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ECD November 2019 Newsletter

In the District

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

Recently someone shared with me a story that has caused me to reflect in an intentional way about God’s leading in my life, and about my need to seek God’s direction daily as I proceed on this journey called life that God has given to me as a gift . . . 

A young pastor was walking with an older, more seasoned pastor in a garden one day. Feeling a bit unsure about the specific direction for ministry in which God was calling him, he was asking the older man for some advice.  

The older pastor walked up to a rose bush and pulled off a beautiful red rosebud. He handed it to his younger colleague and told him to open it without tearing any of the petals.  

The young pastor looked at the older pastor with an expression of confusion. He was trying to figure out what a rosebud possibly could have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. At the same time, because of his great respect for this mentor of his, he proceeded to try and unfold the rosebud while keeping every petal intact. 

It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the young pastor's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older pastor began to recite the poem:

It is only a tiny rosebud,  

A flower of God's design; 

But I cannot unfold the petals 

With these clumsy hands of mine. 

The secret of unfolding flowers 

Is not known to such as I. 

God opens this flower so sweetly, 

Then, in my hands, they die. 

If I cannot unfold a rosebud, 

The flower of God's design, 

Then how can I have the wisdom 

To unfold this life of mine? 

So, I'll trust in God for leading 

Each moment of my day. 

I will look to God for guidance 

Each step of the Pilgrim's way. 

The pathway that lies before me 

Only my Heavenly Father knows . 

I'll trust God to unfold the moments, 

Just as God unfolds the rose.

It’s only through our dependence on the gentle, discerning, wise guidance of God that the petals of our lives will unfold with direction and purpose, producing a bloom that reflects the radiance of God’s creative and loving Spirit.

Grace and Peace,


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

 Melanie & Kim Lee

Years ago, I wrote this prayer for the UMW newsletter.  I was the young mother of young children.  I offered this prayer for those days when nothing nice happened, all went wrong, and the dog bit me.  Today, I still face many days when nothing goes well, as I’m sure you do too.  The stakes tend to be higher now, for instance family facing cancer and friends dealing with Alzheimer’s.  Some days the last thing I want to do is thank God.  I would rather plead with God to make the badness disappear – heal the sick, give clarity to the confused, calm the worried.  Then and now, I try to remember to thank God for all things, the good and the bad.  As Paul said in Thessalonians 5:16-19, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I do believe that those who undergo the bad more richly experience the good.  Here’s to a beautiful Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the dark that puts the light into focus.

A Bad-Day Thanksgiving Prayer

Thank you, God, for giving me stress,

So that I may savor relaxation.

Thank you, God, for giving me worry,

So that I may enjoy peace of mind.

Thank you, God, for giving me pain,

So that I may appreciate relief.

Thank you, God, for giving me disorder,

So that I may value organization.

Thank you, God, for giving me despair,

So that I may remember to hope.

Thank you, God, for giving me tears,

So that I may cherish laughter.

Thank you, God, for giving me loneliness,

So that I may treasure companionship.

Thank you, God, for giving me humanness,

So that I may worship your perfection.


Loving the Laity,

Melanie & Kim Lee   

Career Fair
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
November 9 - 9:00am - Noon

2020 Holy Land Trip with Bishop Carter and Dr. Bob Bushong

Bishop Carter is leading a trip to the Holy Land February 4-13, 2020. Jeanne and I will both be going, and I will be serving as a tour host, inviting specifically folks from the East Central District to come along. 

If you click this link (, you will find an electronic brochure with information about the trip. If you have questions, please shoot them to me in an email ( and I will do my best to answer. If you would like a printed brochure, please contact Claudia ( and she will send you one.


2019 Annual Church Conference

All 2020 leadership should be updated into your church dashboard within 7 days of your Church Conference. Click HERE for Tutorials on adding leadership, BEFORE you start to update.

Will you have a new leadership role in 2020? Are you wondering what that means?
Cokesbury sells Guidebooks for $3.99 for many different leadership roles in the United Methodist Church. Click HERE to see what they offer.

