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ECD September 2020 Newsletter

In the District

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

I was on an airplane, coming home from a conference that I had attended. It was a late flight. I was tired. I was trying to get into a comfortable position in which to get some sleep.  As is true on many planes, there was a minimal amount of legroom between the seat in front of me and my knees. 

As we taxied away from the gate, out onto the runway, I noticed that sitting in the two seats in front of me and in the next two across the aisle was a family of four – a mom, dad, and two daughters – most likely on their way to Orlando for a vacation. The younger child was next to the window, with her mom on the aisle. Her dad was across the aisle. Her big sister, about nine or so, was next to him. While bouncing against the seat in front of me, the younger girl called out her older sister’s name in rhythm – “Sher-ry, Sher-ry,” with each syllable receiving a bounce against the seat. It was annoying, to say the least, and I anticipated a long ride to Orlando.

The plane picked up speed, lifted off the ground and into the dark sky. The lights of the city below became visible very quickly. Suddenly I heard the little girl in front of me exclaimed, “Oh, Mommy, look, look, isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t this wonderful? I just love it up here!” 

Then she settled down, awestruck as she kept her eyes glued to the window that provided a spectacular view from the night sky.

I looked out my window and saw what was below with new eyes because of the enthusiasm of this child. As she continued to share her excitement with her mother, I paid more attention to the view than I would have otherwise. I began to feel my own sense of excitement about what I saw. I reflected on some of the information that had been shared at the conference I had attended and how it might impact my ministry in a positive way. I thought about my family, and how good it would be to get home. I said a brief prayer of thanksgiving for all that is good in my life.

Then it hit me. The energy and excitement and enthusiasm of this little girl by whom I had been annoyed just minutes before had transformed my negative attitude about sparse legroom on a crowded flight late at night. This little girl’s enthusiasm had given me a new set of eyes through which I saw some things that otherwise I may not have seen. Suddenly I felt pleased that she was sitting in front of me. (Of course, it helped that she had stopped bouncing!)

I thought of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:15-16, with parallel passages in Matthew and Luke:

                             Truly I tell you, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.
                             And he took them up in his arms and blessed them.

In other words, whoever does not a have a humble, teachable spirit . . . whoever does not have an openness, a sense of enthusiasm for life and its many facets . . . whoever is not open to a new perspective, a new way of looking at the things of life . . . is going to miss the presence of God and the fresh, new perspective, the direction and guidance and insight and meaning that God’s presence brings into our midst.

May God work within each of us to give us the heart of a child when it comes to cultivating our awareness of the goodness and mercy of God that is all around us
Grace and Peace,   


Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

East Central District Office

I am continuing to work remotely. I am available Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm and can be reached at 321-295-8801 and Blessings,
Claudia Sava
Administrative Assistant

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

Embrace the Fear and Pray

School started in Central Florida, and anxiety went through the roof.  Parents worry that their children learning from home will fall behind in their education.  Parents worry that their children walking the halls, sitting in class, and going to the school cafeteria will stay safe. Teachers worry whether they can provide the high-level of teaching to their on-line students and their in-class students at the same time, without leaving someone behind.  Administrators worry that they will be able to ensure a productive learning environment where everyone, students, teachers, and staff, feel safe and valued.  Worry translates to anxiety, which turns to fear some days.

People say that the phrase, “Fear not,” is the most repeated in the Bible, appearing 365 times.  That might not be accurate, but the number definitely makes a point.  God does not want us to lead a fearful life.  Paul reminds us of that fact in Philippians. “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Amy Crumpton, a contributor to Huffpost, explored her fear in an article I read recently.  She wrote, “’Jesus, I’m afraid. Apparently, there is a “fear not” for each day of the year, but I need one for each minute, please. And since I’m a big scaredy cat, could you please teach me about fear so I don’t feel so dumpy?’ This is what I heard, ‘Fear is a cause to pause. An invitation to stop and seek My way forward.’”

Perhaps when we feel anxious, worried, or fearful, we should see that feeling as an opportunity to bare our souls to God.  “Thank you, Lord, for this anxiety, this worry, and this fear.  This feeling helps me to understand that I cannot live my life alone, but I don’t have to.  You are with me, always.”

