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ECD May 2021 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Something good is in the heart of each of God’s children that is more powerful than anything bad.

That line is in the third paragraph of the Introduction to a book entitled Connecting by Dr. Larry Crabb, a licensed psychologist and Professor of Biblical Counseling at Colorado Christian University who passed away in February of this year. I have been moved, inspired, and challenged by Dr. Crabb’s message in Connecting.

He goes on to call the church to the ministry of connecting – that is, connecting with one another, and with others outside of our literal and figurative walls, that the healing power inherent in Christian community will be realized.

Dr. Crabb challenges the church to take a hard look at itself and to remember that “going to church” isn’t just about sitting in a pew. It’s about releasing the healing power to change lives that God has placed within every Christian community.

A psychologist by training and a psychotherapist by vocation, Dr. Crabb came to the point at which he believed that the most likely avenue for healing the woundedness that characterizes the lives of so many people in our world is active involvement in Christian community. He maintained that healing from the woundedness of life occurs most completely through connecting with God and with one another in ways that foster an experience of grace, forgiveness, acceptance, and love in Christ.

The church isn’t a place for those who have it all together. It’s a place for those who are struggling with who they are, with whom they aren’t yet, and with whom they might become. It’s a place of refreshment, a place of renewal, a place of challenge, a place of healing, a place for connecting with the power of God’s love expressed through community.

For those of us in what is still the United Methodist Church who are wrestling with issues related to where we are headed as a denomination, with what that will look like in the future, or with what our place will be within any new expressions of our church that may emerge, perhaps it’s time to stop and listen to the voice of the Spirit speaking into our hearts and minds, and . . .

  • instead of engaging in arguments with one another,
  • instead of judging one another,
  • instead of harshly critiquing those whose perspectives are different from our own,
  • instead of allowing our pride, our need for power and control, our need to “be right” to be that which undergirds our thoughts and words and actions toward one another,
  • instead of engaging in those thoughts and words and actions that pit us against one another and pull us apart, we might consider remembering who it is that we are called to be.

We are called to be a healing community, connecting with God and with one another in ways that foster an experience of grace, forgiveness, acceptance, and love in Christ. Even in our differences, our disagreements, our frustrations and disappointments with each other, that’s who we are called to be, not only for each other, but also for the world.

Grace and Peace, 


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

East Central District Office - NEW mailing address!!

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 Carter 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, 2021. This act of ministry is in fulfillment of paragraphs 425-429 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. Click HERE for the complete list, organized by districts. 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

Asbury UMC, Maitland associate William Kendust
Community of Faith UMC, Davenport Emily Edwards
Edge Memorial UMC, Groveland Jeff Taylor
First UMC, Lake Alfred Kim DuBreuil
First UMC, Winter Garden Melissa Stump
Spring of Life UMC, Orlando Mike Luzinski

EC Clergy receiving appointments out of the East Central District

John Griswold First UMC, New Port Ritchey
Victoria Guthrie Carlson Memorial UMC, LaBelle
Rick Jones First UMC, Melbourne associate
Chris Tabone First UMC, Port St John

EC Clergy receiving appointment to extension ministry
Esther Rodriguez will be appointed to Hope Partnership in Kissimmee as the Director of Equity and Community Justice

Rusty Belcher
David Hodges

Right Start for All Moving and First Time Clergy is May 27 over Zoom. Click HERE for Right Start details.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Click for a list of videos, articles, poems and resources to celebrate Asian American culture and learn and fight against anti-Asian hate.

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leader

Follow God Through the Scary Water

When I was younger and hard times or difficult circumstances came around, my friends used to say, “This too shall pass.”  I did not like that phrase then, and I do not like it now.  It makes me think the present is a time to tread water, keeping your head above the water line, waiting for the big, scary waves to pass.  Calmer seas surely lie ahead.  But aren’t we supposed to live through the present too?  Isn’t life happening in the middle of the choppy waters?

In some ways, this past year has been a time of treading water, waiting for the “normal” to return.  Even so, God has been working in our lives, in our churches, in our communities, and in our world.  God does not tread water.  God cuts the path through the waves, and God beckons us to follow.  Many have!  Think of the beautiful acts of love and grace you have seen during the past year?

When you have the feeling that you are hunkering down, waiting for the worst to pass over, remember these words of David from Psalm 16.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Indeed, God will lead us to the path of life!  Have faith, hope, and love in our hearts, because we have a future that is bright and glorious.  Don’t tread water; break out in a full, energetic pull through the waves.  God is with us, even when we can’t see the calm waters ahead.  Trust, follow, and do good wherever you can.

Loving the Laity,

Melanie & Kim Lee 

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

Click HERE for the AC2021 webpage. You will find the schedule for AC2021 for clergy and lay members to annual conference. This page will be updated as information is available.

