Main Menu

ECD May 2019 Newsletter

In the District

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

The Land Remembered is a novel centered on the life of a pioneer Florida family in the 1860s with a narrative that continues the lines of that family up through the 1950s. It’s a book that pulls the reader into the characters – who they are and what makes them tick, as well as the interrelationships among them. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me.

In one scene on a hot summer day the family is on a cattle run from an area east of Ft. Pierce to an area just north of Ft. Myers, a long journey in those days. It’s steamy hot and they come across a refreshing spring and decide to camp next to it for the night. 

Soon, off in the distance they see a herd of deer clearly eager to get to the spring and likely waiting until dark, when these humans are asleep, to make their way there. The family deduces that there are other animals out there as well – raccoons, bears, wolves, large cats – waiting until dark to come to the spring and they begin to discuss how to keep them away so they won’t harm the cattle. 

Finally the matriarch of the family speaks words of wisdom: 

You can’t blame the animals. They get thirsty too, and it’s their water, same as ours. We can fill the barrel and the buckets and leave. What difference does it make if we camp here or a few miles further on?

They do exactly as she suggests. Later that night the teenage boy in the family sneaks away from their camp to go observe what is happening at the spring, and here’s how the narrative describes what he saw:

The first forms that visited were deer, and they were soon replaced by the smaller vague bodies of foxes and rabbits and raccoons. [Then came] a procession in groups of their own kind: wolves, bears, a mother panther with a litter of cubs, all passing each other without comment, drinking and disappearing into the night. There were no growls of anger, no warnings to move away, no snarling flashes of superiority – deadly natural enemies seemingly under a truce understood only by themselves, sharing equally a thing they all must have to survive. 

That description of a group of animals reminds me of the vision of the prophet from 
Isaiah 11:6:

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Who knows? If that’s a possibility for a group of wild animals, perhaps it’s also a possibility for human beings of different races and nationalities and religions and lifestyles and languages and customs and perspectives. 

Indeed it is, but only through Christ. Only through Christ. 

Grace and Peace,


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

Bishop Announces Full Time Appointment Changes

Bishop Ken Carter and the appointive cabinet of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, in consultation with the clergy and authorized lay leaders of the local churches, announce full-time appointment changes, to take effect July 1, 2019. Click HERE for the complete list, organized by districts. This act of ministry is in fulfillment of paragraphs 425-429 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. For a reflection on the core values employed in the process of clergy appointments to churches, Click HERE.

"Let us lift these clergy, their families and the local churches in prayer, in the hope that we will more fully participate in our mission -- "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world" (Book of Discipline, 120).

Full Time Appointments in the East Central District
Aloma UMC, Winter Park - Chris Haden
Christ Hispanic UMC, Orlando - Juan Garay
Community UMC, DeBary - Mark Abbott
First UMC, Orlando - Vance Rains
First UMC, Orlando Associate - Emily Sterling
Peace UMC - Jim Berlau
Stetson Campus Ministry/Fresh Expressions - Caitlin White
Trinity UMC, DeLand - Todd Bardin
Tuskawilla UMC, Casselberry - Heather Harding

EC Clergy receiving appointments out of the East Central District
Corey Jones - Pasadena Community, St. Petersburg
Sarah Miller - Southshore UMC, Riverview
John Legg - Temple Terrace UMC, Tampa
Daniel Ivey - Killearn UMC, Tallahassee Associate

Retiring at Annual Conference 2019
Dale Golden
LeeAnn Inman
Miguel Velez

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

 Kim & Melanie Lee

We Are Methodists!

The Judicial Council has ruled on the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan.  In response, Mainstream UMC announced that UMC is officially anti-gay.  Reconciling Ministries vows to continue its resistance and keep living into biblical obedience.  Adam Hamilton plans to host a conversation in Kansas City about how we proceed.  In our district, many lay members will gather at St. Luke’s on May 4 for updates on the issue and to discuss the upcoming Annual Conference.

Methodists are diverse.  Methodists are diligent.  We are all trying our best to be obedient.  Where do we go from here?  How do we follow God’s will?  How do we respect those brothers and sisters who disagree with us and still stand up for what our souls deem as true?

John Wesley began this radical Christian path that we follow.  As Methodists, we reach out toward the edges of society and fold them into God’s herd of sheep.  Some sheep stay quietly in the nearby pasture and graze close to home.  Other sheep seek the distant pastures, wandering far from the fold.  The shepherd never forgets any of them.  The shepherd spends the time and effort to bring them back – all of them – every night.  God’s love envelops all God’s people, every single one, all the time.  And so should we.

The staff and laity of churches in our district cannot ignore that we are at a crossroads in our denomination’s history.  They cannot keep doing their everyday activities, without understanding the bigger picture their actions are painting.  At some point, they need to take stock of their congregations and define the face of their church to set their path forward.  

God’s love is so much larger than a denomination.  God’s love is so much larger than any man-made interpretation of a religion.  God’s love is for ALL.  That’s a radical thought.  That’s a freeing way of life.  That’s the Good News!  Spread the Word!

