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ECD June 2021 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Why is worship important? 

Some of you come to worship, whether it’s online or in person, just about every Sunday because worship is an integral part of your life. Others of you come irregularly or even sporadically because you have some particular need or issue in your life that needs attention. Still others of you come irregularly, if at all, because at this point in your life worship isn’t a priority for you. 

So, back to my question – Why is worship important? 

Worship is important because if it’s not at the center of who we are and of what we do as a church – and as individual persons of faith – if worship is not at the center of our corporate and individual lives – we are not likely to remain on track when it comes to following the leading of God’s Spirit for the life of our church or for our individual lives. 

Strong statement?  Yes, it is. And true.

Look at the history of people of faith as recorded in the scriptures, and you’ll see that when the people of God get fuzzy and lukewarm and loosey goosey about worship, when they get off track about the central place of worship in their lives, it leads to dissension and conflict and disobedience. It leads to a loss of spiritual passion, to a shallow understanding of the nature of God, to self-centeredness and to hardened hearts. 

Worship is the main event in the life of the church. It’s what makes us unique. Worship is at the center of our community life. It’s at the core of all that we are and do. Passionate, Spirit-led worship and a strong and healthy spiritual life go together. We won’t have one without the other. 

Worship is about God. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about our getting our needs met. It’s not about our preferred style. It’s not about our personal tastes. If we are open to it, we will get something out of worship every time we participate, no matter where that is or what style the service, but worship is not primarily about what we get out of it. Worship is about God. 

When we gather for worship we encounter the presence of the Living God. We declare God’s greatness, God’s goodness, God’s mercy, God’s glory with our heart and our soul and our mind and our strength. And we give thanks. 

Why is worship so important? It really is the main event in the life of the church. Don’t miss it.

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

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leader


Relationships Trump Pandemic

The Orange County school year ended on Thursday, May 27.  What a stressful year!  Learning to teach to a group of students on a computer screen and a classroom filled with face-to-face students at the same time, while seated in a corner of the classroom took patience, creativity, and more patience.  Normally, I walk around the room, do silly dances and songs to help kids memorize science facts, sit with students one-on-one, and other such activities that I couldn’t do at all this year.  Normally, I excel at creating a family-type atmosphere in my classroom, where students care about one another and know that I care about them.  Normally, I have labs and activities for kids to get to participate in hands-on learning with cool lab equipment.  This was not a normal year, to say the least.

On the last day of school, we held an awards ceremony in the cafetorium (cafeteria + auditorium).  The PTSA provided ice cream in individual cups for the students.  As they ate their treats, I realized I didn’t recognize any of them without their masks.  How sad!  I had been with them for 9 months and had not seen their faces below the eyes.  I did know their eyes, though.  And, in a way, that was very special.  We all had to learn to communicate so much more with just our eyes.  At the end of the ceremony, I still had students cry when they said goodbye to me and promise they would come to see me next year.  Even in a pandemic year, I made connections with these kids.  We all did.

Our churches have experienced a similar year.  Though we had months of Zoom meetings and live-streaming services, the churches of Jesus Christ have endured, and in some ways, even flourished.  People have found their way to us and joined our congregations.  Choirs have kept singing.  Bible studies and Sunday school classes have kept meeting.  Youth kids have continued relating to one another and doing mission work together.  Children have kept learning and having fun.   Congregations have kept reaching out in love to their communities.  As we come together in more relaxed worship services, with moments of no masks and a stolen hug here and there, I realize relationships have outlasted whatever the pandemic has thrown at them.  I keep thinking it’s a bit like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”  Even without in-person worship and fellowship, even with the masks and social distancing, we still are people of Christ.  We still love one another and our Lord.  Isn’t that miraculous?!

Looking forward to the new school year, I hope that I keep the innovative teaching methods I have learned this year  -  and the hand sanitizer.  (It was wonderful not to get sick this year!)  Looking forward to church as we exit the pandemic restrictions, I hope that we keep some of the Zoom meetings.  It was wonderful to cut down on the driving and time away from family.  There are always good things to gain from bad times.  However, I will truly love getting to know children’s whole faces next year, and I will love getting to hug strangers and shake hands and have no mask to hide behind.  I want to see those smiles!

Loving the Laity,

Melanie & Kim Lee 

Annual Conference 2021
A Community of Love & Forgiveness
June 11-12, 2021

Click HERE for the AC2021 webpage. Everything will be posted there as it is available.

Click HERE for the 2021 Voting Items
Click HERE for AC2021 Workbook
Click HERE for 2021 Virtual Expo

Pre-Conference Orientation Webinar, June 1 hosted by Rev. Alex Shanks and Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin, Annual Conference Planning Team co-chairs, and Craig Smelser, interim conference treasurer. Members of the annual conference will have the opportunity to learn about the essential items of business that will be covered during the Annual Conference session. Register here.