Are you interested in serving as an East Central District at-large Lay Member to Annual Conference 2021? The Cabinet has given the Districts Guidelines regarding Lay Members to Annual Conference. 

  • No more than three voting members from one household
  • No more than five at-large members from one local church
  • Click HERE for the Discipleship Ministries explanation on Lay Member to AC

Click HERE to submit your name to serve as a District at-large Lay Member to Annual Conference 2021. You will be notified, if you have been selected.

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! 

Pre-Conference Workshops, June 7-10 will be held over Zoom and are open to everyone, not just voting members.  Click here for more information and to register

  • Justice, Reconcillation, and Me
  • Poverty Solutions Group Bread for the World's Racial Wealth Gap Virtual Learning Simulation
  • Innovation 2021 Embrace the Journey: Becoming the Beloved Community
  • Fill the Table Equip, Engage, Empower Your Community
  • Financial Services Financial Controls in an Online World/2022 Conference Budget
  • Learning Together Sharing Best Practices for Innovative Ministry During COVID-19
  • One Church, Two Languages Ministry Model
  • Spiritual Spa - Relaxation for Reverends
  • Upcoming General Conference and my Church's Future

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:

Ministry of Spiritual Direction Program for clergy
Informational Meeting May 4 7:00pm

The Center for Spiritual Formation is beginning a new class for the Ministry of Spiritual Direction Program beginning September of 2021. The program is offered over a two-year period and can be participated in either fully online or in person. The program is intended to assist those who participate in sharpening listening skills, bring clarity to areas of giftedness, and acquire the tools and practices essential to caring for souls in love.

YEAR ONE: focuses on the history, traditions and models, Biblical roots and theological foundations of Spiritual Direction. It highlights the differences between psychological counseling and Spiritual Direction and demonstrates a contemplative approach to God. YEAR two: focuses on the actual practice of Spiritual Direction: developing listening and assessment skills; becoming familiar with displacement and projection, transference and counter-transference; acquiring a working knowledge of the life-stages of faith development; cultivating an increased awareness of the power of prayer and healing; and learning the importance of supervision.

Please visit and view the following document for further information. Click HERE for flyer. Click HERE to register for the May 4 informational meeting.

Shade and Freshwater Retreats

Shade and Fresh Water is an advance special (#100170) of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Our vision is to provide a transformative sanctuary for individuals and their families who are professionally associated with the Florida Conference of the UMC for the restoration of body, mind, and spirit toward more abundant living.

Currently we are serving the individuals and families of the Florida Conference by offering help in ministry areas: personal retreats, clergy covenant group retreats with spiritual and/or group direction, and managing change in new appointments. 

We have received many positive reviews from our clergy covenant group retreats offering individual spiritual direction to participants.  Be sure to check out the latest information under Retreats/Spiritual Direction.

  • Clergy Spouse Retreat will be held virtually on Sunday, May 16 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm Click HERE to register.

For more information: Contact

Citizenship Drive with Florida Justice For Our Neighbors

Florida Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) is holding a Citizenship Drive and will give FREE Legal Services!

WHEN: May 8 10:00am - 4:00pm
WHERE: Faith UMC 1411 Dean Road Orlando, FL  32825

Click HERE for flyer in Spanish
Click HERE for flyer in English

Click HERE to register to participate. Questions? Contact Katelyn Dino

Virtual Spring 2021 ReConnecting Our Faith & Community Conference:
Recovery, Rekindle, Resilience

The Duke Endowment is funding a FREE and digital training for rural churches. It is designed with North Carolina congregations in mind, but is open to all pastors and laity. There will be lots of information and best practices that can be used in Florida. Click HERE for a quick look at the sessions. 


Attend one session or all of them as we highlight on RECOVER (May 11), REKINDLE (May 18), and RESILIENCE (May 25). Over all three days we’ll be focusing on:

  • Empowering the ministry of the laity
  • Racial equity
  • Skillful facilitation & conflict engagement
  • Place-based strategic planning
  • Creative & adaptive leadership, exploring the inner and outer work
  • Community building & contemplative practices

Run 4 Life 4 Miler
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
May 15

The Run 4 Life 4 Miler begins and ends on the campus of the Florida United Methodist Children's Home in historic Enterprise, Florida. The 4 mile course is on magnificent oak canopy roads along the shore of Lake Monroe. It is one of the most uniquely beautiful areas and race courses in Central Florida.  

The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise funds for programs providing support to those in need. It is also in remembrance of those who were overwhelmed by their struggles and felt suicide was their only option. All race proceeds will go to the Children's Home and other local suicide prevention programs.  

