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July 2015 Newsletter

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I really believe I was inspired that evening.  I had decided to divide my trip to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina for a retreat with Bishop Carter and the cabinet into two parts.  I left home in Maitland about 5:30 Saturday evening.  I would stop for the night whenever I felt ready to do so, worship the next morning, and drive the rest of the way on Sunday afternoon.

As I was making my way up I-95 on the north side of Jacksonville, suddenly it occurred to me that I could spend the night in Charleston and worship at Emmanuel AME Church the next morning.  Here's what I posted on Facebook after I was settled into a pew in the back of "Mother Emmanuel's" historic sanctuary about 8:30 Sunday morning for the 9:30 service:

Privileged to worship this morning at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston.  The doors are open, the welcoming nature is pervasive, emotions are visible, and people of various ages and shades and backgrounds are eager to worship our God of healing and hope, of justice and love, of reconciliation and peace.


I'm still processing that experience in worship in Charleston on June 21, Father's Day.  One thing is clear to me:  as the service progressed it became more and more evident that the power and movement of God was the undergirding force in that room.  At times I felt overwhelmed by it.

Along with hundreds of others, I cried, I laughed, I felt sadness and anger, joy and hope.  Together as a diverse community we listened and we sang and we clapped and we prayed in a time of sharing and grieving and healing inspired by the Spirit of Love that is the God whom we know most fully and completely through Jesus of Nazareth.

A particular piece of the experience sticks in my mind, rooted in a statement made in the sermon preached by the Revered Norvel Goff, Interim Pastor of Emmanuel.  He said, "A lot of people expected us to do something strange and to break out in a riot.  Well, they just don't know us.  We are people of faith."

We are people of faith...and in that context understood at the end of that statement are the words "in Jesus Christ".  We are people of faith in Jesus Christ.

If you and I were together in person right now I would ask you to repeat that statement with me:  We are people of faith in Jesus Christ.  Then I would ask you to say it with me again:  We are people of faith in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps I would invite you to say it with me even a third time:  We are people of faith in Jesus Christ.  We are different in our thoughts and actions and reactions than what is normative in the surrounding culture:


  • We are filled and guided by the love of God to respond to the hurt and pain and tragedies of life in ways that are surprising, unexpected, even radical.
  • We live daily with hearts that are filled with gratitude.
  • Through all the twists and turns of this journey called life we trust in God - in God's goodness and mercy, in God's sense of justice, and in the truth that God does indeed, as Paul reminds us in Romans 8, "work all things together for good for those who love God".


Dylann Roof, the person who has confessed to shooting those nine people gathered for Bible study in a basement classroom at Emmanuel AME Church the evening of Wednesday, June 17, said that he "almost didn't go through with it because everyone was so nice to me".

When I read that statement, right away echoing in my mind were the words of Reverend Goff:  We are people of faith.  Dylann Roof sensed that there was something different about those folks than what he had expected.  For a moment at least it disarmed him.  It made him question what he was about to do.

This past Wednesday evening, June 24, one week after that horrific event, about 150 people gathered for their weekly Bible study in the same room where the shooting had taken place.  The theme of their study was "The Power of Love".


The story of what happened at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17 and its aftermath continues to unfold.  What already has clearly emerged out of that experience, however, is the call to all of us who follow Jesus to proclaim boldly, not just with our words, but also through the ways in which we choose to live in response to all of life's experiences, opportunities, and setbacks, We are people of faith in Jesus Christ.

I feel a sense of privilege to serve with all of you in the East Central District of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church as together we seek to live out that claim.

Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

In The District
Welcome Rev. Dr. Bob Bushong - New EC District Superintendent
Join us as we welcome Dr. Bob Bushong as the District Superintendent of the East Central District.  Having spent most of his ministry career serving churches in the East Central District, Bob has a deep appreciation for the variety of churches and approaches to ministry in the East Central District, and is excited about working together with clergy and laity in the district to continue our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Click HERE to read more.

Bob can be reached via email at ds-ec@flumc.orgHe will be traveling and attending various trainings during the next six weeks, responding to email as he is able.  Janet Kelley ( and Claudia Sava ( will continue to be available to clergy and laity at their respective emails and the EC office phone number.

