Main Menu

ECD October 2020 Newsletter

In the District

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

Jesus gave this charge: God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:16-20 from The Message

The passage above is the scriptural undergirding for the mission statement of the United Methodist Church: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world

Jesus is always the key. Jesus is the motivator. Jesus is our inspiration, our reason for existence as the church. The life and teachings, the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus are what give inspiration to all that we are and say and do as the church.

William Penn once said, “If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”  

That’s a wonderful thought and a great quote to remember and to live by – but for a follower of Jesus Christ it’s not enough just to “do good things.” It’s not enough just to be kind. Those good things, that kindness must flow out of our relationship with Jesus. The goodness of God expressed through Jesus is the source of any goodness that we demonstrate.  

And just as that’s true for individual persons of faith, it’s true as well for a local church. Hence, all that we do in our local churches . . . from worship to Sunday School to classes and small groups for adults to the various dimensions of children’s and student ministry to special music and drama offerings to fellowship opportunities to congregational care ministry to our local community outreach opportunities to mission projects around the state, our country, and the world . . . all that we do through the ministries of our local churches . . . everything . . . emerges out of our relationship with the God of love and grace and forgiveness, the God of creation and new life, the God of mercy and hope, the God of redemption and transformation whom we know most fully and completely through knowing that man from Nazareth named Jesus.

Let’s agree always to remember why we’re committed to our local churches and why we’re doing what we’re doing: it’s because God calls the church to proclaim and tell and teach and show the world about the power of God’s love through Jesus Christ and in doing so, to be God’s tools in shaping those who hear and accept the Good News into disciples whose lives reflect a deep commitment to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 

Grace and Peace,   

 

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

East Central District Office

I am available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm and can be reached at 321-295-8801 and flumc-ec@flumc.org.
Blessings,
Claudia Sava
Administrative Assistant

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

Stepping Up to the Challenge

Tough situations call for creative solutions.  This pandemic, which has shut down in-person church services and small-group experiences, has made outreach committees, Sunday school teachers, youth and children ministers, and other church group leaders and members push the limits of their creativity.  The results have been amazing and inspirational!  God’s work doesn’t stop, even if the hands and feet doing the jobs can’t get within 6 feet of one another.

The Laity Session for Annual Conference went on, with grace, prayer, and hope.  Annual Conference, the week after, led people into inspirational music, preaching, and prayer.  We voted electronically, without incident, logging more voting units than ever before.  We missed staying in the dorms at Florida Southern and meeting friends for dinner around Lakeland, but we accomplished the business of our church and honored the newly ordained and the newly retired.

I led a Sunday school meeting this morning for a class of our elder members, people who continue to be vibrant participants of our congregation.  The meeting did not take place on Zoom, but by Uber conference.  One inspired man in our church has taken on teaching this class each Sunday.  He had to be out-of-town this weekend and asked me to take his place.  I give him kudos for keeping this class connected and cared for, even during the time when they can’t meet in person.  Judging by the prayer concerns and reports of their members, I know that they keep current with one another, caring for the emotional and physical needs of their classmates.  They do it all by phone and cards sent by snail mail.

Kim and I are a part of a committee that is experiencing its biggest movement toward its goals.  The passion, energy, and faith of the individuals involved have created a swell of support within our church.  We are watching God-sized results, and yet, we haven’t met in person in months. We have met by Zoom and shared slideshows on Google. It’s amazing to watch God work through the tiny pictures of people on screens.

We all miss the smiles and hugs of in-person events.  We miss choir practice, Bible study, and, even, committee meetings.  Still, church life, love, and connection continue.

However, you do have to wonder how our church life will be in the future.  With just a few clicks on their laptops, Sunday school members who have moved away can stay connected.  Guest speakers from all over town, and even farther away, can join our meetings.  People who can’t drive at night, or at all, can connect with others.  We may have some kind of hybrid congregation, all working for the kingdom of God.  Who’s to know?  God is in control, and a pandemic cannot stop God’s work.

What’s the Holy Spirit doing in your church?

