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ECD February 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent


Each February, we celebrate National Black History Month as an intentional reminder that Black history is American history, and that stories of Black history that are rooted in Black culture are critically important to the larger, ongoing story of our country – past, present and future.

That full American story includes our strengths as a nation, as well as our faults. It includes our successes, as well as our struggles. It includes our progress, as well as what we continue to aspire to as we live into the vision of our founders of becoming “a more perfect union.”

The stories of Black history are an integral part of all of that. They also are an integral part of the mission of our United Methodist Church, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” They also are an integral part of the ongoing process of becoming disciples of Jesus Christ ourselves.

The Bishop’s Task Force on Anti-Racism of the Florida Annual Conference offers some wonderfully informative and creative resources to undergird the celebration of National Black History Month that I have taken off of the Florida Conference web site and am sharing below. I hope you will check them out and make use of them.

Find resources for your ministry, upcoming events and updates on the work of anti-racism as discipleship in the Florida Conference.

February is Black History Month

Check out these FREE resources to help you celebrate and honor Black history:

Conversations on Race

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. The first webinar is scheduled for February 2. Please CLICK HERE for more information.

Webinar Schedule (All sessions begin at 12 noon)

  • February 2: The Basics of Anti-Racism I
  • March 2: The Basics of Anti-Racism II
  • April 6: How to talk to People about Race I (Including laity, clergy, family, children, and people we disagree with)
  • May 4: How to talk to People about Race II (Including laity, clergy, family, children, and people we disagree with)
  • June 1: What is MLK’s “Beloved Community?” I
  • July 6: What is MLK’s “Beloved Community?” II
  • August 3: The History of Race in Florida I
  • September 7: The History of Race in Florida II
  • October 5: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries I
  • November 2: How to Implement Anti-Racism Ministries II
  • December 7: Celebrating Anti-Racism Ministries in the Florida Conference

Share Your Anti-Racism Stories

Pastors, laity, and congregations have been engaged in the work of anti-racism at a grassroots level for many years, and we want to collect and share those stories!

Just think of a couple of these examples:

  • Congregations that harbored a legacy of racism, are on a journey toward becoming multi-cultural and anti-racist
  • Churches embraced and celebrated cross-cultural appointments and are pushing for equitable compensation
  • Pastors are networking together to hold prayer rallies and marches for racial justice and reconciliation in their communities
  • Congregations are organizing and participating in pulpit exchanges and interracial revivals
  • United Methodists are lobbying for legislation to change racist policies

If you or your congregation has a story of antiracism to share, could you please send it to us? Could you frame your story by answering these three questions?

  1. What racist policies, behavior, or ideas exist in your congregation or community?
  2. What is being done to challenge those manifestations of racism?
  3. What does the congregation and community look like today as a result? Or what positive transformation is taking place?

The team is accepting written testimonies of 500 words or less and recorded video stories three minutes or under in length. These stories might be used on the conference website and social media or considered to be featured in a forthcoming book on discipleship as a pathway to antiracism. Simply email these stories to Let us know if you have any questions!

Anti-Racism Resources for Lent

 Grace and Peace, 


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

East Central District 
Florida Conference of the UMC

PO Box 4064
Enterprise, FL  32725

Claudia Sava, ECD Administrative Assistant is available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm by phone 321-295-8801 or email


East Central District Spring Clergy Meeting

All full-time clergy appointed in the local church are expected to attend. All part time, lay supply, and clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend.

Date: Thursday, March 3
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Theme: “Growing New Roots”
Facilitator: Dr. Brian Russell

Upcoming Reports and Due Dates

2022 Apportionments & Ministry Protection

A Guide to Apportionments - Click HERE
2022 Apportionment Giving Report Forms - Click HERE.
2022 apportionments are available on our website under Monthly Billing Reports.  

Ministry Protection is working with our insurance broker on the final details. We anticipate posting the 2022 billing the week of February 7.

Church and Pastor Profiles - Past Due! Complete as soon as possible! - Click HERE for details.  


If you have not submitted your church or pastor profiles, please submit as soon as possible. The only person with access to the Church Profile, is the SPRC Chair listed in your Church Dashboard. The only person with access to the Pastor Profile is that pastor. They both must use the email address listed in the church dashboard. Please email Claudia Sava at, if you have any questions.

Year-End Statistics - Due February 4

2021 Statistical Reports are due by 5 p.m. Friday, February 4, 2022. Click HERE for the Year-End Statistics Instructions website as you begin to prepare for reporting. Please read all of the instructions before you begin. Users and Passwords have been reset. If you have not started, the Username = GCFA# and the Password = methodist. (All lower case.)

