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ECD March 2018 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

Dr. Bob Bushong

The word that came to me for this space in this Lenten month is a word of prayer that I invite you to pray with me.

Grace and Peace,


Eternal and loving God, unto to whom all hearts are open: push us to ponder honestly what is in our hearts in this season. Our heart – that place in our bodies that is at the core of our being alive, where lay our deepest feelings of love and loyalty, that deep down place where we are fully and completely ourselves.

Though at times our preference is to close off our hearts to you, nonetheless even if sometimes reluctantly, our hearts are open to you because to remain alive they need your steady care and the wise counsel of your Holy Spirit. You are the One who has made us, and in response to being created by you, our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

For some of us our hearts are ruled by anxious desires: for power, for control, for status. For some it’s for material things: for bigger and better as those things are defined by others, not by you. Some of us carry such deep scars of resentment toward those who have hurt us or those who are different from us or those from whom we feel distant and estranged that we long for them to get what we see as their due.

Often these places in our hearts our hidden, except from you. Never from you. You know all that is in our hearts. There is no secret hidden from you: no shame, no burden, no failure, no embarrassment, no grief, no disappointment, no deep desire, no sense of alienation and loneliness, no grandiosity, no pride. You know them all. You know and you do not turn away. You know and you forgive. You know and you set us free to begin anew. You know and you love us still. We marvel at your engaging patience and your pervasive love.

We present our hearts to you this day, O God. What we seek, only you can give. We seek the grace that we need to accept the gift of your abiding love unflinchingly and unreservedly.

Come Holy Spirit. Reclaim these hearts of ours. Renew them, re-enliven them, reorient them, re-align them, that we might approach you with hearts that are open and receptive, honest and undefensive, no longer fearful, and deeply committed to an unreserved faithfulness and obedience to you, as our hearts become eager to love you in return.

This is our prayer, gracious God, offered with a deep sense of gratitude, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thank you to First UMC, Oviedo!

The East Central District Staff would like to thank the staff and volunteers of First UMC, Oviedo for their hospitality at the Called to Serve event on February 3rd.  They have once again shown us how to do hospitality!  We are thankful to Rev. Michael Beck who was our Keynote Speaker and to all of our facilitators and worship leaders.  There was a workshop for everyone!  A big thank you to everyone who gave up their Saturday morning to come out to fellowship, learn and take part in the Leadership Training Event.
Save the Date: Called to Serve 2019 will be February 2, 2019!

      Lay Servant Ministries News
March 16 & 17 - First UMC, Oviedo

Register for any ONE of our six course offerings:
Basic LSM (English), Facilitated by Lynn Campbell 
Basic LSM (Spanish), Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Miguel Velez
Basic LSM (Creole), Facilitated by Revs. Georges Racine & Wilington Leger
Advanced Course in English and Spanish:
1. Network Spiritual Gifts, Facilitated by Jim Boesch
2. Lay Pastoral Care Giving, Facilitated by Rev. Joseph Kim
3. Llamados a Serservido de Dios (On Being a Servant of God), Facilitated by Rosa Carrion
Click HERE for the brochure with descriptions and registration form.

      A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

As I prepared to teach an older-adult Sunday school class on 1 Timothy 6, the leader guide sparked my imagination.  The guide was setting the stage for the story by explaining the relationship between Paul and Timothy.  Paul, as the older man, passed his wisdom and advice on to Timothy, whom he trusted to teach in his name and carry on in his place, even in the sometimes-wayward community of Ephesus.  He set Timothy up for success, with love and encouragement. The leader guide suggested having the Sunday school class pray for the upcoming confirmation class and write them letters of advice to encourage them in their faith journey.  Sometimes, the guide said, older church members feel as if they’ve lost their purpose.  They still have much to give, however, by the very fact that they are still in church, still praising their Lord.  Their best gift to the younger church members may be their endurance.  Many have suffered illness, lost loved ones, dealt with emotional and physical pain, but they are still loving and praising God.  What a testament to their steadfast, enduring faith!

Our church’s fresh expressions often focus on bringing church to the young people in our communities, meeting where they already gather and providing them the supportive, loving community that we know as the church – even without the walls.  In our quest to bring these young people to Christ, we need to remember to include our wise and wonderful elders.  They have built the bridges we have crossed; they have stood steady while we stood on their shoulders to reach new heights; they have cared for us, encouraged us, and lit the way.  They still have so much to give.

