In the District
Greetings from the District Superintendent
A Prayer for Faithfulness in the New Year
| Dr. Bob Bushong
Eternal and loving God, like the apostles, we too have fears and doubts. We have struggles and questions. We want to believe with all our hearts the story of Incarnation and Redemption that we have embraced, and yet so often daily life and all that it brings to us gets in the way.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us wisdom, O God, and in that wisdom the patience that we need to listen to what You have to say to us about faithful living, about priorities, about how easily we are seduced by the multitude of options around us that seek to pull us away from You.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us hearts of love, and remind us of the many opportunities that You place before us to share that gift with others in very simple ways: offering a listening ear or a kind and encouraging word. Sometimes it’s in more challenging ways as You lead us to confront a sister or brother or a larger system for the sake of what is right and true; remind us that loving includes such times and actions. Open our hearts to the movement of Your Spirit as You challenge us to give generously of our time and resources, even to sacrifice, for the sake of those who are in need.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us a passion for peace that begins in our own heart and in our home and our church and our community. May we welcome the Spirit in such ways that we receive the insight, strength, and humility to honor differences that we have with others in ways that keep disagreements and differing perspectives from getting in the way of relating to one another with a sense of civility and kindness and respect.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, teach us to receive Your forgiveness and to extend it to others. Remind us, O God, to release the grudges that we hold against others. Give us the strength to stay on the journey toward forgiveness with those whose hurtful actions continue to reside painfully within us. Enable us to forgive ourselves as well for the ways that we have not been our best and for the guilt we carry from the ways that we have hurt others.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, give us hearts of gratitude for all the blessings that flow from You into our lives. May our constant sense of gratitude lift us beyond any discouragement that we may experience in the moment to a larger and clearer view of the depth of Your love reflected by the ongoing movement of Your Creative Spirit in our lives.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, hold us in Your warm embrace. Give us the strength to maintain our spiritual center. Heal us from the burdens that we carry that weigh heavily on our hearts.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, may patience, peace, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude reside and grow ever more deeply in our hearts, that the faith that we proclaim becomes for us a way of living that emerges out of our deep and abiding, life-transforming relationship with You.
Through the Spirit of the risen Christ, we offer these prayers to You, O Loving God. Amen.
Grace and Peace,
East Central District
East Central District Office
I am available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm and can be reached at 321-295-8801 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leader
Focus on Forgiveness Through Love and Action
| Melanie & Kim Lee
As I always do at the beginning of a new year, I am creating a list of resolutions. When I start the list of resolutions, I usually have two columns: What have I done this year that I do not want to do next year? and What have I done this year that I want to continue doing next year? The first column tends to fill up faster and more easily for me. I can be pretty hard on myself. I think of all the missteps I’ve taken, the slips of the tongue I’ve made, and the unintended hurts I’ve caused others. Some of these incidents date back years and years, which makes me realize that I have some forgiving to do.
I would like to start 2021 with a forgiving heart toward others, which can be difficult for me, and toward myself, which is even harder. How did Jesus show forgiveness? One of the examples that means the most to me is how Jesus forgave Peter. I can relate to Peter. I might have let my fear push me into denying Jesus. I might have denied him three times, in fact. I would not have expected nor dreamed of forgiveness for such cowardness and failure to stand up for my Lord, for my friend. I would have had a hard time ever forgiving myself. Jesus, however, turned the travesty into a lesson of love.
John 21: 15-17
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus did not have a heart-to-heart discussion with Peter about why Peter chose to deny him. He did not berate him or make him say he was sorry. He did not even tell him he was forgiven. In a quiet morning chat after breakfast, Jesus brought Peter back to the relationship through confessions of love and a challenge, a privileged duty. Jesus entrusted Peter with his flock. Jesus made Peter understand that love and trust will guide their future relationship, which allowed Peter to forgive himself. What a profound way to show forgiveness!
Lord, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to follow your example of grace toward others and focus on forgiveness through love and trust.
Loving the Laity,
Melanie & Kim Lee
The IRS changed the W-4 in 2020 and made another change for 2021. Existing employees do not need to complete a new form. If an employee wants to change their withholding elections or you hire a new employee, you must use the new form. Click HERE for the new W-4.
Apportionments and End of Year Payments
Apportionment payments for 2020 must be received in the lockbox at Regions Bank or paid on line by Monday January 11, 2021. This is not a postmarked by date but is the last day by which monies must be received in the Conference or our bank lockbox to be included in 2020 apportionments receipts. Any payments received after that date will be applied to 2021 apportionments. Any payments received between January 1 and January 11 must be clearly marked as to which year they are to be applied.
All apportionment payments should be accompanied by a completed Remittance Report. Click HERE for a Remittance Report. Click HERE to pay online.
Any amounts due for Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits at the end of the year will continue to show as outstanding on your statement in 2021. To ensure proper processing of these payments and avoid errors, payments should contain the following information on the check, check stub or statement:
- Church Name
- GCFA Number
- Invoice Number (include all letters and any 0’s)
- Allocation amounts for each invoice
When mailing payments to Regions take note of the billing address for each of these types of payments. The last 4 numbers after the zip code are different for each and very important to include to ensure your payment is processed properly.
To be considered a 100% connectional church in the Florida Annual Conference Journal, 100% of 2020 apportionments must be received by January 11, 2021, and all outstanding Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits obligations must have been received by December 31, 2020.