Loving the Laity,

Melanie & Kim Lee 

COVID-19 Update

The Florida Annual Conference continues to put information related to COVID-19 and the church on the conference website.  Please continue to look HERE when you have questions around COVID-19.

Annual Conference 2020 Update

Annual Conference 2020 will be virtual only on September 19 9:00am - noon. Click HERE for the Annual Conference 2020 webpage. 

  • If you were scheduled to be a Church Lay Member to Annual Conference in June and can not attend in September, please notify your church asap.
  • If you were scheduled to be a District At-Large Lay Member to Annual Conference in June and can not attend in September, please notify Claudia Sava asap

The following events will all be virtual on September 12.
Laity Session - 10:00am - noon
Service of Commissioning - 1:00pm
Service of Ordination - 3:00pm 
Installation of two new District Superintendents - 4:30pm

2020 Annual Charge Conference

Dr. Bob Bushong will preside at Individual Charge Conferences held via Zoom. Please contact your church office, to find out the date of your conference. 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 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. 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.

Advanced Lay Servant Training - Virtually

Rod Groom, Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries will facilitate Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders on Tuesday evenings, September 22 - October 27 from 7:00pm - 8:30pm. Deadline to register is September 13. Each participant must buy and read the book prior to the first class. It is available in print, Kindle, and ePub formats through the Upper Room, Cokesbury, Christianbook, and Amazon.

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to "Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World." Where will these leaders come from, and how will they lead movements of hope into a transformed vision of the world? This study will provide lay servants and others with scriptural foundations of Christian tranformational leadership, as well as organizational effectiveness principles. The goal is to offer a framework to understand how we can be Christian transformational leaders in their churches, at work and in the world.

Questions? Contact Rod Groom rod.groom@gmail.comClick HERE for flyer. Click HERE to register.

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet and the Office of Clergy Excellence has agreed to postpone the deadline for annual clergy evaluations for non-moving clergy to September 30, 2020. The completed forms should be emailed to Claudia Sava -

Click HERE for the clergy assessment process on the Office of Clergy Excellence webpage. If your church has an evaluation form that you use, feel free to use your form.

NOTE: Deacons and Clergy serving in Extension Ministry have their own annual report due December 31 each year. 
Click HERE for the Deacon Report.
Click HERE for the Extension Ministry Report.

Wednesday Night Bible Study with Bishop Carter

You've spent your summer in the Scriptures with us -- now, continue your spiritual growth with an online Bible Study hosted by Bishop Ken Carter and sponsored by Fill the Table! Join Bishop Carter each Wednesday at 6 pm beginning September 9 through November 25. You'll hear from biblical scholars, share your prayer requests and learn with fellow Methodists from across the Conference.

Click HERE for more details from Bishop Carter.
Click HERE for the Fall Bible Study Guide.

2021 EC District Committee on Ministry (dCOM)

East Central District Committee on Ministry meetings are all on Thursdays at Asbury UMC, Maitland. To schedule a dCOM interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar at Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process. 

2020 dCOM Date Due Date Purpose
March 18 February 18 LPRs
April 15 March 4 Recerts/LPs
May 6 April 8 Provisional/Certs
August 19 July 22 Provisional follow-up
November 18 October 21 Certifications

Ministerial Education Fund (MEF) 

Seminary students, please put these deadlines on your calendar. Do not wait until the last minute to get the DS's signature. Click HERE for details on MEF.

  • Fall: September 1
  • Spring: February 1
  • Summer: June 1

Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM)

Martine Marcelin

Heidi Aspinwall has served as YAMM director for six years. She has spent many hours working with and empowering 90 young adults who have gone through this program. Heidi is turning over the reigns to the new director, Martine Marcelin! Heidi is still around, so we will be seeing her!

"I am a living example of the importance of investing in young adult leadership development and how it is necessary in the life of the church," Marcelin wrote in a letter to the YAMM board. "As a youth and young adult, I participated in several young adult leadership programs that opened my eyes to opportunities to serve people within my community." Click HERE to read complete article.  

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

Labor Day - The Conference & District Offices will be closed September 7 for Labor Day.

General Conference 2020 - August 29-September 7, 2021

2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference - November 10-12, 2021