Fall Local Church Representative (LCR) Workshop
November 16 - Florida United Methodist Children's Home

The Local Church Representative (LCR) plays a pivotal role in connecting the Children's Home with the local church. This Fall, we will hold two workshops for LCRs which will take place on both the Enterprise and Madison campuses of the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. LCRs are invited to attend this workshop, whether or not it is held in your particular district. The identical workshops will include an overview of the ministry of the Children’s Home, as well as an overview of the role of the LCR. There will be an opportunity to learn about the various resources we have available to support our Representatives. We will cover the 2020 Day on Campus festivities, as well as the opportunities for connection that the event brings. 

North West District
November 14, 2019
Madison Youth Ranch Chapel

East Central District
November 16, 2019
Florida United Methodist Children’s Home

RSVPs are vital in allowing us to accommodate for parking and refreshments. We kindly ask that you RSVP for the event no later than Wednesday, November 6th.
Please call Trista Calvin with any questions and RSVPs at 386.668.4774 ext. 2296 or email at

Day on Campus 2020 - Save the Date!
March 28, 2020

Bishop's Clergy Day Apart: Your Story as a part of God's Story
December 10 - Community of Faith, Davenport

Laity, local pastors, deacons and elders are invited to an Advent retreat with Bishop Ken Carter on Tuesday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Community of Faith UMC in Davenport.

We will focus on the gospel of Matthew, the lectionary gospel for 2019 Advent through 2020. For those who do not preach the lectionary, Matthew is also a great resource for growing in discipleship.

The retreat will be in three movements:

  1. Identity: Becoming a Part of a Greater Story (Matthew 1. 1-17)
  2. Incarnation: The Best of All is that God is With Us (Matthew 1. 18-25)
  3. Epiphany: The Long Journey to the Place Where Christ is Born (Matthew 2. 1-11)

There will be times of silence, collaboration, conversation and lectio divina. Participants will also have an opportunity to develop their own plan of spiritual reading and prayer for 2020. Participants are asked to bring a Bible, a notebook and a 2020 calendar.

Space is limited to the first 70 people. Click HERE to sign up here today! 

Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training

The Annual East Central District Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training Event will provide you with the effective tools needed in your responsibilities. Dr. Bob Bushong our District Superintendent will facilitate. There will be two trainings offered, one in Orlando on December 10 and one in Sanford on December 12. Pick the location or date that is most convenient for you.

Cokesbury offers guidelines for leading your congregation. Click HERE to see the various committee specific resources.

Pastors, SPRC Chairs and Committee members, Lay Leaders, and Lay Members to Annual Conference are encouraged to attend. The training is free to attend, but we would like you to click on the link below and register for the training you plan on attending.

Tuesday, December 10
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Peace UMC
13502 Town Loop Blvd
Orlando, FL  32837
Click HERE
Thursday, December 12
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Lakeside UMC
121 North Henderson Lane
Sanford, FL  32771
Click HERE

Annual Called to Serve
February 22, 2020 - First UMC, Oviedo

Make plans now to attend the Annual ECD Called to Serve event. This day is for everyone to come together to worship, learn and grow together. We are excited to announce that Rev. Annette Stiles Williams, Senior Pastor at Suntree UMC will be our Keynote Speaker!

Details and registration will be available in December.

2020 Connectional Giving

The apportionments for 2020 are now available on the conference website. To access your 2020 apportionment information:

  • Go to the conference homepage:
  • Click on the "Monthly Reports" tab at the bottom right of the page.
  • Click on the top link under Monthly Billing reports: "Click here to download monthly reports."
  • When you choose a Report, there will be a report on the drop-down menu called 2020 Apportionments Report. This link will take you to your 2020 apportionments.

Around the Conference and Beyond


Let this be recorded for a generation yet to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord. Psalm 102:18

As you may well know, the work of the Commission on Archives and History (CAH) is an exciting and rich opportunity to serve God and the Florida Conference. Currently, we are seeking a new commissioner from each of the following districts: North West, Gulf Central, and East Central. Click HERE for a job description for commission members. This information can also be found on our CAH webpage within the Conference website. 

