In the District
Greetings from the District Superintendent
|Dr. Bob Bushong|
What an unusual, challenging, strange (pick your adjective – there are many options!) time we have been experiencing since early March, and that we may continue to experience for some time still to come.
Thank you for your commitment to responding creatively to the various aspects of ministry that make your church what it is, from worship, to congregational care, to specific targeted ministries, to administrative oversight, to various forms of outreach into the community, to visioning for the future.
Thanks to strong pastoral leadership and for that of key lay folks, churches in the Florida Conference have not “closed.” Instead they have pulled together to move forward in new and creative ways.
I heard about a church whose “Re-launch” team is named their “Healthy Church Team” as they look together at how to continue to move forward strategically in the most healthy and loving ways.
Toward that end, and realizing that there are differing opinions on what that may mean, I wanted to lift up two points for your reflection:
1. Please check out the link below from the Conference website, paying attention to the section that begins on page 9, entitled “Looking Ahead: June 16 and After.” Please note the information specifically about singing in worship: Click HERE.
2. Please have conversation in your leadership team about how you will respond if/when someone in your congregation tests positive for Covid-19, which has happened in many of our churches. Click HERE for step-by-step guidance for handling a positive test result within the congregation.
Please know also that I stand ready, as do other Conference staff, to be encouraging and supportive in whatever ways we can. Know especially that my prayers and gratitude are with you in this challenging time.
Grace and Peace,
East Central District
East Central District Office
The District Office will be closed during the pandemic. Claudia Sava is available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm remotely and will check voice mail throughout the week. It is best to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charge Conference forms go live August 24.
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders
Fear Not and Get Creative!
When I was in my mid-thirties, I had a conversation with a dear friend, Ginny, whose father was a pastor. She had inherited some of her father’s pastoral wisdom, for sure. She was a great listener and gave clear, concise advice. In our discussion, I said something like, “When I grow up, I’m going to be such and such.” (I don’t remember what I said I was going to be.) Even though she knew I was playing around with a dream or two, she said, “Melanie, you are grown up.” I knew exactly what she meant. Of course, I was grown up. I was married with three small children. That’s not what she meant. She was telling me that if I really had a dream, I needed to pursue it, not just joke around about it and put it off into some distant future.
In the middle of days that stretched out by miles of carpooling to kids’ activities, volunteering for schools, and attending church meetings, I had put any ideas of my dream career on hold. I was waiting “until I grew up” or until I had time or until some magical day that seemed perfect. I was not in the middle of a pandemic, but I was definitely waiting to act. Ginny’s words echoed in my thoughts over and over, and I finally took some time to do some soul searching about my future. Shortly after that, I became a teacher, which changed my life and the life of my family. Ginny helped me fulfill God’s will for me, by helping me to move forward.
I hear people around me putting dreams and plans on hold until after the pandemic. When everything gets back to normal, we will do such and such. I have joined in those conversations too. It is hard to move forward when nothing seems normal and everything is in flux. Still, I have begun to think of those words, “back to normal,” in the same way I think of, “This too shall pass.” For me, that phrase always rankles because it implies that we are not living fully in the present moment. We are treading water until the big wave passes. Good or bad, life is here, and we are blessed to live it to the fullest, without fear.
How do we stop treading water during a pandemic? We fall back on our best practices. We pray and fear not. In Romans 8, Paul encourages us to remember that God is with us always. When we can’t think of how to pray, we can turn to the Spirit to help us, to intercede for us.
“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The world needs us now more than ever, but we need to get creative in how we fill those needs. The normal ways won’t do, and so, we get innovative! We learn new ways. We get much more intentional about our connections with one another in love. We know that God will work more good through us than we can even imagine, but we have to trust and put one foot in front of the other. Fear not! We’ve got work to do!
Loving the Laity,
Melanie & Kim Lee
Annual Conference 2020 Update
Virtual Pre-Annual Conference Orientation - East Central District's virtual session is August 18 at 7pm. You may attend any of the three that are offered.
Atlantic Central + East Central + South East Districts: Tuesday, August 18, 7 pm
Gulf Central + South West Districts: Thursday, August 20, 6 pm
North Central + North East + North West: Monday, August 17, 6 pm
Annual Conference will be virtual only on September 19 9:00am - noon. Click HERE for the announcement.
The following events will all be virtual on September 12.
Laity Session - 10:00am - noon
Service of Commissioning - 1:00pm
Service of Ordination - 3:00pm
Installation of our two new District Superintendents - 4:30pm
Commission on Archives and History
East Central District Opening
Do you have a passion for history? The Commission on Archives and History (CAH) is an exciting and rich opportunity to serve the church in a vital way. Each district has a commission member to serve and help preserve local church histories and push forward the work of the Heritage Center. CAH is currently looking for a commissioner from the East Central District. Click HERE for the Archives and History webpage on flumc.org. Click HERE for a job description for commission members.
What is the purpose of a District Commissioner on CAH?
- The district representative's role in the Annual Conference is crucial; he/she will ensure that vital information is reported back to his/her respective district and the flow of communication is constant.
- The representative's relationship to all local churches within their district is crucial; he/she will provide leadership, encouragement, and support for the protection and recovery of history at its most important level.
- The representative's involvement in the wider historical community is crucial; he/she will become and important link in the connectional chain that binds us all.
If you feel you are the "right person for the job", please contact Anita Campbell, Chair of The Florida United Methodist Conference Commission on Archives and History at email@example.com or 386-734-9224. Check out the Facebook page of the Florida United Methodist Heritage Center!
Each church should have a Church Historian. This person should be listed in your Church Dashboard. Those responsible for updating the church dashboard, please take a minute to verify the leadership is correct. Click HERE for tutorials on how to update the Church Dashboard. Anita will be contacting each church that does not have a historian.
2021 EC District Committee on Ministry (dCOM)
East Central District Committee on Ministry meetings are all on Thursdays at Asbury UMC, Maitland. To schedule a dCOM interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.
|2020 dCOM Date||Due Date||Purpose|
|March 18||February 18||LPRs|
|April 15||March 4||Recerts/LPs|
|May 6||April 8||Provisional/Certs|
|August 19||July 22||Provisional follow-up|
|November 18||October 21||Certifications|
Share what your ministry is doing with the conference
If you have short videos showing your ministry in action, youth activities, feeding the hungry, children’s ministry, etc., you can share them with the conference in our Now Playing feature on the home page at https://www.flumc.org.
Videos should be 4 minutes or less. You can share your video with us here: https://www.flumc.org/submitvideo.
You can also share your photos on our Photos from around the conference page https://www.flumc.org/photos.
Click HERE to submit your photos.
Join the OMT Collective!
Do you have skills in the area of writing, photography, video, graphic design, or curation? We would love to activate those talents and connect you to our shared mission. We believe you can help us create and curate dynamic storytelling content for The Florida Conference.
As we think of new ways to streamline our communications, while at the same time increasing our storytelling capacity, we are convinced that there are talented people all over the Conference that might be willing to use their gifts to help tell the story of our movement.
There is so much good to be celebrated that is happening all over The Florida Conference and we want to make sure we are highlighting it well!
That is where you come in.
If you have the capacity to periodically write a story, curate some resources, shoot photos or video, or make a graphic, would you consider joining the On Mission Together Collective?
Oftentimes, we miss out on great stories of Courageous Leadership, Missional Engagement, and Spirit-Led Innovation because we don’t have a network of storytellers across the Conference set up to capture them. This group of leaders will help shape the stories that we tell in The Florida Conference and use their gifts to bless those who interact with this content.
If you would have any interest in serving in this way, take a moment to fill out our interest form so that we can begin bringing together leaders willing to make an impact through communication: OMT Collective Interest Form
Our goal is for this initiative to be a natural extension of the gifts you are already using and a match to the capacity you have to give.
Thank you for considering, we look forward to connecting with you.
Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet and the Office of Clergy Excellence has agreed to postpone the deadline for annual clergy evaluations for non-moving clergy to September 30, 2020. The completed forms should be emailed to Claudia Sava email@example.com.
The clergy assessment process is available on the FLUMC website under Clergy Excellence.
NOTE: This is required for every clergy appointed to the local church. These evaluations are not required for extension ministers or deacons working beyond the local church setting. Deacons and Clergy serving in Extension Ministry have an annual report due December 31 each year. Click HERE to download the report.
Update to Missional Vital Signs Reporting
While churches are not meeting in person due to COVID-19, The Florida Conference will use a Modified MVS reporting model. Click HERE for instructions and to report MVS.
If you have data not entered for February or before, please complete the Monthly Data Gathering Chart for each of those months and email it to Claudia at firstname.lastname@example.org.