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Wholeness for our Clergy, Congregations, and Communities


September 2017 Newsletter

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David J. Phillips/AP
It has been described as the biggest rainstorm in the recorded history of the continental United States. The images from Houston and Crosby and Orange and Barker and Port Arthur and Beaumont and multiple additional communities in Texas and Louisiana are staggering. They are haunting.
They are gripping. They are overwhelming.
These images evoke from within us a variety of feelings: sadness, fear (could something similar happen where we live?), anger, helplessness. Then there is the feeling of compassion that is rooted deep within the human heart.
One might say that where there is no compassion there is
no humanity.
Compassion literally means "to suffer with." It is the feeling that arises when we are confronted with another's suffering and feel motivated to respond in ways that help to relieve that suffering.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, compassion is the feeling that drives us into a deep desire to respond to the human need that is so highly visible as a result of that devastating storm.
It was in 1940 that our denomination started the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, as it is known. The purpose of UMCOR is "to alleviate suffering out of Christian conviction," and it offers a wide array of ministries in more than eighty countries around the world, including our own.
UMCOR is set up in such a way that 100% of all donations are channeled directly to the relief effort that is targeted. In addition to financial giving, UMCOR offers other tangible ways to respond to human need related to the experience of natural disasters and other tragedies around the world.
You'll see in this newsletter some specific, tangible ways that you can "suffer with" the victims of Hurricane Harvey through the compassionate work of UMVIM.
Christ is calling every one of us to respond.

Grace and Peace,
Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In the District
Florida Conference Responds to Hurricane Harvey
As you can imagine, there have been lots of emails and phone calls from our churches wanting to know how to help our friends and neighbors in Texas. Click on this link: or click on the picture in the Florida Conference home page carousel (it'll be obvious!) to see what we're doing to respond and get your churches involved! 
You can also join our Facebook page Florida Conference Harvey Response to see what everyone is doing.
Thanks to Pam Carter, Molly McEntire, Tim Turner, Katherine Lain and all the district offices for helping us get the word out! #ImwithTexas
Questions?  Contact Pam Garrison, Disaster Response Coordinator
2018 Apportionments are Online
The conference has been working very closely with the districts to prepare the 2018 apportionments. Apportionments for 2018 are now available on the conference website. Please contact your district first if you have any questions regarding your 2018 apportionments.  As a reminder, this is based on 2016 data which is the last full year of data we have.  Click HERE for A Guide to Apportionments.
To find your 2018 apportionment information:
  1. Go to the Conference homepage:
  2. Click on the "Monthly Reports" tab at the bottom right of the page.
  3. Click on the top link under Monthly Billing Reports:  "Click here to download monthly reports."
  4. When you choose a report, there will be a report on the pull-down menu called 2018 Apportionments Report.  This report will take you to your 2018 apportionments.
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders
Build Bridges with Fresh Expressions
Sometimes I can relate to the old folks at the end of the 20th century when automobiles were edging o ut horses on the road. Youngsters embraced the shiny metal contraptions, but the old timers thought their world was coming to an end. As I talked to the attendance clerk at school while watching her on the phone screen, I thought I was living out a scene on The Jetsons. Some days I long for a rotary phone, and I think the good old days are gone. Were they good or just familiar and understandable?

A line in a book caught my attention recently. "I leaned over and unlocked his car door for him." My high school students would wonder why the protagonist didn't hit the unlock button? The teens and twenty-somethings in our community can't relate to rolling down a car window, reading a paper road map, or writing a check. The gap between them and me is widening, and I'm having to find new ways to build bridges for their understanding.

