Main Menu

ECD January 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Welcome to 2022. Some of us have made “New Year’s Resolutions” to live out in the new year. I wonder, what about also making some decisions coming out of last week’s celebration of the birth of Jesus that will enable that celebration to have a continuing impact?

The message in one Christmas card I received was “Let us rejoice in the birth of our savior, at Christmas and always.” Here are some suggestions for us to consider to enable us to continue to rejoice in the birth of our savior:

- Commit to being “in worship” in person or online each week that you’re able to do so. Make a decision now not to allow “having had a busy week” or “needing to catch up at work” or “I just don’t feel like it” or “I’m unhappy about something at church” or (you fill in the blank) become an excuse not to participate regularly in community worship.

- Engage with some form of intentional study and/or devotional reading or recording every day. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of time. It might be only fifteen minutes or so at the beginning or end of the day. There are lots of options for material that will enhance your spiritual growth and help you focus on your relationship with God. Consider asking your pastor or a trusted lay person for recommendations.

- Engage in regular conversation with God. Connect prayer time with your devotional time and be conscious of communicating with God throughout each day. Thank God when you sense God’s presence and movement in your life. Ask God for guidance and direction in making decisions.

- If you’re not already, become involved regularly in a small group with other people of faith. That might be a Sunday School class, a Bible study, a prayer group, or some other small group experience in which you focus on strengthening your relationship with God and your relationships with other people of faith.

- Look for opportunities to reach out to others. Give an unsolicited word of support, be in prayer for someone, give some tangible expression of support to someone who is in need, write a note or make a telephone call to someone whom you know would particularly appreciate it.

- Pray specifically for someone with whom you have difficulty. It may be someone whom you believe has wronged you in some way, or someone whom you just don’t like. Remind yourself that this person too is a person for whom Jesus Christ died.

- Remember the poor. Many of us tend to avoid the claim upon our lives that the poor have on followers of Jesus. Ask God to increase your sense of burden for the poor.

May 2022 be a year in which you decide to go to a deeper level in your experience of the birth of our savior.

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


Bishop Palmer's Leadership Clinic - Special MLK Edition
January 11 Webinar

We’re offering a very special “MLK” Edition of Bishop Palmer’s Leadership Clinic on January 11, 2022, from 10-12 EST, via Live Webcast. We will welcome a theological mentor to many, Dr. Willie Jennings. Dr. Jennings is the Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School. He is also well-published, authoring several books and over 40 scholarly essays. Dr. Jennings is a Calvin College graduate, receiving his M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in religion and ethics from Duke. This ordained Baptist pastor is recognized as a major figure in theological education across North America. 

We’re offering a special price of $10 for this MLK Edition with all proceeds going to the UMC’s General Commission on Religion and Race to support their ongoing work in helping the church and the world to be free from the brokenness of racism.

As with past Clinics, this will be a live webcast. There will be a 30-minute teaching session followed by Bishop Palmer’s interview, ending with questions from the audience. Everyone who registers will receive 30-day access to this Clinic. 

CLICK HERE to register and to learn more about Dr. Jennings.

IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2022

Beginning on January 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58.5 cents per mile driven for business use, up 2.5 cents from the rate for 2021,

  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, up 2 cents from the rate for 2021 and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations; the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2021.

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. 

Upcoming Reports and Due Dates

Apportionments - 2021 payments due by January 10

Apportionment payments for 2021 must be received in the lockbox at Regions Bank or paid online by Monday January 10, 2022. 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 2021 apportionments receipts. Any payments received after that date will be applied to 2022 apportionments. Any payments received between January 1 and January 10 must be clearly marked as to which year they are to be applied.  To be considered a 100% connectional church in The Florida Annual Conference journal, 100% of 2021 apportionments must be received by January 10, 2022, and all outstanding Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits obligations must have been received by December 31, 2021.

2022 apportionments are available on our website under Monthly Billing Reports.  

