ECD Banner

Wholeness for our Clergy, Congregations, and Communities


August 2016 Newsletter

In This Issue
Quick Links

Job Opportunities

Join Our Mailing List

Lessons from My Father
As some of you have heard by now, my dad passed away recently. My brother, Gary, Jeanne and I were at his bedside. My daughter, Kimberly had been there for a visit about twenty minutes before. Dad was 94 years old. His name was Robert William Bushong and he went by Bill.
Forgive me for writing such a personal message this month. What can I say? This is what's on my heart. So . . . thanks for listening . . .
Here is part of a piece that I wrote when Dad turned 90 on September 19, 2011:
What is 90 supposed to look like? I'm not sure anymore, but certainly I didn't used to think it would look like what Dad looks like now. He's in good shape mentally and physically. He takes a substantial walk twice a day. He's sharp in conversation. He recently renewed his driver's license and has no difficulty driving to our place in Winter Park from his home in DeLand. It has been less than two years since he sold his last motorcycle, having ridden one regularly since he was a teenager.
Mom died almost five years ago and until a year ago Dad lived alone in the home in DeLand that he and Mom shared during their over twenty-five years of retirement. Since July of last year Dad lived in an independent living apartment in a retirement home in Longwood in order to be closer to Jeanne and me. He gave up driving when he moved there. Despite some physical challenges, until very recently Dad's mind has been sharp, and just five days before he died he enjoyed being part of Jeanne's birthday celebration in our home.
I've thought a lot about Dad and the relationship that he and I have had for all of my 64 years and, while I'm very sad that he is no longer here, my stronger feeling is one of gratitude that he has been part of my life for this long.
I've thought specifically about lessons that I've learned from Dad over the years. Here's a summary of what I've come up with:

1. Integrity is essential in all situations.

I've always known that integrity was an essential value for my dad. I've seen it modeled by him over the years much more than I've heard him talk about it: integrity in the little things as well as the big things. It's clear that it was a key aspect of who he was. I learned about integrity as I watched Dad live his life.
2. Loyalty is just part of the deal.
I saw this clearly in the last few years of her life as Dad stood by Mom during the initially gradual and then rapid decline of her physical state and her dementia. He was next to her bed when she died and his was the last voice that Mom heard. I've seen evidence of Dad's loyalty in many ways over the years: with the rest of the family, at work, with friends. Rarely have I heard Dad talk negatively about someone else.

3. A sense of humor is key.

Dad was a tease. There was never anything harsh about the teasing. It was a way that he connected with people in a fun way. Stories float around in the family about Dad teasing his grandmother when he was a young adult. When he did so with my mom, she would pretend to be aggravated, but it was clear that she enjoyed it. It was part of what she loved about him. Dad enjoyed interacting with people, and he laughed easily. Laughter is a wonderful thing.

4. It's important to be there for those you love.

Whether it was a school program or event that my brother or I were a part of, some accomplishment that we earned, or some struggle that we were going through when we were kids and into adulthood, Dad was there to celebrate and to support in whatever way he was able. That was true for the grandkids as well. He wanted to know what was going on in our lives and how he could be supportive.

5. Favoritism isn't an option.

Dad was intentional about being "fair," sometimes to the point that he second-guessed himself about whether he had been. It was always the same for my brother and our families, whether it was a birthday or Christmas gift, or the amount of time he spent. He always made an effort for his responses to be as equal as possible. It was important to him and we all know it.

6. Doing is much more important than talking. (See number 1 above.)

Several years ago when Dad was 89 he was in Virginia visiting his older brother and my cousins right before and at the time of his brother's death. I was staying with Mom while Dad was gone, and he called one morning and asked me to go down the street to put his neighbor's garbage can out by the street. He said that she counted on him to do that and he wanted to make sure it was taken care of while he was gone. There were many acts of kindness and concern offered by my dad that I have witnessed myself or heard about from others over the years that I never heard him talk about. He just did them.
Mom and Dad lived a simple life. Material things were not high on the priority list for them. What they enjoyed most were each other, their family, and their friends. While Dad was a person of faith, it was seldom a topic of conversation for him, and when he did go to church it was mostly to hear me preach. Nonetheless I saw in him clear evidence of the heart of Christ. He was a humble man who was a "doer of the Word" in clear and unmistakable ways.
Dad would want me to add that he wasn't perfect, as of course no one is. There's no question, though, that he was a great dad, and for that, I am very grateful.