Loving the Laity,
Melanie & Kim Lee   

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
Due May 31

Each year United Methodist clergy are to engage in a process of assessment of effectiveness.  A team from the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry has worked diligently to provide clergy and local church Committees on Staff Parish Relationships with a set of tools that will assist in that process.  It is the hope that each clergy and each SPRC will take this process seriously so that our clergy continue to grow in effectiveness toward our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Note: This is required for every clergy appointed to the local church. It has been available since January and isn't due until May 31. Even if you have a new appointment, the pastor and SPRC are expected to turn one in. This exercise will be helpful for the church and pastor as they transition.

Click HERE for all the forms needed to complete the process. The completed forms should be emailed to Betty Sims

Run 4 Life 4 Miler
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
May 11

The 9th Annual Run 4 Life 4 Miler is May 11 at The Florida United Methodist Children's Home. All race proceeds will go to FUMCH and other local suicide prevention programs.

Won't you be part of our Team - The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church?  Click HERE to register online.  Be sure to click on "Join Group/Team" & register on our team!

Run, walk, or sponsor a child to participate!
We are one conference, let us come together as the UMC and help prevent suicide! 


Lay Servant Gathering
May 11 - Sanlando UMC, Longwood

Lay Servants, Lay Leaders, Lay Members to Annual Conference and any Laity leader in the Local Church - you are invited to join Lynn Campbell and Jim Boesch for a gathering! LSM is led by lay members and ECD is grateful to have Lynn Campbell and Jim Boesch as Co-Directors. They spend a great deal of time preparing and planning for the Fall and Spring LSM Training Weekends. Come and share what you would like to see happen and above all, come for the Fellowship! 

Click HERE to register now.

Save the date! Fall Training at New Horizon UMC in Davenport on September 20 & 21. 
Questions? Lynn Campbell

Costa Rica Mission Trip with Dr. Bob Bushong

District Superintendent Bob Bushong will be leading a mission trip to Costa Rica September 7 - 14, 2019. The East Central District Team will join Wil Bailey, the Director of Costa Rica Mission Projects. Wil is a North Carolina Conference missionary. The cost will be $1,000.  The first payment of $250 is due June 2, 2019. Click HERE for trip and travel information. Click HERE for the Costa Rica Mission Projects website.

The next Costa Rica Mission Team meeting is June 2 at Asbury UMC at 2pm. Click HERE to register online and make a payment. The first payment is due June 2. We ask that everyone who is planning on being on the Mission Team plan to attend this meeting and register as soon as possible.

This trip is open to clergy and laity in the district. Questions? Contact Betty Sims

Annual Conference 2019 - Florida Southern College
On Mission Together

District Orientations Sunday, May 19
First UMC, Orlando at 3:00pm.

They will include a report from two delegation members regarding GC2019, an introduction of nominees for GC2020, a review of how to use the voting equipment, a review of the five resolutions to Annual Conference, a review of the budget, and a review of any other significant issues before the conference. 

There is no registration, everyone is welcome to attend. Click HERE for the complete list of all the District orientations throughout the conference.

Click HERE
for the AC2019 webpage. Information gets added as it is available. *Hotels are filling up. *Childcare registration deadline is May 3. *Youth LM to AC and Observers must register and pay online by May 15.

Tweet with #flumc19 to join the conversation!

East Central District Ice Cream Social  ♦ Florida Southern  ♦ Charles T. Thrift Building  ♦ Thrift Alumni Room
Clergy, Laity & Spouses are invited on Wednesday, June 5 9pm - 10pm
Registration closes May 24. Click HERE to register.

Annual Conference is free and open to anyone who would like to go.  However, only Clergy and Lay Members to Annual Conference 2019 will have a vote. Click HERE for the Voice and Voting Guidelines.

Fall Clergy Meeting
August 22 - Asbury UMC, Maitland

East Central District Fall Clergy Meeting will be August 22 at Asbury UMC, Maitland. All full-time clergy in the local church are expected to attend. If you are not able to attend, email Dr. Bob Bushong and request to be excused. All part time,  lay supply, and clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend.


9am - noon (All clergy)
Lunch - Optional
1pm - 2pm (Clergy with new appointments) 
Click HERE  to register.

Bishop Carter's Invitation to 2020 Holy Land Trip

Clergy and laity are invited to join Bishop Ken Carter and Dr. Bob and Jeanne Bushong, for 10 days in the Holy Land, departing February 4, 2020. You will walk the shores of the Sea of Galilee, study the scriptures in the synagogue in Capernaum, pray on the Mount of Beatitudes and renew your baptism at the Jordan River. 

Click HERE for more information and registration. Click HERE to download the brochure.

Around the Conference and Beyond

a worship leader retreat  the WELL
June 13-15 -  Life Enrichment Center

Join church and worship leaders from around the Florida Conference for a two-day Worship Leader Retreat, Thursday, June 13 to Saturday, June 15. This event is sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts.

