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Wholeness for our Clergy, Congregations, and Communities


January 2017 Newsletter

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Welcome to 2017!
Some of us have made "New Year's Resolutions" to live out in 2017. Why not also make some decisions coming out of the celebration of the birth of Jesus that will enable that celebration to have a continuing impact? The message in one Christmas card that I received was "Let us rejoice in the birth of our Savior, at Christmas and always."
Here are some suggestions for us to consider to enable us to continue to rejoice in the birth of
our Savior:
  • Make a commitment to be in worship every Sunday that you're in town and not ill. Make a decision now not to allow "having had a busy week" or "needing to catch up at work" or "having out of town guests" or "Sunday is the only day I can sleep in" or "I just don't feel like going" or "I'm unhappy about something at the church" or (you fill in the blank) become an excuse not to participate regularly in community worship.
  • Engage in some intentional study and/or devotional reading every day. Yes, every day. It doesn't have to involve a lot of time. It might be only fifteen minutes or so at the beginning or end of the day. Let me know if I can help you identify material that will enhance your spiritual growth and help you focus on your relationship with God.
  • Engage in regular conversation with God. Connect that prayer time with your devotional time and in addition, be conscious of communicating with God throughout each day. Thank God when you sense God's presence and movement in your life.
    Ask God for guidance and direction in making decisions. Let God know you want to be closer
    to him.
  • If you're not already, become involved regularly in a small group with other people of faith. That might be a Sunday School class, a Bible study group, a prayer group, or some other small group experience in which you focus on strengthening your relationship with God and your relationships with other people of faith.
  • Look for opportunities to reach out to others. Give an unsolicited word of support, say a prayer for someone else, give some tangible expression of material support to someone who is in need, write a note or make a telephone call to someone whom you know would particularly appreciate it.
  • Pray regularly for someone with whom you have difficulty. It may be someone whom you believe has wronged you in some way, or someone whom you just don't like. Remind yourself that this person, too, is a person for whom Jesus Christ died, and lift up that person in prayer.
  • Remember the poor. Many of us tend to avoid the claim upon our lives that the poor have on followers of Jesus. Ask God to increase your sense of burden for the poor.
May 2017 be a year in which you are enriched and in which your life is taken to a deeper level through your experience of the birth of our Savior.

Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In The District
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
Kitwana McTyer Becomes President and CEO

After a six month, nationwide search, the Board of Trustees for the Florida United Methodist Children's Home has appointed Kitwana McTyer as President and CEO. Kitwana has been serving as the interim President during the search period, and proved to be an exemplary leader.

Kitwana joined the Children's Home in February 2015 as the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to coming to the Children's Home, he served as the Director of Human Resources at Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services. Previous professional experience includes positions in compliance, quality control and safety.

Stephen Hartsfield Has Served Faithfully at FUMCH  

Stephen has made a tremendous impact to FUMCH during the last 23 1/2 years.  He has been influential to the children, youth, young adults and families. On December 16th, FUMCH had a surprise reception to honor him.  Stephen is going on renewal leave and is looking forward to his next appointment in the local church starting July 1.  We wish Stephen and Jill all the best and look forward to their next phase of ministry!