Those of us who are comfortable with church and its accoutrements might react similarly to the old timers at the turn of the century. It might be difficult for us to envision church without the building. Our goal has been to invite the people in our communities inside to join us. That's not meeting them where they are. If it were, they'd already be in the pews. Although we might long for the days when people flocked to church, that's the past. Fresh Expressions is a bridge for "us" (church folks) to reach "them" (people outside our churches). Fresh Expressions is about reaching out to people who can't relate to our church experience and helping them find Jesus - right where they are. Build bridges to help them learn that Jesus loves them and so do we! Send your Lay Action stories to:

Loving the Laity,
Melanie and Kim Lee
Fall Charge Conferences
Dr. Bob Bushong will preside over six Church Conferences from October 1 through November 12. Each church has been notified where and when they are asked to participate.  Please contact your church office to find out which Conference you will be joining.

All Charge Conference forms with detailed instructions are available on the Florida Conference website and the East Central District website
News from Lay Servant Ministries
First UMC, Kissimmee - September 15 & 16, 2017
Montverde UMC Youth Event - September 23, 2017
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we pray this finds you doing well. As the world around us is noisy with fear, hate and things which can and do cause us pain, please remember we have a place to go - we can turn to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Beginning from the month of August, we are looking ahead to the upcoming Charge Conferences which will be done in clusters this year. This does not negate your responsibility to complete the Lay Servant Annual Report which has some changes to the form this year. If you have NOT attended an Advanced course by the time your church holds its charge conference, there is NOT a place on the form for you to report. (We will try to keep track some, but it is up to YOU to safeguard this). The report only provides reporting capabilities for those who are titled as Certified Lay Servants and you will complete the FIRST form.

There are separate forms for a Certified Lay Speaker and a Certified Lay Minister. To date we have one Certified Lay Minister from the old EC District that we know about. To our new family members, if you are a CLS or CLM, please let Lynn Campbell know.

By now you should have seen the invitations with registration forms for the Fall Lay Servant classes at First UMC of Kissimmee on Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16, 2017. We are offering Basic Classes in English, Spanish and Creole, with two advanced classes in English. We thank our facilitators for their support of this ministry. To download a brochure and registration form, please click HERE.

The next weekend on Saturday, September 23, we will host a Lay Servant training event for our Youth. This will take place at Montverde UMC. We encourage our Youth leaders to identify and attend with youth who would benefit from this gathering and return ready to work alongside you in a leadership role. Click HERE for a downloadable flyer and registration form.  
Now how are YOU doing? With your walk; your leadership role/s in the church or any of the areas which require you to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith? If you turn a corner and feel slammed, remember this, that God requires us to continue to walk in His Light; with His Joy; for His sake and about His Glory. You are such a delight to God and He will not leave you or forsake. Know that as you walk with God, He would supply all your needs to continue on as His servant. We are humbled and blessed to walk alongside you in God's Vineyard! -- Lynn & Jim

For more information, please contact: Jim Boesch at 407-721-0416 or email: ; or Lynn Campbell at 407-520-0272 or email .
Local Church Administrative Staff Appreciation Day
September 28; Asbury UMC- Maitland
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.  The district has 16 new churches and we hope to get acquainted.

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

Thursday, September 28
Asbury UMC
220 W Horatio Ave
Maitland, FL  32751
9:00am - 2:00pm

We are excited to have LaNita Battles, Director of Ministry Protection and Lynn Campbell, Co-Director of Lay Servant Ministries joining us.  Dr. Bob Bushong, our District Superintendent, will bring us words of encouragement. 

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

Coffee and fellowship begins at 8:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. To register, Click HERE
Important Message to Our Clergy
If you don't regularly check your FLUMC email, please make sure that your personal email and your FLUMC email are linked.  Your CBOPHB is going to be emailing you some exciting news about one-stop shopping for your 2018 medical benefits.  You won't want to miss this important information with useful options for you and your church staff!
Stephen Ministry Introduction Workshop
Ocoee Oaks UMC - September 30, 2017
You are invited to attend a Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshop on Saturday, September 30, 2017 to be held at Ocoee Oaks United Methodist Church, 201 S Clark Road, Ocoee, 34761.

The workshop will be held from 9am to 1:00pm with registration beginning at 8am. Cost is $15.00 per person or $50.00 per congregation for a group of four or more. Click HERE to register or call Stephen Ministries at 314.428.2600.  

Questions?  Contact Lynn Campbell at 407.520.0272 or
Our Kids Training Plus for Church-School Partnerships
Saturday, October 7; 10:30 am-3:00 pm at St. Luke's - Orlando
Why is it training plus?

The Conference Task Force for this event recommends each participating church create a team PRIOR to the training event and bring the team to the event. When building your team, identify people who are willing to commit 4-6 hours of preparation time BEFORE attending the event. This preparation time will include:
  • Reading and/or watching the recommended material
    (You will be emailed this information after you register.)  
  • Praying and setting initial goals for what you hope
    to get out of the training
$25 per person ($75 maximum per church*)
$10 per participant for childcare
$25 per Equitable Compensation church no matter how many people
*We strongly recommend that you create a team of at least 3 people to attend this event together. Click HERE to register and join us for a day of learning and sharing!
Innovating Spiritual Movements with Brian McLaren
Collective Church, DeLand - November 18, 2017
The conference Fresh Expressions team invites you to join us on Saturday, November 18th from 9am to 4pm in Deland at Collective Church for an inspiring one-day intensive with acclaimed writer, pastor and emergent spiritual leader, Brian McLaren. Brian will discuss themes relevant to Fresh Expressions from his recent book, The Great Spiritual Migration. Following conversation with Brian, we will workshop next steps in our own projects. This intensive will be of particular value to those who have existing knowledge of Fresh Expressions or have participated in a Spark Day and are looking for next steps in starting, growing or supporting a Fresh Expression of church. The cost for the day will be $29 per person. Click HERE to sign up! Limited space is available, so be sure to sign up soon.

Experience this intensive in the context of Collective, a Fresh Expression of how church is being redefined in the Florida Conference, an incubator for spiritual community that reaches new people in new places and in new ways. Local Lunch and Artisan Coffee will be provided.

Click HERE for the event flyer.  Questions? Email us at
Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training
The Annual East Central District Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training Event will provide you with the effective tools needed in your responsibilities.  Dr. Bob Bushong our District Superintendent will facilitate. There will be two trainings offered, one in Sanford on November 28 and one in Haines City on November 30.  Pick the location or date that is convenient for you. 

Pastors, SPRC Chairpersons and Committee Members, Lay Leaders, and Lay Members to Annual Conference are strongly encouraged to attend this important training event.  Please register by clicking on the link under the training you would like to attend.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Lakeside Fellowship UMC
121 N Henderson Lane
Sanford, FL  32771
Click HERE
Thursday, November 30, 2017
6:30pm - 8:30pm
New Horizon UMC
400 Orchid Drive
Haines City, FL  33844
Click HERE
FREE Webinars
Free webinars on a wide variety of topics are offered to assist you in your position at the church &/or with your walk with God.  These training sessions provided by Discipleship Ministries are made possible by support given to the World Service Fund through your Apportionments.
Check out all the past webinars &/or Register for upcoming webinars at
Powerful Tools for Caregivers Workshop
Register Now for the FREE 6-Week Course Beginning This Fall

Caring for a family member or friend with a chronic condition can be physically, emotionally and financially draining. In a small group setting, this FREE 6-week course is designed to build the skills caregivers need to take better care of themselves as they provide care for others. Classes meet for 90 minutes each.

For dates, more information or to secure your spot, call (407) 843-9591 or speak with Alex Mookerjee at Magnolia Towers or Cheryl Bond at Westminter Towers, Winter Park. For more information about the PTC program, log onto:
Support your Local Campus Ministry
4th Annual Wesley at UCF Golf Tournament
Twin Rivers Golf Club - October 21, 2017
Wesley at UCF is hosting its Fourth Annual Golf Tournament. The tournament will help support the ministries of Wesley at UCF. Wesley is a place where real friendships are born, leaders are developed and our love for Christ and one another inspires action in our community. Click HERE for flyer.

When: Sunday, October 21, 2017
Where: Twin River Golf Club; Oviedo, FL
Style: Scramble: 4-Person Teams; Best Ball
Cost: $300/Team; $85/Player; $10 Mulligans
Registration:  7:30 am (free range balls);
Start time:  Shotgun at 8:30 am

Provide a Tuesday Night Meal at Wesley UCF
We are looking for people to sponsor or help provide a meal. They can access all of our information on this website 
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!

Erwin Lopez,
Director, CFL Wesley
Stetson Wesley
Stetson Wesley has a new website.  There are lots of ways to help support Stetson Wesley.  Check out to keep up to date with all their activities.  Like them on Facebook @StetsonWesley.   

Questions?  Contact Interim Co-Directors Caitlin White or Rev. Ben Collins at or 386-742-9423.
Around the Conference
Clergy Gathering 2017
Life Enrichment Center - October 24-25, 2017
Reclaiming Sabbath
Register at

Then let your friends know you've registered!!! Spread the word! Come as a covenant group, or come to learn how to form a covenant group. Come for centering prayer. Come for canoeing or a massage. Come for Sabbath! Spiritual directors from Shade and Fresh Water will be available.

Bishop Carter's Fall Regional Gatherings
Growing in our Trust of God: A Conversation with Bishop Carter
Join Bishop Ken Carter at one of three important fall regional gatherings. These events are open to all and there will be opportunities to submit questions for Bishop Carter prior to the event. Each event will begin at 6:30 PM and a reception will follow. Click HERE to register.

Sunday, September 24 - Hyde Park UMC - Tampa
Monday, September 25 - Mandarin UMC - Jacksonville
Tuesday, September 26 - Community of Hope UMC - Loxahatchee
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. 

Rooted: Sep 18-19, 2017                              
Confirmation Retreat: Sep 29-Oct 1, 2017, Feb 16-18, Mar 2-4, & Mar 16-18, 2018
Connect: Oct 13-15, 2017 & Nov 10-12, 2017                      
College Connection:  Registration opens in October.                                           
Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM) is now in Daytona!
We are excited to announce we are beginning a site in Daytona. In our fourth program year, we are excited to expand to the Daytona Area. This fall we will have Yazmin Villeda and Princess Elas serving with Derbyshire Place and Coronado UMC respectively. We have more applicants still in the discernment process for other placements. 
Additionally we have begun our fourth year in Orlando. We've started with four, Ruth Berlus, Lexi Aupperlee, Destiny Jones, and Katharine Henry. And again, at this writing, we have an additional participant discerning placement. Our house is located in the Winter Garden area of NW Orlando, we hope to help with the new church plant there. 
Please keep them all in your prayers. We hope to develop and expand the mission intern program. Only by God's grace and guidance. 
We are looking for a car! We need a car for our missionaries to share and the donor gets a tax receipt. Cooperative living in a central tenet to our program. Having centrally located housing also often presents a challenge of transportation to possible placement sites. 
Questions?  Contact Heidi Aspinwall, Director YAMM
Need a Speaker for Your Group, Class or Service?
Florida United Methodist Children's Home

Here at the Florida United Methodist Children's Home, we are proud of our strong connection to the local church. For almost 110 years, the Children's Home has served as an extension of the ministry of the Florida Annual Conference to children and families in need. A vital component in that relationship remains the constant connection between the Children's Home and the local church.
As you're looking for ways to connect with the Children's Home, don't forget that you can request a speaker from the Children's Home for your various church groups. We love the opportunity to come and present about this ministry to the folks at your church! Whether at a Sunday morning worship service, a missions group, a youth group, a United Methodist Women/Men meeting, or any other gathering, we are happy to share with people about the transformation and healing that happens through the work of the Children's Home.
Click HERE to schedule a speaker.  You may also contact Trista Calvin, Development Services Manager, at 386.668.4774 ext. 2296, or
37th Annual Clergymates Retreat
Life Enrichment Center - Novemberr 2-4, 2017
Rev. Pam Carter, spouse of Florida UMC Conference Bishop Ken Carter, writes,
"Dear Fellow Mates,
The Clergy Mates Retreat is an ideal occasion to do something special for yourself - while enjoying the peaceful serenity of the Life Enrichment Center on beautiful Lake Griffin.
This annual gathering is a unique opportunity given to Florida mates to receive refreshment,
a spiritual lift and connection to other clergy spouses. I invite you to join with other mates
for this special time. The retreat will be from Thursday evening to noon Saturday, November 2-4, 2017.

This year features Vidalis T. Lopez, as the special guest speaker. The Associate Pastor of First UMC of Coral Gables, I know that Vidalis will bring you an inspirational message that offers both insight to and practical application of Philippians 4:8-9.

Register early for this one-of-a-kind event, available
only to Florida Clergy Mates. Click HERE to register online.  To download a brochure,
click HERE.

In His Love,
Gator Wesley Summer Recap & Fall Look Ahead
Greetings from the actual swamp of Gainesville, which you all know received its name because it is either hot
or raining here during the summer!! We hope this email finds you well. We have just finished up the last few
days of the summer semester and are eagerly anticipating the start of a new school year, an exciting fall semester,
and maybe an SEC football championship!!  Click Here to continue reading.
FUMF Ministry Grant Applications Accepted Until September 30
The foundation operates under the philosophy that we are all called to be partners in ministry, and one way the foundation strives to be a good partner is through its grant program.
Initially, the grant program focused on providing emergency funds to help churches improve their facilities. It has since expanded to offer funding for vital ministries and programs. And for the first time ever, these grants are being awarded through a grant application process.
The ultimate goal has been and continues to be providing churches and related organizations with the financial resources they need to offer ministries that transform the world.
Click on the link below for information on GRANT OPPORTUNITIES and the
Ministry Grant Application.pdf.
Easter Pilgrimage to Italy with Bishop Carter: April 2018
Led by Bishop Carter, travelers will visit Venice, Assisi, Siena, Florence and Rome while studying the Gospel of Mark and the legacy of Peter during April 3-12, 2018.
From Bishop Carter: "We will learn more about the gospel of Mark in Venice and the legacy of Peter; we will read the dialogues of Catherine of Sienna and the meditations of Dante; and we will reflect on the renewing vision given to Francis of Assisi," and more.
For more information, a brochure with a detailed itinerary and online registration, click HERE.
District Calendar of Events
September 2017
September 4: Labor Day Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
September 7: Fall Clergy Meeting - Asbury UMC, Maitland
September 8-10: UMW Conference Spiritual Retreat; LEC, Fruitland Park
September 15 & 16: Lay Servant Weekend, First Kissimmee
September 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Aug. 31)
September 23: Youth Lay Servant meeting - Montverde UMC
September 23: "Mission Sampler;" Sanlando UMC, Longwood
September 25: District Leadership Team Meeting - 4:00pm - District Office
September 28: Local Church AA Training - Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 2017
October 19:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Sept. 28)
October 21: UMW District Annual Meeting - First UMC, Clermont
October 24-25: Clergy Gathering - LEC
November 2017
November 4: UMW Conference Annual Meeting; Lakeland
November 10: Veterans Day Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
November 23 & 24: Thanksgiving Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
November 28: SPRC Training - Lakeside Fellowship UMC, Sanford
November 30: SPRC Training - New Horizon UMC, Haines City
December 2017
December 11: Clergy Retiree Christmas Luncheon - District Parsonage
December 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Nov. 30)
December 25: Christmas Day - Conference and District Offices Closed

February 2018
February 3: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo

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