Grace and Peace,      

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In The District
God's Love through Jesus Christ into our Communities
First Sanford
First Sanford
Bob Bushong asked our clergy for examples of what our churches are doing to exhale the breath of God's love through Jesus Christ into the atmosphere of the communities in which they live. 

Here are some responses:

College Park UMC - They have a Water Ministry for Bus Riders.  Click HERE for the details.

Covenant UMC Port Orange - Covenant held a community wide Prayer Service to bring the community together in response to the killings in Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas.  Click HERE to read how it came together.

First UMC Sanford
- As a part of an experimental sermon series entitled "Community Gospel," Rev. Matt Kern spent three weeks in July standing in the community with a white board.  Where has God been lately?  Click HERE to read what they are doing.

Pierson UMC - Rev. David Lumberry shared their church runs a food bank that has grown significantly over the last several years.  They are able to feed about 40-60 families every two weeks.  The bank is open the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Riverview UMC - Riverview has shared various activities.  One is "Rise & Shine" morning devotion which is done Mon-Sat at a local park.  Click HERE to read more about it and their other activities.

Tomoka UMC - In August, they will launch a monthly Family Worship Experience to build a bridge from our growing Tomoka Toddler Time group into the worshipping life of the church.  The Family Worship Experience builds on our highly successful Toddler/Preschool Christmas and Easter Worship.  Kids, families, and adults of all ages will experience God through creative and tactile means which include music, media, and scripture.  The service will be accompanied by a new adult Sunday School class using Disciple Fast Track and a new Sunday school option for preschoolers and toddlers.  Tomoka is a church committed to reach the very youngest and the very oldest in Ormond Beach.
We will continue to run this section in the newsletter as long as our clergy keep submitting their examples to Bob Bushong.
East Central District 2016 Charge Conference Information

All Charge Conference forms with detailed instructions will be available on the Florida Conference website and the East Central District website on Monday, August 22nd.

Note:  There will be changes to the Appointed Pastor's Compensation form.   The details for charge conference are being finalized now.

