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ECD October 2018 Newsletter

Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Dr. Bob Bushong

Most of us know, don’t we, that when it comes to forgiving others, the task often is not an easy one.  Most of the time it’s a process. It takes time. It takes intentionality. It takes a willing spirit. 

Recently I went back to a list called “The Ten Principles of Forgiveness” from the website that I have found helpful. I thought you might find this list helpful too:

Accept that life is not fair and that others may play by a different set of rules than you do.

Stop blaming others for your circumstances.

Understand that you cannot change the person who hurt you; you can only change yourself.

Acknowledge the anger and hurt that some unpleasant or even harmful event is causing you.

Reframe your ‘grievance story” by placing the hurtful events in a broader context than your current point of view.

Recognize that only you can make the choice to forgive.

- Shift your view of the offender by humbly choosing to empathize with his or her life situation.

Move intentionally from discontent toward contentment.

Understand that forgiveness will take time and cannot be rushed.

Take responsibility for your life and your future
As we all know, forgiveness is an integral aspect of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. As we also know, forgiveness often is not an easy place to go with one another. It’s not like pushing a button or flipping a switch. It’s a journey, often a painful one, of moving from one place to another in terms of our view of and experience with another person.

Whether or not to engage in that process is a choice that only we can make.

Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

In the District

A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders

 Kim & Melanie Lee

Sing Joyfully to the Lord, and Turn Off the TV

The news these days spews scary, repugnant stories of child neglect, loss of lives, loss of homes, animal abuse, road rage, and on and on and on.  (Notice I left out politics.)  It’s hard to stay hopeful about the future of our world some days.  In the search for a brighter outlook, I went to Psalm 33.  These are the verses that give me the most hope and joy.

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
    it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
    make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully, and shout for joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love. . . .
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
    even as we put our hope in you.

With those words tucked carefully into our hearts, we can walk forth with confidence in the Lord and the Lord’s love for us.  We can see our community with new eyes.

We don’t have to look far to find hopeful, joyful events happening in our district.  A fun and creative example: First Oviedo’s Kickball Tournament.  Dads wanted to play kickball with their kids.  After wrapping their minds around the plethora of safety issues involved with grown men kicking balls competitively around little kids, they came to a compromise.  The kids became the coaches, and the dads had to follow their directions, even if their coaches didn’t really understand the rules.  The result was a fabulous afternoon of cooperative family fun, on the church grounds but involving the community.

What hopeful, joyful events are happening in your church?

Loving the Laity,
Melanie & Kim Lee  

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

This month is recognized as a time for congregations to show their appreciation, love and support for their pastors. Click HERE for ideas on how to celebrate your pastor.


2020 Self-Nomination Process is Open

The planning and preparation for the 2019 session of the Florida Annual Conference is well under way. During the 2019 session, we will also be electing Lay and Clergy members to represent our Annual Conference as delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Being elected to serve as a delegate is quite an honor that carries a lot of responsibility.

Who can be elected as a delegate to represent the Florida Annual Conference?

The Florida Annual Conference uses an on-line self-nomination process. Anyone who: (1) senses the leading of God to serve as a delegate, (2) who meets all of the Disciplinary eligibility requirements, (3) who successfully completes the self-nomination process before the February 15, 2019, deadline or (4) who successfully completes the self-nomination process during the Lay or Clergy Sessions on the first day of Annual Conference, can have their name placed on the ballot for election at the 2019 Annual Conference Session in Lakeland, Florida.

How do I know if I’m being called to serve as a delegate? Let me suggest the following:

• Begin with a time of prayer and reflection. Explore your thoughts and feelings with God. Ask God for the wisdom and understanding to know how best to serve.
• Take time to study the issues affecting The United Methodist Church, our Annual Conference, our congregations, and our world. What are the social, spiritual, theological and moral concerns which need to be addressed by our denomination?
• Ask someone whom you trust to help you to discern whether your gifts and skills, intuition and insight, learning and leadership have prepared you to serve as a delegate at this time.
• Reflect deeply on one of the required essay questions. As a delegate, what particular things could/would you do to help The United Methodist Church to fulfill its purpose and mission around the world?
• After having done all of the above, and sensing God’s call to serve, place your name on the ballot by completing the self-nomination process found on the Conference website. Click here to access it. The on-line nomination process will remain open until midnight on February 15, 2019. If you have questions about the eligibility requirements or the self-nomination process, call, write, or email me using the information below. I will assist you in every way possible.


Beth Gardner, Annual Conference Secretary

2018 Annual Church Conference

The first of four Cluster Church Conferences will be October 13 at Lakeside UMC in Sanford.  The other hosts are Community of Faith UMC, Conway UMC, and First UMC, Apopka.  The Conferences are listed on the calendar.   Click HERE for the calendar.  Gathering and light refreshments will be 30 minutes before the Church Conference.  Click HERE to download the East Central District forms. 