Presenters for this event will be Todd Fields, Rev. Melissa Cooper, Joshua Smith and Jeremy Hearn. Worship leaders will be Drew Miller, University Carillon UMC, and Gabrielle Toledo, FUMC Orlando.

Todd Fields is the founder of Worship Circle, a ministry that exists to let worship leaders know they are loved and not alone. Leaders from all over the world join online small group community with a veteran leader of their choice for life changing experience and training.

Todd has led worship for more than 25 years alongside the ministries of Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley and others. He travels both in the US and internationally leading worship and helping churches develop the worship component of their services.

Register NOW for this opportunity to hear Todd's message and have a chance to talk with him in an intimate, small group setting. Click HERE for more information and to register online.

Festival of Wisdom and Grace
Beyond 50 Ministries
August 5-8 - Lake Junaluska, NC

How do we grow deeper roots in our faith,  turning our age into an asset as we cultivate spiritual maturity and strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ? How do we become the disciples Jesus called us to be?

"Growing Deeper Roots" is the theme and it promises to be a great experience with a lineup of insightful and inspiring speakers, including Richard Gentzler author of "An Age of Opportunity: Intentional Ministry by, with, and for Older Adults." In addition there will be workshops, entertainment, worship, special events, and outings. Yet the pure blessing of the conference is the opportunity to enjoy the scenic North Carolina scenery for a time of rest and relaxation. Join others in the second half of life for a time of inspirational and renewal in the mountains of North Carolina. 

Click on the following promotional items: FWG Poster FWG Brochure
Click HERE
 to go to the Festival of Wisdom and Grace website.

Clergy Day Apart
September 17 - Lakeland

Clergy, mark your calendars for a clergy day apart with Bishop Carter on Tuesday, September 17, from 10:00am - 3:30pm in Lakeland. We will not hold regional gatherings this year, so this is your chance to spend time with Bishop Carter, who will speak about resiliency in the midst of our changing context. We hope all clergy will plan to attend.


Warren Willis United Methodist Camp and Conference Center

At the start of 2017, the Life Enrichment Center and Warren Willis Camp merged into one site offering sacred space in Fruitland Park. This marriage has been an involved process, and the need was clear for a name that reflected the connectedness. This year, the board approved the new name:

Warren Willis United Methodist Camp and Conference Center

In addition to the new name, they have a new logo for this united ministry. The Cross on the Lake has been an iconic image of camping ministry on these grounds and is a great space to view each morning's sunrise. The cross was rebuilt last year after sustaining heavy damage from Hurricane Irma. The new-and-improved cross pictured here is a contemporary update of this historic symbol. The shape of the letters are meant to invoke the waters of Lake Griffin, and the leaf symbolizes the many trees that adorn the property. Guests of the Life Enrichment Center have long celebrated the Live Oak trees around the property and sunsets on the lake. This new logo represents decades of spiritual growth that has occurred in these spaces, and it points toward a bright future for the camp and conference center.

A new website and new marketing materials will be coming soon!

Summer Youth Events at Lake Junaluska

Bring your youth group to Lake Junaluska this summer for worship, spiritual growth and adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Every event includes energized worship with great speakers and bands, small groups, vespers and workshops. Youth also can choose to participate in mission projects and recreational activities such as rafting, ziplining or swimming. Find more information at
Event 1: June 15-19 – Rev. Andy Lambert with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show, outdoor movie and Sunday morning worship in Stuart Auditorium
Event 2: June 20-23 – Rev. Juan Huertas with Abbye West Pates and a talent show
Event 3: June 23-27 – Guest speaker Stephanie Caro with Abbye West Pates and a talent show and outdoor movie
Event 4: June 27-30 – Rev. Janjay Innis with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff
Event 5: June 30-July 3 – Rev. Jeremy Steele with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff
Event 6: July 10-14 – Rev. Kevin Wright with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show and comedian

Appointed Clergy serving in the Florida Annual Conference
Do No Harm: Mandatory Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Training

All clergy who are serving under episcopal appointment within the Florida Conference must attend one of the upcoming sexual ethics trainings this fall to remain in good standing. This includes ALL clergy serving in extension ministries, retired clergy serving under appointment, all deacons, elders, licensed local pastors (part time and full time). diaconal ministers and lay supply who are assigned to lead a church. This is required even if you have recently attended the Sexual Ethics training at Right Start or are scheduled to do so this coming May. A different curriculum will be covered in the quadrennial training. Certificates will be provided to those who complete the full 5 hours of training. A copy of your Certificate will be placed in your clergy file.

When & Where?

You may attend a session outside of your appointed district.

  • Tampa at St. James UMC on Tuesday, September 24
  • Jacksonville at Mandarin UMC on Thursday, October 3
  • Gainesville at Trinity UMC on Wednesday, October 9
  • Plantation at Plantation UMC on Tuesday, October 22
  • Orlando at St. Luke's UMC on Wednesday, November 6