Event Date: Saturday May 15, 2021
Start Time: 7:00am EDT
Price: $35.00 Race Fee + $3.53 SignUp Fee
Registration: Registration ends May 13, 2021 at 10:00am EDT


Register today as a virtual runner and be a part of the Run 4 Life 4 miler! ALL virtual runners will receive a t-shirt and finishers medal in the mail, following the event.

Price: $35.00 Race Fee + $3.53 SignUp Fee
Registration: Registration ends May 31, 2021 at 10:00pm EDT

Join our Team - The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church! 

Run, walk, or sponsor a child to participate!
We are one conference, let us come together as The Florida United Methodist Church
Bring awareness to mental health & suicide.

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
Due May 31

We have started to receive some of the Annual Assessments of Clergy Leadership that are due May 31. We have discovered an issue with our new form. 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.

  • There is ONE online Annual Clergy Evaluation Form in which the clergy person may enter their self-evaluation and save this document by emailing themselves and the SPRC chairperson the link to the pastor’s self-evaluation. The SPRC chairperson may then open the link and enter the consensus of the SPRC members’ evaluation and the “agreed upon” items that have been discussed with and agreed to by the pastor.
  • The document may be SAVED at any time. You will be prompted to enter your email and the saved link will be sent to your email. DO NOT HIT SUBMIT until the entire documented has been completed and signed by both the Chair of the SPRC and the Pastor!
  • The single final document must be signed electronically prior to submitting the document. 
  • If the clergy person is projected to move, an annual evaluation must still be completed, although there will be no need to set goals associated with the current ministry setting for the coming year. Such goal setting for the pastor should be discussed with their new SPRC at their new appointment. The SPRC may wish to identify goals they hope their new pastor will accomplish which they can discuss together once their new pastor is appointed.

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.

Webinar for Clergy on Church Finances
Thursday, May 20
9:00am - 10:30am

All clergy are invited to join a free webinar on Church Finances with Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Ann A. Michel, authors of Generosity, Stewardship, and Abundance: A Transformational Guide to Church Finance (to be released in early May, 2021)

Would you please take this two question survey related to the May 20 Webinar? The survey results will help the presenters focus on the most pertinent issues for our context. Click HERE for survey.

Click HERE to preorder the book. Promotion code: RLFANDF30

Lay Servant Gathering
Thursday, May 27 7:00pm

Dear Lay Servants,

We invite you to our next gathering scheduled for Thursday, May 27 from 7pm. Please register early as there is survey needing your input prior to our time together.  You will receive this after registration and then the Zoom link within a day of the event.  You are encouraged to invite other Lay Servants to attend with you if they do not have Zoom access.

Heartfelt thanks to all who attended the last Lay Servant gathering. We enjoyed a good evening of sharing and learning from each other. It was interesting to hear of the many ways many have adjusted and went on to create different ways to serve. Thank you.

Our prayers continue to be for you to be safe as you serve in your local church and beyond. We are looking forward to our time together.

Walking with joy in the vineyard,

Jim, Lynn & Randy

Magellan Member Momentum Engagement Campaign and Webinar

Understanding your teenager’s mental health

Would you want to go back and be a teenager again? It’s not likely you’d want to navigate all those mystifying challenges again—from peer pressures to academic stress to an ever-changing body. Click HERE to learn more in this month’s newsletter.

Monthly Webinar
Helping Your Teen Learn Emotional Regulation │ Wednesday, May 12

Join this webinar to:

  1. Learn how the teenage brain is different than any other point in development
  2. Engage with your teen without conflict
  3. Teach emotional regulation by example
  4. Know when to seek professional help

Click Here to Register

Make time for you

As you juggle your many responsibilities, finding time to care for yourself can be tough. Work-Life is available 24/7 to provide support and tools to help you make the most of your days and time for self-care. Access Work-Life for information on:

  • Practicing self-care
  • Fitness and wellness resources
  • Online communities
  • Relaxation services and tools

Click on the links below for more information.


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. 

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

Warren Willis Alumni

We want to connect with you!

We want to update our database of our former campers, parents, Summer Leadership Team members and adult volunteers so that we can keep everyone up to date on the amazing things happening in this ministry. Please take a moment to update your contact information in our system. Please share with anyone who you know (former team members, adult volunteers, lovers of camp) to help spread the word!

Click HERE to update now.

Warren W Willis Summer Camp


Classic Overnight Camps

Experience a high-energy, life-changing week at one of our seven weeks of classic overnight camp. Rising 4th-grade students through recently graduated seniors are invited to jump-start their faith while making lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories on beautiful Lake Griffin. Click HERE for details.

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

Modified Missional Vital Signs Reporting

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

2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

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

May 31
Memorial Day holiday
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