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ECD October 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Hear the Word of God from Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar,
the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice,
the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

The Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!

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  email.


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. 

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 is currently:

  • setting up Basic ERT and Recertification ERT classes, online (see below)
  • securing volunteer housing
  • working with county leaders to coordinate work
  • Basic ERT Training – In Person
    Saturday, October 15th – 8:00 – 4:00 at First, Lakeland 
    Register here.                                           
    We are looking for additional churches to host Basic ERT training. Once we have confirmed host churches and dates, training will be posted online for registration.
    If you are interested in hosting, please contact Jill Hockin.
    IMPORTANT: If you recertify or take a basic class, you will be expected to deploy with a team over the next 2-3 months, or as long as ERTs are needed in the affected communities. If you know you will not be able to deploy during that time, please wait for future classes.
    ERT Deployment Process
    • Experienced ERTs willing to serve as Team Leaders in the next 4-6 weeks should contact Tom Vencuss and include the dates you are available to lead. Reminder that a full ERT trip/deployment is 5-days: 2 days of travel, 3 days of work.
    • Once Team Leaders are identified, names, deployment dates and contact information will be emailed. 
    • Those available to serve can contact the appropriate team leader directly to sign up for that deployment.
    • When a Team Leader has a complete team, the Team Leader with work with Tom Vencuss for work location assignment and final deployment details.
    • All questions about ERT deployment should be directed to Tom Vencuss.

Filing Claims

The recorded webinar on post-storm insurance and claims is now available. Click the image below to view it. To file a claim, you can call 877-879-9238.

To receive Disaster Recovery ministry updates via text message:
Text the word disaster to 844-635-1026.
Normal text messaging rates apply. Text "STOP" to opt out. Text "HELP" for help

October 10th | 7-8:30PM

Dear East Central District Fresh Expressions Practitioners, Pioneers, Adventurers, Permission-Givers and anyone engaging fresh expressions of church with new people, in new places and in new ways…

Join us next Monday (Postponed Ian Meeting)

We hope everyone made it through ok.

We pushed off a week but we are looking forward to being together, developing some strategy, exploring this paper on what's next, and pivoting from there into some dialogue about FX metrics.

There is more than enough work to do, and the real work of connection is more important than ever. Hope to see you all on Zoom!


See you Monday!

Rev. Ben Collins
ECD Fresh Expressions Cultivator

Email Ben Collins


2022 Church Conferences are underway!!

Click HERE for the instructions. Click HERE for the current schedule. BOD P248 All professing members of the local church present at the church conference may vote.

  • Click HERE for the ECD Instructions.
  • 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. Please do not send any other reports. We are not asking for the Senior Pastor's Report this year.
  • The FINAL signed packet must be turned in at the Church Conference.
    ♦ Do NOT turn in originals. The district scans all items and shreds them. The local church maintains a complete copy of the Annual Fall Church Conference documents as a permanent record.
    ♦ The packet should have the Preparation Checklist on top and all other documents in the order of the checklist. Please attach the attendance sheet before turning it in.
    ♦ Single-sided copies
    ♦ Do NOT staple. Please use a binder clip.
  • People who attend the Church Conference should have a packet that includes:
    ♦ The Voting Matters Agenda
    ♦ List of 2023 Nominations
    ♦ 1st & 2nd List of Members for Removal
  • Certified Lay Servants - Click HERE for the Annual Report. This report is only for those who have completed the Basic Course and an Advanced Course within three years. You must attach copies of your Advanced Course certificate to your Annual Report. Those who have only completed the Basic Course do not complete a report and are not voted on at the Annual Church Conference.
  • 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

Creation Care

I am your East Central District contact for The Florida Conference Creation Care Task Team. We do an EPG/Eat, Pray, Grow monthly meeting by Zoom and Facebook on the 4th Tuesday from noon - 1 pm. We have resources on Creation Care for you and your church. If you have an interest or are already doing creation care, please make sure that you connect with your pastor and lay leadership so that your name and contact information is on the charge conference nomination form.

Thank you and blessings in what you do,

Alma B. Manney  






Depression is real, common and treatable. Recovery is possible.

This year’s theme is, ‘Depression is real, common and treatable. Recovery is possible.’ It reminds people that with early, continuous treatment, they can gain control of their symptoms, feel better and get back to enjoying their lives.

The materials focus on depression symptoms, screening options and what people can do to get on the road to recovery. Depression is a serious mental illness that affects how people feel, think and go about their everyday tasks. It isn’t something that eventually “passes.” The good news is that it’s one of the most common and treatable mental health disorders. We can all play a role in supporting people with depression.

The campaign toolkit includes tools and resources to raise awareness of depression, including causes, symptoms and treatments.

Click the button above to access the National Depression and Mental Health Awareness and Screening Month files. Once on the webpage, scroll down to the Special Campaigns section to download the following:

  • Employee Email Template
  • Digital Sign
  • Virtual Background
  • Web Tile
  • Poster

The clergy meeting schedule for October 13 has been cancelled due to Hurricane Ian.

The New Season: Post-Covid Ministry Beyond the Internet October 17 & 24

The technological and ministry innovation that followed the pandemic wave was both a blessing and burden. So much of our ministry expectations switched to online and tech-based ministry. While this is not bad, it does not take into consideration the churches without the technology, people, or calling to sustain these ministries.

This two-week webinar series with Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith will explore creative ministry that does not require high-speed internet or a complex recording setup. Instead, it provides the tools to explore the new realities of your congregation and community. From this, you can create new ministries and tweak traditions to build a future for your churches and communities.

Questions? Contact Rev. Sarah Campbell 


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 ConferenceHERE

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  

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