East Central District Lay Servant Ministries via ZOOM
This will be a FREE event. Everyone will be responsible to purchase their own book. We will meet together and then we will split into our class. Both classes will be taught in English. You will need to attend the entire schedule below. Certification requires ten hours of class time.
Friday, January 29, 2021 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday, January 30, 2021 9:00am - 1:00pm
Friday, February 5, 2021 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday, February 6, 2021 9:00am - 1:00pm
The Basic LSM course is required before taking an advanced course.
- Basic LSM will be taught by Lynn Campbell and Randy Nunley. 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.
- Advanced LSM will be taught by Jim Boesch. Discover Your Servant Profile 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.
Classes are limited to the first 30 people registered for each class.
Books may be purchased at www.cokesbury.com. Click on the book below to order your book.
| Basic LSM book
$8.49 at Cokesbury
| Advanced LSM book
$8.99 at Cokesbury
Questions? Contact Randy Nunley email@example.com 407-595-2648 or Jim Boesch firstname.lastname@example.org
Church and Pastor Annual Profiles
Due by January 31
Church Profile – reviewed and updated annually.
These forms are to be reviewed and updated annually by all church SPR Committees and all clergy in the Florida Conference. All church SPR Committees must update online annually and may begin now. The Church Profile deadline requires it be completed online no later than one week prior to the pastor’s DS consultation, if having.
Pastor Profile – reviewed and updated annually.
All pastors must update online annually and may begin now. The Pastor Profile deadline requires it to be completed online no later than one week prior to the DS consultation. Though you may not anticipate a move, it is important that both the Pastor Profile and Church Profile be current and up to date at the first appointment-making session of the Cabinet. The reports should be an honest reflection of the pastoral ministry and the profile of the church.
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 January 31, 2021.
Statistics due February 5
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:
- Church Guide for EOY and EZRA Reporting (Login Instructions & Password, Payroll Protection Program (PPP) 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 5, 2021.
The information you share gives the GCFA and the conference an opportunity to see how the churches have prospered in the last year.
Go to the Year-End Statistics Instructions website to get started!
Thank you for your help in telling our churches' stories through statistics.
Clergy & Lay Members to Annual Conference
We Want YOUR Feedback for AC2021!
Your Annual Conference planning team has been hard at work beginning to make plans for our June 2021 Annual Conference session. At this time we don’t know what the health and safety protocols related to the pandemic will look like in June or how that might impact our plans for annual conference.
We ask for your input into our planning process. Please fill out this brief survey before January 11. If you have additional questions, ideas or resources that could help us in our planning, please send to email@example.com.
If you have already taken the survey, thank you!! There is no need to complete it again.
Wespath Benefits and Investments - Delivered to you!
All active clergy members of The United Methodist Church
Wespath is having a virtual 2-day afternoon meeting covering pension plans and clergy taxes, clergy wellness, benefit proposal for General Conference 2021, and much more. There is also an opportunity to schedule a private benefits consultation with a Wespath Benefits staff member. Every clergy person could benefit from this event. The deadline to register is January 29, 2021.
The registration fee is $49.00 and includes the event Care Package that will be shipped to you in advance. Click HERE to register.
Apply Now for UMC FCU 2021 Scholarship
Application deadline: April 30, 2021
What you need to know:
- $1,000.00 awarded to one person from each of the United Methodist Conferences (Florida, Alabama -West Florida, South Georgia, North Georgia)
- Application Open: January 1 - April 30, 2021
- Previous Winners are ineligible to apply
- UMC FCU Members are eligible to apply. Applying online to become a UMC FCU member is easy. Eligibility Requirements ( Be a Member of a UM Church, or Work for a UM Church or Organization within the four (4) conferences listed above, Have a family member who is already a member of UMC FCU)
- Click HERE for application and essay information
- Don’t wait to apply (Applying early does not increase your chances of winning… it’s just good to get things done as soon as possible)
Should you have any questions, please contact anyone at the United Methodist Federal Credit Union 863-687-9725.
Clergy Care - Your New Magellan EAP is here!
Lois Durham has worked hard to come up with the new Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for all clergy of The Florida Conference. There are lots of benefits available at no cost to you. Please take a minute to download each of the items listed below, so you don't miss out!
- Welcome Email to Members
- EAP Flyer
- Work-Life Flyer
- Legal Financial Flyer
- Discount Center Flyer
- Clickotine App Flyer
Festival of HOMILETICS
"Preaching for the Future Church"
May 17-21, 2021 Virtually
The church is in decline. We need to adapt to survive.
Can the church recapture what it was in the first century -- a distinctive community willing to stand against the status quo, to confront the ways of empire, and to embody the gospel?
Together, we'll explore how the promise of the gospel gives hope and shapes ministry for the church now and in the future.
There are two ways to participate:
- Watch for free: Four to five prerecorded video sessions will be available each day-no cost required.
- Purchase a recording package: Gain full access to bonus material and watch sessions at a later time. Bonus materials include additional speaker presentations, live workshops, learning opportunities, and exclusive vendor connections. Receive CEU credit.
Click HERE to register.
2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference
The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.
||Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday
||President's Day holiday
||Good Friday holiday
||Memorial Day holiday
||Independence Day holiday
||Labor Day holiday
||Veteran's Day holiday
||New Year's Day holiday
Modified 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 Sava at firstname.lastname@example.org.