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ECD February 2020 Newsletter

In the District

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

Recently I pulled out of an old file a tool that I had found helpful in structuring my personal devotional/prayer life, and I thought it might be a helpful tool for you as well. It’s a simple way to focus on connecting with God.

Ten Steps to God

  1. In preparation, set aside fifteen minutes in a location where you can be physically relaxed and there is little likelihood of interruption. Read one or two chapters from the Bible, listening to what God says to you. This helps to erase distracting thoughts from the blackboard of your mind.*
  2. Close your eyes and give thanks for three personal blessings of which you are especially conscious today. This helps you move toward God by moving away from a sense of your own self-sufficiency.
  3. Ask God to help three other persons whom you feel need his help today. This helps you move toward God by moving away from self-centeredness.
  4. Ask God to forgive your mistakes and sins and to give you strength to forgive others.
  5. Ask God to help one person whom you find it difficult to like. Ask God to give that person insights into his/her personal problems and that God will give you the power to allow God’s love to flow through you to him/her.
  6. Ask that you will be sensitive to the needs of one person today with whom God may want you to share his love in word or deed.
  7. Ask for insights into your own personal problems and challenges.
  8. Ask for help in achieving your personal goals.
  9. Ask God to tell you the most important thing you need to do today in order to “seek first God’s Kingdom” (Matthew 6:33).
  10. Conclude by listening intently for three minutes to what God may say to you.

*Some suggestions for scripture readings at this point: Psalms 19, 23, 27, 46, 84, 90, 91, 103, 121, 130, 149; Isaiah 55; Matthew 5:1-12, 6; Luke 15, 18:1-17, 24; John 1:11-18, 3:1-17, 14, 15; Romans 8:35-39, 12; I Corinthians 13; I John 4:7-21.

Whether it’s through using this tool or some variation of it – or whether it’s through another tool or  process that you have found works for you, whatever that is – I hope you’re taking steps intentionally to connect with God on a daily basis. It will make a difference in your life.

Grace and Peace,


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

Being in Ministry with Everyone 

A few weeks ago, Kim and I went to Disney Springs to hang out for a Saturday evening.  After eating dinner and watching a few performers, we strolled through the shopping area.

Some of the stores drew us in.  Their interiors were warm and inviting, and people leisurely browsed through the tables of merchandise.  We wandered in and wound our way around the other shoppers.  Everyone was talking and laughing and, generally, enjoying themselves.

Some of the stores looked very slick and stylish.  Their interiors had sharp lines and uncluttered surfaces.  At each of these stores, a well-dressed salesperson sat behind the counter at the back, watching the door for prospective shoppers.  Kim and I didn’t walk into those.  We were pretty sure that the moment we stepped across the threshold, we would be attacked by the salesperson who would try to pressure us into buying something expensive.  We knew we would be uncomfortable.

I know other people don’t react the same to the different stores as we did.  Surely, the less-than-inviting shops couldn’t survive if they didn’t get an adequate number of buying customers.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

What does this have to do with church?

If we were visiting our church for the first time, would we experience a warm, inviting atmosphere, filled with people enjoying themselves?  Or would we feel a sense of being pounced on and maybe being pressured into something?
I think our church does a great job of welcoming visitors, but what do I know?  I’ve been a member of our church for too long to have a relevant opinion.  I need to see it through fresh eyes, lots of them.

Kim and I will be leading a class called, “Being in Ministry with Everyone,” at Called to Serve on Feb. 22 at Oviedo UMC. We would love for you to join us in exploring how we can welcome all of God’s children with open hearts and joyfully join them in ministry to bring the Kingdom of God nearer.

Loving the Laity,

Melanie & Kim Lee    

Annual Called to Serve
February 22, 2020 - First UMC, Oviedo

Everyone in the Kingdom is Called to Serve. This event is not just for clergy and leaders. It is for everyone and that includes YOU

Rev. Patina Ripkey, Associate Pastor at First UMC, Oviedo will lead us in Worship. 
Rev. Annette Stiles Williams, Senior Pastor at Suntree UMC and previous East Central District Superintendent will be our Keynote Speaker!

We have a great lineup of subjects and speakers. Everyone will select two different workshops to attend. It is important to register, so that we can assign rooms to accommodate those registered. Registration will close February 19.

Click HERE details and registration. Click HERE for printable list of workshops.