Ryan Frack has been appointed to FUMCH

Ryan will be the Director of Church Relations.  He has been serving a 2 point charge in the North Central District at First UMC, Reddick and Evinston UMC.  Previously, he served as Associate Chaplain at FUMCH from 2010 - 2013.  He and his wife, Kristen are looking forward to serving at FUMCH.  They have a six month old son, named Owen.
God's Love through Jesus Christ into our Communities
Covenant UMC Kicks Off the Souper Bowl January 1-February 5, 2017!
Kick off the new year with Covenant UMC doing the
Souper Bowl. Covenant will be collecting   cans of soup to donate to HUM (Halifax Urban Ministries) from the 1st of January until the 5th of February 2017. Last year, they collected around 1200 cans to help out its community ministry.
Just imagine how many could be fed if all of the churches in our district participate in Souper Bowl.
ECD Clergy Meeting
January 9, 2017 - Canterbury Retreat Center
Our schedule is 9:00 am - 4:00 pm with fellowship and morning refreshments beginning at 8:30 am.  Rev. Janice Virtue will lead our time together.  This is the new date for the meeting that was cancelled in October due to Hurricane Matthew.  If you have already registered, there is no need to register again.  Clergy serving local churches who not able to attend should be emailing Bob Bushong to ask to be excused.
A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
Greetings East Central District! 
I don't know about you but for me 2016 has been a year of ups and downs, and if I'm honest, I am ready to usher the New Year in with great hope and expectation of good things to come!   Oh, don't get me wrong I have, and we have, much to be thankful for! Just in the East Central District alone, over the past year there have been some wonderful examples of where God has been at work in our churches and communities. There have been moments that I know I will hold in my heart always: the 2016 EC Training event, the work of our various local missions like Derbyshire Place, the amazing and loving response of our EC churches to the Pulse shootings, the many various ways our congregations are in ministry to families and children, and on the list goes. God has indeed been, and continues to be, at work among us!
Whether 2017 will be a banner year or not remains to be seen. But one thing I am absolutely certain of, regardless of what comes our way, we are never without God's love and grace. And I continue to be awed by the ways in which He calls us to bring help and hope to those around us. As we start this New Year, I hope you will join me in finding ways to live into Micah 6:8, ""He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?."  
May 2017 be a blessed and prosperous year for you and yours as we continue on our walk towards perfection!
-- Alice
PS - look forward to seeing you February 4th at the District Training Event!      
Annual East Central District
Called to Serve Training Event
Saturday, February 4, 2017; 7:45am-1:00pm; First UMC, Oviedo, FL
A Training Opportunity for All Local Church Laity...
Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend!

This FREE district wide learning event is designed to inspire and equip laity, lay staff, and clergy. The event includes a wide selection of classes to help folks grow and connect with other UM's throughout the East Central District.  Expand your understanding of local church ministry.  Learn and share new ways to be God's light in your community!

We are excited to announce that Bishop Ken Carter will be our Keynote Speaker.  Details and registration will be available in early January.
Schedule for the Day:
7:45 AM Hospitality Gathering & Registration in the Gymnasium
8:30 AM Gather in Sanctuary
8:45 AM Welcome from Rev. Dr. Bob Bushong - Sanctuary
8:50 AM Keynote: Bishop Ken Carter
9:45 AM Dismiss to class sessions
9:50-11:10 AM Session I (80 minutes)
11:15-11:35 AM Break-Snacks available - Gymnasium
11:40-1:00 PM Session II (80 minutes)
1:00 PM Dismiss from Session II
A Morning with Tom Bandy
February 25, 2017 - First UMC, Winter Park
Making MissionInsite Come Together
Who Is Your Neighbor? How do you connect with them?

Tom Bandy
February 25, 2017
8:45am - 12:30pm
8:30am - Gathering with lite refreshments
First UMC
125 N. Interlachen Ave
Winter Park, FL  32789

The East Central District presents a morning with Tom Bandy.  This is truly a unique opportunity, one you won't want to miss.  Tom will demonstrate how you take MissionInsite data and convert it to your local mission field around your church.  MissionInsite is a wonderful tool, if you know how to use it!  This information is for clergy and laity.  Tom will have a Q & A session at the end of his presentation. 

Tom is an internationally recognized consultant, conference speaker, and leadership coach for Christian organizations and faith-based non-profits.  He is the president of Thriving Church Consulting, LLC.  CLICK HERE to read his bio and a list of books by Rev. Bandy. 

CLICK HERE to register for this event.
Lay Servant Ministries Weekend of Learning
March 24 & 25, 2017 - Christ Hispanic UMC
A Weekend of Lay Leadership Learning
Servant Leadership Equipping Encounter  

Basic LSM and Advanced LSM courses will be taught in English and Spanish.  Information and registration will be sent out in January.  Save the Date!
Church and Pastor Annual Profiles
UMC Logo Church Profile and Pastor Profile forms are now available.  The final submission date for profiles is January 31, 2017.   

Church Profile and Pastor Profile forms should be reviewed and updated annually by all church SPRC Committees and all Clergy in the Florida Conference.  Though a move may not be anticipated, it is important that both the Pastor Profile and Church Profile be current at the appointment-making session of the cabinet.  Profiles should be an honest reflection of the pastoral ministry and the profile of the church.

