Greetings from the District Superintendent
|Dr. Bob Bushong|
In his book, Spirituality for Ministry, Episcopal priest and theologian Urban Holmes writes about listening:
Many persons, ordained or not, live in a fairly constant state of noise, with their unresolved past and the uncertain present breaking in on them. They lack a still center and it is only from such a quiet point that we can listen attentively. When I was in my first parish, which was located in the middle of the city, a constant stream of indigents came through. One came into my office and wanted to tell me his story. I sat as if to listen but was deeply troubled over some issue now long forgotten. I remember I was fiddling with a pencil. The man stopped his story, looked at me and said, ‘Young Father, the least you can do is listen.’ He was right. There was no still center in me.
Reverend Holmes makes a great point, don’t you think? And yet, it’s not an easy point on which to follow through – to be able really to listen.
It seems that more often than not, either we’re like Holmes was with the man in his office, at some level still pondering some other issue that is bouncing around inside of us instead of focusing on what the other person is sharing; or we’re formulating our response in our minds, putting together the words that we’ll use as our reply to whatever it is the other person is saying, without really listening to it first. One gauge of this second tendency is how many times we try to finish a sentence for another person – or how many times someone else finishes our sentence. That tendency is one of the better examples of poor listening.
Really to listen to someone is a great compliment to give that person. It says that they’re important. It says that whatever is going on with them that they want to share is significant to us. It says that we care about them. It says that they matter. To listen to someone is to give them a gift.
There’s someone who is always ready to listen . . . always ready to let us know that whatever is going on with us that we want to share is significant . . . always ready to let us know that he cares about us . . . always ready to show us that we matter . . . always ready to give us the gift of being listened to.
God is always there. God always listens. God always cares. God always seeks to be in the midst of our lives, to comfort us, to strengthen us, to give us hope. Don’t forget to give God something to listen to. God is waiting to hear from you.
Grace and Peace,
East Central District
In the District
Annual Called to Serve
February 9, 2019 - First UMC, Oviedo
Who are the People in your Neighborhood?
It's one week away - February 9!!
Are you in?
Have you registered?
Everyone in the Kingdom is Called to Serve! This event is not just for clergy and leaders. It is for everyone which includes YOU! Rev. Patina Ripkey will lead us in Worship. Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis, Gulf Central District Superintendent will be our Keynote Speaker!
We have a great lineup of subjects and speakers. Everyone will have the opportunity to attend two DIFFERENT subjects.
Click HERE for details and registration.
Click HERE for a complete description of workshops.
- 5 Loaves and 2 Fish: Revitalizing Our Churches and Communities - Rev. Merrill Frailey
- Becoming Fishers of Men - Jim Boesch
- BIG Impact in the Smaller Church Children's Ministry - Bob McLeary
- Community Asset Mapping - Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis
- Creative Worship That Connects - Rev. Dan Wunderlich
- Cuba 4 Beginners - Revs Chris Akers, Rusty Belcher, & Aldo Martin
- Cuba Advanced - Revs Chris Akers, Rusty Belcher, & Aldo Martin
- Cultural Sensitivity in Mission - Wil Bailey
- Developing a Culture of Hospitality - Pastor Tyler Althof
- Florida United Methodist Children's Home - Trista Calvin
- Fresh Expressions of Church in Your Context - Caitlin Allyn White
- Fulfilling our Mission to Make Disciples - Rev. Dr. Wade Arnold
- Mission Relationships Around the World - Wil Bailey
- Rediscovering the LOCAL in Local Church: Love Thy Neighborhood - Revs Meghan & David Killingsworth
- The Future of Church - Rev. Michele Van Son
This is a FREE event, but you must register! Registration will close February 6!
Church and Pastor Annual Profiles
Profile are due TODAY, February 1!
Click HERE for the detailed instructions for accessing both the Church and Pastor Profiles. Follow the step by step instructions to access the appropriate profile. The final date to update Profiles is February 1, 2019.
Year-End Statistics are due February 8, 2019
Thank you for your help in reporting our churches' progress in 2018. Reminder: You are entering 2018 information, not 2019.
Please visit the Year-End Statistics Instructions website as you begin preparations for reporting your church's statistics. You will find everything you need for reporting:
- Church Guide for EOY and EZRA Reporting
- Church Table Directions (help text)
- New Church Development and Year End Statistical Reporting
Step by Step Overview of the Year-End Reporting Process
The deadline for submitting Year End Statistical Tables is February 8, 2019.
Thank You to the churches that have completed their reporting and those already started. Click HERE to get started and join them!
Workers Compensation Payroll Audit
Report actual payroll for calendar year 2018. Must be completed between February 1 and February 22, 2019. In order to comply with State of Florida requirements related to workers’ compensation coverage, we ask that you complete the brief online payroll form. Please review your payroll records (941’s etc.) for the calendar year 2018 and complete the form as accurately as possible. Please note that your responses will not affect your workers’ compensation insurance costs for 2019 as this updated information is simply required to comply with State of Florida regulations.