A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
Greetings East Central District!  Southeast Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ) went well by most accounts and, as your delegate, it has truly been an honor to represent the East Central District at General Conference, Annual Conference and the SEJ.  I don't guess I can say I'm new to the workings of the UMC any longer as these experiences have truly been a time of great learnings regarding the good, the bad, and the ugly of church polity.  But the thing that I am more convinced of than ever before is that through it all God is ever-present!  The things I will always remember are the people and conversations held regarding our denomination, the unexpected familiarity with our Book of Discipline, the work on the various committees, and the FLUMC delegation's work supporting our Florida Episcopal Nominee, Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson! 
Highlights from SEJ include:
- An historic election of the Rev. Sharma Lewis of the North Georgia Annual Conference on the first ballot! Lewis is the first African-American female elected in the SEJ and has been assigned to the Virginia Annual Conference.
- The election of FLUMC's Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson as the first female Bishop serving the North Georgia Conference! And if you wondered if the East Central District played a role, the answer is "you betcha"!  Rev. Riley Short and I had the great honor to be the FLUMC clergy and laity representatives to sponsor Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson at the Bishop's Consecration Ceremony.
- The elections of Rev. David Graves (from the Holston Conference assigned to Alabama-West Florida Conference), Rev. Leonard Fairley (from the North Carolina Conference assigned to Louisville Conference), and Rev. Lawson Bryan (from the Alabama-West Florida Conference assigned to South Georgia Conference) to round out the 5 Bishops the SEJ was tasked to elect--all in a history making one day on 10 ballots! 
- The Nominations Committee (to which Rev. Sharon Austin and I were assigned) identified all of our General Conference positions in a day and a half of work.  This, too, was historic in that it usually takes several days to complete. The FLUMC was given 4 opportunities to place folks on various agencies and we were fortunate to be able to place a diverse slate of clergy and laity into key roles within our denomination:
- Molly McEntire to General Board of Global Missions (head of our FLUMC delegation, Laity/Young Adult)
- Rev. Sharon Austin was reappointed to the General Board of Church & Society (FLUMC Director of Connectional Ministries, African-American/Clergy/Adult)
- Rev. Rini Hernandez to the General Commission on Religion & Race (DS South-West Florida, Hispanic/Clergy/Adult) 
- Derrick Scott to the Division on Ministries with Young People (Laity/African-American/Adult) 
- We were delighted to have the reappointment of Bishop Ken Carter to the FLUMC for another 4 years!
Other highlights of note:
- Amazing worship experiences and the opportunity to network with laity and clergy from other conferences in our Jurisdiction
- The opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue around issues and events impacting our denomination (Please see the link below for a letter issued at SEJ from our Bishops regarding the SEJ position on human sexuality.) college of bishops letter-2016.pdf
I hope I have represented you well during these assignments and that you will continue to keep our denomination in your prayers as we attempt to discern God's calling on the UMC!
-- Alice
Annual Ministry Protection Property and Casualty Insurance Review
August 15-31, 2016
Local Church Trustees should take time to carefully review insurance coverages and update the online insurance database annually.  The annual review period is August 15-31, 2016.  The link to Insurance Reports is located on the local church dashboard homepage.  Click HERE to link to the Church Dashboard via the insurance Database Instructions on the Ministry Protection website.  This database is also available online year round to enable churches to update insurance data as changes occur.  For assistance, please contact Ana Temple in Ministry Protection at
Annual Workers Compensation Payroll Review
August 15-31, 2016
The Annual Workers Compensation Payroll Review is included in the Church Dashboard review of property and casualty insurance detailed above.  The Finance/Treasurer or person responsible for payroll should project the church payroll by category through the end of 2016 and complete the 2016 Workers Compensation Survey during the review period in August 2016.  For assistance, please contact Ana Temple in Ministry Protection at
Benefits Update: Freedom to Choose - 2017 Health Initiative
Effective January 1, 2017
The Florida Annual Conference approved the Freedom to Choose- 2017 Health Initiative effective January 1, 2017. The clergy's United Healthcare insurance plan will end on December 31, 2016. This new benefit criteria applies to all full-time clergy, including deacons, appointed to a local church, mission, District or Conference staff.
Over the next few months you will begin receiving more information to help you navigate through this transition. For a broad overview to get you started, Click HERE.
Clergy Health Insurance Meeting 
August 18; 10:00am- Asbury UMC, Maitland
Wendy McCoy will meet with our clergy on August 18 to personally communicate the next steps in this process and to share resources for assistance with the transition.  This new benefit criteria applies to all full-time clergy, including deacons, appointed to a local church, mission, District or Conference staff.

This is not a mandatory meeting, however clergy and spouses are encouraged to attend.  Click HERE to register.
Lay Servant Gathering
August 6th; 9:00am - 12 Noon - Ocoee Oaks UMC; 201 S. Clark Road, Ocoee 
NOW I AM a Lay Servant, oh dear, what do I do?
You have asked, you queried and we listened! Please join Jim Boesch and Lynn Campbell on Saturday, August 6, from 9 am to noon at Ocoee Oaks United Methodist Church, for a time to TALK! We will share in worship, fellowship, some refreshment and much conversation. Pastors will join us as part of a panel to share their experiences, expectations and how we can together serve better in the vineyard.
Come with ideas! We invite you to be thinking about
some things you would like to share or have addressed and tools you would like to take away.  Bring specifics regarding what worked and what hasn't worked before - help us guide the conversation with YOUR suggestions.  So come and share what you would like to see happen. Come as we work on some "how to do" things.  Come for tips on how to improve YOUR spiritual life as you continue to make Disciples and be Disciple Makers.

