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,
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 email@example.com.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Click https://www.flumc.org/awareness for a list of videos, articles, poems and resources to celebrate Asian American culture and learn and fight against anti-Asian hate.
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: slkt.io/pkvl.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
WHAT WILL RECONNECTING OUR FAITH & COMMUNITY BE ABOUT?
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
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 https://www.flumc.org/annualassessmentofclergyleadership.
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.
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
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.
One Orlando Alliance
Lay Servant Ministries
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?
2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference
The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.