Getting started early ensures you will have plenty of time to address issues and or questions that may arise.

March 31st Reports

The following reports are due to the District Office by March 31. Please send one email with all of your March 31 reports to Claudia Sava Do not mail hard copies. If you have made revisions to any of your policies, please send the entire document.

Report Committee Responsible
Financial Controls, Policies, & Procedures Finance
Document Retention Policy Finance
Clergy Employee Conduct Policy SPRC
Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy SPRC
Annual Parsonage Report Trustees
Child Youth Protection Policy SPRC

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.

You can find instructions and other pertinent information by reviewing the Calendar of Reports

The Fund Balance report is submitted online by Finance. After February 8, the form will be located in your Church Dashboard. Do not send a hard copy to the District Office. 

Church Dashboard - 2022 Leadership, Worship Times, Social Media Links Due

Please ensure your 2022 church leaders are entered in your Church Dashboard, so that they can receive information from the District and Conference pertinent to their positions. Click HERE for tutorials. Please also make sure that your worship times and social media links are correct in the dashboard.  Click HERE for a tutorial (about 2 minutes) on how to enter your links!

Click HERE for the 2022 Calendar of Reports Due throughout the year.

Weekly Book Study

The ECD Leadership Team has invited Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove to lead a Zoom study on his book, Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good on seven Wednesdays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 beginning on February 9 and ending on March 23. 

We are excited that Jonathan is looking forward to engaging with those who attend in a format that will combine sharing his thoughts and small group discussion in breakout rooms.
If you would like to participate, please click here to register here by February 4.
Here are two links to options for purchasing the book, Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good:  Amazon and Cokesbury

The Future of The United Methodist Church
Rev. Alex Shanks

 Rev. Alex Shanks

Rev. Shanks, Assistant to Bishop Carter, will speak in the East Central District on The Future of the UMC. He will give the same presentation on two different days in two different parts of the district. Clergy and laity are invited to attend the one that is convenient for them.

February 3, 6:00pm - 7:30pm April 19, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Lakeside UMC
121 N Henderson Lane
Sanford, FL 32771
St John's UMC
1800 Cypress Gardens Blvd
Winter Haven, FL 3388

Below are the links to Facebook Live for the event on Feb 3 at Lakeside.

Here is the link to the event on Facebook: is the link for those who don’t have Facebook accounts:

2022 Conference Wide Local Church Training!
Zoom Meetings

Please share these training opportunities with your church leaders. Click HERE to register. Click HERE for the flyer. Each session will start on time and last no more than one hour. The Zoom link will be emailed to you the day before the session.

Cokesbury sells Guidebooks for many different leadership roles in the United Methodist Church. Click HERE to order the guidebooks. 

FLJFON Free Citizenship Clinic
City of Orlando
February 19 9am - 2pm

You must text 407-279-1802 to make an appointment. Click HERE for flyer in English. Click HERE for flyer in Spanish.

Zoe empowers

This Lent, join in a spiritual journey with a missional hear, and meet Jesus in new ways that will inspire and challenge.
You are invited to journey with Jesus from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday, using stories from orphaned children and vulnerable youth to show God's power. 

Each of the seven sessions includes a scripture passage, discussion questions, short videos highlighting God's work in the lives of vulnerable youth, prayer, and suggested action steps flowing out of the lesson.

Along the way you will meet inspiring young people who are empowering their lives in amazing ways in partnership with the Zoe Empowers mission, across India, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Rwanda. The videos are easily downloadable for worship or small group use.

Sign up below to receive the weekly Lenten installments by email for personal or family use, beginning March 2, 2022, or request the full resource in advance to use for small group, youth groups, Sunday classes or worship.

If you are leading a church group and would like to receive the entire devotional series with downloadable videos, please contact Tina Schmidt at 

East Central District Lay Servant Training
April 1 & 2 and April 8 & 9

Lay Servant training prepares laity to be in ministry through caring, communication and leadership. The key emphasis of Lay Servant Training is equipping and empowering lay servants to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, who then go and make other disciples.

This will be a FREE Lay Servant Training via Zoom. Everyone will be responsible to purchase their own book with the exception of Jim Boesch's class. Claudia Sava will get those books to the participants of that class. Click on the title of the course to order from the seller. We will meet together and then we will split into our class. You will need to attend the entire schedule below. Certification requires ten hours of class time.

Friday, April 1, 2022 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday, April 2, 2022 9:00am - 1:00pm
Friday, April 8, 2022 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday, April 9, 2022 9:00am - 1:00pm

You are encouraged to take the Basic LSM course before taking an advanced course. Once you have completed the Basic LSM and one Advanced course, you will be a Certified Lay Servant.