If a change in pastoral leadership is being considered for July 1, 2017 - the pastor and SPRC Chair should be in contact with Claudia Sava no later than January 15th to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Bob Bushong.  If a pastoral consultation is scheduled with the DS, both the Church Profile and Pastor Profile should be completed online no later than one week prior to the consultation appointment.

Click Here for the detailed instructions for accessing both profiles.  Follow the step by step instructions to access the appropriate profile.                     
Download Revised I-9 Forms and Minimum Wage Posters Now

Effective January 1, 2017, please use revised I-9 forms, accessible by clicking HERE. Also changing is the minimum wage for the State of Florida.  Click HERE for the minimum wage workplace poster.
Benefits Update: 2017 Health Initiative
January 31: Last Day to Enroll in a Plan for 2017!
Open Enrollment on the Federal Health Exchange, also known as, began on November 1, 2016 and continues into January. But, December 15, 2016 was the last day to enroll in a plan for coverage to start January 1, 2017. The Federal Exchange remains open until January 31, 2017 which is the last day to enroll in a plan for 2017. If you delay enrolling in a plan until this date your insurance coverage will not become effective until March 1, 2017.
Don't Delay - Secure Alternative Coverage Now!
Visit now to shop and compare insurance plans available in your area. Y ou must pay your first month's premium by your health plan's due date or you could lose your coverage. Each insurer is different, so pay careful attention to their due date.
Keep in mind, if you do not have health insurance from another source and you fail to complete enrollment through the Federal Exchange by January 31st 2017 - You will not have health insurance in 2017. For detailed information on choosing individual health insurance plans, click HERE.
2016 Year End Statistical Reporting
Online Reporting Begins January 3, 2017 
Please visit the Year-End Statistics Instructions website as you begin preparations for reporting your church's end of year statistics.  You will find everything you need for reporting:
  • Instruction Guides
         Church Guide for EOY and EZRA Reporting (Login Instructions & Password)
         Church Table Directions (help text)
         New Church Development and Year End Statistical Reporting
  • Step by Step Overview of the Year-End Reporting Process
Online reporting begins January 3, 2017. The deadline for submitting Year End Statistical Tables is 5:00pm Friday, February 10, 2017. 

Thank you for your help in telling our churches' stories through statistics.
Around the Conference
2016 Connectional Giving Deadline: January 10th!
Apportionment payments for 2016 must be received in the lockbox at Regions Bank or paid on line by Tuesday, January 10, 2017.  This is not a postmarked by date, but is the last day by which monies must be received in the Conference or our bank lockbox to be included in 2016 apportionments receipts.  Any payments received after that date will be applied to 2017 apportionments.  Any payments received between January 1 and January 10 must be clearly marked as to which year they are to be applied.  Click HERE  for more details.

To be considered a 100% connectional church in the Florida Annual Conference Journal, 100% of 2016 apportionments must be received by January 10, 2017, and all outstanding Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits obligations should have been received by December 31, 2016.
Pulpit Exchange in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sunday, January 15, 2017 
In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day scheduled for January 16, 2017, all Florida Annual Conference clergy and churches are encouraged to work toward a pulpit exchange with another church in their local community on Sunday January 15, 2017 (or another Sunday in proximity to that date as necessitated by current schedules).
This pulpit exchange could be a partnership with another local United Methodist Church where the exchange would allow for a cross-racial and/or cross-cultural experience or the exchange could be with a local African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Additionally, Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermon entitled A Knock at Midnight could be the basis for the sermon preached that Sunday using the text from Luke 11:5-8. Lunches following worship or other events designed to create fellowship and conversation are also encouraged. 
The goal of the pulpit exchange and sermon focus would be to preach the gospel and encourage relationships and dialogue across racial and cultural lines as together we follow Jesus into the unity of the One Body of Christ.  It is our eternal hope that our congregations will continue to be transformed into instruments of justice, reconciliation, mercy and healing. 
If you need assistance in connecting with another local church or further resources for this important work, please contact Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin, Director of Connectional and Justice Ministries, Florida Annual Conference at or 863-688-5563 ext. 103 or Mrs. Mavis Bush at  Following this pulpit exchange, we invite you to share stories or experiences at
Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr. and Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. 
Apply for a Fresh Expressions Micro Grant
Application Deadline: January 31, 2017
The Fresh Expressions team here in the Florida conference is excited to announce that we will be awarding micro grants in the first quarter of 2017 to both new and existing Fresh Expressions! We are looking for groups that have a clear vision and could use funding to either help get their group off the ground or to help a group continue in their ministry moving forward. Grants will range from $100 to $1,500. 
Click HERE for a grant application. Please email all applications to by January 31st for consideration. 

