so to become God’s saints. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we don’t fail at points along the way.

What it does mean is that we are intentional about listening to the voice of God in its myriad forms all around us – and responding to that voice. 

That’s what God calls people of faith to do.

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

Thank you for your faithfulness as we respond to Hurricane Ian throughout our Conference. Below are a few reminders regarding donations and filing storm claims. 

Churches Navigating FEMA

Dr. Geoffrey Lentz shared the lessons he learned while applying for FEMA as the appointed pastor to Pt St joe after Hurricane Michael. FEMA can assist your church on recovery after Hurricane Ian.

Click HERE to watch the Webinar.
Click HERE for the .ppt from the meeting.
Click HERE for the Public assistance Program and Policy guide that was mentioned in the meeting.

Alabama West Florida Conference shared their experience and knowledge as they recovered from Hurricane Michael. That team has offered to do a Q&A on Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00pm. Click HERE to register for the meeting.

Financial Donations

Special offerings from churches for Hurricane Ian Recovery can be made online or a check can be sent to the same address you send your apportionment payments using code 102072 Hurricane Ian Response and Recovery. 100% of gifts will be used to support the mission of local churches most directly affected by the storm and will be distributed by the cabinet under the supervision of the Conference Committee on Finance & Administration.

Donated Items

Collect cleaning kits. Click here for a list of supplies and instructions on how to assemble a cleaning kit. Please be prepared to hold on to the kits until further notice from the Disaster Recovery Ministry. If you have received donated items, please contact the FLUMC Disaster Recovery Call Center to let them know what items you have received and the amount. This information will help us fill the needs that have been requested by local government, impacted churches, and residents. The call center number is (855) 228-3862. 


Call the Disaster Recovery Call Center to volunteer or share post-storm community needs. The call center number is (855) 228-3862. 

Volunteer for the Early Response Team (ERT) Recruitment and Deployment Thank you for your interest, support, and willingness to serve. The Hurricane Ian response is constantly evolving, and we appreciate your patience as we determine the most effective way to safely help those impacted.

FLUMC Claim Reporting Number


SEJ is November 2-4 in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Click Here to read a letter to The Florida Conference from Molly McEntire and Rev. Alex Shanks explaining what is planned to take place at SEJ Conference. 

Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin is The Florida Conference episcopal nominee to the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. She is one of nine individuals who will be considered during bishop elections this week.

The sessions will be livestreamed. Click HERE for details and to watch the livestreamed events.

November 7 | 7-8:30PM

East Central District Clergy and Lay Fresh Expression Pioneers are invited to join us for the monthly Fresh Expressions Meeting via Zoom.

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

We meet the first Monday of each month at 7pm via Zoom.
Please make a point to join us. Everyone is welcome! Questions? Contact Rev. Ben Collins, East Central District Fresh Expressions Cultivator.

Email Ben Collins

43 churches have completed their Annual Church Conferences and 20 to go!!

Will you have a new leadership role in 2023? Are you wondering what that means?
Cokesbury sells Guidebooks for many different leadership roles in the United Methodist Church. Click HERE to see what they offer.

2023 Church Leadership is to be updated on your Church Dashboard within seven days of your CC.  Click HERE for Tutorials on adding leadership BEFORE you start to update. 

  • All leadership with an end date of 12/31/22 will fall off at the end of the year. 
  • If someone is rolling off, you do not need to edit their record.
  • The end dates you enter should all be 12/31/23.  It is not done by the class they are in.
  • We do not want entire committees added, just the chair.
  • We also need key staff positions listed. Please put their positions and not just “staff”.
  • Be sure to click “I am done” when you are finished.

NOTE:  The Church Dashboard should be updated throughout the year as changes happen.

Did you receive a check for FLJFON after your Church Conference? Please include a note FLJFON District Challenge – East Central District and mail checks to:

Florida Justice for Our Neighbors
Attn: Grace Rogers
1999 SW 27th Ave 2nd Floor
Miami, FL  33145


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. The report is due on December 31.

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. The report is due by December 31.

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)

  • November 2: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries II
  • December 7: Celebrating Anti-Racism Ministries in the Florida ConferenceERE

Approved by dCOM, Headed to BOOM!

Have you been approved by dCOM and headed to BOOM? Congratulations!! You are all set to go!

Would you like some help with your paperwork and/or the interview process? There are two opportunities for you to get some tips and we wanted to be sure you knew about them. These are optional workshops held over Zoom.

Paperwork Session Interview Pep & Practice Session
Wednesday, November 16 Wednesday, January 11
1:00pm - 4:00pm 1:00pm - 4:00pm

This is a time for you to join, ask questions, and hopefully relieve some stress that you might have around this process. The team is there to help, support and encourage you through this process. If you are interested in joining, please register below.

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.


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.  The Lay Servant Ministry leaders, Jim Boesch, Randy Nunley and Lynn Campbell, are coming alongside me 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

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 L

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 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)

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

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