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March 2015 Newsletter

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"Never let anyone tell you the desert is barren.  It is teeming with life.  Agile reptilian creatures lurked under stones, tenacious plants clung to life in the then, sandy topsoil, minute wildflowers... dotted the desert floor... Conversion, the desert ascetics assure us, is forged in such a place, a place of listening awareness where one becomes attentive to the silence of God.  There, in the vast stillness of desert solitude, we are gradually converted, unmade and remade.  We become a fresh beginning."  (From "The Time Between" by Wendy Wright)

Every year at the beginning of Lent, we are invited to journey with Jesus out into the wilderness, (see Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-12).  There we have the opportunity, like Jesus, to face the things that tempt us to be less than who Christ calls us, in love, to be.  In the desert, we are stripped of some of the facades and illusions we so often cling to, illusions of who we think we are and we have the chance to see our lives, our church and our world a little more clearly.  Perhaps we can even see ourselves, our world, our church a little more like Jesus sees it all.  I never find this an easy process.  Going into the desert of my life is never a trip I'm excited about making.

And truthfully, sometimes we don't "decide" to go to into the wilderness or the desert.  Sometimes we are hurled into the desert and barren places by circumstances that we would never choose:  we lose a loved one, we lose a job, we lose our health, we experience divorce or rejection or we simply lose our way.  We think everything in life is fine and we are going about our merry way and suddenly everything shifts or changes and we find ourselves in a Lenten season that may have nothing to do with the liturgical calendar.

But the gift of God's grace is that however you arrived in the desert, whether you have chosen to go there as a spiritual practice or Lenten journey, or whether life has simply led you there, God is there with you.  As the author above describes, the desert is not just a barren place, devoid of life.  But the desert, through God's grace, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is a place of possibilities, of transformation and healing, even of new life.  The desert is a place where we come face to face with the fact that beyond the illusions we have of ourselves is a sturdier, holier and more beautiful reality:  that God's grace is indeed sufficient, that love is stronger than anything and that God's love will always have the last word.  The beauty of Lent is that Easter life is always where we are ultimately headed.  We carry that reality into whatever kind of desert journey we may face.

My prayer during this holy season of Lent, is that each of us and that our churches, will be willing to make the journey into the wilderness where we can see more clearly who God is calling us to be.  I pray that we will become aware of how the Holy Spirit wants to refine us, shape us and then ultimately use us for the mission and ministry of Christ in the world.  Whether we are choosing to make that journey or life has simply thrown us into the wilderness, I pray we will all trust in the power and presence of Christ with us there to make us new along the way.

Grace and peace,

East Central Clergy Meeting - May 13th
Florida UM Children's Home -  9am - 1pm
Looking forward to seeing all Clergy on Wednesday, May 13th at The Florida United Methodist Children's Home for our spring Clergy Meeting. Our schedule is 9:00am - 1:00pm with fellowship  and morning refreshments beginning at 9am. Please sign up today.

In The District
Lay Servant Ministries
March 13 & 14, 2015 - Sanlando UMC
A Weekend of Lay Leadership Learning
Servant Leadership Equipping Encounter

Sanlando UMC
Friday, March 13th 5:00PM - 8:30PM
Saturday, March 14th 8:30AM - 4:30PM

Rev. Jeanine Clontz, Senior Pastor at Flagler Beach UMC will teach the Basic Lay Servant Course and Jim Boesch will teach Lead Like Jesus.

Lay Servant training prepares lay people to be in ministry through caring, communication and leadership. The key emphasis of Lay Servant training is to equip people to teach, do visitation, lead committees and leadership teams, lead small group ministry and grow in personal understanding of God's call on their life.

If you haven't taken the Basic Lay Servant Course, sign up for Rev. Jeanine Clontz' class.  If you already are a Lay Servant Minister, sign up for Jim Boesch's class.

We are excited to offer Lead Like Jesus: Servant Leadership Equipping Encounter to help leaders become better equipped to lead in their local ministry setting. This course will be taught by Jim Boesch, the new EC District Lay Servant Ministry Director. Jim has been facilitating workshop and coaching events with this Ken Blanchard founded Lead Like Jesus equipping ministry over the past 4 years with both Clergy and Lay leaders at the local church, district and conference levels of our national Methodist Church community.  Contact Jim Boesch at if you have any questions.

We exist to glorify God by inspiring and equipping people to LEAD LIKE JESUS.

Click HERE for registration form.
Reports due March 31st
The following reports are due into the district office by March 31st.
mail to:  East Central District PO Box 4232 Enterprise, FL  32725
Committee Responsible
Child Youth Protection Policy
Fiscal Responsibility & Management Policy
Clergy Employee Conduct Policy
Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy
Annual Parsonage Report
The following reports are submitted online by March 31st - 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 get a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee and keep in personnel files -- the district does not get them.

You can find instructions and other pertinent information by clicking the link(s) above or going to the conference website,,  and click on 2015 Reports Due at the bottom of the page.

Upon completion, submit copies only, originals should remain in the church office. Preference is for all reports to be mailed together to the district office.

Your timely submission is appreciated.  Questions?  Contact us - (Janet) or (Claudia)

A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader 
Hello East Central District - I bring you greetings from the East Belfast Mission and the Skainos project in Belfast, Northern Ireland where I am observing a peace and reconciliation program called "Shades".  The participants are 23 very bright young adults who live in Palestine or Israel.  Some are diplomats from other countries assigned to the Middle East and some are business leaders who are hoping to find an answer to the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.  They have come to Belfast to see how this country has come to terms with its ongoing differences.

Most outsiders would say that Northern Ireland's troubles are religious in nature between the Catholic and Protestant.  But it's more than that - it's a sectarian conflict with political and social class tentacles that are woven deep into the culture here.  The group is finding the same is true in their countries as well.

We've talked with members of the IRA and Ulster, politicians, clergy and others who have lived in Belfast over the years and who continue to work to resolve their differences.  What strikes me most about the Northern Ireland conflict is that by looking you won't see the differences that classify people, and often they can't tell themselves until they've talked with one another to hear how they say the letter "H" or find out what street someone lives on.

The conflicts that exist for both countries are no different than the racism and prejudice that can be found round the world - including in our own neighborhoods.  What I am sure of more than ever is that it must break God's heart to see us, His creation, continue to separate ourselves in ways that are hurtful.  The other certainty that I am sure of is that no conflict in this day and age will be solved until those involved engage in conversation with the intent to truly know one another.

I am so thankful that as Methodists, we advocate social justice and promote a peaceful approach to reconciliation.  I can see God at work in Belfast through the work of Methodist pastors like Gary Mason and Britt Gilmore and in the young adults with the Shades group.  And I see God at work in our EC churches as we work on the issues in our own communities.  But we've all got a long way to go.  I hope you will join me in sharing God's love and grace to a world in desperate need.

Disaster Preparedness Coordinator - Jeff Campbell
I would like to turn from natural disasters this month and instead write about a more tragic experience.  The truth is that whatever is taken from us materially when nature unleashes its fury can be restored to us.  There is something infinitely more valuable and irreplaceable that we sometimes take for granted.

What images do the phrases "making final arrangements" and "pre-burial planning" conjure?  Putting business affairs in order?  Making sure your will is up-to-date?  Making your loved ones comfortable after you've gone?  All of this is needed and can help ease the transition for those that are left behind.  The issue I see with this is that all you are doing is seeing to the physical comforts of those who shared your life with you.  What about the emotional disaster your loss will bring to the ones you held most dear in your lifetime?  Are you prepared to leave this life with their emotional well-being in order?  If the answer is no or I'm not sure, now might be the time to dwell on such things.   Click Here to continue reading.
Disaster 101:  Basic Disaster Ministry Training
April 11, 2015 - Community UMC Casselberry 
This training provides an introduction to the unique and important role the faith community plays in disaster mitigation, preparation and response.  You and your church will hear practical ideas on how to effectively respond to disaster in your community in cooperation with other churches, emergency management officials and the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the conference.  You will understand the importance of communication and collaboration in meeting the needs of disaster survivors and the importance of being the church in the midst of crisis.

There is no cost for this training; however, registration is required for planning purposes. For information and registration, visit and follow the links to the training schedule. 

Training provided by Disaster Recovery Ministry, Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Questions? Contact Pam Garrison 800-282-8011 ext 148 or
Marcy Lecture
March 12 - St. Luke's UMC 
Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and
Conflict Transformation
Thursday, March 12, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
"There, but for the grace of God, go I" is something we have all said or thought at one time or another. It crosses our mind when another parent loses a child, when a co-worker loses his job, when a neighbor loses her house, when an acquaintance receives a diagnosis. And, yet, the saying is truly inappropriate theologically. Grace is not something that sets us apart from others, especially in their moments of pain and suffering. Grace is something that we all receive and have the responsibility to reflect in the world through our actions of inclusion, love, and care. Grace is not a variable that determines different outcomes. Grace is the constant that enables us to endure the outcomes. What if we respond to pain, suffering, loss, and conflict with a different sentiment, "Here, together in the grace of God, go we"? This Marcy Lecture explores the difference that such a revised sentiment might make in our responsiveness to God and neighbor.
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
4851 South Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
Lunch immediately following. Registration required at or 404.727.6352.
Hispanic Lenten Retreat
March 14, 2015 - Christ Hispanic UMC 

Lenten Retreat

Sponsored by The Florida Conference Hispanic Assembly
Saturday, March 14, 2015
8:00 am - 1:30 pm 
Christ Hispanic UMC 5240 Curry Ford Road Orlando

For information, contact Rev. Dr. Miguel Velez
Click Here for flyer. 
Local Church Events
Have an exciting event going on in your church that you want other churches to know about?  You can now advertise or check out local church events on the FLUMC website.

There are spiritual retreats, musicals, 5K's, seminars, fund raisers, classical music, contemporary music, dramas, old fashioned church revivals and much more going on in United Methodist Churches throughout the Florida Conference.  
Click here  to access events or post your local church events, you might find something  interesting to you
Celebrate Jesus 2015 Summer Missions 
July 25 - August 1:  Orlando Area Mission 

You and your church family are invited to join us at the next Monthly Prayer Gathering for the Orlando Area Mission on Thursday, March 12, from 7-8 pm, at Aloma United Methodist Church, 3045 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL  32792; phone (407) 671-2180. We will pray for our churches, pastors and leaders, the communities around our churches, and the teams that will come to help us visit our neighbors during Mission Week next summer (July 25-August 1). 

All are invited to come pray, even if you are not part of a host church.

ZOE5K and One Mile
Empowering Orphans in Africa

Pumpkin Patch Appeal Contest Winner!! -- First UMC Port Orange
Those orange orbs of autumn played their part, but it was a Candy Land theme planned and executed by Roseanna Sorrell and the First UMC Port Orange decorating committee that caught judges' attention and snagged a prize for having the most patch appeal in 2014.

The honor, bestowed by distributor Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, carried a $500 prize that will go toward decorating next year's pumpkin patch, said First UMC Youth Director, Tony Sorrell.  The congregation's 2014 pumpkin patch raised about $12,000, of which $1,200 was tithed to the church and the balance split among the children's and youth ministries.

First UMC's patch, which bested hundreds of other efforts competing in the Pumpkin Patch Appeal Contest, featured child-sized cutouts of the "Lollypop Woods" and other icons from the Candy Land board game.

Congratulations, First UMC Port Orange
Around The Conference 
The Journeys of Paul with Bishop Carter
November 7, 2015 
The pilgrimage to Israel in May 2014 with my friend, the beloved teacher Bob Tuttle, and friends from across the Florida Conference and beyond was a wonderful time of fellowship.  I would like to i nvite you to join me as we sail through the Mediterranean following in the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul.  I am excited to have Dr. Waite Willis join us from Florida Southern College as our Guest Speaker.  I am inviting pastors, teachers, and members of our churches to join us in this profound experience of travel, study, worship and fellowship aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas.  I hope you will make this pilgrimage with us in 2015!

Bishop Ken Carter
Florida Conference
United Methodist Church 

Click Here for more details and to view a video.
Click Here for a bulletin insert. 
59th Annual Church Music Workshop
June 15th - 19th - Life Enrichment Center
Registration is now open for the 59th Annual Church Music Workshop sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts.  

Pathways to Grace:  God's Riches at Christ's Expense
Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park
June 15 - 19, 2015

Anyone involved in church music or worship planning, traditional and contemporary, adults or youth, are invited to join us.  Our Annual Workshop for adults and youth has a variety of seminars to meet everyone's music and worship ministry needs.  Take this opportunity to renew yourself spiritually and connect with other church musicians and worship leaders from around the state.

For information and registration, visit our website at: or contact Robert Jackson at or Joan FitzGerald at
Summer Mission Intern Program
May 31 - August 7, 2015
The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, in partnership with affiliated Community Outreach Ministries, is seeking young adults to serve in the 2015 Summer Mission Intern Program.  The Intern Program mission is to provide hands-on opportunities for young adults to make a difference in the world by serving out of a deep level of their Christian faith, particularly with children and youth in under-served communities.  Summer Mission Interns are placed in one of three Christian community day camps and outreach ministries, including CROS Ministries in Palm Beach County, Grace Place for Children and Families in Naples, and Riverside Retreat in LaBelle.  Information about these particular ministries can be found on the FL Conference website.

The internship is 10 weeks (May 31 - August 7, 2015).  A $2,250 stipend and housing with a host family (if not living at home or current residence is not within reasonable driving distance of assigned ministry site) are provided.  Young adults ages 19 (by 8/31/15) - 25, who are eager to be part of God's transformative work in local communities are encouraged to apply.  A link to the online application can be found here.  Submit completed application, recommendation letter, and resume via email to Shelly Denmark, Program Director, by May 1, 2015.  For more information about the Summer Mission Intern Program, contact Shelly Denmark.
World Malaria Day
April 25, 2015
On Saturday, April 25th, the global health community will recognize World Malaria Day, and your church is invited to participate! Churches across Florida are hosting pancake breakfasts to raise money and awareness for Imagine No Malaria.  Join the fun!   Click Here for a church guide and visit for an Event Packet and to register your church.  Questions?  Email Field Coordinator Kylie Foley at
2015 Property & Casualty Insurance
The 2015 invoices are online and can be accessed on the Conference Dashboard at , Choose "PC/Workers Comp" from the drop-down menu and enter your church's GCFA number. A packet of additional insurance information was mailed to you in February which included the 2015 insurance summary of coverages. Go to your church dashboard to access your coverage and make updates on-line.

As in years past, if your insurance allocation was paid in full by 2/28/15, you will receive a 2% discount off of the billed amount. 

Young Adults Interested In Exploring Pastoral Ministry

Are there young adults in your church who want to explore pastoral ministry?

If so, please give them the attached application for the 2015 Summer Pastoral Ministry Internship Program -- and encourage them to apply!   Click Here for application and description.

Email Rwth Fuquay with any questions about the program: or call 863-393-1416. 
Bethune-Cookman University Summer Intern Program
BCU is seeking Host Churches to sponsor students.  Churches interested in the
summer intern program are invited to meet on Wednesday, April 9th 11:30am - 3pm in the President's Board Room located in the Performing Arts Center (698 West International Speedway Blvd Daytona Beach) for student interviews and program information.  Lunch will be provided.  

Please contact Mrs. Terry Turner James, for more information and to RSVP.
News from Heidi Aspinwall
Office of Missional Engagement 
The US-2 young adult missionary program was established in 1951 by the Women's Division of Christian Service, one of the precursors of United Methodist Women.  US-2 originally stood for "us too", a 2-year term program of mission service in the United States.  The program was only open to women when it began.

The Mission Intern program began in 1977 and was developed by the former World Division of the General Board of Global Ministries.  The program began with 20 US college graduates recruited through campus ministry and seminaries.

Heidi Aspinwall of the Office of Missional Engagement is hoping to identify participants of these programs, whether from Florida, assigned to Florida during their service, or relocated to Florida later in life.  Please feel free to email her any names, dates, locations  "In less than a week, we've already collected 56 names.  Although our information is incomplete", says Aspinwall.

The Florida Conference has been selected to be one of 10 affiliates in the new alignment of the US-2 and Mission Intern program for young adults in two years of mission service through GBGM - The General Board of Global Ministries.  This partnership will facilitate young adults from the wider church to serve in Florida for two year terms.  This opportunity is in addition to the one year program our conference began this year, The Young Adult Missional Movement.  The one year program is designed for Florida's young adults to serve one year with in the state.

For information on the two year program, now titled Global Mission Fellows, click HERE . For information on the one year program, Young Adult Missional Movement, click HERE . 
10th Annual Native American Ministry Gathering
April 17 - April 19 - Life Enrichment Center
2015 Sinclair Scholarships 
Now is time to apply for 2015 Sinclair Scholarships

The Florida United Methodist Foundation is accepting applications for the Sinclair Scholarship for United Methodist Youth. Applicants must be full and active members of a Florida United Methodist Church, have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and have a record of church and community service. They must be planning to attend a Florida or a United Methodist college or university in the fall of 2015.

Scholarship awards range from $2,000 to $3,000 per year and are renewable for up to four years for students who remain in good standing.  Deadline for applications is March 9, 2015.  Visit the Foundation website at

Note to churches: Click HERE for scholarship poster. We hope you will post it and/or let current high school seniors in your church know about this scholarship opportunity. For more information, call (866) 363-9683 or email

2015 United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union Scholarship 
UMC FCU offers four $1000 scholarships every year, one for each of our four Conferences (Alabama-West Florida, Florida, North Georgia, and South Georgia). Eligible candidates must be between the ages of 17-35 and a member of UMC FCU. Click the link below for the application and complete guidelines.
Warren W. Willis Retreats & Summer Camp
Check out Warren W. Willis for many  opportunities to reflect and fellowship.

Classic Summer Camp
, June - August 2015   
Confirmation RetreatsMarch 2015
Created By God, April 2015 
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 10-12 
Grandparents and Me - June 15-18; July 13-16 
Family Camp - June 12-14; July 17-19
Mom and Me Weekend - September 18-20 

Email Melissa at if you're interested in a group discount for your church's families! 
Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation
March 8-13, 2015 - Life Enrichment Center 

The theme this year will be "Wisdom from Above" and will feature faculty leadership from both Jewish and Christian perspectives.  Click Here for the brochure with the speakers bio's and topics.

Remember, the LEC offers an amazing setting, the Academy Community and rhythm as an Oasis of fellowhsip and hospitality provide excellent resources for an opportunity for formation.  Recall also that continuing education credit from both the conference and the Global Board are available to you.  Scholarships are also available if that is a need. 

Lake Junaluska Summer Camp
Nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, Lake Junaluska is the perfect summer youth retreat for 6th through 12th graders.  Each week will feature a morning and evening session that will reflect his year's theme, "Prepare the Way," (Isaiah 40:3)

For more information and to register: 
What is your church doing to journey through Lent together?  Churches loved #pictureadvent so much that we have developed #pictureLent resources for 2015 for you and your church.
Visit to get all the information on:
  • Daily Devotions
  • The Photo Challenge
  • Youth and Family Resources
  • Preaching Resources
  • Much More! 

Sign up and let us know you're a church leader to receive info on all the great church resources available.


Questions?  Contact Rev. Melissa Cooper at
District Calendar of Events
March 2015
March 3-5: Young Clergy Stewardship Academy - First UMC, Lakeland
March 4-6: Plowpoint Ministry Training - First UMC Winter Park
March 12: EC District Leadership Team Mtg - 10:00am-12:00noon - District Office - IF NEEDED
March 13 & 14: EC Lay Servant Ministry Training - Sanlando UMC - Fri 5-8:30pm Sat. 8:30-4:00pm
March 21: UMW Spring Day Apart - Riverview UMC
March 26: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland - CANCELLED

April 2015
April 3: Good Friday District Office Closed
April 5: EASTER!!!
April 7: EC NCD Mtg - 11:30am - 1:30pm - Sanlando UMC, Longwood
April 12: Children's Week in Tallahassee
April 20: EC District Leadership Team Mtg - 10:00am-12:00noon - District Office
April 23: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
April 25: World Malaria Day - Imagine No Malaria Pancake Fundraisers at many UMC Churches

May 2015
May 3: Announcement Sunday
May 7: EC District Leadership Team Mtg - 10:00am-12:00pm - District Office - CANCELLED
May 13: EC Clergy Meeting - 9am-1pm - Lunch included - FUMCH Gym - Note Date Change
May 14: Right Start Training for all Clergy Moving within the FL Conference - First Lakeland 10am-4pm
May 21&22: Sexual Ethics & First Time Appointed Pastors in FL Conference - Conference Center, Lakeland
May 23: UMW "President's Lunch" - Grace UMC Lake Mary
May 27: Extension Ministry Gathering with Bishop Carter & Wayne Wiatt - 9am -4pm Bethany Retreat Center, Lutz, FL
May 28: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

June 2015
June 10 - 13, 2015: Annual Conference - Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach
June 25: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
June 30: Florida Conference Moving Day

July 2015
July 9-12: UMW Mission U - Bethune Cookman University
July 10 - 11: Candidacy Retreat

August 2015
August 27: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

September 2015
September 19: UMW Mission Sampler - First Pine Hills, Orlando
September 24: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
September 27: EC District SundayServe Day

October 2015
October 17: UMW District Annual Meeting - Location TBD
October 29: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

November 2015
November 19: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

December 2015
December 17: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

January 8 - 9: Candidacy Retreat
February 6: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo
June 15-18, 2016: Annual Conference; The Buena Vista Palace Hotel, Lake Buena Vista
July 8 - 9: Candidacy Retreat

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Imagine No Malaria 
How can you Imagine a World with NO Malaria, if you already believe you live in One?

Text  MALARIA FLA to 27722  to give $10  to the  United Methodist Communications Imagine No Malaria program .  
Click here  for a slide that you can use during worship.