Matt Harrell
Fresh Expressions Coordinator
Florida United Methodist Conference
Register Now for the Florida Five Day Academy: March 5-10, 2017
REGISTRATION is open for the Florida Five Day Academy! The Florida Five-Day Academy For Spiritual Formation publishes a brochure for the upcoming Academy. To download a copy, click on the following link:
Warren W. Willis Retreats

Warren W. Willis is not just for Summer Camp...although that is an amazing time! Click on any of the following links for information on the wonderful programs you and your church can attend. 
Clergy Kids:  Jan 13-15, 2017 
College ConnectionJan 27-29, 2017  
Florida Chapter PAUMCS 43rd Annual Seminar
February 17 -19, 2017 - LEC Fruitland Park
If you are a church secretary, administrative assistant, membership secretary, office administrator or serving in any administrative role, you won't want to miss the 43rd Annual Seminar of the Florida Chapter PAUMCS (Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries). Held at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, Florida, this seminar offers a chance to renew and refresh.
We invite you to attend and be a part of an amazing weekend away from your desk. Come ready to learn and share about your role in our churches. As the front line of our churches, we want you to get all you need to continue to serve well. Not a member of PAUMCS? Click HERE for a membership application!

Cost for the three-day seminar ( scholarships available to defray costs):
Seminar and Meals Only: $85
Meals and Lodging: Single Room--$195; Double Room---$160
Click HERE for more information and flyer. To download a registration form,
Click HERE.  Questions?  Lynn Campbell
Sponsor a Pastoral Internship for 2017!
Interns Kipp Nelson, Carmelle Beaugelin and Drew Kastner Do you serve a church committed to shaping the next generation of pastoral leaders?
Here are the quick facts for hosting an Intern:
Internship Dates:
Monday, May 29, 2017, through Friday, August 4, 2017
Intern Training Day:
Friday, May 26, 2017 (students and supervising pastors)
Intern Reflection Day:
Monday, August 7, 2017 (students only)
30 hours/week as scheduled with supervising pastor
Provided in congregant's home, if needed
Salary: $3,000.00 ($1,500 host site, $1,500 Office of Clergy Excellence)
Click here for a more detailed program description or to read an extended article on the Conference website.
If interested, please email or mail an intern job description for your church. Please feel free to contact the Office of Clergy Excellence if you have any questions about the program. Thank you!
Holly Finley at
Rev. Sara McKinley at 
Summer Pastoral Ministry Internship Program

If so, please Click HERE for the application for the 2017 Summer Pastoral Ministry Internship Program and encourage them to apply!

Please feel free to contact the Office of Clergy Excellence if you have any questions about the program.

Holly Finley at
Rev. Sara McKinley at 
District Calendar of Events

January 2017
January 2: District Office Closed for New Year's
January 9: ECD Clergy Meeting - Canterbury Retreat Center
January 13 - 14: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
January 16: District Office Closed for MLK, Jr. Day
February 2017
February 4: Called to Serve Training Event - First UMC, Oviedo
February 17-19: PAUMCS Annual Training Seminar - LEC
February 25: Tom Bandy - First UMC, Winter Park
March 2017
March 23:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
March 24 & 25: Lay Servant Ministries Weekend - Christ Hispanic UMC
April 2017
April 1: FUMCH Day on Campus
April 14: District Office Closed for Good Friday
April 27: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
May 2017
May 18: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
May 20: Run4Life4Miler - FUMCH
May 29: District Office Closed for Memorial Day
June 2017
June 8 - 10: Annual Conference - The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
June 15:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

July 2017
July 4: District Office Closed for Independence Day
July 14 - 15: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
August 2017
August 17:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
September 2017
September 4: District Office Closed for Labor Day
September 21:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 2017
October 19:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 2017
November 10: District Office Closed for Veterans Day
November 23 & 24: District Office Closed for Thanksgiving
December 2017
December 21:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 25: District Office Closed for Christmas

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