Topics covered:

  • Being in Ministry with Everyone - Kim and Melanie Lee
  • Building & Maintaining Faith-based Ministries that Grow & Impact the Community - Denise Gilman
  • Celebrate Recovery - Rev. Dawn Carter and Tommy Moore
  • Child Youth Protection Training - LaNita Battles
  • Connecting with the Latino/a Population in FL - Rev. Dr. Rini Hernandez
  • Cuba Missions for beginners and advanced - Revs. Chris Akers, Rusty Belcher, & Aldo Martin
  • Curriculum Showcase for Children's Ministry - Bob McLeary
  • Florida United Methodist Children's Home - Elisabeth Gadd
  • Fresh Expression of Church 101 - Rev. Caitlin White
  • Nuevas Expresiones de la Iglesia en Su Contexto - Rev. Wilma Reyes
  • Fresh Expression in Practice - Deeper Dive - Rev. Caitlin White
  • Fulfilling our Mission to make Disciples - Rev. Dr. Wade Arnold
  • Great - Another Workshop on Reaching Young Adults - Rev. Bobby Brooks
  • Hurricanes and more... - Pam Garrison
  • Lands of the Bible - Rev. Bob Brown
  • Lay Leader Boot Camp - Kim & Melanie Lee
  • Making Disciples in your Local Church Community Public School (CEF) - Martha Smith and Brenda Whitwam
  • Ministry Protection Focus for Trustees - LaNita Battles
  • Missional Engagement - Rev. Patina Ripkey
  • Social Media - Rev. Dan Wunderlich
  • Sound Financial Practices - Ron Beyer
  • Staff Parish Relations - Dr. Bob Bushong
  • Youth Ministries (YMI) - Brian Lawson

This is a FREE event, but you must register. Registration closes February 19!


Statistics due February 7, 2020

Please visit the Year-End Statistics Instructions website as you begin preparations for reporting your church's end of year statistics. You will find everything you need for reporting. Please read all instructions, before you begin! Reminder: You are entering 2019 information, not 2020.

Instructions Guides

- Church Guide for EOY and EZRA Reporting (Login Instructions & Passwords)
- 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 7, 2020

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 2019. Must be completed between February 1 and February 21, 2020. 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 2019 and complete the form as accurately as possible. Please note that your responses will not affect your workers' compensation insurance costs for 2020 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 Claudia Sava

Committee Responsible

The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee and kept in their personnel file. This does not get sent to the District office.

The Fund Balance report is submitted online by Finance. Do not send a hard copy to the District. The form is located in your Church Dashboard on the bottom left. Note: The Disaster Recovery Resource Survey is no longer required.

For detailed instructions on reports, please review the Calendar of Reports.

Florida Conference Celebrates 175th Anniversary!

It is with great excitement that I share with you that on February 6, the Florida Conference will celebrate its 175th anniversary! On February 6, 1845, one month before Florida was granted statehood, the Florida Conference held the first session at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee.  Today, your church is invited to celebrate this significant milestone in the life of the conference in your own unique way. 

Some ideas for your church to consider ways to celebrate may be through a special music moment in worship, whether it is the children’s choir, chancel choir or praise band playing a worship song that celebrates this anniversary. Or, your church may want to hold a birthday celebration with cake and the singing of “Happy Birthday”! A special prayer or congregational response may be another way to signify the 175 years of ministry in our great Conference.

We do ask that you would send a picture, video, and update to us so that we can post this to the Florida Conference website and other social media so that our brothers and sisters Conference-wide may see how you celebrated!  

Also, it is always a good time to update the history of your local church.  When you can, please send an updated history to the Heritage Center so that we can keep this valuable information for future generations.  If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Judi at

Make it fun, make it special, and above all make this wonderful celebration a way to give thanks for the countless ways God has faithfully moved to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through this conference that we hold so dear. 

In Him,
Anita "Nita" Campbell, Chairperson
Archives & History
Psalm 132:18 “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord.” 

Florida United Methodist Children's Home is Hiring!
Career Fair - February 15 - 9am - Noon

East Central District Committee on Ministry (dCOM)

 Elizabeth Flynn
dCOM Registrar

dCOM Chair:  Rev. Chris Jones
dCOM Vice Chair: Rev. Jenn Stiles-Williams
Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.

For more information or to schedule an interview, email Elizabeth Flynn

EC dCOM meetings are held on Thursdays at Asbury, UMC in Maitland. 

EC 2020 dCOM Due Date Purpose
March 19 February 20 LP License Renewal
April 23 March 26 Provisional/Certification
August 20 July 23 Provisional Follow-ups
September 17 August 20 Local Pastor/Recert
October 15 September 17 Local Pastor/Recert
November 19 October 22 LP/Cert/Recert

Strike for Hope Black Tie Bowling 2020
March 1 5pm - 10pm 

You are invited to Community Hope Center's 5th 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 to order tickets. Questions?