Church and Pastor Profiles - Due January 31 - Click HERE for details.  


These forms are to be reviewed and updated annually by all clergy and all Staff-Parish Relations Teams, whether or not you anticipate a change in appointment this year. As the Cabinet works through the appointment-making process, having an accurate Profile on each pastor and church are essential.  

Year-End Statistics - Due February 4

2021 Statistical Reports are due by 5 p.m. Friday, February 4, 2022. The Statistics Reporting system will be available January 3, 2022 to begin. 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. The Church Guide has the Username and Password information.

For a better experience: Submit the Year End Report as early as possible. Getting started early ensures you will have plenty of time to address issues and or questions that may arise.

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.

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

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.

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

2022 EC District Committee on Ministry (dCOM)

dCOM Chair: Rev. Chris Jones
dCOM Vice Chair: Rev. Jenn Stiles-Williams
dCOM Registrar: Elizabeth Flynn

East Central District Committee on Ministry meetings are all on Thursdays. To schedule a dCOM interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar at Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.

2022 dCOM Dates Due Date Purpose
February 24 January 27 LPRs
April 7 March 10  
May 5 April 7 Provisional Interviews
August 4 July 7 Provisional follow-up
November 10 October 21  

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.

For questions, please contact

AC 2022 Resolutions due Jan. 31

According to the Standing Rules of the Florida Conference, Par. 206 2(d), “All submitted resolutions must be received by the Conference Secretary by Jan. 31 to be considered at the regular Annual Conference Event later that year.” The Florida Conference Secretary is the Rev. Beth Gardner, pastor at College Heights United Methodist Church in Lakeland. Her email address is, phone 863-682-8191. If you are considering a resolution for the 2022 Annual Conference, the Jan. 31 deadline is firm. Each resolution must address only one issue if the resolution does not address the Discipline. If a resolution does affect the Discipline it must address only one paragraph of the Discipline, except that, if two or more paragraphs in the Discipline are so closely related that a change in one affects the others, the resolution may call for the amendment of those paragraphs also to make them consistent with one another.

Every resolution requiring implementation will include: a. financial impact to the Conference; b. name of the implementing organization or persons; c. if communication or referral is required, will designate the person or persons responsible for the communication or referral, Gardner advised.

Any resolution needs to be submitted by a Conference agency, a clergy or lay member of the annual conference, or a lay member of a local church whose Church Council has endorsed the resolution.  The Committee on Resolutions has interpreted this Standing Rule to mean that all signers of a resolution need to meet that criteria.

For more information on the Resolution process, see Paragraph 206 of the Standing Rules of the Florida Conference, found on page 254 of the 2020 Journal (access it online here:

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.

Register Now for Clergy Retirement Seminar
R-10 and Counting

R-10 and Counting, a comprehensive retirement planning seminar sponsored by the Florida United Methodist Foundation for clergy planning to retire within the next 10 years, will be held Jan. 24-26 at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland (72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801).  
Registrations will be accepted until Jan. 7, but participants are encouraged to register early because space is limited to 30 clergy. Spouses are also encouraged to attend.

Clergy may register online or download the registration form and send it to the foundation offices, attention Nadara Bledsoe. More information is available at R-10 and Counting Seminar or by contacting Bledsoe at 866-363-9673, extension 7113, or


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


Warren Willis United Methodist Camp
Summer Team Applications are OPEN!

“The Summer Leadership Team is the heartbeat of summer camp. The love and dedication they bring transforms camp from a bunch of buildings into sacred soil where the Holy Spirit is able to move freely through the lives of young people.”

Come be a part of what makes Warren Willis come alive each and every summer! Spend time leading students, growing in your faith walk, making some lifelong friends, and having a summer you will never forget!

Have someone you think would make a great addition to our Summer Leadership team?

Applying and want a friend to join you? Applications are due January 31st! Apply today!

Apply Today>>


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.

January 17 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
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