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April 2017 Newsletter

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One of my all-time favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. It's a powerful study of the human condition, of relationships, of good and evil, of life in the face of adversity, of the testing of the human spirit, of faith and hope.

Tim Robbins plays the main character in the film, a quiet banker named Andy Dufrensene who is convicted of committing two murders that he did not commit and condemned to a separate life sentence for each murder. For twenty years, Andy works toward his day of escape from bondage. Through all of the trauma of his experience he has never given up hope. Then comes the day he has been waiting for.

It's a powerful scene as Andy makes his way through the bowels of the prison, literally swimming through five hundred yards of sewage - five football fields length of pipe - in order to make his way to freedom.

As Andy slides from the sewer pipe into the cleansing refreshment of the summer rain, his experience is one of coming to new life from an experience of death - as he rips off the shroud of his years of trauma, as he is washed and made clean, as he grabs hold of the freedom inherent in new life, in a fresh start, in the transformation of the past.

In a very real way, Andy experiences resurrection. He slides from the darkness of his life of only moments before into the bright dawn of a new day, a new reality, a new future. He is freed from captivity. He is released from that which has kept him from an experience of the fullness of life. He is redeemed.

That's the message of Easter, my friends. Jesus, and through Jesus, we ourselves, slide into the bright dawn of a new day, a new reality, a new future. We are released from that which has kept us from the fullness of life. We are redeemed.

One of the great lines in The Shawshank Redemption is when Andy is talking to his good friend, Red, played by Morgan Freeman, about his life in prison. At one point he says, "Hope is something inside that they can't take away."

Reflecting on that statement later, Red says, "Hope is a good thing - maybe the best of things - and no good thing ever dies."

My prayer for you in this Lenten season that soon leads to the celebration of Easter is that your life will be filled with the hope that never dies.
Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In the District
Young Adult Seminary Trip 
July 24 - 28, 2017


Dr. Bob Bushong is hosting a trip for young adults interested in ministry to visit Duke Divinity School and Candler School of Theology.  There will be a small group driving from Central Florida to visit the two schools.  

Click HERE for the application for the 2017 Young Adult Seminary Visit application.  Completed applications and $50 deposit should be turned in to the East Central District Office by June 1, 2017.  All applicants will be notified by June 16th, whether or not they have been selected.

Questions?  Email Claudia at
A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
"God is great and God is good,"--it was the start of the prayer that I learned as a child and became tasked with praying at every family meal. As a child, I couldn't realize how important those words were. As an adult, I am humbled by them. This past Sunday afternoon I was with dear friends at a cookout (something we Floridians have the privilege of doing this time of year). In addition to some great food, we had a chance to catch up with one another and, inevitably, the conversation gravitated towards current events and politics. Like most situations I find myself in these days, the group I was with was mixed on their views to the point of some pretty intense polarization. Fortunately, our relationships and longevity as friends more than covered any differences in opinion. Yet, I couldn't help but notice that each of us was so assured of the "rightness" of our position.
On the ride home the hymn we sang in church that morning kept going through my mind - sort of an ear-worm, I suppose. It was "Open My Eyes" and the first verse goes: "Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou has for me, place in my hands the wonderful key that will unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God thy will to see. Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine."  As I hummed the song, I couldn't help but think that if we did more of what the song said, perhaps we would find ourselves less divided overall. Maybe if we could just take a breather and remember that God is truly great and God is truly good, we'd somehow find ourselves in a better frame of mind to deal with what divides us and be enabled to focus on what unites us as His beloved creation.
As we approach Easter, I hope we all will take a moment to remember who we are and whose we are and that we are, indeed, illumined by the Holy Spirit!
Easter blessings to one and all!
Local Church Reports - Past Due After March 31
As a reminder, the following reports were due into the district office by March 31st.  
Do not modify the reports.  Please email reports together to Betty Sims
 You can find instructions and other pertinent information by clicking the link(s) above or going to the conference website,, and click on Calendar of Reports due under Forms at the bottom of their home page.

