Wholeness for our Clergy, Congregations, and Communities
"How should I pray?" was the question asked of Jesus by his disciples. And his answer?
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory
are yours forever. Amen.
New Revised Standard Version
E. Stanley Jones described the effect of prayer on us
Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God. Aligned to God's redemptive will, anything, everything can happen in character, conduct, and creativeness. The whole person is heightened by that prayer contact. In that contact I find health for my body, illumination for my mind, and moral and spiritual reinforcement for my soul. 'Prayer is a time exposure to God,' so I expose myself to God for an hour and a half or two hours a day, asking less and less for things and more and more for Himself. For having Him,
I have everything. He gives me what I need for character, conduct, and creativeness, so I'm rich with His riches, strong in His strength, pure in His purity,
and able in His ability.
An hour and a half to two hours a day? That's probably not happening for most of us.
To set aside fifteen to twenty minutes a day for intentional communication with God would be a great start for many folks in our context. For many of us, claiming that quiet time is not an easy thing to do. And yet, it is essential.
Prayer makes a critical difference in our lives: because of the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives of which prayer reminds us; because of our need for "exposure to God," as Jones puts it; because through regular, intentional prayer we do receive a strong sense of God's leading, of God's direction, of God's purpose for our lives.
Prayer often is defined as "communicating with God," not a bad definition. However, when we pray regularly, when we do it in a heartfelt manner, when it becomes a part of our daily routine, when we look forward to it and put it in a place of priority, we find that we don't only communicate with God . . . we also commune with God. We become one with God in mind and spirit and purpose.
Prayer then becomes for us not just a time set aside; it becomes a way of life. It becomes a part of us that is interwoven with all that happens throughout our day. It becomes something that we realize we cannot live without.
Grace and Peace,
East Central District
Below are the East Central District Appointment changes. Let me invite you to be intentional about welcoming and congratulating these pastors on their moves, new appointments and retirements!
Appointments in the East Central District:
East Central District - Michele Van Son
Broadway - Rodney Wallace
Christ, Sanford - Arch Fisher
First, Sanford - David and Meghan Killingsworth
Montverde - Nicole Logan
New Church Start (NCD) - Brian Johnson
Ocoee Oaks - Wade Arnold
Orange City - Janet Chilcote
Peace, Hunter's Creek (Associate) - Jim Berlau
Pine Ridge Fellowship - Josias Andujar
Reeves - Patti Thue
Sanlando - Jonathan Tarman
South Street, Winter Park (Associate) - Craig Blocher
Tomoka - Jose Carrion
Trinity, DeLand - Dale Golden
University Carillon, Oviedo (Associate) - Bobby Brooks
EC Clergy receiving appointments out of the East Central District:
David Carefoot - First, New Port Richey
Brian Carr - First, Port St. Lucie
Raphael Dessieu - Druid Hills, Ocala
Stephen Hartsfield - First, Plant City
Matt Kern - St. Paul's, Tallahassee (Associate)
Jacquie Leveron - East Naples, Naples
Eric McCrea - Bokeelia, Pine Island
Troy Ray - Lake Shore, Jacksonville
Ben Stilwell-Hernandez - First, Homestead
East Central District Lay Leaders
Thank You to Alice Williams!
Alice has served as the Lay Leader of the East Central District since 2011 and is rotating off of that position at the end of the end of June. An active member of St. Luke's UMC, Alice has brought a deep level of commitment to her leadership work, both in her local church, in the district, and in the Florida Conference. Thank you, Alice, for your faithful service, and more than that, for being who you are!
Kim and Melanie Lee New ECD Lay Leaders
We are pleased to announce that Kim and Melanie Lee will become Co-Lay Leaders of the East Central District beginning July 1. Active members of First UMC Orlando since the 1980s, Kim and Melanie have raised three remarkable children who are now grown, and recently have celebrated the birth of their first grandchild.
Kim has practiced law for many years and also worked as a national heathcare company senior executive. Melanie has held numerous positions emerging from her background in psychology and education, most recently teaching at Winter Park High School. Together the Lee's founded "Flourish in Place," an agency that helps senior adults and adults with disabilities flourish while leading dignified, independent lives in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Both Kim and Melanie are Certified Senior Care Managers and, on a personal level, have experienced caring for aging parents and a sibling who is intellectually disabled.
