Greetings from the District Superintendent
| Dr. Bob Bushong
A favorite book of mine is Henry Nouwen’s very brief, Can You Drink the Cup. In one section, Nouwen writes about the importance of community:
Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other in a gesture of hope. In community we say: ‘Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs – but we do not have to live it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care.’
Community is like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant. One piece is bright red, another cold blue or dull green, another warm purple, another sharp yellow, another shining gold. Some look precious, others ordinary. Some look valuable, others worthless. Some look gaudy, others delicate. As individual stones, we can do little with them except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? If one of them, even the least spectacular one, is missing, the face is incomplete. Together in the one mosaic, each little stone is indispensable and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God. That’s community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.
That’s a great image of the church: a community of people who are different in color and
size and shape and economic status and personality and giftedness. And yet it’s the composite picture of all the differences that comprise the “people who together make God visible in the world.”
It’s an image that fits the church universal; that is, the body of Christ throughout the world. It’s also an image that fits an individual local church.
This church is not complete without each of its members. It’s not complete without what each one brings, what each one shares, what each one feels, what each one experiences, what each one celebrates, without the ways in which each one struggles, what each one gives. The cup of Christ is a cup that we drink together, a cup that we share together, a cup that we live together.
Christianity is not a solitary faith. Oh to be sure, it has solitary dimensions, but it is largely a communal faith, a faith that pulls people together in the midst of all of life’s experiences to be there for support, for mutual caring, for learning, for sharing, for challenging one another, for living and growing together as the body of Christ to “make God visible in the world.”
Grace and Peace,
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders
Kim & Melanie Lee
I am trained and can help you!
Kim and I recently earned our certification in Adult/Infant CPR and First Aid through American Red Cross. The first part of the class was online. I was a little skeptical about learning life-saving techniques through a virtual environment. The program coached and encouraged but also measured and critiqued us. After working through scene after scene of accidents and scary heart conditions, I actually felt confident in my abilities to provide the appropriate care in the right order to safe a life. Even though I had never encountered a real-life person who needed aid, I knew I’d be effective in the real world.
After completing the online work, Kim and I attended a 2.5-hour class. Our teacher had a wealth of experience in saving lives in the military and civilian life. She gave us tips and inside information that we would need when dealing with emergencies. With her support, we demonstrated our newly learned abilities on adult dummies and life-sized baby dolls. We used actual AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators), which looked just like the ones that led us through the virtual learning. The clever devices analyzed the victim’s heart rhythms to determine whether an electrical shock was due. We just had to follow directions and have confidence. The machine calculated the need and delivered the electricity to get that person’s heart back on the right track.
My new skills and certificate mean nothing if I’m not willing to step into an emergency and say, “I’m trained in CPR/First Aid. Can I help you?” If I’m not willing to help, then it doesn’t really matter how much training I’ve got. Being willing to help means I’ll put myself into a scary situation with lots of stress and work. The payoff could be huge. I could save someone’s life.
(For the next part of this piece, insert your name after “I.”)
As a United Methodist, I have committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I’ve committed to saving lives. My AED is the Holy Spirit, who analyzes the soul and provides the life-saving energy. In times of need, the Spirit will give me the words to act for Jesus.
How am I training to save lives for Christ? How am I putting in the time to prepare for the possible scenarios that I will encounter in the real world? What if I trained through virtual scenarios and in-person role plays to prepare myself to provide the life-saving love that this world needs? Why do I think that this would come naturally to me? Practice makes perfect. Experience leads to excellence. I can be confident that the Holy Spirit, my AED, will lead me through the critical moments.
Am I willing to put in the time, the practice, the training to save lives for Christ? Am I willing to step up and say, “I’m trained in bringing Jesus into your world. Can I help you?” Am I willing to put myself out there, in the midst of wounded and bleeding souls, to give that live-saving breath of the Living Word to those who need it most? I say, “Yes!”
