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March 2016 Newsletter

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Join us on Wednesday, March 30 from 11:00 - 1:00 at Sanlando UMC for a Celebration of Ministry Luncheon as we say "Thank you!" to Janet Kelley for her nineteen years of service to Christ through her ministry as part of the East Central District staff.  Click HERE to RSVP.

A lot of you know about some changes afoot with staffing in the district office.  Some of you have heard or read about the details in other places.  Others of you reading this may not have heard about these changes, much less the rationale behind them.  For this group of folks, I suspect the announcement above got your attention!

The description below really is for those of you who fit the description in the third sentence in the paragraph above.  Here are the details and rationale behind the changes which will take effect on April 1:
  • The changes are associated directly with the loss of clergy salaries and positions that have been occurring across the Conference and which in the East Central District includes the largest to the smallest churches, with the capacity to do administration, and to honor the use of resources at the local level.
  • A new, standardized staffing model for all district offices across the Conference is being implemented as a result of streamlining district financial operations and issues related to property management.
  • To align with these changes in district staff responsibilities, the new model will no longer have employees classified as business administrators or business managers.  Each district will have one full-time and one part-time administrative assistant.  In some cases, districts may also have other positions such as congregational vitality specialist and district committee on ministry registrar.
  • After being offered the new full-time administrative assistant position and after a great deal of thought and prayer, Janet Kelley has decided to accept the severance package offered to her, and the last day on our staff for Janet will be March 31.
  • After Janet made her decision, Claudia Sava was offered and accepted the full-time position.
  • We now have a part-time administrative assistant position open that we are planning to fill as soon as possible after April 1.

Obviously Janet will be missed greatly.  She is an outstanding professional who loves the church and who has given of herself in many ways in support of the church's ministry.  At the same time, we are fortunate to have Claudia stepping into Janet's big shoes.  Claudia has been with the district office for two years and brings to the position her own skills and high level of commitment.

I ask for your prayers and support for Janet and for the continuing district staff as we make our way through these changes.

Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

In The District
Celebration of Janet Kelley's Ministry
March 30, 2016 - Sanlando UMC, Longwood
Join us for a luncheon to Celebrate
Janet Kelley's 19 years with the East Central District!

Wednesday, March 30th
11am - 1pm
Sanlando UMC
1890 W SR 434
Longwood, FL  32750

Clergy Team Gathering
March 31, 2016 - Canterbury Retreat, Oviedo
Clergy Oasis Day
Thursday, March 31st
9:00 am - 4:00pm
Canterbury Retreat, Oviedo

We look forward to seeing all Clergy on March 31st at the Clergy Meeting.  If you have not registered, please register now or let Bob Bushong know about your conflict.

Last Change to Register - today, Tuesday, March 1st.

A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
In her book "Choosing the Faithful" Beth Crissman reminds us that in Matthew 28:19- 20 Jesus passes the baton of ministry to us in the Great Commission - "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  When you break these verses down there are four key words or phrases that seem to stand on their own merit; Go, Make Disciples, Baptize and Teach.  And our own Book of Discipline (BoD) reinforces the importance of each of these.

As of late, "Teach" seems to hit home for me in regards to our churches and congregations.  As laity leaders in the church (that's you regardless of what role you play in your church), we are to help all our brothers and sisters in Christ to find their gifts and graces and to help them deepen their understanding of what discipleship truly means.  Paragraph 136 of the BoD states "These require careful and intentional nurture for the disciple to come to maturity in the Christian life and to engage fully in the ministry of all Christians".  And paragraph 202 goes on to state that at a minimum all local churches must provide appropriate training and nurture to all people on their faith journey.  I think that means that we can't just rely on the pastor's sermon and one hour of worship (as gifted and inspiring as they both may be) as our only means of spiritual instruction or teaching.