District Pre-Conference Orientations, June 6 Join Dr. Bob Bushong to discuss the Bishop's Initiatives, Resolutions, conference budget and small group discussions.  Click here to register for East Central District! 

Guests of the annual conference are invited to join the Annual Conference 2021 sessions via livestream.

All clergy and lay members to annual conference received emails on May 6 and May 24 asking them to register for the Zoom webinar. If you did not receive the email, please email Claudia Sava at and let her know.

Stay in the Loop! Text FLUMC21 to 844-635-1026 to receive updates on Annual Conference! Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help. Msg & data rates may apply. Terms & privacy:

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership were due May 31

If this has not been submitted, please email Claudia Sava and let her know when she can expect it. The form has the ability to be submitted when it is not complete. The form should not get submitted until BOTH the clergy and SPRC chairperson have completed the form.

Be sure to read the Welcome letter from Rev. Sara McKinley and watch the instructional video. All evaluation tools can be found at

This NEW process is fully electronic and you do not have to print and send a hard copy of the evaluation to the district office.

Magellan Member Momentum Engagement Campaign and Webinar

Communicating with your partner

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a long time or are new to your partnership, improving your communication skills can substantially strengthen your bond. Learn more in this month’s newsletter.

Monthly Webinar
3 Secrets to Having Your Best Relationship │ Wednesday, June 9
Click Here to Register to:

  1. Learn different ways to communicate with your partner
  2. Discover ways to deescalate arguments
  3. Increase intimacy in your relationship

Managing remote employees

In the age of the pandemic, many organizations have had to adapt to an environment where many employees work remotely. If you’re a supervisor or manager leading remote workers, learn helpful tips in this month’s newsletter.

Monthly Webinar
Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees │ Wednesday, June 23
Click Here to Register to:

  1. Examine the “Fast Forward” pandemic experience of the remote workforce – pre, post and current state
  2. Discuss benefits and challenges of working remotely
  3. Share best practices and helpful management guidelines for providing support, identifying and responding to employee concerns

Start summer right

As summer heats up, Work-Life can help you make the most of longer days. Work-Life is available 24/7 to help you tackle your summer tasks so you have more time to enjoy your summertime. Access Work-Life for information on:

  • Summer care options and information on activities
  • Travel and staycation
  • Pet care best practices
  • Home improvement resources
English Spanish
Getting kids to help this summer Getting kids to help this summer
Leading in the virtual workplace Leading in the virtual workplace
Communicating with your partner Communicating with your partner
National PTSD Awareness Month National PTSD Awareness Month

Getting help online is easy! From webinars, live talks and audio to articles and downloadable guides, Work-Life provides insights and information to help you practice self-care. Click HERE for the June newsletter.

United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union

See what summer fun your United Methodist Connectional FCU has planned for you.  Car Sales, RV Loans and Refinancing, Home Equity Loans, Discounts on Theme Parks and World Travel, and a NO FEE Credit Card Balance Transfer with a  2.99%APR personal Visa and MORE see you on the site

June 12 at noon

On June 12 at 12 pm (your local time), we invite you to solemnly ring at least one bell (or other instrument) 49 times in recognition of the lives lost at Pulse and in commitment to advancing full inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community. You are encouraged to post a photo or video to social media using the hashtag #49Bells and tagging @OneOrlandoAlliance

The 49 Bells movement began when mothers of the Pulse victims asked for churches to ring their bells 49 times at noon on June 12, 2017, the first annual remembrance of the Pulse tragedy. Since that year, the movement has grown to welcome all types of faith communities as well as other organizations and businesses. 

This year, we are inviting participants to offer clarity around their stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion, and also participate in the broader Acts of Love and Kindness (AOLK) movement in addition to ringing bells.

The name, city/state, and website of participating organizations will be published on the One Orlando Alliance website, and the organizational stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion will be noted. We will not publish the name and email address of the organization's contact person.

This clarity will help our LGBTQ+ community and allies know where we are fully and truly welcome to be our full and authentic selves. 

We are so grateful for your support. If you are able to do so, we would welcome your financial support during this season. Click HERE to donate. 

With gratitude,

Josh Bell
Executive Director
One Orlando Alliance

Modified Missional Vital Signs Reporting

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

Lay Servant Ministries
Advanced Training
Save the Dates!!

We are planning Advanced Lay Servant Ministry  courses over these four dates. Attendance over all four dates is required to received the ten hours of class time for certification. We will not have the Basic Lay Servant Course at this event.

Friday, September 17 and Saturday, September 18
Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25

The classes will be FREE and everyone will need to purchase their own books. Details will be sent out as soon. Questions? 

Jim Boesch
Randy Nunley
Lynn Campbell

2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

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

July 5
Independence Day holiday
September 6
Labor Day holiday
November 11
Veteran's Day holiday
November 25-26
Thanksgiving holiday
December 24
Christmas holiday
December 27
Christmas holiday
December 31
New Year's Day holiday