What’s your Lay Action?  Send your stories to

Loving the Laity,
Melanie and Kim Lee

March 31st Reports

As a reminder, the following reports are due into the district office by March 31st.  Please email the reports to Betty Sims at  Originals should remain in the church office as the District Office does not retain hard copies of documents.

The following reports are submitted online. Do not send a hard copy to the District. You can locate them on your Church Dashboard under "FORMS."
Disaster Recovery Resource Survey Disaster Coordinator or Trustee
Fund Balance Finance

The church needs to get a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee to keep in their personnel file. The District does not get them. 

For instructions and other pertinent information, click on the links above or click on Calendar of Reports
For assistance, please do not hesitate to email Betty Sims:

Local Church Administrative Staff Appreciation Day

April 12 - Asbury, UMC

Leave your work behind and let the district say, "Thank you for all you do!"  Take this opportunity to connect with other church administrative staff and share ideas. 

Who should attend?  Administrative Assistants, Church Secretaries, Business Managers, and Finance Managers

Dr. Bob Bushong, our District Superintendent, will bring us words of encouragement. 
We are excited to have a few others join us:
LaNita Battles, Director of Ministry Protection
Lynn Campbell, Co-Director of Lay Servant Ministries
Lois Durham
, Human Resources Administrator
Marilynn Mollica
, Director of Human Resources

Topic Ideas?  Do you have a certain topic you want covered?  Email your suggestions to Claudia Sava at

We look forward to seeing you at Asbury UMC on April 12th!  Coffee and fellowship begins at 8:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. To register, Click HERE!                      

The Thirteenth Annual Native American Gathering
April 20-22 - LEC, Fruitland Park

The mission of CONAM is....
 To communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Native American people in a culturally relevant way; disciple Native people in a culturally affirming way; encourage Christ-centered worship in a culturally redemptive way; and facilitate a Native presence in the wider church in a culturally appropriate way.

Click HERE for details and to register.

2018 Annual Conference
June 7 - 9 - Florida Southern College

Remembering Who We Are
Click HERE for the AC2018 webpage.  Information will be updated as information is available.  The housing information is there now.   Tweet with #flumc18 to join the conversation!

East Central District will have a Breakfast for Annual Conference ECD Lay & Clergy Members on Friday, June 8th at Trinity UMC, Lakeland.  Click HERE to register.

Youth are encouraged to participate and experience Annual Conference.  Housing will be on the Florida Southern Campus, and $150 will cover dorm housing (double occupancy) and 8 meals.  Click HERE for the AC2018 youth page and to register.  Orientation will be at 1:30pm on Wednesday, June 6 with housing check in immediately before orientation at 12:30pm at Reynolds Hall.  All youth must check into housing before orientation.  Note:  This does not make them a Voting Member at Annual Conference.

Annual Conference is free and open to anyone who would like to go.  However, only Lay Members to Annual Conference 2018 will have a vote.

East Central District Committee on Ministry (DCOM)

The East Central District Committee on Ministry (DCOM) meetings are held at Asbury, UMC in Maitland. Our Chair is Chris Jones of Community of Faith, Davenport and Vice Chair is Jenn Stiles-Williams of St. Luke UMC, Orlando.

DCOM dates for 2018 are:

Thurs, Apr 26 (materials due Mar 28)

Thurs, May 17 (materials due Apr 19)

Thurs, Aug 23 (materials due July 26)

Thurs, Oct 18 (materials due Sept 20) Local Pastor Renewal only

Thurs, Dec 20 (materials due Nov 22)

For more information or to schedule an interview, email Elizabeth Flynn, District Registrar at

Wesley at UCF

We are looking for people to sponsor or help provide a meal. Click HERE for more information and to sign up.  

At Wesley we believe that a lot of connections and great conversations are made during our meal time. It has become a HUGE part of our ministry and something that our students really look forward to each week. Many of our students don't have the resources to have a delicious home cooked meal while away at college and through your help this has been made possible. Connecting with each of you has also allowed our students to develop new relationships with individuals and churches so that one day they, too, can give back to the community. You may sign up for a week to bring a meal or even send in a monetary donation to cover the cost ($200-$300) of a meal for that week. You are such a big blessing to our students and we are so thankful for your donations!! 

Questions?  Rev. Erwin Lopez

Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats & Summer Camp

Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!
Confirmation Retreat: March 2 - 4; March 16 - 18; October 5 - 7                    
Connect:  October 19 - 21; November 9 - 11
Created By God:  April 20 - 22
Summer CampJune & July

Plan Your Own Church Retreat:  Who doesn't love WWW?  Why not plan your own retreat?


