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ECD September 2019 Newsletter

In the District

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

Since bidding Dorian “adieu” I have heard more than one person say, “We dodged a bullet with that one!” 

A dictionary defines the phrase “dodged a bullet” as “to have a narrow escape; to avoid injury, disaster, or some other undesirable situation.” While the dictionary definition is right on, to say that “We dodged a bullet” implies action on our part, as if somehow we moved or repositioned ourselves, like one does in a game of dodgeball to avoid getting hit by the ball. 

The truth is that we didn’t do anything that kept us from the disastrous effects of the latest hurricane, just as the folks in the Bahamas and other places didn’t do anything to cause it to include them in its destructive path. 

All we did was wait and hope and pray, presumably the same things that the folks who received the brunt of the storm did. Oh yes, and one other thing that we did after the storm was well on its way to the northeast, was to experience gratitude. Deep gratitude. And along with that, compassion for those who are not so fortunate. Deep compassion. 

As a response to that gratitude and a living out of that compassion, we are wondering what we can do to reach out to those whose lives have been turned upside down this week. 

While most of us long to do more than “just give money,” the current information that we have is that this is best way to be supportive at this time, as well as to be in prayer for these folks in their time of urgent need. Later, there will be more: collecting various items and participating in work teams. 

For now, responding to this appeal from Bishop Carter is our most effective means to respond out of gratitude by living out of the compassion of Christ that lives deep within our hearts:  

A Message from Bishop Carter
We encourage our people to receive an offering for UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, in the midst of Hurricane Dorian and its aftermath. The Florida Conference has been the beneficiary of gifts as we have recovered from storms, and we encourage generous and sacrificial giving in the days ahead. We will communicate with you and stay in touch in the days ahead. We trust that God will supply all of our needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4. 19). Click here to donate on line. UMCOR Advance #982450

Click here for the Dorian Fact Sheet from Disaster Response.

Click here to watch a message from Bishop Carter. Communications will send an email blast with the video link, so it may be used for services.

Grace and Peace,


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

 Melanie & Kim Lee

Do Your Part to Care for Our Earth!

How does your Christian faith intersect with being a good steward of the Earth? Now is the perfect time to have that conversation with yourself. The Amazon rainforests are burning.  The garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean is growing. China and many other countries are refusing our recycling.  We are at a critical point in our planet’s life that requires action.  What’s your responsibility as a child of God?

Genesis 1:26 says,

26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” . . .

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” . . .

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Many people in the past and in the present focus on the phrases, “so that they may rule” and “subdue it.”  The words rule and subdue have very aggressive and forceful connotations.  Perhaps we should focus on the phrase, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”  Maybe our understanding of this passage should be about tending the life, both plants and creatures, that God made and considered very good.  Maybe we should be focusing on how to love, cherish, and nurture all that God has made.

You can make a difference in caring for the beautiful world God has given us, and God has given you the responsibility for being good stewards of this Earth.  Spread the word, and let’s work together in our churches to protect the beauty of our world!

Here are some ways to get started: 
1.    Get your church to get on board for less plastic and no Styrofoam!  At the annual conference in June, we passed a resolution to encourage elimination or reduction of single-use plastic and Styrofoam.  Click here to read the full resolution.  
2.    Use reusable water bottles.  Think twice before buying water in plastic bottles.  It takes 1000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose.
3.    Be willing to be inconvenienced.  Caring for the Earth often comes at the expense of the easy, inexpensive, and convenient.  Often the right way is the harder path.  As Christians, we know that.
4.    Influence your friends, family, and fellow Earth beings to do the right thing to save our planet.  Fear not!  Don’t be afraid to make others aware of their responsibility of being good stewards of God’s Earth.

Melanie & Kim Lee   

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.


Lay Servant Ministries

September 20 & 21 - New Horizon UMC, Haines City

Who should attend?

  • Anyone interested in learning about lay servant ministries is encouraged to attend our basic course.
  • All Certified Lay Servants who want to continue growing and want to keep their certification current.

New Horizon UMC
400 Orchid Drive
Haines City, FL

Click HERE to register online and make a payment. NOTE: If you are taking the Basic Course, you will need to print a brochure to complete and have your pastor sign. The completed registration form should be emailed to Betty Sims

Click HERE to print a brochure to mail in with payment.

Questions? Lynn Campbell or Jim Boesch

2019 Annual Church Conference

On Mission Together  is the theme for our 2019 church conferences. The East Central District will hold eight Cluster Church Conferences this fall. Below are the dates/times and name of the host church. Click HERE for the listing of when each church will participate. Charge Conference forms will be on on August 21. 

Oct 13 2pm
Beymer Memorial
Oct 20 2pm
College Park
Oct 27 2pm
Orange City
Nov 3 2pm
First, Mt Dora
Oct 13 6pm
Oct 20 6pm
First, Winter Garden
Oct 27 6pm
CUMC Casselberry
Nov 3 6pm
Pine Castle

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

2020 EC District Committee on Ministry (dCOM) 

Below are the dates for the East Central District Committee on Ministry meetings. To schedule a dCOM interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar at Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.

2020 dCOM dates Due Date Purpose Location
Thurs, Mar 19 Feb 20 LP License Renewal Asbury UMC, Maitland
Thurs, Apr 30 Apr 2 Provisional/Certification Asbury UMC, Maitland
Thurs, Aug 20 July 23 Provisional Follow-ups Asbury UMC, Maitland
Thurs, Sept 17 Aug 20 Local Pastor/Recert Asbury UMC, Maitland
Thurs, Oct 15 Sept 17 Local Pastor/Recert Asbury UMC, Maitland
Thurs, Dec 17 Nov 19 LP/Cert/Recert First UMC, Oviedo

Around the Conference and Beyond

Car Donation Needed - YAMM

YAMM needs a car-
Do you have a running vehicle that could be used to better communities, develop young adults and change the world? 

If you have a car or truck that runs but you could donate it to the YAMM program, we will use the vehicle to get our young mission fellows to their service sites. Especially in our rural and suburban sites, public transportation is now available. And many young adults do not have their own transportation.  

The need is serious and immediate. We had one blow a head gasket and is beyond repair. Click HERE to learn about YAMM. Please contact Heidi Aspinwall for details.  (305)733-4420. 

The Conference Table
October 26 10:00am - The Portico, Tampa

The Conference Table is scheduled for Saturday, October 26, at the Portico in Tampa. The morning portion of the Conference Table meeting (10am-noon) will be open to all clergy and laity in Florida to come and hear a presentation from Bishop Carter on "Growing the Center." The presentation will be followed by table discussion. Click HERE to register for this event.


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 and receive the early bird discount. NOTE: The past event sold out. Don't delay in registering!!

General Conference 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15


Florida Delegation General Conference 2020

General Conference 2020 Website