The Voting Matters Agenda and Clergy Compensation form are due (unsigned) one week prior to your conference.  Please email them to Betty Sims  The senior pastor's report may be emailed to her as well.  The completed Church Conference packet with all signed documents will be turned in at that Cluster Church Conference.  Once we review and scan the documents, they will be shredded. 

Church Dashboard Update Day is November 13.  Click HERE for details.

Local Church Leadership Training
December 8 9:30am - Noon Solid Rock UMC

Training for members of Finance, Trustees, & Staff Parish Relations Committees will be  December 8.  This will allow committees to start the new year ready to go!  It will also free these folks up to attend other workshops at the ECD Called to Serve on February 9, 2019.  Please note, these committee specific 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.

Clergy Save the Date

Spring Clergy Meeting with Dr. Elaine Heath of Duke Divinity School

Thursday, February 21 9:00-3:00

More details will be sent out soon.


Around the Conference and Beyond

United Methodist Connectional FCU
Celebrates The 70th Anniversary of International Credit Union Day

On October 18, the United Methodist Connectional FCU will, along with more than 56,000 credit unions around the world, celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day), and the philosophy and achievements of the credit union movement.

Come enjoy a festive environment with some great refreshments, music, giveaways ($100 gift card and $200 Visa Gift Card (see terms below) phenomenal services and products special promotions (Car Sale Oct. 1-22) at either location:

United Methodist Connectional FCU celebrates ICU Day because it believes the not-for-profit structure and people-first principles of credit unions make them the ideal financial partners for all people. This year’s ICU Day theme is “Find Your Platinum Lining in Credit Unions,” a celebration combining the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries with a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining.”

The public is welcome to stop by the branch during business hours 10a-4p. Refreshments served @ 12 noon.

Florida Office
450 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33815

and celebrate with your trusted UMC FCU a worldwide movement that’s made helping people its No. 1 priority for more than 160 years.

Leadership Deep Dive

Leadership in the local church should be a balance of strong committed leaders partnering with their clergy to see through the vision and ministry of the church. For 22 years, Grace Church has been shaping how leadership is lived out on the main campus of Grace Church, as well as four additional campuses. With core values of reach/connect/form/send as a disciple-making system, with covenant and expectations of leaders, Grace uses a team approach for leadership. Come learn more about what it is like to have strong lay leaders, leadership teams that work together, and sharing of tips and failures from the Grace family.

Current Open Registrations:
Discipleship - October 15-16, 2018 - North Naples UMC
Systems and Properties - October 30-31, 2018 - New Covenant, The Villages
Finance - November 5-6, 2018 - First UMC Lakeland

Conference Table and Listening Session
Saturday, October 20 First UMC, Lakeland

The Conference Table and General Conference Delegation will host a Conference Table and Listening Session on Saturday, October 20 from 11 AM to 2:30 PM at First UMC in Lakeland. The focus will be on preparing for the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. All Florida United Methodists lay and clergy are invited to attend. There will be an opportunity for facilitated table conversation and for persons to sign up to speak in five minute increments.  Participants must register and plan to bring a donation for the lunch that will be provided. (The Conference Table will convene at 10 am, prior to the listening session.)  Click HERE for registration.  Click HERE for a list of the Florida delegation.

Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats

Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!

Confirmation Retreat:  October 5-7, February 15-17, 2019, March 1-3 & 15-17, 2019
Connect:  October 19-21; November 9-11
College Connection:  January 25-27, 2019
Created by God:  April 26-28, 2019

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

Clergy Gathering
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.

CCYM - Dare to Explore
February 15 - 17, 2019 - Warren W. Willis

Dare to Explore is a student leadership retreat for students by students.  This is a great event to bring your student leaders (or those whom you'd like to become students leaders) to, in whatever form that takes in your local church.  For some that is their whole youth group, for others it is a core group of student leaders.  The registration is $90 per person.   Click HERE for the Dare page.  Registration will open in October.  We can't wait to see you and your team. No matter where you are on your spiritual walk, be prepared to explore!


October 8 - East Central District Leadership Team (DLT)

The EC District Leadership Team will meet at 4:00pm on Monday, October 8 at the EC District Office.

October 13 - East Central District Cluster Church Conference

Location:  Lakeside UMC 121 N Henderson Lane Sanford

October 18 - East Central District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM)

District Committee on Ministry Meeting Candidates contact Elizabeth Flynn at for appointment.  Materials due September 20. LPRs only  

October 20 - Conference Table and General Conference Listening Session

First United Methodist Church – Lakeland  11 AM to 2:30 PM

October 21 - East Central District Cluster Church Conference

Location:  Community of Faith UMC 9120 Teacher Lane Davenport

October 27 - East Central District Cluster Church Conference

Location:  Conway UMC 3401 S Conway Road Orlando

November 4 - East Central District Cluster Church Conference

Location:  First UMC 201 S Park Ave Apopka

November 12 - Veteran's Day Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.

November 13 - East Central District Church Dashboard Update Day!

This day is being held as a reminder for all churches to go into their church dashboard and update their 2019 church leadership. 

November 22 - Thanksgiving Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.