There are three very good reasons why:

  1. The district representative’s role in the Annual Conference is crucial; he/she will ensure that vital information is reported back to his/her respective district and the flow of communication is constant.
  2. The representative’s relationship to all local churches within their district is crucial; he/she will provide leadership, encouragement, and support for the protection and recovery of history at its most important level.
  3. The representative’s involvement in the wider historical community is crucial; he/she will become an important link in the connectional chain that binds us all.

If you feel you are “the right person for the job,” please contact Anita Campbell, Chair of Florida United Methodist Conference Commission on Archives and History at or 386-734-9224. She would love to chat with you about your interest, desire to serve, and expectations of the position. 

Licensing School 2020
May 11 - 22, 2020

Licensing School 2020 will be held at Florida Southern College May 11 through May 22, 2020. Click HERE for the link with the requirements for licensing school, the tentative schedule and the revised fillable application. 

Please note the cost has changed due to the fact that we have been losing money on this for some time now. It will be $900 per person and $700 for those who are Certified Candidate in the Florida Conference. There is no additional paperwork needed for the $200 reduction in costs. Compared to other schools we are charging significantly less.

Guidelines for Grant Application Submission, Review and Endorsement

The opportunity to serve a connectional church is a missional blessing as we share and effect ministry on every level of the Church. The opportunity also carries responsibilities. One of the responsibilities is the process by which we apply for grants. Boards, agencies, Commissions, and all of our United Methodist entities rely on us to conduct due diligence in the review and endorsement of funding requests. 

Below please find a reminder of our Conference guidelines implemented in 2014. Click HERE to see the process outlined on the FL Conference website. Please note that the following process represents our best opportunity to evaluate and endorse grant applications in a timely manner: 

1. The grant application must be signed by the pastor (or Extension Ministry director) in charge. By her/his signature the pastor or Extension Ministry director) in charge indicates that s/he is aware of the grant application and is in agreement with its contents.

2. The grant application must then be signed by the district superintendent. In doing so the superintendent is giving his/her endorsement that this is a valid request and that the congregation (or ministry) making application is in a strategic place to fulfill the objectives of the request.

3. After the above two signatures are secured the application must be forwarded to the Conference Director of Connectional Ministries no later than thirty (30) days previous to the deadline for application to be mailed to the grantors. Applications received with less than thirty (30) days for processing will not be completed.

4. The Director of Connectional Ministries will review the application and may solicit review from appropriate Conference staff personnel who have expertise regarding the nature of the grant application.

5. Upon reaching a decision of affirming and signing the application, the Director of Connectional Ministries will then request that the other required signatures be affixed to the application. In order they would be: 

a. The Treasurer of the Florida Conference (if required by the grant)

b. The Bishop of the Florida Conference

c. If the Bishop is unavailable, the Assistant to the Bishop will provide the needed endorsing signature

6. Upon the completion of the above steps the completed application will be returned to the pastor in charge where upon s/he will forward the application to the appropriate granting body.

Thank you for assisting us in becoming better stewards of UMC resources and fellow travelers with you on the journey of implementing vital ministries!

Connectional and Justice Ministries 

Winter Conference at Epworth By the Sea, January 26-29, 2020

Clergy are invited to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 26-29, 2020. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. You might talk with some of the over 150 clergy who attended Winter Conference 2019 about their transformative experience. Len Wilson will be the keynote speaker.

Click HERE to register. NOTE: The past event sold out. Don't delay in registering!!

General Conference 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15


Florida Delegation General Conference 2020

Volunteers needed for General Conference 2020

General Conference 2020 Website



November 6 - Do No Harm: Mandatory Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Training

November 9 - Florida United Methodist Children's Home Career Fair

November 11 - Conference & District Office Closed

November 14 - Local Church Representative (LCR) Workshop

November 16 - Local Church Representative (LCR) Workshop

November 28 - Conference & District Office Closed

December 10 - Bishop's Clergy Day Apart - Your Story as a Part of God's Story

December 10 - East Central District SPRC Training

December 12 - East Central District SPRC Training

December 19 - East Central District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM)

December 24 - Conference & District Office Closed

February 22 - East Central District Called to Serve