Loving the Laity,

Melanie & Kim Lee
melaniebushlee@gmail.com 

Our FLUMC COVID-19 guidance remains following Governor DeSantis' recent executive order

September 29, 2020

Dear Florida United Methodists,

Some of you have asked about Friday’s executive order from Governor Ron DeSantis and whether it has any impact on our FLUMC COVID-19 guidance for in-person activities.  Conference leaders have read the executive order. Our current FLUMC COVID-19 guidance has not changed. The focus of the executive order is on restaurant capacity and local government restrictions and fines. 

Please read our latest guidance from September 8th in its entirety.

Below are a few summary points from our September 8th guidance.

Some key parts of our ongoing guidance:
1.    At all times persons must maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups.
2.    Masks or cloth face coverings are required when any group gathers (except for children under the age of 2).
3.    Monitor your symptoms. Stay home if you are sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive should adhere to the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine. 
4.    All inside activities must be in well ventilated spaces that allow for persons to maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups. Outside activities are preferred over inside activities.

Our COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines are connected to the ongoing guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Governor Desantis’ order has not changed the guidance and recommendations of either group in terms of in-person, large gatherings.

Decisions about in-person activities will vary according to your church context. We understand there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach for every church around the conference. Contexts are different as cases rise at different rates (click here for a county and zip code break down). At all times churches should carefully follow the guidance of your city and county officials. Any decision to resume in-person activities should be affirmed by the pastor in consultation with a team of leaders and should be communicated to your District Superintendent.

All of our previous updates and resources are found on our COVID-19 website and in our FAQ section. If you have questions, please reach out to your District Superintendent or contact the Episcopal Office at ashanks@flumc.org.
 
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Ken Carter and The Cabinet of The Florida Annual Conference

October is Pastor Appreciation Month!
What Your Pastor Won’t Tell You (But Wishes You Knew) About Pastor Appreciation Month

An open letter to congregants.
J. R. BRIGGS|October 18, 2018

Dear churchgoer,

You may not know it, but this is a significant month for your pastor. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, bringing with it a complex mix of conflicting thoughts and emotions for most pastors.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a pastor friend about his recent day off. He was shopping at Home Depot, quickly grabbing a few items for a home project. After checking out, he bumped into a congregant in the parking lot. You can probably guess what happened—a short greeting turned into a much longer conversation. The congregant shared a number of difficult things happening in the church and in his own spiritual life. Each question from the pastor uncovered five new frustrations. Forty-five minutes later, they finally parted ways.

I asked the pastor how he felt in that moment. “It was my day off,” he said, “but I don’t really have a day off. I mean, when am I not a pastor?” This always-on, week-in, week-out grind takes a toll on pastors and their families. It’s why leadership guru Peter Drucker said this:

Over the years I have made a career out of studying the most challenging management roles out there. After all of that I am now convinced the two most difficult jobs in the world are these—one, to be President of the United States, and two, to be the leader a church.

Ministry is an amazing call, full of great joys and significant moments in people’s lives: officiating weddings, presiding over funerals, seeing first-hand how lives are changed for Christ. But it’s also full of tension: intense conflict, unrealistic expectations, relational strain, and, at times, soul-aching loneliness.

I know this firsthand. I served as a local church pastor for 15 years. Now that I’m no longer serving in that role, I want to share an insider’s perspective about your pastor’s sacred yet difficult calling. Here are a few things your pastor is probably thinking, but won’t tell you during Pastor Appreciation Month. Click HERE to read the full article.

East Central District Fall Clergy Meeting 
Thursday, October 15 9:45am - 11:45am

East Central District clergy are asked to attend the fall clergy meeting. Bishop Ken Carter will speak on Clergy Health. Lois Durham, Human Resources, will speak on pension and cover Q&As related to pension and the Clergy Care Initiative.

Click HERE to register.

Thank you, Anita Campbell!


Anita "Nita" Campbell has served as the Chair of the Conference Commission on Archives & History for five years. Under her leadership, they have increased the number of lay and clergy serving on the commission, increased the number of local church historians from 45 to 117, recruited and hired our new Archivist, Rev. Judi New, and increased their presence on social media. Nita is an active member of Trinity UMC, Deland. Rev. Ivan Corbin is her successor and will continue the work of keeping our church's history alive and well!

If you are interested in being your church historian, please speak with your pastor. Questions? Contact Rev. Ivan Corbin ivangcorbin@gmail.com or Rev. Judi New jnew@flsouthern.edu. Click HERE to learn more about Archives and History on their website.

 

2020 Annual Fall Charge Conference

Annual Charge Conference are underway with 11 down and 51 to go!! Click HERE for the Charge Conference schedule. Click HERE for Charge Conferences forms. Be sure to read all the instructions and click on the East Central District specific forms.

  • All Charge Conference forms are fillable forms and can be signed with ink or electronically. You must download the forms to your computer first and then open them to begin to complete and sign.
  • One week prior to your Charge Conference, the following reports should be emailed to Claudia Sava flumc-ec@flumc.org: The Senior Pastor's Report, ECD Voting Matters Agenda, 2021 Clergy Compensation form, Housing Resolution, & Accountable Reimbursement Policy. (Signatures not required at this time.)
  • Within one week of your Charge Conference, the entire Charge Conference packet should have all signatures and be mailed to Claudia at the District Office. The packet should be copies and the church office should maintain the original documents. Please put the Preparation Checklist on top and all the other documents in the order they are listed on the Preparation Checklist. Please use a binder clip to keep them together. We do not need a fancy binder or notebook.
  • It will be mailed to East Central District Attn: Claudia Sava 2221 Lee Road Suite 21 Winter Park, FL  32789. 
  • The church must update their Church Dashboard within one week of your Charge Conference to reflect the 2021 leadership. Click HERE for Tutorials on adding leadership, BEFORE you start to update. Email is how the conference and district communicates with church leadership.
  • Certified Lay Servants - We recognize that we have not been able to hold a Basic or Advanced class for sometime now. Due to COVID-19, we are suspending the rule that an Advanced LSM class must be taken within three years. If you already a current Certified Lay Servant (taken Basic & Advanced Classes) and your certification is due to expire Dec 31, 2020, we will extend it to Dec 31, 2021. Only Certified Lay Servants complete a report for Charge Conference. If you have taken a Basic class and have never taken an Advanced class, you will not fill out a report.

Join the Movement to End Hunger: From Food Apartheid to Food Sovereignty

Please visit the FL Conference Facebook page or our www.FilltheTableflorida.org website and see the registration pop up (or click on New & Updates) for information on the upcoming Conference Join the Movement to End Hunger: From Food Apartheid to Food Sovereignty.  The inaugural event was Thursday, Oct. 1 with subsequent trainings offered each Thursday evening throughout the month of October.  You can also find it listed on the Fill the Table Facebook page

Fill the Table/FL Conference of The UMC is a partner of this event, and Rev. Clarke Campbell-Evans and Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin have been working with the planning team.  Connectional and Justice Ministries also made a financial contribution on behalf of the black church and other people of color ministries. Rev. Dr. Austin wants to personally extend an invitation to everyone while registration is still available.  

 

East Central District Lay Servant Ministries

 Jim Boesch Randy Nunley

 

We are pleased to announce that we have a new Co-Director of ECD Lay Servant Ministries! Randy Nunley will be the Co-Director with Jim Boesch who has been serving. Lynn Campbell will stay on as a Consultant and will continue to teach and lead! SAVE the DATE! Our LSM team is in the planning stages for 2021. Details will be out in November.

If you had already registered and paid for an LSM weekend that was cancelled, Claudia will be contacting you soon. Questions? Contact Randy Nunley rbnscouter@gmail.com 407-595-2648 or Jim Boesch jimboesch68@gmail.com


Where? ZOOM
When? January 29 & 30 6:00pm - 8:00pm and February 5 & 6 9:00am - 1:00pm
What? Lay Servant Ministries' Basic Course facilitated by Lynn Campbell & Randy Nunley 
              Discover Your Servant Profile facilitated by Jim Boesch

Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training
Thursday, December 10 7:00pm via ZOOM

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. 

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

Pastors, SPRC Chairpersons and Committee Members, and Lay Leaders are encouraged to attend this important training event. Invite those who will be joining the team on January 1, 2021. Click HERE to register.

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 flumc-ec@flumc.org.

Annual Conference - June 10-12, 2021

General Conference 2020 - August 29-September 7, 2021