Discover the many ways lay servants are called to be in ministry through leading, teaching, serving, proclaiming the gospel, disciple-making, storytelling, and spiritual growth.

Basic Lay Servant in English Facilitator:  Lynn Campbell
Basic Lay Servant in Spanish Facilitator:  Luz Ortiz

Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations by Junius Dotson Facilitator:  Jim Boesch (Claudia Sava will send it to you.)
Tired of researching community demographics, pouring over worship attendance metrics, and fixing their aging structures? We can’t program our way back to vitality. Rather, it requires a discipleship-making and a process that reaches into your community.

Opening Ourselves to Grace: Discipleship in the Wesleyan Spirit by Steven Manskar Facilitator:  Rev. Kate Ling 
Opening Ourselves to Grace is an introduction to grace and the means of grace as foundational to the pursuit of holiness of heart and life in the Wesleyan Methodist tradition.

Cost of Poverty Experience
First United Methodist Church Orlando
April 23 9:00am - 12:00pm

The East Central District is sponsoring The Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE).  This event is open for the first 120 people to register. The cost of admittance is an item for United Against Poverty. Click HERE to see what they need. They prefer canned vegetables, instead of canned potatoes. In addition to diapers, they need wipes. They do not need Ensure. Click HERE to learn more about United Against Poverty.

An immersive poverty simulation designed to offer a glimpse into the lives of low-income individuals and families living in our communities.

Many organizations and communities across the nation use COPE to work more effectively with low-income families. COPE gives participants and volunteers an opportunity to experience poverty firsthand through the eyes of real families. The experiential nature of this training helps organizations and communities more deeply understand the complexities of poverty, paving the way for addressing the issues of poverty more comprehensively.

COPE is a tool that will help your team:

  • Deepen their understanding of the realities of poverty in America.
  • Improve practices and approaches to better engage low-income individuals and their families.
  • Build partnerships with the broader community to improve outcomes for low-income families.

Annual Conference 2022 - Get ready to see one another!

The Florida Annual Conference 2022 session will be back to an in-person event and will be held on June 9-11 (a general schedule will be released in the new year) on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The theme for Annual Conference 2022 will be: Rebuilding the Church, Re-membering the Body: Creating a Spiritual Home for All.

“We have been through an extraordinary season with many complexities and constraints, and all of this has kept us from the joy of coming together, and we likely have taken this gift for granted,” said Bishop Ken Carter. “I am excited about the 2022 Annual Conference, and I believe God will bless us during these days.”
Thanks to vaccinations and proper protocols, we feel confident that an in-person gathering can occur in June of next year. While we will still offer a livestream option for those not able to be present in Lakeland, voting on Conference matters will only be available to in-person lay and clergy members.
As we have for the past two years, your Annual Conference planning team will continue to follow state and local health guidelines, including those of Florida Southern College as our hosts. It is possible that mask-wearing and social distancing may still be recommended so please watch for more details as we draw closer to June.

Information will be added to the AC2022 webpage as it is available.

For questions, please contact

Get AC 2022 updates delivered straight to your phone!
Text "flumc22" to 844-635-1026 to subscribe.
Normal text messaging rates apply. Text "STOP" to opt out. Text "HELP" for help.

Exponential 2022
First Baptist Orlando 
March 7 & 8, 2022

The single command that Jesus gave his followers before igniting a movement was "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised..." He was telling them to wait for and then move with the Spirit. In 2022, we'll discover a growing awareness of the Spirit's work and leadership while also realizing that we will always be more effective if we move with the Holy Spirit.

Join thousands of leaders for inspiration, encouragement and equipping at Exponential 2022 in Orlando, FL. The conference features over 200 speakers, 150 workshops, 20 pre-conference intensives, and 75+ networks and denominations. Click HERE for more details.

United Methodist Women

If you need to contact your East Central District leadership team, please email If you are interested in receiving the latest event updates in the East Central District UMW, please sign up at

VBS Curriculum
International Dream Hunters

Zoe Empowers invites you to receive our new Vacation Bible School curriculum, International Dream Hunters. 

This fun and interactive curriculum will be made available to you on March 1st as a new resource that is free for your church Vacation Bible School mission.

When you join the International Dream Hunters team, your VBS kids will "travel" the world discovering the dreams of God and Zoe Empowers kids. They will meet children in Zimbabwe, Kenya, India and Rwanda and learn how dreams of sewing, farming, raising animals, building houses, and starting businesses can come true for Zoe Empowers young people in other cultures, both rural and urban. 

Plan ahead by signing up below to receive the full curriculum on March 1, 2022 so you can include Zoe Empowers, a global award winning mission in your 2022 VBS!

