ECD Banner

Wholeness for our Clergy, Congregations, and Communities


August 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue
Quick Links

Job Opportunities

Join Our Mailing List
Most of us (all of us?) reading this know the song "Jesus Loves Me," a song that most think of as a children's song:

Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

(Chorus) Yes, Jesus loves me; (3 times)
The Bible tells me so.

Someone sent me a version of the song with verses written for folks in their later years in life. With the first anniversary of the death of my dad having been very much on my mind recently, I found myself reliving my experience with him in the last couple days of his life, and this version of that "children's song" touched my heart:

Jesus loves m e, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow.
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.


Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I'll go.
On through life, let come what may;
He'll be there to lead the way.


When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song;
Telling me in words so clear,
'Have no fear, for I am near.'


When my work on earth is done,
And life's victories have been won,
He will take me home above.
Then I'll understand His love.


The message of the song really isn't generational, is it?  It's a universal truth for folks of any and every age:

Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so!

Thanks be to God for his unwavering, unrelenting, unfaltering love in and through Jesus Christ!

Grace and Peace,
Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In the District
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders
 What Helps Us Focus on God's Will?
I went wunning last week without my glasses or contacts (wunning - a little walking, a little running, repeat). Things were a bit fuzzy. When I approached a street sign, I either knew what it said because I was familiar with the location or the sign shape, I made an assumption based on prior knowledge, or I made a random guess. As I got closer, I could confirm whether the sign said what I thought it said. Sometimes, I completely missed the mark. I knew if I had worn my glasses or contacts, I would have been right most of the time.
The experience reminded me of 1 Cor. 13:12, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face." How right am I in interpreting God's will in my life? Some messages from God come straight to my heart, the meaning as clear as familiar road signs. Others are dimmer images. I got to thinking about the spiritual practice "glasses" I could don to see more clearly.
Last month, I was moved by a member of a church in crisis saying the congregation had come to a decision after prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting - those are definitely "glasses" that help us see God's will. The experience made me remember that God loves us in the here and now and wants to be part of our everyday decisions. We need to invite God in, but we also need to be prepared to see and understand God's advice. Prayer and fasting act as corrective lenses to allow us to see God's will in focus. What helps you to focus?
Lay Actions:
Faith United Methodist Church reaching out to Union Park Elementary
* Pack-A-Sack, feeding hungry children
* Welcome Back Teachers Luncheon
* Mothers' Closet - providing career dresses to moms joining the workforce
"Our relationship with the School is strong and unblemished, and we share a bond not only physically but spiritually. We are friends, not acquaintances, we are neighbors."
--Lana Siak, Certified Lay Servant
Tell us about how your church is serving your neighbors!

Loving the Laity,
Kim and Melanie Lee
Methodist Home Back-to-School Supply Drive Ends August 4th!
 Back-to-School Drive List 
Believe it or not, the school year will be upon us before we know it. The time has now come for our back-to-school supply drive for our children. This is a time when generous individuals, churches, and groups collect necessary school supplies for our students and staff.
Click HERE to download a printable Back-to-School needs list for our children. To help us process the items received, we ask that they please be delivered to the Children's Home (Enterprise campus) no later than August 4th, 2017
If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Bellomy, Volunteer Relations Supervisor, at 386.668.4774 ext. 2321, or email Thank you for your continued support of our students and the ministry here at the Children's Home.
The Global Leadership Summit (GLS)
August 10-11, 2017; Pine Ridge Fellowship, Deltona, FL 
The Global Leadership Summit is a two-day event telecast LIVE in HD from Willow's campus near Chicago every August to hundreds of locations in North America. You are invited to join an expected 305,000 people committed to getting better as leaders in 2017. Throughout the fall, Summit events take place at an additional 675+ sites in 128 countries and 60 languages. Pine Ridge Fellowship in Deltona is a host site. Questions? Contact Yvonne at To register, Click HERE.
Clergy Meetings
New Clergy Meeting - Wednesday, August 23; 11:30am - Asbury UMC, Maitland
This is for all Clergy in the ECD with New Appointments, as well as Clergy in churches that are now in the East Central District due to restructuring.  Click HERE to register.

Fall Clergy Meeting - Thursday, September 7; 8:30am - Asbury UMC, Maitland
This is for all ECD Clergy.  Rev. Jason Micheli, Executive Pastor at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria, VA will join us for our time together and share his experiences after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.  He is also the author of Cancer is Funny:  Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious ChemoClick HERE to register.

Please make this time together a priority in your schedule.  If you absolutely cannot make it due to a previous commitment, please call Dr. Bob Bushong to request to be excused.
Prelude:  A Retreat for Incoming UCF, Seminole State & Valencia Freshmen
August 15, 2017 - UCF Wesley, 1395 Campus View Court; Oviedo, FL
Prelude: A Retreat for Incoming Freshmen at UCF, Seminole State, and/or Valencia 
Event dates:  Tuesday, August 15, 5:00 pm to Thursday, August 17, 5:00 pm  
Location: UCF Wesley, 1395 Campus View Court; Oviedo, FL 32765
Prelude is an orientation retreat for incoming freshmen that dives deeper into what it means to live in the UCF/Orlando area for the next few years in regards to faith and servicing the needs of the community. Please share this retreat with your youth! 
Click HERE for more information and to register.
Annual Ministry Protection Property and Casualty Insurance Review
August 15-31, 2017
Annual Ministry Protection Property and Casualty Insurance Review (Annual Survey). Trustees to review insurance coverage and update online insurance database annually. Annual review period is August 15-31, 2017. This database is also available online year round to enable churches to update insurance data as changes occur. Click here to link to the Church Dashboard via the insurance database on the Ministry Protection website.   
Annual Workers Compensation Payroll Audit
August 15-31, 2017
The Annual Workers Compensation Payroll Audit. Finance/Treasurer to complete this annual payroll audit. Please be sure to project your payroll by category through the end of 2017 when completing this section. Click HERE to log into the brief Property & Casualty Survey and Workers' Compensation Audit. (Please note this audit is performed twice a year as part of Florida Legislature Statute 440.381.)
Local Church Historians' School: Free Training Begins in September
Registration Deadline is September 1
Would you like to be trained for your job (and never leave the comfort of your home?)
The Indiana Conference is opening its Local Church Historians' School to all conferences this fall. All local church historians are asked to register for this free training - today! Starting in September, twelve weekly email lessons will be sent to you which will cover the basic principles of effective church historianship within the integrative concept  of a "program of local church history."  
Registration is now open! Registration deadline is September 1.  Click HERE for online registration.
Questions?  Email Anita "Nita" Campbell
P.S.  Encourage multiple members who share an interest in maintaining their church's history to sign up a team!
Fall Charge Conferences
The East Central District will have Cluster Charge Conferences this Fall from October 1 through November 12. There will be six Charge Conferences throughout the East Central District.  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 will be available on the Florida Conference website and the East Central District website on Monday, August 21.
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