Lay Servant Ministries
March 20 & 21 - Community UMC, Casselberry

Sign up now and plan to attend the Spring 2020 LSM Weekend!!

Select one of the six courses offered. All classes require a total of 10 hours attendance. Friday 5:00pm-8:30pm and Saturday 8:00am - 4:00pm. The cost is $45 which covers material and food. Basic LSM is a pre-requisite to the Advanced Courses. Once the Basic and Advanced Courses are completed, you will be a Certified Lay Servant. NOTE: Lay Servant certification expires after three years. 

Basic LSM (English) with Rev. Jeanine Clontz, Senior Pastor, Flagler Beach UMC
Basic LSM (Spanish) with Wilkins Rodriguez & Israel Suarez, Certified Lay Servants

Advanced Courses
Discover Your Servant Profile (English) ♦ This spiritual Gifts, Personal Style and Ministry Passion Assessment course is designed to get the right people, in the right places, for the right reasons, at the right time in our local churches to help maximize their kingdom-building and serving potential. Led by Jim Boesch, Co-Director of ECD Lay Servant Ministries
Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession (English) ♦ At once inspirational and practical, this book empowers and equips laypeople and clergy alike to offer heartfelt, informed, and appropriate prayers on behalf of the people of God. As Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher say, "Interceding in public worship is a duty. This book is intended to make it a joy." Led by Rev. Kate Ling
Desubriendo y Desplegando Nuestros Dones Espirituales (Spanish) ♦ Para utilizar personalmente o en grupos pequenos encuentra el lugar que te corresponde dentro del cuerpo de Cristo. Cuando conozcas y uses tus dones espirtuales, podras participar en el ministerio que Dios creo para ti personalmente. Sera un ministerio lleno de fruto y satisfaccion. Led by Revs. Carmen & Leo Rodgriguez
Conflict Resolution First-Responders (English) ♦ The church needs first responders - people who can help snuff out small flames of conflict before they have a chance to cause harm. This class will equip Lay Servants to intervene and help others through the conflict. Completion of the previous advanced class, Peace-making: Resolving Everyday conflict is helpful but not required. Led by Lennie Burke & Mike Mailman, Certified Lay Servants.

Click HERE for the brochure to print and mail in. Click HERE to register and pay online.

Florida United Methodist Children's Home

Every year, hundreds of friends and family come to the main campus for a special open house, called Day on Campus. Day on Campus includes tours of the Enterprise campus, special performances, resident testimonies, a picnic lunch and wonderful fellowship with others from across the state. If you would like to be part of Day on Campus, Click HERE to register. Questions? Trista Calvin or (386) 668-5088. 

Spring Clergy Meeting
April 16 - 9am-1pm - Asbury UMC, Maitland

Rev. Alex Shanks will join us for our time together. All full time clergy serving in the East Central District local church are expected to attend. If you are not able to attend, please email Bob and request to be excused. All part time, lay supply, and clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend.

Celebrating & Equipping the Small Church
April 25 - 9am-1pm - First UMC, Sanford

Small churches have something unique to offer their community and their members! In a society that often overtly tells us that bigger is always better, how can we imagine the small church as a gift rather than a hindrance? Join us for a workshop on April 25 from 9am to 1pm at First UMC Sanford focused specifically on the health, assets and thriving of small congregations. The time will be focused on discovering the beauty and giftedness of small congregations, and using those assets to discover each congregation's unique call in our communities. 

The day will include morning coffee, lunch, and time to connect with other pastors and lay leadership of small churches. Allen Stanton, Executive Director of the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College, will share some of his research into vitality in small and rural United Methodist congregations throughout the connection. As part of his work, Allen has created a community transformation incubator specifically focused on leadership development among rural church pastors and Meghan has assisted the cohort in utilizing an assets-based approach to ministry. Allen and Meghan will present some of the tools they have used in celebrating and empowering small and rural congregations in some of the districts in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Lunch is included but registration is required. The cost for the day is only $10 because we'd like for as many churches to come as possible! 

Rev. Allen T. Stanton is the Executive Director of the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College. Before coming to Martin Methodist College, he served as the pastor of a small United Methodist Congregation in North Carolina. Prior to serving in the local church, he served as the Rural Church Fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues, a non-partisan public-policy think tank at N.C. State University. At the Turner Center, Allen focuses on how rural churches can become leaders in economic and community development and building strong community partnerships. Allen has written for a variety of publications, including Practical Matters, Faith and Leadership, and Ministry Matters. He holds an MDiv from Duke Divinity School, where he was a Thriving Rural Communities Fellow, and a BA from Wake Forest University, and lives in Pulaski, TN with his wife, Abby, and their daughter, Paige. 