Give children in your church the opportunity to learn how their own gifts and dreams can help change lives!

What is included?

You will take your VBS kids on an interactive journey to meet Zoe Empowers children in Zimbabwe, Kenya, India and Rwanda. They will learn how dreams of sewing, farming, raising animals, building houses, and starting businesses come true for young people in other cultures, both rural and urban.

Each of the FIVE sessions include:

  • A leader script with a fun, short skit
  • Discussion questions
  • Prayers
  • Craft ideas
  • Videos with Zoe Empowers youth telling their inspiring stories of transformation and hope

Also included:

  • A parent Information letter
  • Fun fundraising ideas
  • Options for shorter or longer daily segments which can be used in conjunction with any additional VBS curriculum

Join the International Dream Hunters today!


Resources worth sharing:

Again, Worship Warehouse

The article about Worship Warehouse got picked up by the UMC News and we have registrations from all over the country as well as Germany! This is a FREE site to download FREE public domain worship music. We continue to build the library. We would love more donations of public domain worship music.

This really is aimed at the small and mid-size churches who may struggle at times with worship leaders being out, not able to hire or afford, and sometimes just when a pastor wants some music for their mid-week devotional. Another UMC clergy shared many “sing-alongs” which are well made PowerPoints with the lyrics and piano accompaniment. She really did a nice job on these. You can identify these as their photo tile is of sheet music. Check it out! Enjoy!

Small Church Leadership Podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. If not, start to listen.

Or on Facebook: Small Church Leadership (group – you must join and say you will be nice)

We interviewed the three men who started the podcast (FYI, they are NOT UMC). Their churches are under 60 in worship. They use humor, tease each other, high level of trust with each other, authentic and transparent about the struggles, and give sound advice for local church leaders. This is great for clergy AND church leaders.

Small Church Ministry Planning:

By The Creative Little Church – They also have a podcast. Good tips for planning. When I was involved in Children’s Ministry, we had a few of us gather and plan out the year of activities – what do we HAVE to do that are traditional and expected? What can we do that is fun and different? Just some thoughts…

First Aid for Mental Health

Wespath is taking action to create a more empathic community and environment within the United Methodist Church (UMC) for those struggling with mental health by offering first aid training for mental health. The training is open to all UMC clergy and their spouses, Church leaders, staff and congregation members, at no cost.

First Aid for Mental Health erases the stigma surrounding mental health and emphasizes that it’s OK, not to be OK. It also teaches attendees how to accept their own mental health struggles without embarrassment or shame.

The results from the 2021 Clergy Well-being Survey show a steady decline in mental and emotional health and this training could be a step to improve the UMC culture for mental health support. We are requesting your partnership in promoting the training sessions by taking one of the following actions:

Distribute promotional collateral to members of your staff and other contacts from the toolkit on our First Aid for Mental Health event page. The toolkit includes flyers, presentation slides, e-mail templates and more.

Register to attend the First Aid for Mental Health training and encourage other staff and contacts to register.

Contact Wespath at if you have requests for specific promotional material.

For more information about First Aid for Mental Health and to access our promotional toolkit visit the First Aid for Mental Health event page. If you have questions, please contact Wespath at

Thank you for your continued support and commitment as we continue to strengthen the well-being of our Church and those who serve.



Tony Prestipino
Directory, Plan Sponsor Relations

Kelly Wittich
Director, Health and Well-being











The Florida Annual Conference is Hiring!
Human Resource Manager

The Florida Conference is excited to announce a search for a Human Resources Manager. This role will be responsible for managing all human resource functions for the staff of the Florida Conference. The Human Resources Manager will manage the conference human resource day to day operations, serve as a consultant to the conference leadership team and be a resource for the local churches as well as to participate in the annual conference events and open enrollment. Click HERE to view the job posting for more details.

The deadline for receiving applications is February 11, 2022. Interested persons should email their resume and cover letter to Human Resources via email at If you have any questions about the open position, please contact Tarji Beatty at 615-369-2313.

Lands of the Bible Cruise with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter
September 22, 2022

Join us along with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter on a 13-day Lands of the Bible Cruise aboard the Celebrity Apex, starting at $4,698* from New York, NY departing on September 22, 2022. Journey to places such as Rome, Galilee, Jerusalem, Ephesus, Bethlehem, Athens, and much more! Click HERE for details.

Modified Missional Vital Signs Reporting

The Florida Conference is using a Modified MVS reporting model. Click HERE for instructions and to report MVS.

2022 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.

February 21 President's Day
April 15 Good Friday
May 30 Memorial Day
June 19 (Observed June 20) Juneteenth Independence Day
July 4 Independence Day
September 5 Labor Day
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