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!

Dad and Me Weekend - April 13 - 15
Grandparents and Me - June 25 - 28
Family Camp - June 29 - July 1 & July 20 - 22
Mom and Me Weekend - September 14 - 16

Questions?  Email Asa Quinn     

Apply Now for UMC FCU Scholarships for College Bound Students

The Florida United Methodist Connectional FCU is once again offering scholarships to 17-35 year-old college-bound students in our connection. Four winning applicants, one from each of our four conferences - Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida - will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.  CLICK HERE for complete rules, an application, and full essay submission criteria. Deadline for submission is April 30, 2018.

If you have any questions regarding the scholarship program, contact us at 1-800-282-9368 (Georgia) or 1-866-687-2136 (Florida).      


Apply Now for the Sinclair Scholarship from FUMF

The Florida United Methodist Foundation is now accepting applications from first-year, college-bound United Methodist students for the 2018 Sinclair scholarships, and we need your help to spread the word.
Applicants must be full and active members of a Florida United Methodist Church, have a record of church and community service, and have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher or academic performance that indicates ability to succeed in college. They must also be planning to attend a Florida or United Methodist college or university this fall.
Scholarship awards range from $2,000 to $3,000 and are renewable for up to three additional years for students who remain in good standing. The deadline to apply is March 15.

Click HERE for complete details and the application form.   Questions? Nadara Brock or 866-363-9673, ext. 7113, or visiting

Run 4 Life 4 Miler
May 12 - Florida United Methodist Children's Home

The 8th Annual Run 4 Life 4 Miler is May 12th at The Florida United Methodist Children's Home. This 4 Mile Event takes you through the FUMCH and Enterprise.  The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise money for programs providing support to those in need. All race proceeds will go to FUMCH and other local suicide prevention programs.

Run or walk...come join us on May 12th!  We would love for you to sign up on team The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.   Click HERE to register online.  Be sure to click on "Join Group/Team" & register on our team!


February 28 - East Central District Clergy Women Luncheon

Clergy Women with Appointments in the East Central District are invited to a luncheon at the District Parsonage.

March 10 - Inaugural WCA Gathering: A Hope and Vision for a New Methodist Future

Wesleyan Covenant Association is establishing a Florida Chapter. This is the Inaugural Gathering of WCA members and those desiring to find out more about the WCA. Speakers for the event: WCA President Keith Boyette & WCA Vice President Walter Fenton. The event is open to all Clergy and Lay concerned about the future of our United Methodist Church. For more about the WCA go to

March 16 - East Central District Lay Servant Training

A Weekend of Learning! Friday, March 16, 2018 5:00pm - 8:00pm Saturday, March 17, 2018 8:00am - 4:00pm First United Methodist Church, Oviedo Basic Course English - Facilitator, Lynn Campbell Co-Director ECD LSM Spanish - Facilitator, Rev. Dr. Miguel Velez Christ Hispanic UMC Creole - Facilitators, Rev. Georges Racine & Wilington Leger Advanced Courses in English Network Spiritual Gifts - Facilitator, Jim Boesch Co-Director ECD LSM Lay Pastoral Care Giving - Facilitator, Rev. Joseph Kim Riverview UMC Advanced Course in Spanish Llamados a Serservido de Dios - Facilitator, Rosa Carrion Certified Lay Servant

March 30 - Good Friday Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.

April 12 - East Central District Local Church Administrative Staff Appreciation Day

Leave your work behind and let the district say, "Thank you for all you do"!  Take this opportunity to connect with other church administrative staff, and share ideas.  Who should attend?  Administrative Assistants, Church Secretaries, Business Managers, & Finance Managers  Dr. Bob Bushong our District Superintendent will bring us words of encouragement.  We are excited to have some of our Conference Staff join us.  LaNita Battles, Director of Ministry Protection Marilynn Mollica, HR Director Lois Durham, HR Administrator Lynn Campbell, Co Director of Lay Servant Ministries 

April 26 - East Central District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM)

District Committee on Ministry Meeting Candidates contact Elizabeth Flynn at for appointment.  Materials due March 28th.  

May 17 - East Central District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM)

District Committee on Ministry Meeting Candidates contact Elizabeth Flynn at for appointment.  Materials due April 19th.  

May 28 - Memorial Day Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.

June 9 - East Central District Breakfast at Annual Conference 2018

 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.