  Jim and Lynn would love to see you on that Saturday as we come together to serve you. We are already in prayer for each of you who would attend and spend time discussing this Ministry of the Laity!
Please know that while this is NOT a training event and there is NO CHARGE, we do encourage you to register as early as possible so that we can plan accordingly. CLICK HERE to register online.
Jim & Lynn
The Global Leadership Summit (GLS)
August 11-12, 2016 - Pine Ridge Fellowship, Deltona
 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 2016. Throughout
the fall, Summit events take place at
an additional 675+ sites in 125
countries and 59 languages. 
Click HERE for a flyer. 
Pine Ridge Fellowship in Deltona
is a host site. Questions? 
Contact Yvonne at

Directions to Pine Ridge Fellowship:
935 Howland Blvd. Deltona, FL
Howland Campus: From I-4 Exit 473 Follow signs to Howland Blvd. Stay on Howland Blvd. Pass Providence Blvd. Pass Courtland Blvd. (toward Wal-mart) We are located directly across from Pine Ridge High School. Normandy Campus: From Howland and Providence Blvd. Head South toward Doyle Road Turn right on East Normandy at the light We are located on the left just after the bus stop. Normandy Campus located parallel to Discovery Elementary School.

The Rough Cut Men Movie Experience
August 26 & 27 - First UMC, Orlando
Men, this is a fun and inspirational event made specifically for you.  The Rough Cut Men Movie Experience is NOT a program, or a presentation, or a Bible Study.  Bring a group of men from your church, Sunday school class, or small group, or just some friends!  This is open to all men from all churches and to those without a church.

Click here for the promotion flyer.  Questions?  Contact Chris at or call/text 407-466-2411.

Rock the Universe
September 9 & 10, 2016 - Universal Studios Florida
Rock, ride and rejoice at Rock the Universe™ only at Universal Studios Florida™. Experience two nights of soul-stirring songs from Christian music's hottest stars, alongside awesome rides and attractions. It's an unforgettable weekend of faith and fun. 
Lift your hands and let your heart soar for a weekend of pulse-pounding music from some of Christian rock's brightest.  Click HERE for the RTU website.

Friday, September 9
Jeremy Camp
Matt Maher 

Saturday, September 10
Colton Dixon
Bishop's Town Hall Gathering
September 22; 6:00pm - St. Luke's UMC
You are invited to join Bishop Carter and other clergy and laity from around your region for an evening of conversation.
  • Call for Unity
  • A Time for Questions and Answers
  • Highlights of Key Future Initiatives

Thursday, September 22 6:00pm St. Luke's UMC, Orlando

Word to all clergy:  Bishop Carter has asked all of us to be present at one of these gatherings.  It would be helpful if we all brought lay folks with us.  If you can't make the one at St. Luke's, please choose the one that works best for you.

The evening gathering will conclude with light appetizers.  
Click HERE to register.

Administrative Staff Appreciation and Training Day
Thursday, September 29; 9:00 am - 2:00 pm; Asbury UMC, Maitland
East Central District business managers, financial administrators and church secretaries are invited to attend this fun day of appreciation and training. 

We are excited to have Marilynn Mollica, HR & Benefits Director, and another member of HR Team joining us.

If you have a specific topic you hope to see on the agenda, please send an email to Claudia and we will do our best to address it. 

We look forward to seeing you at Asbury UMC on September 29!  Coffee and fellowship begins at 8:30am in the Fellowship Hall. To register, Click HERE
Fresh Expressions Mini-Vision Day
October 8 - Asbury UMC, Maitland
Fresh Expression Spark Session
Asbury UMC
220 W. Horatio Ave.
Maitland, FL  32751
October 8, 2016
8:30am - 12:00pm

Asbury UMC is hosting a Frest Expression Spark Session.  Our intention is to ignite East Central District toward attending Fresh Expressions Vision Day November 5th in the Villages.  George Cope with Vision Orlando and Charisse Jones from Asbury Seminary's Office of Faith, Work and Economics will be presenting on Markplace Ministries among others.  For more information contact Patricia Orlando Fresh Expressions Transformational Leader at
East Central Fall Clergy Meeting
October 10, 2016 - Canterbury Retreat, Oviedo
Leading Through, Over, and Around Life's Tumults
Fall Clergy Meeting
Monday, October 10     9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Canterbury Retreat, Oviedo