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

We look forward to seeing you at Asbury UMC on September 28!  Coffee and fellowship begins at 8:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. To register, Click HERE
HANA Scholarship Empowers Pastor to Pursue Degree While Serving 
Pastor Josias Andujar is a past recipient of the HANA scholarship for Hispanic, Asian and Native American United Methodist students and credits the program for providing valuable financial support. "I can honestly say I would not have made it without the HANA Scholarship. Prior to pursuing higher education, I worked in construction and served as a Pentecostal pastor. After joining the UMC, going to school on a local pastor salary alone became very difficult. The HANA Scholarship helped me to see light at the end of the tunnel." 

Pastor Josias is currently serving at Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC in Deltona.

To read more about how HANA benefits minority UMC pastors, Click HERE.
News from Lay Servant Ministries
Save the Date:
LSM Training September 15 & 16 at First Kissimmee 
HELLO and a heartfelt welcome to those Lay Servants joining us from other districts. Our next training event will be held on Friday, September 15, and Saturday, September 16, at First Kissimmee. We have Basic classes planned in English, Spanish and Creole, and two Advanced classes. 
Youth Lay Servant Training: September 23 at Montverde UMC; 17015 Porter Avenue; Montverde, FL
The day is geared towards equipping and empowering our youth Lay Servants providing them the opportunity to discover how and where they are being called to serve. To help them to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ who can then go and make other disciples. Through the discipleship paths of H.O.P. E. (Hospitality, Offer Christ, Purpose, and Engagement) p articipants should leave with an understanding of the many ways they can serve within their church and the community. Cost: $15 (includes meals and all materials). Click HERE for more information to share with your youth.
The registration forms will be emailed once they are available and will be put on the ECD website.  For more information, please contact: Jim Boesch at 407-721-0416 or email: ; or Lynn Campbell at 407-520-0272 or email .
We live to serve! -- Lynn & Jim
Rock the Universe Christian Music Festival: September 8 & 9 
Rock, Ride And Rejoice At Florida's Biggest Christian Music Festival
Friday, September 8: Chris Tomlin, Lecrae, Lauren Daigle, Kari Jobe
Saturday, September 9:
Casting Crowns for King & Country, Thousand Foot Crutch, Andy Mineo
Click HERE for the Rock the Universe website.
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 1:00 pm 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.  
For questions or queries please contact Lynn Campbell at 407.520.0272 or
Innovating Spiritual Movements with Brian McLaren
A Fresh Expressions Event - November 18, 2017
The conference Fresh Expressions team invites you to join us on Saturday, November 18th from 9am to 4pm in Deland, FL 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.
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
Around the Conference
Welcome Laurie Hofts
Please welcome Laurie Hofts to her new role as Assistant to the Director of Connectional and Justice Ministries, reporting to Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin.
Laurie has served the South Central District Office for the past seven years as Sr. Administrative Assistant and happily transitioned to her new role at the Lakeland office on July 24th.
Laurie's considerable talents and skills will support the Connectional and Justice Ministries programs as they continue to grow and positively impact our Conference. 

Attend Bishop Carter's Fall Regional Gatherings: September 24-26
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
LEC Family Programs
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!

Mom and Me Weekend - September 15-17, 2017

Questions?  Email Rev. Melissa Cooper
Rooted Youth, Children & Family Ministry Training Event
September 18-19; Warren Willis Training Camp; Fruitland Park, FL
Community. Training. Worship.
September 18-19, 2017
Warren Willis Camp
Training for children, youth and family ministry staff is critical to prevent burnout and promote strong, healthy ministries in the local church. The Rooted Conference, provides two full days of workshops, training, speakers and networking (not to mention food and lodging, too!) to equip your staff for the next level of ministry!
Cost: $50 per person (includes meals and lodging)  Scholarships are available to East Central District Church Workers.  Contact Claudia Sava at
To Register, Click HERE.
Gator Wesley 80 for 80 Campaign
The 80 for 80 Campaign is an opportunity to include 80 individuals, families, or groups in the dynamic ministry at Gator Wesley by contributing $80 a month towards its mission.  80 for 80 gives donors the ability to share in the joys and successes of Gator Wesley students as they go through this pivotal time of transformation in their lives.  Click HERE to read what is happening at Gator Wesley and how you can be a part of it. 
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
August 2017
August 10-11: Global Leadership Summit - Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC, Deltona
August 17:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due July 27)
August 23: New Clergy Gathering - Asbury UMC, Maitland
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

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter