Main Menu

ECD February 2019 Newsletter

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,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

In the District

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

 Kim & Melanie Lee

A Breath of Fresh Air!

Christ is moving in Fresh Expressions in the East Central District!  At the end of January, the ECD Fresh Expressions team hosted its first Spark Night, an event to gather Pioneers, Supporters, and Permission Givers for an evening of learning and conversation.  Members of the team and their guests gathered at the Little Red House on the College Park UMC campus.  We met for a delicious dinner and inspirational conversation about where the Holy Spirit is moving in Central Florida.

Rev. Ben Collins and Caitlin White led us through the basics of Fresh Expressions (FX) and the major roles involved.  Pioneers lead the charge in beginning and establishing an FX.  Supporters stand beside Pioneers and encourage them and help them keep faith in their efforts.  Permission Givers hold some political, financial, or institutional sway, which can pave the way for Pioneers.   We had all three roles represented at our gathering.

FX began in England in 2004 as a partnership between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, led by Bishop Steven Croft and Rev. Peter Pillinger.  With 14 years’ history, the UK movement has identified 12 key characteristics of Pioneers. Pioneers ___

1. “Go first” [Where others might say, “I’ll go next,” Pioneers say, “I’ll go first!”]

2. Habitually create, start, initiate [Pioneers have a pattern of stirring the pot and creating new stew!]

3. Draw followers and are followable [Pioneers have charismatic personalities and leadership traits.]

4. Leave [Pioneers move on from their established creations to start something new.  They cultivate new leaders to replace themselves.]

5. Are movers [Pioneers get things done.]

6. Are met by Jesus [Pioneers have met the risen Christ in their lives.]

7. Prefer to be with outsiders [Pioneers prefer to hang out with people outside the establishment, the Church.]

8. Are at home with “signs” [Pioneers watch for and welcome signs from God, miracles.]

9. Are flexible strategists [Pioneers don’t keep trying a tactic that doesn’t work.  They come up with a new plan.]

10. Disturb the peace [Pioneers frequently get into trouble with established institutions.]

11. Are bi-cultural [Pioneers straddle the line between groups – ethnic, social, etc.]

12. Are translators [Pioneers help members of their differing groups talk to one another.  They create a common language.]

The Pioneers in the room shared their Failing Forward stories and their successes.  God’s presence wove through them all.  The Picnic Project in Sanford stands out in my mind.  Mark Thompson and Ryan Bozeman, the Pioneers of this FX, described the evolution of this ministry to us.  Please take the time to read more about The Picnic Project.  It’s an awe-inspiring example of how the Holy Spirit is breathing God’s energy into our community.

Be watchful of Pioneers, and be a Supporter or a Permission Giver.  You have a role in this movement!

Loving the Laity,
Melanie & Kim Lee  

Annual Called to Serve
February 9, 2019 - First UMC, Oviedo

Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis

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!

Spring Clergy Meeting
February 21, 2019 8:30am - 4:00pm First UMC, Orlando

Building Bridges in a #meToo World

Dr. Elaine Heath,  Missional and Pastoral Theologian
Jeanine Heath-McGlinn, Licensed Professional Counselor

ECD clergy serving full time in the local church are expected to attend.  If you absolutely cannot attend, please email Dr. Bob Bushong and request to be excused. 

All clergy in the Florida Conference are welcome to attend. 




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: 

Instruction Guides 

  • 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

Committee Responsible

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".

Committee Responsible
Disaster Recovery Resource Survey
Disaster Coordinator or Trustee
Fund Balance

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 by April 30.

Lay Servant Ministries
March 8 & 9 First UMC, Tavares

Lay Servant training prepares the laity to be in ministry through caring, communication, and leadership. 
All classes require a total of 10 hours attendance. The cost is $45 which covers materials and food. Click HERE for the registration form to mail to the district office.

NOTE: Lay Servant certification expires after three years.

Basic Course - English ♦ Facilitator Lynn Campbell, Co-Director of LSM
Basic Course - Spanish ♦ Facilitator Rev. Dr. Josias Andujar, Senior Pastor Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC
Advanced Courses:
Life Together in the UM Connection - UM Polity ♦ English ♦ Facilitator Rev. John Fisher, Senior Pastor First UMC, Apopka
Seeking to become or renew as Certified Lay Servants? This course is required. You will gain a basic understanding about the polity of the United Methodist Church in a class setting.
Planning/Leading Worship ♦ English ♦ Facilitator Rev. Kate Ling, Retired Elder 
The course is grounded in the classic patterns of Christian worship and the practices of leading worship. Participants will come to understand more about Christian worship in order to lead worship with more confidence. They will practice leading worship in a variety of formats.
Descubre Tus Done Espirituales: 4 evaluaciones para identificar tus dones: Experiencias; Caracteristicas; Convicciones; Observaciones ♦ Spanish ♦ Facilitator Rev. Dr. Leo Rodriguez
Para utilizar peronalmente o en grupos pequenos encuentra el lugar que te corresponde dentro del cuerpo de CristoCuando conozcas y uses tus dones espirituales, podras participar en el ministerio que Dios cero para ti personalmente. Sera un ministerio lleno de fruto y satisfaccion.

Questions? Contact Lynn Campbell or Jim Boesch

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.


