Greetings from the District Superintendent
I’m often aware of how much stronger the inclination is for followers of Jesus to focus on the judgment of God than it is to embrace the grace of God. This rings true for many of us in terms of how we view others, especially those with whom we disagree and those who are making what we view as poor or flat out wrong choices. We see that reality operating today, both as it relates to the secular political sphere and to the current state of the church, specifically our United Methodist Church.
My experience as a pastor for over forty years reminds me that often this inclination toward nurturing a judgmental spirit within us also plays out as it relates to ourselves.
Do you sometimes find yourself being harder on yourself than you are even on others? Do you sometimes minimize or even forget the truth of scripture that portrays the loving, grace-filled, forgiving nature of God as it relates to you?
I came across this poem entitled “And God Said Yes,” from an anonymous author. It’s a word that speaks to me, and I have a feeling that it may also speak to many of you. Perhaps you will even hear a word of grace from God as you allow it to speak into your life:
I asked God if it was OK to struggle with who God
wants me to be even at this point in my life
and God said of course it is
I asked God if it’s OK to slack off every now and then
and God said I think you need to
I asked God if he’ll help me let go of what I need to let go of
and God said I’ve been there doing that
I asked God if being myself is good enough
and God said my goodness – who else are you going to be?
I asked God to forgive me even when I can’t forgive myself
and God said I already have.
Grace and Peace,
East Central District
East Central District Office - NEW mailing address!!
East Central District
Florida Conference of the UMC
PO Box 4064
Enterprise, FL 32725
I am available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm by phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement from Bishop Carter on the Postponement of General Conference & Special Sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences
February 25, 2021
To the People of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church:
Blessings to you friends, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, who journeys with us in these days of Lent toward a garden and a cross, and then an empty tomb and a risen life!
I write to share the news released today of the upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conferences. We live in an unprecedented season. COVID has changed how we work, gather, travel, eat meals, worship, see our families and friends. This week we noted that 500,000 Americans and 30,000 Floridians have died of COVID. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers!
This has disrupted the denominational gatherings held every four years that we know as the General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The Commission on the General Conference and the Council of Bishops have released the new dates for these gatherings, which are linked here and here. In addition, a Frequently Asked Questions document is provided here.
Three brief words:
The setting of dates for two General Conferences and two Jurisdictional Conferences over the next eighteen months allows the elected delegates, half laity and half clergy, the opportunity to serve the church which has called them. The setting of these dates is very healthy.
The scope of work in the General and Jurisdictional Conferences will be done first in a minimal way, accomplishing what is necessary and what is possible, in 2021. The in-person General and Jurisdictional Conferences, in 2022, will take up the weightier matters which can most appropriately be done when we are together. A fundamental value in the call of the May, 2021 General Conference in particular was equity. It is simply not fair to make long-term decisions about the future of our denomination when many delegates across the world do not have equal access to technology.
We now have a sense, God willing, of a timetable for the next faithful steps in our denominational life. I encourage us, in this interim season, to focus on our most important commitments—to vital and sustainable local churches, on a path back to in-person gatherings; to the work of antiracism as a core matter of discipleship, mercy and justice; and to the health and resilience of our clergy leaders.
For those who want to learn more about the General and Jurisdictional Conferences, the FAQs provide accurate and helpful information.
I am in prayer for you, and I depend on your prayers. Be encouraged and stay safe!
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop, Florida Conference
The United Methodist Church
A Missional Plan for Congregations and Clergy in the Post-Covid Florida Conference
By Bishop Ken Carter & Alice Williams, Lay Leader Florida Conference
This week our nation paused to acknowledge the deaths of over 500,000 known persons to COVID-19, and our state acknowledged the deaths of over 30,000 persons. At the same time we are beginning to see large number of persons vaccinated, especially those most vulnerable to the disease. As winter passes into spring, and as the virus continues to subside, we begin to think about the post-COVID church and what it will mean for us to live into the new normal as Christ's disciples called to bring hope and healing to the world. Click HERE for complete article.
Lay Servant Gathering
Thursday, March 25 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Everyone who has completed the Basic &/or an Advanced Lay Servant class is invited to join us for this FREE event over Zoom. This is not a training event for certification.
Why should you go?
- Exchanging ideas
- Sharing new and learned tools to help you in your faith walk and service with and for others
COVID-19 showed up and changed the way we had to do ministry. Much has been done to facilitate how we gather for worship and other events. However, what about YOU? How are you handling this change? How have you been able to serve in your small groups, Bible study or other ministry groups? Have you found a way? Would you like to share what has worked for you and hear how others are doing? Above all let us gather for a conversation in a "safe space". While we are all on the same journey, some are on a canoe, some on a yacht and some may just be swimming without a paddle. Join Jim, Randy, and Lynn as we share about being on this journey together while we continue to serve God's people. So pack your laughter, tears, wishes, how tos and anything else you have and let us spend sometime together. Please register today! We are excited about being with you!
Questions? Jim Boesch email@example.com or Randy Nunley firstname.lastname@example.org
March 31st Reports
There are seven "March 31st Reports" coming due on...March 31st! I have put in ( ) the committee that is typically responsible for completing the reports. Please have one person from your church send all reports in one email to Claudia Sava at email@example.com.
- Child Youth Protection Policy adoption (SPRC) - Review and renew annually. Submit a signed copy of the (1) Annual Review and Renewal Document. Should your policy undergo major revisions, submit a complete copy of your policy. Click HERE for the Child Youth Protection page on the Ministry Protection webpage.
- (2) Clergy Employee Conduct Policy revised April 30, 2015 (SPRC) - Each year, clergy receive the entire policy. Submit the last page with the clergy's signature.
- Employee Conduct Policy revised April 1, 2013 (SPRC) - Click HERE for the Church Employee Conduct Policy. The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee to keep in their personnel file. The district does not get these forms. The district receives the one page (3) Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy.
- (4) Annual Report on the Parsonage (Trustees) - Review and renew annually. If you have a parsonage, submit the entire report. If you have a parsonage and the pastor is not living in it, we still need the report. If you do not have a parsonage, please print the first page, write N/A across the page and submit that one page.
- Financial Controls, Policies, & Procedures (Finance) - Review and renew annually. Once in compliance, submit the (5) Annual Review and Renewal Document and the (6) Document Retention. Should your policy undergo major revisions, submit a complete copy of your policy. Click HERE for the Fiscal Responsibility & Management page of the Finance webpage.
- (7) Fund Balance Report (Finance) - This report is found in your Church Dashboard on the bottom left. Please enter your 2020 balances and remember to click "Submit Fund Balance Data". This is submitted online. Do not send the Fund Balance Report to the district.
You can find instructions and other pertinent information by reviewing the Calendar of Reports. If you have any questions, please let me know.
East Central DCOM:
District Superintendent: Dr. Bob Bushong DS-EC@flumc.org
DCOM Chair: Rev. Chris Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
DCOM Vice Chair: Rev. Jenn Stiles-Williams email@example.com
DCOM Registrar: Elizabeth Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply Now for UMC FCU 2021 Scholarship
Application deadline: April 30, 2021
What you need to know:
- 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.
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 email@example.com.