Melanie is a Certified Lay Servant in the UMC, and both Melanie and Kim have gained much satisfaction over the years from serving in a variety of leadership and servant roles in the life of their local church.
Grace and peace,
District Superintendent, East Central District
A Farewell Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
It was one of those perfect April Saturday mornings that we are blessed to have here in Florida. It wasn't too hot and certainly not too cold, perfect "top down" weather for a drive in the convertible. While driving through Winter Park soaking in the morning, and admittedly just kind of meandering since I wasn't under any pressure to be somewhere at a certain time, a young man drove up behind me on a motorcycle and proceeded to utter words that I will take with me to my grave, "Come on, sexy - giddy up!" At first I was embarrassed at the critique of my pokey driving. Then the absurdity of the moment struck me and I ended up howling with laughter. I was easily old enough to be his mother, possibly even his grandmother! And while I'm called many things, "sexy" is just not one of them. His comment was both an admonishment and compliment that motivated my driving and, quite honestly, made my day.
You know the more I've thought about it, I think God is saying the same thing to us, "Come on, Church, - giddy up!" "Come on, my beloved creation, quit basking in my love for you and get a move on to the work I've called you for!" "Take all that I've given you - my love, the gifts and talents I've bestowed on you, my unfailing presence with you, and share all these things with a world who aches to know what you know!"
The theme for Annual Conference this year is more than appropriate, "Revive Us Again!"
I've been so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as Lay Leader for the best district in the UMC (yes, I'm admittedly bias). I have learned so much from our clergy and laity, many of who have become dear friends. And I've had the privilege of working with three of the FLUMC's finest District Superintendents who have been amazing mentors and guides through the workings of the FLUMC. I've also witnessed firsthand the immense dedication and hours of work that our District Staff have selflessly given to the glory of God (you ladies are truly awesome!).
The membership of the East Central District has extended grace upon grace over the years to me as together we've tried to discern God's calling. Most of all, you've given of yourselves and shown love and support in ways that I could never have imagined. And I know you will do the same for Melanie and Kim Lee as they step into this role with their unique and wonderful gifts and graces.
I pray God's richest blessings on each of you and look forward to seeing where God takes us next! I also pray you will continue to listen to God's calling in your own life and that you will follow that calling without hesitation. I can say from experience that doing so will lead to amazing "God moments" that will last a lifetime.
Grace and peace,
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.
Volunteer Opportunities - AC2017 provides many opportunities for folks from our local congregations to serve as volunteers helping provide radical hospitality throughout the event.
Sign up opportunities are available to volunteer at Guest Services and as Ushers at Daytime Plenary and Evening Worship Sessions. Please be aware that the majority of the Usher positions require standing for portions of the shift time.
Click HERE to sign up as a volunteer. Questions? Contact Heidi Leab email@example.com or 863-688-5563 x192.
Fresh Expressions at Annual Conference
The Fresh Expressions Florida team will be hosting a number of events throughout Annual Conference. Anyone who is looking to learn more about Fresh Expressions, hear a story about an existing Fresh Expression, or would like to experience one are encouraged to join us. The schedule of events for the week is below.
- Wednesday, June 7th 3:15pm at St. Luke's UMC
This is a great introduction to the Fresh Expressions initiative.
- Come by our booth in the exhibit hall! We will have local leaders from around the state giving short presentations during the main session breaks on their Fresh Expressions.
- Eat, Pray, Love with Heather Evans, Grace Church (Cape Coral) - Thursday 5pm
- Crock Pot Church with Carole Stevenson, First UMC Starke - Thursday 7pm
- Community Garden with Jan Etzel, Cornerstone UMC (Naples) - Friday 10:20am
- Kayaking with Jeff St. Clair, Mandarin UMC - Friday 5:00pm
- Let's Go! with Shari Lacey, Grace Church (Ft. Myers Shores) - Friday 5:00pm
Experience a Fresh Expression- There will be three opportunities throughout Annual Conference to participate in a Fresh Expression. This is a great chance to experience a Fresh Expression first hand.
- Yoga Chapel with Audrey Warren - Friday 11:45am
- Burritos & Bibles with Michael Beck & team, Wildwood UMC - Friday noon
- Pints & Parables with Dan Jackson - Friday 9:30pm
Click HERE to registration for the Pre-Conference Workshop and Experience a Fresh Expression events. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4th Annual 5k Run | June 8
6:30 am, Thursday, June 8, 2017; Windermere Town Hall
The Florida Annual Conference 5K is running and walking in its fourth year! This is an opportunity to unite our clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference in an initiative to promote faith and fitness in a 3.1 mile fun run/walk in beautiful and historic downtown Windermere, Florida. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the 5K will go toward our Annual Conference's support of the Cuban Pastor Pension Initiative.