Committee Responsible
Child Youth Protection Policy
Fiscal Responsibility & Management Policy
Employee Conduct Policy
Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy
Annual Parsonage Report

The following reports are submitted online - do not send a hardcopy to the district.  You can locate them on your church dashboard under forms.
Committee Responsible
Fund Balance
Disaster Recovery Resource Survey
Disaster Coordinator or Trustee

The church needs to keep a signed Employee Conduct Policy on each employee in their personnel file -- the district does not get them.  We only get the one on the appointed pastor(s).

Questions?  Claudia Sava or Betty Sims
LEAD: Planning for Mission Effectiveness
April 22, 2017; 10:00am-3:00pm; St. Luke's UMC, Orlando 
Gain insight into emerging trends in mission work and practical tools for developing mission strategies.

Facilitated by St. Luke's United Methodist Church mission directors Lynette Fields, Executive Director of Missions, and Mariam Mengistie, Director of Mission Development. These leaders have over 40 years of combined experience in the missions field. Cost: $20 (includes lunch and snacks). CLICK HERE to REGISTER.

Participants will learn:
* Wesleyan grounding for "why" we are called to mission work
* Mission strategy development
* Resources for increasing mission effectiveness
* Mission evaluation tools
* Best practices for community relations
* How to move an organization's focus from relief to development

Who should attend?
* Pastors
* Pastors
* Church staff
* Lay leaders
Attendees will leave this workshop with practical tools that can be applied immediately in the mission field.

For questions email or call 407-257-7673
St. Luke's UMC; 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road Orlando, FL 32819
Lay Servant & Local Church Lay Leader Gathering
April 29, 2017; 1890 W SR 434; Longwood, FL 32750
HOW DO I CONTINUE TO GROW as a Lay Servant into the kingdom builder and server God is calling me to be?
At our August 2016 LSM Gathering you asked, you queried and we listened! 
Please join servant leaders Lynn Campbell, Jim Boesch and EC District Lay Leaders Alice Williams, Melanie and Kim Lee on Saturday, April 29, from 9am to noon at Sanlando United Methodist Church, for a time to EXPLORE, DISCERN AND LISTEN to His Calling for us to become servant leaders as we share in worship, fellowship, some refreshment and a leadership equipping overview conversation.

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 get you the Lead Like Jesus Overview material ahead of our time together. Click HERE to register.
Blessings --Lynn and Jim

Fresh Expressions Orlando Vision Day
May 11; 9:00 am-3:00pm; University Carillon UMC; Oviedo, FL
The ministry landscape is changing. Are you ready?

What if the Church got creative about engaging the 21st century world with the gospel? What if the Church could empower and equip God's people to connect with their neighborhoods and networks?
It is happening across the globe and it can happen in your context!

What is a Vision Day?
Fresh Expressions Vision Day is a one-day interactive training that can catalyze your church to:
  • See opportunity in the new mission field
  • Hear how fresh expressions are renewing the church
  • Discover how fresh expressions of church develop and grow
  • Consider what a fresh expression might look like in your context
  • Discover your role in releasing these new missions

Cost: $20 (Sponsor*); $25 (FL Methodist Conf.); $25 (Asbury Seminary); General Admission: $35 
For more information and to register, Click HEREClick HERE for flyer.

This vision day is sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida and Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.

Run 4 Life 4 Miler
May 20, 2017; 7:00am; Florida United Methodist Children's Home, Enterprise
The 7th Annual Run 4 Life 4 Miler is May 20th at The Florida United Methodist Children's Home. This 4 Mile Event takes you through the FUMCH and Enterprise.  The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise money for programs providing support to those in need. All race proceeds will go to FUMCH and other local suicide prevention programs.