This really hit me on a recent trip to a conference where I had the rather random opportunity to actually hold Francis Asbury's saddle bags.  In those bags he not only carried the Bible and hymnal to his charges, he carried other books.  Books that contained ways to help folks grow in their understanding of who and whose they were.  And in a sense, each of us as leaders should have a saddle bag of our own - those books, programs, tools and practices that others have shared with us or that we've discovered, that have helped us on our spiritual journey.  And then we need to share those resources in a way that nurtures others on their walk to perfection.  Things like Lay Servant Ministries, Lead Like Jesus, Walk to Emmaus, Discipleship, Crown Ministries, Financial Peace, PlowPoint, and the list goes on and on.  All are excellent resources for growth.

Whatever your calling, wherever your mission field, may your passion be to help others to grow in their gifts and graces!

Blessings for a joyous Easter!
Lay Servant Ministries Weekend of Learning
April 22 & 23, 2016 - Sanlando UMC, Longwood
A Weekend of Lay Leadership Learning
Servant Leadership Equipping Encounter

Friday         5:00pm - 8:30pm
Saturday     8:30am - 4:00pm

Living Our United Methodist Beliefs
  - facilitator Alice Williams
Leading in Prayer
  - facilitator Lynn Campbell
Basic Lay Servant Ministry Course
  - facilitator Jim Boesch

Session fees are $45 for each course.  Cost for each session include dinner on Friday and lite breakfast on Saturday, as well as the basic texts required for each course.

Registration will be available on the EC Website Friday, March 4th.

For further information, email Jim Boesch at or call 407-721-0416.
Thank YOU
The District Staff would like to thank the staff and volunteers of First UMC Oviedo for their hospitality at the 2016 Leadership Training Event.  They have once again shown us how to do hospitality!

We are thankful to Rev. Dr. Jim Harnish who was our Keynote Speaker and to all of our facilitators:  Chris Akers, LaNita Battles, Rusty Belcher, Jim Boesch, Jad Denmark, Janet Earls, Jaime Faberlle, Stephen Hartsfield, LeeAnn Inman, Dan Jackson, Kevin James, Aldo Martin, Tony Prestipino, Tony Sorrell, Michele Van Son, & Alice Williams.     

A big thank you to everyone who gave up their Saturday morning to come out to fellowship, learn and take part in the Leadership Training Event.

Click HERE to view the inspirational message by Dr. Jim Harnish.

Remember the Mission!
Reports due March 31st
As a reminder, the following reports are due into the district office by March 31st.  Do not modify the reports.  Please mail all reports together to the district office:  East Central District 2221 Lee Road, Suite 21 Winter Park, FL  32789.  The church should maintain the originals and send in copies. 

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 - 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 their personnel file -- 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 Calendar of Reports due under Forms at the bottom of their home page.

Questions?  Contact Claudia Sava at
MissionInsite - Florida Conference Demographic Information
As part of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church you have free access to MissionInsite ( and the demographics around your church after you register and log-in.  This free service is provided to you and your church by the Florida Conference New Church Development office.

To register as a first time user of MissionInsite:
  • Click HERE to go to the webpage.
  • Enter the Agency Account Number:  OFIFU to enter the Florida Conference UMC
  • Select your city and then your church from the drop-down menus
  • Follow the directions to register and create your own username and password

After you register the first time, you can log-in on the home page.

You are encouraged to click the links in the Local Church tab on the home page for helpful information about Reaching America, for Support, and for Resources.  You are also especially encouraged to visit the Tutorial tab and Local Church User Guide.

2016 Sinclair Scholarships
Now is the time to apply for 2016 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 2.5 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.

Scholarships awards range from $2,000 to $3,000 per year and are renewable for up to three additional years for students who remain in good standing.  Deadline for applications is March 31, 2016.  Visit the Foundation website at for the scholarship application and other required forms.

Note to churches:  Click HERE for a flier to share with students who could benefit from this opportunity.  For more information contact Nadara Brock at or 866-363-9673, ext. 7113.
2016 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 HERE for complete guidelines and to download the application.
Day on Campus
April 9, 2016 - Florida United Methodist Children's Home
The Florida United Methodist Children's Home has planned their annual "Day on Campus" for Saturday, April 9th.

Specially Invited Districts are: 
East Central and South West

Click HERE to RSVP.
Run 4 Life 4 Miler
May 14, 2016 - Florida United Methodist Children's Home
The 6th Annual Run 4 Life will take place at 7:30am, Saturday, May 14th.  It is a 4 mile race that takes you through a beautiful tree-lined course that begins and ends at The Florida United Methodist Children's Home in Enterprise.  Run 4 Life is a non-profit organization developed to help fund suicide awareness and prevention programs throughout Central Florida.  The main beneficiary of this run is FUMCH which has programs and substance abuse programs to help their children cope. 

Run or walk...come join us on May 14th!  We would love to have your church register as a team and join us.  Click HERE for the Run 4 Life website where you may register online or print and mail in your registration.
Part-Time Administrative Assistant
East Central District Office - Winter Park
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The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church is seeking a part-time (24 hours per week) Administrative Assistant for the East Central District Office located in Winter Park.  General duties include providing initial phone contact and guest reception for office inquiries as well as routine clerical support for the District Superintendent.

Position is responsible for assisting local churches with reports and updates district calendar of events.  Selected applicant will also support district events with registration assistance and hospitality as needed.  Candidates must be also be skilled with using an electronic filing system for office record-keeping.

Requirements include a minimum of 3-5 years of administrative experience.  The successful applicant will be proficient in Microsoft Office products such as Word, Outlook and Excel, detail-oriented and able to excel in a fast paced environment.  Preference for a member of a United Methodist Church, however, an appreciation of the nature and mission of the Church is essential. 

Submit resume and cover letter expressing interest via email to Wendy McCoy, Director of Human Resources,  No phone calls please.
Around The Conference 
Lockmiller Grant
Applications are due March 15th

The Florida Conference is accepting applications for grants of up to $2,000 each for local church ministries that target children and hunger.

Up to $25,000 is awarded annually for churches that help keep children fed, preferably with an education component as well.  The awards are among legacies of Alice W. Lockmiller, a lifelong Methodist and philanthropist who died in 2007.

A committee organized by the Florida Conference Missional Engagement office will review applications according to established criteria and notify churches approved for grants in time for funding of summer programs.

Click HERE for more information.
Spiritual Life Retreat
April 15-17, 2016 - Life Enrichment Center
Florida Clergywomen's Retreat 2016
April 18 - 19, 2016 - Canterbury Retreat Center
Florida Clergywomen are invited to participate in a retreat on April 18th - 19th.  We will gather with each other for a time of inspiration and personal renewal, led by retired Bishop Charlene Kammerer.  A wise leader of the church and friend of Florida, she will lead us in telling our own stories while also telling The Story.

The retreat will be at the Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo.  The cost for program, room (double occupancy), 4 meals and morning break is $225.

Clergy members in full connection and associate memebers can use up to $750 per quadrennium for continuing education.  The application form is available HERE

You can register HERE.

If you want more information, please call Marta Burke at 305-975-2032.  If you have questions about the room or dietary issues, email Beth Fogle-Miller at

11th Annual Native American Ministry Gathering
April 22 - 24 - Life Enrichment Center (LEC)
Come and join us for the Eleventh Annual Native American Ministry Gathering April 22 - 24, at the beautiful Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.  This is an event for those who are interested in ministering to Native American people, have Native American heritage or are just interested in the Native American culture.  This is an especially informative event for those who are Native American Ministry Reps in their local churches or are thinking about becoming Reps.  Everyone is welcome.

Click HERE for more information.  Click HERE for registration form.

This event is sponsored by the Florida Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM)  Questions?  Contact Vickie Swartz at 941-544-6951 or
Early Response Team Training
April 29 - 30, 2016 - Warren W. Willis
Early Response Team (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 get 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.

Summer Mission Intern Program
The mission of the Summer Mission Intern Program 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 serve in Christian community day camps and outreach ministries within The Florida United Methodist Church, including CROS Ministries and Grace Place for Children and Families.

The duration of the internship is 9 - 11 weeks.  A stipend of $225 per week is provided, based upon completion of entire summer term of service.  Young adults ages 19 9by 8/31/16) - 25, who are eager to be part of God's transformative work in local communities are encouraged to apply.  Submit completed application, recommendation letter, and resume via email to Heidi Aspinwall,, by May 1, 2016. 