Rev. Meghan Killingsworth is co-pastor at First United Methodist Church of Sanford and director of Crave Sanford, an organization that empowers change makers through spiritual formation and professional development. After some years of work in the social services sector, Meghan felt called to ordained ministry with a special desire to see the people of God equipped to pursue justice and to be fully who God has called them to be in their neighborhood. Her passion is to bring different folks together and help empower the local church to be a change agent in the community for the sake of the Kingdom. Meghan’s favorite Wesleyan theological concept is prevenient grace: how cool is it that the Holy Spirit is already way out ahead of us and we just get to respond?! She is married to David, the other Co-Pastor at First Sanford, and mama to Moses. 

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 2020 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 put their faith to work
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

 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. Click HERE for the application with all the details. Deadline for submission is April 30, 2020.
Questions? Call 866-687-2136.

Missional Vital Signs

Remember to submit your Missional Vital Signs (MVS) each month no later than the 10th of each month. Click HERE for explanation and to enter your MVS.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF)

Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day

For over 80 years God has been using Child Evangelism Fellowship® to bring the love of Jesus Christ to children around the world. The Word of God puts a high priority on children. They are near to God’s heart and we believe that He is uniquely concerned about their spiritual welfare. Without the foundation of a relationship with God and training in Biblical principles for life they are unequipped to face what life will throw at them.

Child Evangelism Fellowship, also known as CEF®, is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the local church for Christian living. CEF was founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937. The ministry has grown into the largest evangelistic outreach to children in the world. CEF is currently ministering in countries around the world and in every state in the U.S.

God has given His people a clear commission—to reach every creature with the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our special mission in CEF is to evangelize every child. In the last ministry year our workers worldwide reached over 25.4 million children! As children grow in their relationship with the Lord through meditating on His Word, they develop godly character, which produces much fruit to the glory of God, including spreading the Gospel to their peers.

God has given CEF a number of unique ministries which have proven to be effective tools in our effort to evangelize and disciple children. Good News Club®, a weekly club during the school year, is more popular than ever following the Supreme Court victory allowing Good News Club to take place in public schools across America. Our summer 5-Day Club® outreach takes place over the course of a five-day period, offering a unique opportunity for children to interact with teenagers who receive training in the Christian Youth In Action™ program.

Perhaps God is leading you to become more involved in the lives of children. CEF is here to come along side individuals and churches to train, equip and encourage for His kingdom’s sake. Interested in more information? Please check out our state website at or connect with us at the East Central District Conference in February. 

Around the Conference and Beyond

Part-time Administrative Assistant

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church is seeking an experienced, reliable and task-oriented part-time Administrative Assistant in the Episcopal Office of the Resident Bishop. The Administrative Assistant will work directly with episcopal office staff and other conference leaders and will be responsible for performing a number of administrative duties in support of the work of the full time senior administrative assistant. The ideal candidate is highly self-motivated, professional and capable of managing their work load and prioritizing diverse tasks in a fast paced environment while upholding a strict level of confidentiality. Click HERE for details.

General Conference 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15 

Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation

What is the General Conference of the UMC?

Florida Delegation General Conference 2020

General Conference 2020 Website

Comparison of Proposals to General Conference 2020

Licensing School 2020
May 11 - 22, 2020

Licensing School 2020 will be held at Florida Southern College May 11 through May 22, 2020. Click HERE for the link with the requirements for licensing school, the tentative schedule and the revised fillable application. 

Please note the cost has changed due to the fact that we have been losing money on this for some time now. It will be $900 per person and $700 for those who are Certified Candidate in the Florida Conference. There is no additional paperwork needed for the $200 reduction in costs. Compared to other schools we are charging significantly less.

Warren Willis United Methodist Camp & Conference Center

Confirmation Retreats: February 21-23; March 6-8
Created by God: May 1-3
Creative Spirit: June 29- July 4
Grandparents and Me: July 27-30
Serve: November 6-8; November 13-15
Summer Camp: June 8 - July 25
Yoga Retreat: May 1-3

Lake Junaluska Summer Youth Events

Bring your youth group for an unforgettable retreat in the North Carolina mountains! Each event features an empowering speaker, worship band, workshops, small groups and opportunities to add mission work and outdoor recreation such as rafting or zipling. Jimmy Atkins and the Light 'Em Ups Worship Band will perform all summer. Click HERE for more information.