Run or walk...come join us on May 20th!  We would love for you to sign up on team East Central District of the United Methodist Church.  Click HERE to register online.  Click HERE for the registration form to mail in.
2017 Pre Annual Conference Gathering
May 7th 3:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
Asbury United Methodist Church - Sanctuary
220 W Horatio Ave
Maitland, FL  32751
May 7, 2017 - 3:00pm

All Clergy and Lay Members to Annual Conference are encouraged to attend this event to hear valuable information related to several voting items at Annual Conference.  There will be information on the Cabinet's proposal to reduce the number of Districts in the Florida Annual Conference from nine to eight.
2017 Annual Conference | June 8-10
Buena Vista Palace Hotel, Orlando

175th Session of the Florida Annual Conference
Thursday, June 8 - Saturday, June 10
Gathering Events begin Wednesday, June 7

Buena Vista Palace Hotel
1900 Buena Vista Drive; Orlando, FL 32830

Click HERE for the AC2017 webpage.  It will be updated as information is available.
Mission Trip for Senior Citizens
October 28 - November 4 - Baldwin, LA
Would you like to go on a mission trip-one that doesn't require a passport, shots, or hard labor? A team is being formed to travel by bus to Baldwin, LA. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has a large Depot there where supplies donated by churches are prepared for shipment to disaster areas. The dorm and dining hall facilities on campus can handle up to 200 volunteers a week who do jobs on campus and in the community.

The First United Methodist Churches of Orlando and Winter Park have sent teams during the last fifteen years. Folks work all year making cloth school bags and collecting specified items for the kits and flood buckets warehoused at the Depot.  Fabric and sewing equipment are available for making school bags. 

If you would like more information about becoming a team member, taking on a project of collecting items the team can take to the Depot, or having a program about this opportunity for service and fellowship, please call Sue Cepull at 407-859-0468 or email at
Church Historian Contact Information is Needed
The Florida Conference Archives & History Commission would like to contact church historians directly but we do not know who you are or have your contact information.
We would love to be able to communicate (by email) directly with all church historians. There are many reasons why, but the most important is the fact that our Conference will be celebrating its 175th Anniversary in 2019 and we want to plan a whole year's worth of spectacular events, exhibits, celebrations and FUN!

Please help us in this endeavor by letting your Church Office know that you would like to be your church historian.  Once Nominations determines who the Historian will be, the Church Office will enter your information into the Church Dashboard.  We will (finally!) know who you are and what church you represent. After that, we promise to be in touch.
Thanks, and I can't wait to get to know you better! For additional information, please contact me.
Anita Campbell
East Central District member representative and chair
FLUM Commission on Archives & History
(386) 734-9224
Register Now for a Free CV Webinars
Thursday, May 11; 6:30 pm Central
Offering Electronic Giving: What Are You Waiting For?

Presenter:  Ken Sloane , Director of Stewardship and Connectional Ministries
Electronic giving is not the future of charitable giving, it is the present reality. If your church is not offering this as an option for those who attend your church, you are missing out on generous giving. If there have been obstacles to making this option available to your church, we will talk about them in this webinar.
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

Rock The Universe™ is held at Universal Studios Florida™ which means you can enjoy awesome attractions like Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™ and more. While you're here make sure to check out Universal's new water theme park Volcano Bay™ and Universal's Island of Adventure™ where you can experience Skull Island: Reign of Kong™, The Incredible Hulk Coaster™ and more.
Around the Conference
Free Healthcare Webinar | Sponsored by United Healthcare
Tuesday, April 11, 2017; 12:30pm (EST)
This month's topic: Aha! Simple Secrets of Organized People
Date: April 11, 2017 at 12:30PM ET, 11:30AM CT, 10:30AM MT, 9:30AM PT
These seminars will be scheduled on the second Tuesday of each month and offer free online resources and events focused on keeping you and your family healthy.
These one-hour online webinars are fully interactive and include audio and video of the speaker with a question and answer period immediately following the presentation. Participants are able to email the speakers with questions during the presentation and they will respond during the session. We hope you'll have the time to attend
this free event. 
12th Annual Native American Ministry Gathering
April 21-23, 2017; Life Enrichment Center; Fruitland Park, FL
Please join us at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, FL, on April 21 - April 23, 2017, for our 12th Annual Native American Ministry Gathering. Everyone is welcome. This is a Christ-centered, culturally-relevant event where you will learn and be blessed by what God is doing among and through the Native American people. Great music, teaching, workshops and fellowship are on the agenda.