PACKET PICK-UP & RACE INFO:
Pre-Race Packet Pick-Up - Wednesday, June 7, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. at St. Luke's UMC, 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando, Florida
Race Day ~ Thursday, June 8
Windermere Town Hall ~ 520 Main St., Windermere, Florida 34786
5:30 a.m. - Packet Pick-Up & Registration
6:15 a.m. - Late Registration Ends
6:30 a.m. - 5K Start!
News from Lay Servant Ministries
Dear friends, we pray this finds you doing well and basking in the love and grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If you have already been trained in the Lay Servant Ministry, welcome. If this is new to you please accept this invitation to join this fellowship of "vineyard" workers.
This area of the Ministry of the Laity was previously known as the Lay Speaking Ministries and in January 2010, the Florida Conference took the lead to change the name from Lay Speaking to Lay Servant Ministries. There were a couple of other conferences who had made similar changes. At the General Conference in 2012, it was approved and the name change took effect the next year. There were other approved changes within this Ministry approved at General Conference 2016 (these will be explained in-depth in future articles), With this change this ministry opened its doors wider to encompass many who shied away because of the original title. Opportunities abound for laity to learn where, when and how God is calling them to serve Him and each other and this name change placed renewed emphasis on the principle of Servant Leadership, which is what we are all called to do as Christians.
Lay Servants, we are asked to serve the local church or charge, in any way in which our witness or leadership and service inspire us to a deeper commitment to Christ and towards more effective discipleship. What unique and remarkable opportunities exist for us to serve working alongside our pastors to help with the interpretation of scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of the church. Prior to 1948, Lay Speakers/Lay Servants were known as "Exhorters,"a name which provides us the joy of encouraging, challenging, comforting and motivating each other as we serve in the vineyard working as Kingdom builders a.k.a Lay Servants.
Training events for this ministry in the East Central District, are usually held in Spring and Fall each year. Fall 2017 sessions are Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16 at First UMC- Kissimmee. Look for more detailed information in the District newsletter and website and on the Florida Conference website.
This column is the result of your requests for a space to ask questions and learn more about the Lay Servant Ministry. We are excited about providing as much as we can to you. We would love to hear from you. 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
Prelude: A Retreat for Incoming Freshmen
August 7, 2017 - UCF Wesley
Do you have students coming to UCF in Orlando? Help us connect them to campus ministry! We are starting a new retreat for incoming freshmen to the Orlando-UCF area. It is a retreat for incoming freshmen that helps them develop a community before school starts. Please share this retreat with your youth!
Click HERE to register.
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. For more information, click HERE. Pine Ridge Fellowship in Deltona is a host site. Questions? Contact Yvonne at Yvonne@prfchurch.org. Register by June 28th for the Early Bird rate. To register, Click HERE.
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
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
Grandparents and Me
- June 19-22, 2017 & July 10-13, 2017
- July 7-9, 2017 & July 14-16, 2017
Mom and Me Weekend
- September 15-17, 2017
Warren W. Willis Retreats & Summer Camp
Festival of Wisdom and Grace Conference
August 7-10; Lake Junaluska
This year's theme,
Forgiveness - Living in Grace
, will carry throughout the weekend of worship, workshops, professional training, and fellowship relating to the second half of life. Designed for individuals, couples, small groups or church leaders. Sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association of Older Adults, it is an experience of inspiration and renewal.
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
Fruitland Park, FL
Training for children, youth and family ministry staff is critical to prevent burnout and promote strong, healthy ministries in the local church. At Rooted Conference, $%0 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 email@example.com.
District Calendar of Events
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 4: Independence Day - Conference and District Offices Closed
July 13-16: Mission U; Bethune-Cookman University; Daytona Beach
July 14-15: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
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 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: "Mission Sampler;" Sanlando UMC, Longwood
September 26: District Leadership Team Meeting - 4:00pm - District Office
September 28: Local Church AA Training - Asbury UMC, Maitland
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 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
December 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Nov. 30)
December 25: Christmas Day - Conference and District Offices Closed
February 3: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo