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May 2017 Newsletter

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This month, in place of my column, I hope you will read the important message from Bishop Carter and the response from the Council of Bishops of the UMC to the recent ruling of the UMC Judicial Council.

Thank you for your faithfulness in serving Christ through the ministries of your local church.

Grace and Peace,   

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
Bishop Carter and the Council of Bishops responds to Judicial Council ruling
"I know many of our lay and clergy in the Florida Annual Conference have been praying and awaiting the Judicial Council ruling that came last night on Karen Oliveto's election and consecration as Bishop. I commend to United Methodists the statement of Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops, on behalf of the whole Council.  As I have noted in the last few days, the decision of the Judicial Council is a response to a very specific question, and is significant in the short term.  The General Conference's decisions in 2019 and 2020 will shape the church in a more substantive way, and will define our capacity to find a way forward.  The work of the Commission on a Way Forward continues in support of this.  May God continue to be with all of us in these days ahead as together we do the important work in our individual mission fields and look toward a future with hope.  Blessings to the people of the Florida Conference." - Bishop Ken Carter
United Methodist Council of Bishops
April 28, 2017
TO:  All United Methodists
FROM:  Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President Council of Bishops
RE:  Judicial Council Decision

Grace to you and peace from God our Creator and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, the Judicial Council released its decision on a request for a declaratory decision from the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) in response to the Western Jurisdiction's (WJ) nomination, election, consecration and assignment of Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of the United Methodist Church.

In its decision, the Judicial Council ruled that the consecration of a gay bishop violates church law but also said Bishop Oliveto "remains in good standing," until an administrative or judicial process is completed.

This decision means Bishop Oliveto will continue as a Bishop of the church until such process is completed.

The Council of Bishops expresses our appreciation for the Judicial Council's careful and deliberate consideration of this matter and for the thoughtful and considerate participation of all parties to the case.  The Judicial Council has a distinct and critical role in the governance structure of the denomination.  We recognize and respect the Judicial Council as the body responsible for deciding complex questions of church law, including the right to declare jurisdiction.  We implore all within the United Methodist structure and family to honor the Judicial Council ruling.

Yet, we acknowledge that the decision does not help to ease the disagreements, impatience and anxiety that permeates The United Methodist Church over the matter of human sexuality, and particularly this case.  Our compassion and prayers of intercession extend to all those who are hurt, relieved, confused or fearful.

The decision does not change the Book of Discipline. The Judicial Council's actions are specific to the cases that they are requested or required to consider.  Only the General Conference speaks for the church and has the authority to change the Book of Discipline. The Council of Bishops will continue to exercise temporal and spiritual oversight support of the church's mission.

The Council of Bishops remains committed to the unity of the church and the flourishing of its mission. We are confident of the work that the Commission on a Way Forward has begun and we believe the Holy Spirit is working through the Commission and Council to accomplish God's purposes.

I am encouraged by the relationships that are developing within the Commission.  The distinct and diverse opinions among its members reflect the richness and vitality of The United Methodist Church. The Commission is committed to its task. I believe that their work will bear fruit as we meet for a Special Session of the General Conference in February 2019.

We continue to urge the entire church to stay focused on the Commission's work as our best opportunity to determine God's leading for a way forward. We believe the God who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). We are strongest when we remain in connection with each other.

We urge you to join your bishops in daily prayers for all United Methodists and for the denomination as we tenderly hold the unity and mission of the church in our hearts and hands.

Just as Jesus' disciples were patient in waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Christ into heaven, we too are being called to wait for the revealing of what God has in store for our church. In this Easter Season, let us hear one another, let us understand one another, let us maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Where do we go from here?  We put our trust in God to strengthen us even as we hold differing views about human sexuality. We must continue to love one another just as Christ instructed us to do. It is by loving one another fully that the world will know we are Christians (John 13:34-35).  It is through this incarnational love that we go forth to make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform the world.

Nearly every day, I hear an inspiring new story of how the people of The United Methodist Church are at work in the world transforming and enriching people's lives. This is what we're about. This is our calling. This is the work we do together, no matter our differences. May we continue to do so for the greater glory of God.

Click HERE for the Judicial ruling.
Click HERE for the UMNS news story about the ruling.
In the District
Bishop Announces Full-Time Appointments
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. and the appointive cabinet of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, in consultation with the clergy and authorized lay leaders of the local churches, announce full-time appointment changes, to take effect July 1, 2017. This act of ministry is in fulfillment of paragraphs 425-429 of The Book of Discipline (2016).  

Below are the East Central District Appointment changes.  Let me invite you to be intentional about welcoming and congratulating these pastors on their moves and new appointments!  The complete list of Full-Time Appointments in the Florida Annual Conference will be posted May 1st at

Full-Time Appointments in the East Central District:
East Central District - Michele Van Son
First, Sanford - David and Meghan Killingsworth
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
Sanlando - Jonathan Tarman
South Street, Winter Park (Associate) - Craig Blocher
Tomoka - Jose Carrion
University Carillon, Oviedo (Associate) - Bobby Brooks

EC Clergy receiving appointments out of the East Central District:
David Carefoot - First, New Port Richey
Raphael Dessieu - Druid Hills, Ocala
Matt Kern - St. Paul's, Tallahassee (Associate)
Jacquie Leveron - East Naples, Naples
Eric McCrea - Bokeelia, Pine Island
Ben Stilwell-Hernandez - First, Homestead

A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
Recently the Council of Bishops (COB) tasked the Committee on Faith and Order to put together a paper that would provide an understanding of what it means to be the Church today as United Methodists.   The COB saw this as an opportunity to renew our vision of what the UMC is, its convictions, how we are in mission to the world, and how we are to live together. The Committee on Faith and Order started this process with a draft of a paper called "Wonder, Love, and Praise - Sharing a Vision of the Church".   I say started because they are looking for input from any and all within the UMC to review the document and share thoughts, impressions, and opinions on its content. This is a wonderful opportunity to lend your voice in shaping the future of the UMC. Whether through a group study or individually, you can read the paper and then provide your input through a simple survey that you'll find at the "Wonder, Love, and Praise" website (see the link below).
This is also a wonderful way to prepare as we head into our FLUMC Annual Conference themed "Revive Us Again"!  I really hope you will take the time to read "Wonder, Love, and Praise" and prayerfully reflect on its content.   Then allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you in regards to what it means to be a member of the United Methodist Church.
Happy reading!
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
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.

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 asked 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.  Click HERE to read a message from Bishop Carter regarding the proposed district changes
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.

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 th eshift time.

Click HERE to sign up as a volunteer.  Questions?  Contact Heidi Leab or 863-688-5563 x192.
Run 4 Life 4 Miler
May 20, 2017; 7:00am; Florida United Methodist Children's Home, Enterprise
Team ECD of the UMC currently has representation from Asbury UMC, CUMC Casselberry, CUMC DeBary, Pine Ridge Fellowship & FUMCH.  As of May 1st, there are two Clergy and 14 Laity.   We would love to see more of our churches and folks involved.  Everyone is welcome!  Won't you join us?

Rev. Madeline Luzinski will lead us in prayer to open the event. 

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. 
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
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.
Exploring Gifts and Graces Summer Adventure in Theology & Leadership
July 15-23; Bethune-Cookman University; Daytona Beach 
What is EGG all about?
* EGG gathers rising 11th and 12th grade high school students for an intensive one-week, all expenses paid, residential summer theology and leadership experience.
CHALLENGE yourself to explore your faith, think deeply about your purpose and calling in life, build friendships, participate in community service projects, gain leadership skills, worship together, and experience campus and dorm life at Bethune-Cookman University.
EXPLORE the arts, music, drama, spoken word, dance, drumming, and practice teambuilding
exercises on a unique eco-adventure ropes and obstacles zip-line course.
LEARN to live out your calling as the NEXT Generation of theologically minded and socially engaged future leaders of the church of the 21st Century.

Sponsored by Bethune-Cookman University and funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.
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
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!

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.

Summer Camps - June - August
Connect 2017 - October 13-16, November 10-12
Plan your own retreat!
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. Click HERE to register.


Tammy McDowell, Assistant Director of Programming
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

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
May 2017
May 2: Great Beginnings - 6:30pm Sanlando UMC, Maitland
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: Memorial Day - Conference and District Offices Closed
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: Independence Day - Conference and District Offices Closed
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: 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 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
October 2017
October 19: dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Sept. 28)
October 21: UMW District Annual Meeting - First UMC, Clermont
October 24-25: Clergy Gathering - LEC
November 2017
November 4: UMW Conference Annual Meeting; Lakeland
November 10: Veterans Day Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
November 23 & 24: Thanksgiving Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
December 2017
December 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Nov. 30)
December 25: Christmas Day - Conference and District Offices Closed

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

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