The event is free, but you must register to attend and purchase meals and lodging, if you desire. Attend for a day or for the whole weekend. Special guest speakers will be Terry and Darlene Wildman, pastors of the Northport Indian UMC in Traverse City, Michigan. Registration deadline is April 7. You can obtain a registration form at For more information, contact Ed Taylor at 352-409-3368. 
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!

Dad and Me Weekend - April 21-23, 2017
Grandparents and Me - June 19-22, 2017 & July 10-13, 2017
Family Camp - July 7-9, 2017 & July 14-16, 2017
Mom and Me Weekend - September 15-17, 2017

Questions?  Email Rev. Melissa Cooper
Warren W. Willis Retreats & Summer Camp
Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect and fellowship.

Created By God - April 28-30
Summer Camps - June - August
Connect 2017 - October 13-16, November 10-12
Plan your own retreat!
Hyde Park UMC Mission Trip to Nicaragua
October 28 - November 4 - El Ayudante in Leon, Nicaragua
Friends in the District and Conference,
Hyde Park UMC is going on a mission trip to El Ayudante in Leon, Nicaragua October 28 - November 4. We'd love to invite anyone from area churches who'd like to join us.  Let us coach you on what you need to do to lead a trip with your church if you are interested.  
Our first informational meeting will be April 3 from 6:00-7:30pm and is open to anyone who'd like to come and learn more.  It does not commit anyone to the trip. Subsequent team building meetings will be May 15 and June 19. For more information, click HERE

Apply Now for UMC FCU Scholarships for College Bound Students
The Florida United Methodist Connectional FCU is once again offering scholarships to 17-35 year-old college-bound students in our connection. Four winning applicants, one from each of our four conferences - Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida - will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.  CLICK HERE for complete rules, an application, and full essay submission criteria. Deadline for submission is April 28, 2017

Applicants must be a credit union member in good standing. Eligible credit union members are: 1) members of the United Methodist Church in this conference, 2) employees of a United Methodist church or agency, or 3) an immediate family member of a UMC FCU member.

For additional questions, contact the Marietta, GA branch at 800-282-9368 or the Lakeland, FL branch at 866-687-2126. 
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
April 2017
April 1: FUMCH Day on Campus
April 4: District Leadership Team Meeting - 4pm - District Office
April 14: District and Conference Offices Closed for Good Friday
April 29: ECD Lay Servant Gathering 9:00an - Sanlando UMC
April 30: Announcement Sunday
May 2017
May 7: Pre Annual Conference Gathering - 3:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
May 18: dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due April 27)
May 20: Run4Life4Miler - 7:00am; FUMCH, Enterprise
May 25: Right Start for moving clergy - 10am-4pm, Lakeland
May 29: District & Conference Offices Closed for Memorial Day
May 31 - June 1: Right Start Training - First Time Appointments & Transfers - Lakeland
June 2017
June 7: Pre Annual Conference Workshops
June 8 - 10: Annual Conference - Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, Orlando
June 15:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due May 25)
June 27: Moving Day for Clergy Moving

July 2017
July 4: District and Conference Offices Closed for Independence Day
July 13-16: Mission U; Bethune-Cookman University; Daytona Beach
July 14-15: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
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)
September 2017
September 4: District and Conference Offices Closed for Labor Day
September 8-10: UMW Conference Spiritual Retreat; LEC, Fruitland Park
September 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Aug. 31)
September 23: "Mission Sampler;" Sanlando UMC, Longwood
September 26: District Leadership Team Meeting - 4:00pm - District Office
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: District and Conference Offices Closed for Veterans Day
November 23 & 24: District and Conference Offices Closed for Thanksgiving
December 2017
December 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Nov. 30)
December 25: District & Conference Offices Closed for Christmas

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

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