March 31 Reports
The following reports are due to the District office by March 31. Please email them to Betty Sims firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following reports are submitted online. Do not send a hard copy to the District. These forms are located on your Church Dashboard under "FORMS".
The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee to keep in their personnel file. They do not get sent to the District office.
For instructions and other pertinent information, click on the links above or click on Calendar of Reports.
Child Youth Protection Policy
The conference updated the policy last year. Local churches and conference-affiliated ministries are asked to review and update policies using this template. Please submit a complete copy of the policy AND the Annual Review & Renewal Signature page to Betty Sims email@example.com by April 30.
Strike for Hope Black Tie Bowling 2019
March 10 5pm - 10pm
You are invited to Community Hope Center's 4th Annual Strike for Hope - Black Tie Bowling fundraiser at Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs West Side! You can help be part of the HOPE! Please consider buying a ticket to bowl or being a Sponsor of the event. Click HERE for the Community of Hope website to see all they are doing in the community! Click HERE for the Sponsorship Packages. Click HERE for details.
2019 Micro Grants Available
The Fresh Expressions team is excited to announce that there is grant money available for new and existing Fresh Expressions in the Florida United Methodist Conference. The current application window is now open. You can download the application HERE.
We are looking for groups that have a clear vision for their group and a plan for the usage of grant funds. Grants will range from $100 to $1,500. All applications and support letters must be submitted by February 28, 2019, for consideration. If you have any questions or need to be connected to a learning partner who can provide a letter of support, please contact the Fresh Expressions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around the Conference and Beyond
A Special Session of the General Conference
The General Conference is made up of 864 delegates (half lay and half clergy) from around the world. Forty percent of delegates are from outside the United States. The General Conference is the highest legislative body of The United Methodist Church and the only body that can speak officially for the denomination.
You can follow the General Conference live stream at www.umc.org/gc2019. Bishop Carter will be preaching the opening service at 8:30am on Sunday, February 24. For more information or to see a list of our Florida delegation go to www.flumc.org/a-way-forward-umc. Send any questions to email@example.com. Bishop Carter will also host a webcast with Florida delegation leaders on Friday, March 1 at 11:00am to report on the results of this General Conference (link to join the webcast will be available at www.flumc.org.)
Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats
Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!
Plan Your Own Church Retreat: Who doesn't love WWW? Why not plan your own retreat?
Marriage Enrichment Retreats at Lake Junaluska
We are created for a lifetime of love and intimacy, but relationships can be hard, even for the happiest couples. Distance, frustration and disconnection can enter through any number of life's events.
Come to a Christian-based marriage retreat at Lake Junaluska to better understand your partner and learn to cultivate a warmer, more joyful and loving relationship.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN AND APPLY:
- How to strengthen essential psychological and spiritual foundations for healthy, happy relationships
- How to stop rigid negative patterns in communication that lead to frustration and disconnection
- How to be more accessible, responsive and engaged in your relationship
- How to better understand your partner and help them to understand you
- How to share your deepest needs for support, love and affection and respond to those same needs in your partner
Pastoral participants earn 1.5 CEUs for participation in this program. This retreat is perfect for pastors who regularly do marriage counseling, or anyone who wants to strengthen the bond in their marriage.
Marriage Enrichment Program for two people: $350
Two nights lodging for two people and five meals (Monday breakfast through Tuesday lunch) for two people (required): $319
- March 10-12, 2019
- August 18-20, 2019
- September 29 - October 1, 2019
Learn more at www.lakejunaluska.com/marriage or call 800-222-4930.
Apply Now for the Sinclair Scholarship from FUMF
The Florida United Methodist Foundation is now accepting applications from United Methodist high school seniors for the 2019 Sinclair scholarships, and we need your help to spread the word.
Applicants must be full and active members of a Florida United Methodist church, have a record of church and community service, and have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher or academic performance that indicates ability to succeed in college. They must also be planning to attend a Florida or United Methodist college or university for the first time this fall.
Scholarship awards range from $2,000 to $3,000 and are renewable for up to three additional years for students who remain in good standing. The deadline to apply is March 15.
A scholarship application and instructions about other required documents are available on the foundation’s website. More information is available by contacting Nadara Brock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-363-9673, ext. 7113.
Please consider posting and/or sharing the Sinclair Scholarship flyer with students you feel are good candidates for this opportunity, as well as including it in your newsletters or worship bulletins.
Below are several stories related to the scholarship, providing more information about how they benefit and support students:
Scholarship recipients make campus ministry experience a priority
Scholarship recipients have mission-minded focus
Scholarship recipients are driven, thankful
Sinclair Scholarship recipients offer hope for the future
The Florida Annual Conference is Hiring!