Annual Conference 2019 set to take place at Florida Southern College

Make plans now to attend Annual Conference 2019 by booking your hotel rooms early. A list of hotels and rates can be found HERE. Housing will also be available at Florida Southern College (details forthcoming).

As you make your plans, the Annual Conference planning team wanted you to be aware of the following:
     1)  Our theme is “On Mission Together,” and we will welcome Bishop Will Willimon, missiologist Dr. Dana Robert, along with musical leaders Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson. 
     2)  Annual Conference will begin on Wednesday, June 5, with clergy and lay sessions at 10 a.m. We will conclude with the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination on Saturday, June 8, adjourning at 12:30 p.m.
     3)  We will be voting on delegates to General Conference 2020, with chances to meet delegates Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
     4)  All registration will take place at Florida Southern College, as will the clergy and lay sessions.
     5)  Florida Southern has added new parking shuttles and golf carts.
     6)  We will have an air-conditioned tent near Branscomb Auditorium which will be a place to eat and fellowship with other delegates. 

East Central District will have a pre-Annual Conference Orientation on Sunday, May 19 at First UMC, Orlando at 3:00pm. Dr. Bob Bushong, Rev. Alex Shanks, and Alice Williams will discuss 2019 Annual Conference and give a report of the 2019 General Conference.

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

Webinars for Church Leaders 

Learn from the comfort of your couch!

UMCommunications offer a variety of FREE webinars to help you enhance your marketing and communications skills as well as to keep you informed about the latest resources and church initiatives. Click HERE to see what they offer.

Around the Conference and Beyond

A Special Session of the General Conference
February 23-26

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 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 Send any questions to 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

Congregational Care Ministry Training Workshop
Thursday, March 7 - Friday March 8  
8:30am - 5:00pm Thursday; 8:30am - 4:00pm Friday

Congregational Care, for both clergy and lay members, can be daunting. The needs are many and varied and can be overwhelming. Nationally renowned expert, Rev. Karen Lampe, will lead a 2-day Congregational Care Ministry Workshop at Coronado Community United Methodist Church in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, that will teach churches how to organize their care ministries and train participants to provide compassionate care for people experiencing a variety of life crises.

Rev. Karen Lampe served as the Executive Pastor for Congregational Care at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, for twelve years. Serving alongside Rev. Adam Hamilton, she created a model of care that empowered lay people to become Congregational Care Ministers (CCMs) who work alongside their pastors. Karen has authored two books and has taught this model of care to churches throughout the U.S. She believes that no matter what size the church, "care" is the heart of the church and when you can do this part of church well it draws people to your faith community. Her enthusiasm for the CCM program is contagious as she calls everyone to use the experiences of their lives to build the kingdom. 

Cost of the training is $50 and includes two meals and training materials.  For more information and to register, please visit www.coronadoumc.orgRegistration closes on Friday, March 1. Scholarships are available.

Contact Rev. Laura Berg for more information.

Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats

Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!

Confirmation Retreat:  February 15-17, March 1-3 & 15-17, Sept 27-29
Created by God:  April 26-28
Rooted: September 16-17
Summer Camp

Plan Your Own Church Retreat:  Who doesn't love WWW?  Why not plan your own retreat?


CCYM - Dare to Explore
February 15 - 17, 2019 - Warren W. Willis

Dare to Explore is a student leadership retreat for students by students.  This is a great event to bring your student leaders (or those whom you'd like to become students leaders) to, in whatever form that takes in your local church.  For some that is their whole youth group, for others it is a core group of student leaders.  The registration is $90 per person.   Click HERE for the Dare page.  Registration will open soon.  We can't wait to see you and your team. No matter where you are on your spiritual walk, be prepared to explore!

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. 

  • 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 or call 800-222-4930.

Apply Now for UMC FCU Scholarships for College Bound Students

The Florida United Methodist Connectional FCU is once again offering scholarships to 17-35 year-old college-bound students in our connection. Four winning applicants, one from each of our four conferences - Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia, & Alabama-West Florida - will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. Click HERE for complete rules and full essay submission criteria. Deadline for submission is April 30, 2019. Click HERE for the application.

If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, call 866-687-2136.

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 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

Summer Youth Events at Lake Junaluska

Bring your youth group to Lake Junaluska this summer for worship, spiritual growth and adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Every event includes energized worship with great speakers and bands, small groups, vespers and workshops. Youth also can choose to participate in mission projects and recreational activities such as rafting, ziplining or swimming. Find more information at
Event 1: June 15-19 – Rev. Andy Lambert with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show, outdoor movie and Sunday morning worship in Stuart Auditorium
Event 2: June 20-23 – Rev. Juan Huertas with Abbye West Pates and a talent show
Event 3: June 23-27 – Guest speaker Stephanie Caro with Abbye West Pates and a talent show and outdoor movie
Event 4: June 27-30 – Rev. Janjay Innis with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff
Event 5: June 30-July 3 – Rev. Jeremy Steele with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff
Event 6: July 10-14 – Rev. Kevin Wright with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show and comedian

The Florida Annual Conference is Hiring!


Risk Management Claim Specialist
Conference Archivist for Florida Annual Conference
Life Enrichment Center & Warren W. Willis Internship