Click HERE for more information.  Questions?  Contact Heidi Aspinwall.

Warren W. Willis Retreats & Summer Camp
Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect and fellowship.

Confirmation Retreats   - March 4-6, 2016 / March 11-13, 2016

Created By God   - April 22-24, 2016

Adult Wilderness Retreats   - May 2-7, 2016

Summer Camps -
June - August 2016

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 15-17, 2016
Grandparents and Me - June 27-30, 2016 / July 18-21, 2016
Family Camp - July 22-24, 2016 / July 19-31, 2016
Mom and Me Weekend - September 16-18, 2016

Questions? Email Rev. Melissa Cooper at

The Mary Retreat - A Sabbath Retreat for Women
Life Enrichment Center (LEC)
How are you caring for the busy women in your church?  On your staff?  Leading your ministries?

The Mary Retreat is a great way to give the busy women in your world an opportunity to take a step away from the hustle and bustle and just "be" for a weekend.

Every time we host a Mary Retreat, women share with me that their lives are changed - not by dynamic speakers or powerful worship (because we don't do that at the Mary Retreat) - but by the opportunity to be still and really, truly rest.

Be sure your Sabbath time is sacred in 2016 - register now for April or November retreats!

April 22 - 24, 2016
November 11 - 13, 2016

Visit the LEC Website for more information and to register!  The November 2015 retreat filled nearly three months in advance, so register now to ensure your spot for 2016!

Rev. Melissa Cooper
Program Coordinator
Leading Ideas
If you do not already receive Leading Ideas, the weekly online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC, I encourage you to subscribe.  Each week you will receive information, resources, and strategies to help advance God's mission in your ministry.  To check it out and subscribe, Click HERE.
District Calendar of Events
March 2016
March 6-11: Annual Academy of Spiritual Formation, LEC Leesburg Florida
March 17: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
March 20: Palm Sunday
March 25: Good Friday - District Office Closed
March 27: Easter
March 29: Board of Location & Building -10:00am - District Office
March 30: Celebration of Janet Kelley's Ministry - 11:00am-1:00pm - Sanlando UMC, Longwood
March 31: Oasis Clergy Day Apart - 9:00am - 4:00pm - Canterbury Retreat, Oviedo

April 2016
April 9: Day on Campus - Florida UM Children's Home, Enterprise
April 16: EC District UMW Spring Day Apart, Grace UMC, Lake Mary
April 17: Announcement Sunday for Clergy Appointments
April 18-19: Clergy Women Retreat - Canterbury Retreat Center
April 22-23:  Lay Servant Ministry training - Sanlando UMC, Longwood
April 22-24: Native American Ministry Gathering - Life Enrichment Center
April 28: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
April 29: Right Start for Moving Clergy - 10am -4pm, First Lakeland
April 29-30: Early Response Team Training - Warren W Willis
May 2016
May 10-20: General Conference of the UMC, Oregon Convention Center in Portland Oregon
May 14: Run 4 Life 4 Miler, Florida UM Children's Home, Enterprise 7:30am
May 26: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
May 30: Memorial Day Holiday - District Office Closed

June 2016
June 9-10: Right Start Training - First Time Appointments - Lakeland
June 15 - 18: Annual Conference - The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, Lake Buena Vista
June 23: EC dCOM 9:00am - 4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
June 28: Moving Day for Clergy Moving

July 2016
July 4: Independence Day Holiday - District Office Closed
July 7 - 10: EC District UMW Mission U, Bethune Bookman University, Daytona Beach
July 8 - 9: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
August 2016
August 11-12: Global Leadership Summit - Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC, Deltona
August 25: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
September - December 2016
September 5: Labor Day Holiday - Office Closed
September 17: EC District UMW Mission Study Sampler, Sanlando UMC, Longwood
September 22: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 22: EC District UMW Annual Meeting, First Winter Garden
October 27: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 5: UMW Conference Annual Meeting (TBD
November 17: EC dCOM - 9:00am - 4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 15: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland

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