Rev. Janice Virtue, Educator, Consultant, & Coach,  will lead us in a day apart.  For the last two decades, Janice Virtue has focused her ministry on creating leadership development and leader formation programs that encourage the church's clergy and congregational leaders to offer their best talent to the church. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Janice is most in tune with God's call when teaching, supporting, and challenging church leaders to live more fully into their own callings. In recent years Janice has developed long-term leadership development initiatives for clergy in ten annual conferences including Advancing Pastoral Leadership for young clergy in Texas, LEAP (Leadership Excellence Advancement Program) in Louisiana and Courage to Lead in Florida.
A member of the Western North Carolina Conference, Janice holds a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University and a Master of Divinity from SMU. When she isn't working, Janice likes to be quiet, read good books, hike good trails, laugh with good friends and travel with her husband.

Clergy are asked to register today and plan to participate.  If you are not able to participate because of a previous commitment, please email Bob Bushong and let him know about your conflict.

Lay Servant Ministries Weekend of Learning
October 14 & 15, 2016 - First UMC, DeLand
A Weekend of Lay Leadership Learning
Servant Leadership Equipping Encounter

Friday         5:00pm - 8:00pm
Saturday     8:00am - 4:00pm

Basic Lay Servant Ministry Course (English) 
  - Facilitator: Lynn Campbell, Associate Director, East Central District LSM
Ministerios de la Oratoria Laica- Curso Basico 
  - Facilitator: Rev. Miguel Velez, Sr. Pastor, Christ Hispanic, Orlando
Creating "Disciple-Making" Systems (English)                     
  - Facilitator: Rev. Owen Stricklin, Sr. Pastor, First UMC, DeLand                      
Transformacion de Evangelismo (Transforming Evangelism)-The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith                      
  - Facilitator: Rev. Ana Adujar-Velez, Retired Clergy                      
Cost for training event: $45, includes course materials, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner.                    

Click HERE for the brochure and registration form.  Registration must be received in the district office by October 7th.                                          

Questions?  Email Jim Boesch at or call 407-721-0416.
Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training
November 28 - Tomoka UMC, Ormond Beach
November 29 - Asbury UMC, Maitland
The Annual East Central District SPRC training event will provide your team with effective tools for the many responsibilities of the SPRC.  Pastors, SPRC Chairperson and Committee Members, Lay Leaders, and Lay Members to AC are encouraged to attend.  Please join Dr. Bob Bushong and Wendy McCoy from the Conference Human Resources Ministry for this important informational event.

Wendy will have a presentation regarding the changes to clergy health benefits that start January 2017.

Both days will cover the same material.  Register for the date that is best for you.
Monday, November 28 - 6:30pm
Tomoka UMC
1000 Old Tomoka Road
Ormond Beach, FL  32174
Click HERE to RSVP for Tomoka.
Tuesday, November 29 - 6:30pm
Asbury UMC
220 W Horatio Ave
Maitland, FL  32751
Click HERE to RSVP for Asbury.
Post Employment Law Posters for FREE!
New Labor Laws Effective December 1, 2016!
Want to save money on employment law posters?  Click HERE for the posters.  All the posters you need are available to print for FREE on that page!  If you run into any difficulties at all, please just give the Florida Conference Human Resources office a call at (800) 282-8011.

There are changes to the Labor Laws effective December 1st.  The Conference Human Resources page has a wealth of information.  Click HERE for their webpage.  Click HERE for the announcement regarding the change.
Around the Conference
Warren W. Willis Retreats
Warren W. Willis is not just for Summer Camp...although that is an amazing time!  Check out all the other wonderful programs that you and your church can attend.                    

Confirmation Retreats  (Sep 30 - Oct 2, 2016) Gather with confirmands from across the state of Florida to learn about the important vows involved in joining The United Methodist Church.

Connect (Oct 14-16, 2016 & Nov 11-13, 2016)  At our new fall retreat we will learn together what it means to be a Christian and do the work of the church in this digital age. We are more connected than ever, but are we any closer? How can we use social media to make a positive impact in the world aside from just posting pictures and liking statuses? Bring your devices and chargers and join us for a weekend to learn how to #church.

Clergy Kids  (Jan 13-15, 2017) A retreat specifically designed to minister to the children of pastors in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.  A great time to connect with old friends, develop new and lasting relationships, and focus on a closer walk with Jesus Christ.

College Connection (Jan 27-29, 2017) A weekend retreat at camp devoted to connecting high school seniors to college ministries.  College ministries from around the state of Florida will be represented by volunteers, workshop leaders, worship bands, and speakers.   

Dare to Cry (Feb 10-11, 2017) Dare is a student leadership training retreat for students by students.  This is a great event to bring your student leaders (or those whom you'd like to become student leaders) to, in whatever form that takes in your local church.               
Assimilation of Members and Making Disciples
August 30th; 9:30am - 2:30pm - First UMC - Port St. Lucie
We invite you to be a part of this exciting Clergy meeting led by Rev. Dale Locke, Pastor of Community of Hope UMC, the second fastest growing church in our denomination. He will be speaking on assimilation of members and making disciples. Pastors and persons in their churches who deal with these subjects are welcome to attend.          
RSVP or 772-299-0255.  We look forward to seeing you there!
Clergy Gathering
October 25 - 26, Life Enrichment Center
Early Response Team Training
October 28 -29, Warren W. Willis Camp
Early Response Teams (ERT) are self-contained teams who enter a disaster zone at the invitation of local emergency management officials. ERT's offer a Christian presence and are trained to provide various types of physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to disaster survivors. ERT's are registered with the Disaster Recovery Ministry of The Florida Annual Conference, and Disaster Recovery coordinates team placement with emergency management to help where it is needed most after a disaster. 

NOTE: Basic Disaster Ministry Training is required before taking ERT Training.  Click HERE for more details and to register online.
36th Annual Clergy Mates 2016 Retreat
District Calendar of Events
August 2016
August 6: Lay Servant Gathering - Ocoee Oaks UMC, Orlando
August 11-12: Global Leadership Summit - Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC, Deltona
August 18: Clergy 2017 Health Initiative Meeting; 10:00am, Asbury UMC, Maitland
August 18: New Clergy to ECD Orientation - 11:30am, Asbury UMC, Maitland
August 22: Charge Conference forms are live
August 25: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
September 2016
September 5: Labor Day Holiday - District Office Closed
September 17: EC District UMW Mission Study Sampler, Sanlando UMC, Longwood
September 22: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
September 22: Bishop's Town Hall Meeting - St Luke's UMC, Orlando
September 29: Local Church AA Training; 9:00am-2:30pm - Asbury UMC, Maitland

October 2016
October 8: Fresh Expressions Mini-Vision Day - Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 10: Fall Clergy Meeting; 9:30am, Canterbury Retreat, Oviedo
October 14 & 15: Lay Servant Training - First DeLand
October 22: EC District UMW Annual Meeting, First Winter Garden
October 25-26: Clergy Gathering - LEC
October 27: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 28 - 29: Early Response Team Training - Warren W. Willis
November 2016
November 3-5: Florida Clergy Mates Retreat - Life Enrichment Center
November 5: UMW Conference Annual Meeting - Life Enrichment Center
November 11: Veteran's Holiday - District Office Closed
November 17: EC dCOM - 9:00am - 4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 24 & 25: Thanksgiving Holiday - District Office Closed
November 28: SPRC Training - 6:30pm - 8:30pm Tomoka UMC, Ormond Beach
November 29: SPRC Training - 6:30pm - 8:30pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 2016
December 15: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
January 2017
January 13 - 14: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
February 2017
February 4: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo
June 2017
June 8 - 10: Annual Conference - The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa

                                                  Like us on Facebook          Follow us on Twitter