Loving the laity,
Melanie and Kim Lee
DISASTER 101: Basic Disaster Ministry Training
June 16 - St. Luke's UMC, Orlando
This training provides an introduction to the unique and important role the faith community plays in disaster mitigation, preparation and response. You and your church will hear practical ideas on how to effectively respond to disaster in your community in cooperation with other churches, emergency management officials and the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the conference. You will understand the importance of communication and collaboration in meeting the needs of disaster survivors and the importance of being the church in the midst of crisis.
There is no cost for this training; however, registration is required for planning purposes. Click HERE for details and registration. Questions? Contact Pam Garrison email@example.com 800-282-8011 x148.
Annual Conference 2018
Remembering Who We Are
176th Session of The Florida Annual Conference
June 7 - June 9
Pre-Conference Workshops Wednesday, June 6
Florida Southern College, Lakeland
Click HERE for the AC2018 webpage.
Click HERE for information on live webcast of AC2018.
East Central District Breakfast
Clergy, Laity & Spouses
Friday, June 8
Click HERE to register.
Re-Vote on Constitutional Amendment
There was an error made in the language of the first constitutional amendment from General Conference 2016. As instructed by the Secretary of the General Conference, we will re-vote on this constitutional amendment at Annual Conference 2018. We have scheduled this vote for Saturday morning near the beginning of the plenary session that begins at 8:30 a.m. All lay members and clergy members in full connection may vote on constitutional amendments. To learn more about the reason for the re-vote click here. For the corrected language of the constitutional amendment click here. Ballots for this re-vote will be distributed; and after a brief explanation, members of the annual conference will be able to speak for or against the amendment. Because these amendments come from the General Conference, no amendments to this constitutional amendment are in order.
Way Forward Presentation
To allow for the greatest participation level and to ensure consistent communication about the Way Forward, the Annual Conference will take a step back from its legislative work on Friday afternoon and enter into a time of presentation and small group discussion about the Way Forward. The Way Forward presentation is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. in Branscomb Auditorium. Bishop Carter will lead this time and will be supported by the design team that created the POV (Point of View) experience. Rev. Jorge Acevedo and Alice Williams, members of the Commission on a Way Forward, will also be present to share. This segment of our agenda will seek to give members information about the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, give a sampling of some of the POV material for local churches and provide a place for members to talk in groups of three. There will not be enough time for general questions and answers from the plenary floor, but if you have a question about the Way Forward, please submit it here.
Remember Who We Are Conversation
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of The United Methodist Church and our theme “Remember Who We Are,” Bishop Carter has invited the Florida Conference to consider a new way of approaching resolutions. You can find more information about this on page 34 of the Annual Conference workbook and from this video titled Annual Conference Resolutions. On Thursday during the committee on resolutions report, the Cabinet will make the motion found on page 34 of the workbook to suspend our normal resolution process.
Join us for a Special Night of Worship: A Love Feast
You are invited to join Bishop Carter and clergy and lay members from around the Annual Conference for a night of conversation around the table, scripture reading, testimony, and worship. Together we will take time to remember who we are, report on how God is at work in our present, and look forward with trust and hope to our future together. We hope you will join us Wednesday, June 6, at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Center of First UMC Lakeland. Music will be provided by the Florida Southern College worship team. A reception sponsored by the Florida United Methodist Foundation will follow.
Hurricane Irma Mission Project
Disaster Recovery Ministry invites all churches from around the conference to be a part of the Hurricane Irma mission project: Recovery TOOLS!
Many of our teams come great distances to serve, making it difficult to bring the tools needed to do the jobs. Tool trailers have been donated to Disaster Recovery but now we need YOUR help outfitting these trailers with the right Recovery TOOLS!
Because we need specific tools for the jobs, we’ve set up a registry for you to purchase exactly what is needed so resources won’t be wasted. Similar to a wedding or baby shower, you can go to the link below to see what is still needed and make your purchase. Purchases made online will be sent to Disaster Recovery.
You are also welcome to bring all Recovery TOOLS to Annual Conference, dropping them off in our brand new donated tool trailers! We’ll have a time of consecration and blessing of the Recovery TOOLS during opening worship of Annual Conference.
Don’t want to buy online? Home Depot and Lowes gift cards are also welcome. These can be used to purchase exactly what is needed, including materials and supplies to do the repairs: dry wall, flooring, cabinets, etc.
To purchase Recovery TOOLS online visit https://www.myregistry.com/giftlist/recoverytoolshurricanirmamissionproject to find our registry.
Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism
July 17-20, 2018 - Williamsburg, Virginia
Join United Methodist history lovers from across the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s 15 annual conferences as we meet July 17-20 at Williamsburg UMC, in Williamsburg, Virginia for the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society (SEJHS) of the United Methodist Church. The event, whose theme is Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism, will be presented by the Virginia Conference Historical Society. You do not need to be an SEJ Historical Society member to attend! Everyone is welcome!
Our guests will enjoy an outstanding agenda of tours and lecturers telling the fascinating stories of Virginia Methodism and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Uniting Conference forming today’s United Methodist Church. The keynote speaker will be David L. Holmes, Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, College of William and Mary, who will discuss Religious Freedom in the Colonial Era.
We are also pleased to announce that the Rev. Alfred T. Day, III, General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History, will be joining us.
Attendees who participate in all lectures and tours of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the SEJ Historical Society in Williamsburg are entitled to receive one (1) Continuing Education Credit.
Please visit our website at https://www.vaumc.org/SEJHistoricalSociety2018 to find a brochure, registration information and speaker bios.
2018 Annual Charge Conference
The East Central District will hold four Cluster Charge Conferences this fall. There are two scheduled for Saturdays and two for Sundays. Gathering and light refreshments will be 30 minutes before the Charge Conferences. Please plan on attending with your church. If your church isn't listed, it means that the district has not heard from your pastor on where your church is participating.
|Oct. 13 10am
Lakeside Fellowship UMC, Sanford
|Oct. 21 4pm
Community of Faith UMC, Davenport
|Oct. 27 10am
Conway UMC, Orlando
|Nov. 4 4pm
First UMC, Apopka
||Beymer Memorial UMC
||Bear Lake UMC
||Community of Faith UMC
|Deleon Springs UMC
||Christ Hispanic UMC
||Edge Memorial UMC
|First UMC, DeLand
||First UMC, Auburndale
||College Park UMC
||First UMC, Apopka
|First, Mt. Dora
||First UMC, Kissimmee
||First UMC, Clermont
||First UMC, Lake Alfred
||First UMC, Eustis
||First UMC, St. Cloud
||First UMC, Lake Wales
||First UMC, Tavares
|Lakeside Fellowship UMC
||First UMC, Winter Garden
||First UMC, Orlando
||First UMC, Winter Park
|Orange City UMC
||Lena Vista UMC
||First UMC, Oviedo
||Grace Haitian Mission
||New Horizon UMC
||Indian Lake UMC
||Lake Helen UMC
|Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC
||St. John's UMC
||Orlando Korean Mission
||Ocoee Oaks UMC
|Trinity UMC, DeLand
||St. Luke's UMC
||Solid Rock UMC
||St. Andrews UMC
||Pine Castle UMC
||University Carillon UMC
Local Church Leadership Training
December 8, 2018 - Solid Rock UMC
The District Leadership Team (DLT) reviewed the surveys from the Annual Called to Serve event this past February and have made some changes. We will hold training for members of Finance, Trustees, & Staff Parish Relations Committees on December 8th. This will allow committees to start the new year ready to go! It will also free these folks up to attend other workshops in February that are not committee related. Please note, these classes will not be offered in February.
Finance - Tony Prestipino, Conference Treasurer
Staff Parish Relations - Marilynn Mollica, Human Resources Director and Dr. Bob Bushong, District Superintendent
Trustees - LaNita Battles, Ministry Protection Director
This event is free, we ask you to register for planning purposes. Click HERE to register.
Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM)
The Young Adult Missional Movement is excited to announce there will be at least six teams of young adult missionaries serving in our Conference this year. YAMM is an opportunity for young adults 18 to 30 years old to experience the mutual sharing God‘s love by building meaningful work, cooperative living, and community engagement. Participating in adults service full-time through a ministry, church, or social service agency for a year.
The participants receive small personal stipends, housing and groceries, quarterly retreats and even health insurance if they need it. Their work duties vary widely. Participants are matched by their own education, skill and passions to a wide variety of possible opportunities. There are more than 38 positions available of all kinds of interests.
Young adults are a vital part of our present and our future. We are excited our mission service program has grown over these short four years. It will only continue to grow by God's blessing, your prayers and as we tell the story of how God is moving and transforming our communities and our hearts.
You can be a part of this new mission service program.
* Provide a meal or a birthday cake. What a great project for your circle. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Donate a previously loved, but working vehicle, bikes or furniture. Email email@example.com
* Encourage a young adult hoping to change the world to apply. www.youngadultmissions.org
* Follow them all- www.facebook.com/yammfl
* and Please continue to pray for the young adults, their supervisors, the neighborhoods impacted, the churches and the staff. If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to write the director, Heidi Aspinwall, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-733-4420. Find them in the expo hall at Annual Conference.
Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Alex Shanks will lead a presentation and discussion about the proposal that the Council of Bishops will recommend to the called General Conference to be held in February 2019.*
Coordinator of Special Ministries Rev. Melissa Cooper will lead a conversation around the topic "Grace across the Generations", focusing on generational identity, ways to connect with others across generations, and how to utilize generational strengths to enhance the ministries of the church.
All Full-time clergy serving in the local church are expected to attend. If you are not able to attend, please email Bob and request to be excused. All clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend. Click HERE to register.
* Rev. Shanks will lead this same presentation for Laity on Saturday, August 18 at 9:00am at Asbury UMC. There is no registration required for that day.
The Festival of Wisdom & Grace
August 13 - 16, 2018 - Lake Junaluska
Theme: The Wise Shall Shine
"Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." - Daniel 12:3
What is true wisdom? How do we receive it, cultivate it and pass it on? You've led a full life. How do you continue to live into that fullness in retirement? Join others in the second half of life for a time of inspiration and renewal in the North Carolina mountains.
Click HERE to register for the Festival of Wisdom & Grace, August 13-16 at Lake Junaluska. The conference includes workshops, worship, guest speakers, entertainment and more. Lodging and meal packages are available.
Lay Servant Ministries
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we pray this will find you all doing well. By the time you read through this you should be preparing for Annual Conference 2018. If you are a Lay Member to AC (you are expected to attend) or the Lay Leader of your local church, hopefully you can also attend. If you are going to be there for the first time, would like to encourage you to absorb all that Annual Conference provides…the opportunity to cast your vote on issues brought to the floor...make it to the Memorial Service if you can…celebrate with the churches who have reached milestone years…take pictures for those who could not be there and most of all, try to attend the Ordination service on Saturday. (Look for us.. we would love to say hello)
We continue to work to offer you relevant Lay Servant classes and in September we are heading to Lake Alfred on the weekend of September 14 & 15. We have scheduled Basic and Advanced courses in English and Spanish with details upcoming. Also wanted to remind you to please check your last LS certificate to see if you are still within your three year term as you prepare to submit your Annual report for Charge Conference.
Wanted to share with you a quote from our FL Conference Resident Bishop. ”As I move about the annual conference I consistently see our churches engaged with their communities in new and exciting forms of evangelism. Training our laity and clergy in creative and contextual ways of reaching out will be essential to sustaining and creating vital churches in the future, and in reaching new people with the gospel of Jesus Christ”. - Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.
YOU are doing it friends– as you leave training we see and hear your enthusism to return to your local churches and SERVE! We thank you for your commitment and attendance at our District’s training events. It is a joyful and a humbling experience to share with, and serve alongside you. Blessings!
Lynn & Jim
Questions? Contact Lynn Campbell email@example.com or Jim Boesch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life Enrichment Center
Want to help create meaningful experiences for your church's families this year? Want to encourage your parents to be more active in their kids' spiritual lives? Be sure they know about LECFamily programs!
Grandparents & Me: June 25-28
Family Camp: June 29-July 1; July 20-22
Mom & Me: September 14-16
Questions? Email Asa Quinn email@example.com.
Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats & Summer Camp
Children’s Home Ambassador
The role of the Children’s Home Ambassador is to represent the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in a variety of capacities, thereby carrying the message of the ministry throughout the Florida Annual Conference. The Ambassador will act as an extension of the Church Relations team at the Children’s Home, seeking to increase both awareness and support of the organization.
To faithfully fulfill this role, an individual should be committed to the mission of the Children’s Home: to empower children and families to experience God’s love as revealed in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Ambassadors should also have public speaking experience and a comfort level engaging groups of various sizes.
• On behalf of the Children’s Home, preach or provide a mission moment during a worship service
• Make a presentation to a group within the local church about the Children’s Home
• Advocate for the ministry of the Children’s Home within church district and/or the Annual Conference
• Host an information session about the Children’s Home
• Speak within your community about the Children’s Home
• Advocate for a specific ministry of the Children’s Home that aligns with ministry passions (e.g. Foster Care, Independent Living, the Madison Youth Ranch, Enterprise, etc.)
• Correspond with Local Church Representatives (LCRs)
• The Ambassador may be asked to solicit feedback from LCRs or other church members so that it may be reported to the Director of Church Relations with the intent to improve provided services.
For more information &/or apply contact Rev. Ryan Frack firstname.lastname@example.org 386-668-4774 x2222.
January 29 - February 1, 2019 - Epworth By The Sea
In lieu of our Clergy Gathering which had been tentatively scheduled October 23 - 24, 2018, we are inviting you to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 29 - February 1, 2019. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. Dr. Tod Bolinger, author of Canoeing The Mountains, will be the keynote speaker.
Be sure to register soon as we expect this to be a sold out event.
Click HERE to register. Click HERE for the flyer.
Join us at the East Central District Breakfast Friday, June 8th 6:45 am - 8:00 am During Annual Conference 2018 Trinity UMC Lakeland, Florida Laity and Clergy will have the opportunity to Welcome New Clergy to the East Central District and Say Farewell to Pastors who are Moving in June.
This training provides an introduction to the unique and important role the faith community plays in disaster mitigation, preparation and response. You and your church will hear practical ideas on how to effectively respond to disaster in your community in cooperation with other churches, emergency management officials and the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the conference. You will understand the importance of communication and collaboration in meeting the needs of disaster survivors and the importance of being the church in the midst of crisis. There is no cost for this training; however, registration is required for planning purposes. Check in beings at 9:30am and lunch is provided. ...
Conference & District Offices are closed.
All Clergy with new appointments in the East Central District are asked to attend this orientation with the District Superintendent, Dr. Bob Bushong.
Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Alex Shanks will lead a presentation and discussion about what the Council of Bishops will recommend to the called General Conference to be held in February 2019. Coordinator of Special Ministries Rev. Melissa Cooper will lead a conversation around the topic "Grace Across the Generations," focusing on generational identity, ways to connect with others across generations, and how to utilize generational strengths to enhance the ministries of the church. All Full-time clergy serving in the local church are expected to attend. If you are not able to attend, please email Bob and request to be excused. All clergy beyond the local church are welcome to attend.
Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Alex Shanks will lead a presentation and discussion about the proposal that the Council of Bishops will recommend to the called General Conference to be held in February 2019. Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no registration.
District Committee on Ministry Meeting Candidates contact Elizabeth Flynn at RegistrarEC@flumc.org for appointment. Materials due July 26th.