US Mail should continue to be sent to: 
East Central District
PO Box 4232

Enterprise, FL  32725

On Wednesday, August 12th the East Central District Office will be moving from the Florida United Methodist Children's Home.  Our new office will be located in an office building on Lee Road in Winter Park.  Complete information will be sent in August with our new address and phone contacts.  You will still be able to reach the District staff via the emails above.  Click HERE for the District Website.

Janet & Claudia
Welcome our New Clergy July 1st!
  • Peter Cottrell - Sr. Pastor, Coronado Community UMC, New Smyrna Beach
  • Emily Edwards - Associate Pastor, First UMC, Orlando
  • Kevin Evers - Sr. Pastor, Bear Lake UMC, Apopka
  • Arch Fisher - Sr. Pastor, Shingle Creek UMC, Kissimmee
  • Bob Hahn - Sr. Pastor, Osteen UMC
  • Brian Johnson - Sr. Pastor, Tomoka UMC, Ormond Beach
  • Chris Jones - Sr. Pastor, Community of Faith UMC, Davenport
  • Matt Kern - Sr. Pastor, First UMC, Sanford
  • John Legg - Sr. Pastor, Aloma UMC, Winter Park
  • Andrew Miller - Sr. Pastor, Montverde UMC
  • David Miller - Sr. Pastor, First UMC, Winter Park
  • Jennifer Stiles Williams - Sr. Pastor, St. Luke's UMC, Orlando
  • Terry Wines - Sr. Pastor, First UMC, Bunnell
Annual Conference 2015
Next Generations:  "Together in the Baptismal Waters"
About 1,900 Florida United Methodists, including 1,546 clergy and lay voting members, gathered June 10-13 at Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach.  Below are some highlights as well as quick links to key features of AC2015:

View from the podium: an episcopal perspective on Annual Conference
Bishop Carter reflects on his experience at AC2015 Click HERE

General and Jurisdictional Delegation for 2016 Click HERE

Lay Member Summary Report for the local church:  Click HERE

Adam Hamilton Leadership Sessions:  Leading Beyond The Walls Click HERE for video.
Click HERE for the handouts that accompany the presentations.

Mentoring Videos Click HERE

Click HERE for the AC2015 Website.
A Huge Expression of Thanks to Our Wonderful AC2015 Volunteers
Let me offer my sincere gratitude and appreciation for all the people throughout the East Central District and FL Conference who volunteered during AC2015 at Bethune Cookman University.  Thanks to each of you for giving yourself so freely, joyfully, and effectively throughout the week.  I appreciate the extra mile that each of you went to make everyone feel comfortable at BCU, providing service and information whenever needed.  A special thank you to all of the wonderful Bethune Cookman University Faculty, Staff, and Students who were always available and ready to serve.

"Well done, good and faithful servants!"

With appreciation,
Janet Kelley

A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
As with most Annual Conferences there were several moments this year that were powerful, but for me the one most precious involved a mid-morning snack.  It was Friday morning and I was sitting with the delegates from my church, St. Luke's in Orlando.  This was a special year as our pastor of 23 years, Bill Barnes, along with several others who dedicated their life in ministry, officially retired at Annual Conference.  And well, our little group just sort of found ourselves huddled around he and his wife Kim during most of conference (quite honestly, we were savoring just having this bit of time together).  I knew some of our church delegates well and Annual Conference was providing an opportunity to get to know the others better.

At one point in the morning I noticed that Kim disappeared for several minutes and when she returned she had a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  I'm not sure where they come from but you would have thought it was manna from heaven.  We hit that box of doughnuts like locust.  Now to be fair, we were nice about it and even shared with those who were sitting around us.  But make no mistake, we were enjoying those sticky, sweet, fat laden treats like they were the last on earth.  As I was munching away I was struck with the realization that being in communion can come in many forms (please don't misunderstand, those doughnuts were not the sacraments but the moment was as powerful as any communion I've encountered).  The presence of Christ was so real that it was almost palpable.  In looking at each member of the group I was truly struck and humbled at how each life had been transformed by the love and grace of Jesus Christ, the gifts that they each had and how God was using their gifts and most of all, how we each are still on our walk to perfection.  Who would have thought that sharing a box of doughnuts could become a holy moment??

Most of us will be celebrating communion in our churches in the next week or two as we do each month.  It's a sacred and special time that we are privileged to share.  As you gather around the Lord's table, I hope you will have a moment where you are so aware of the presence of our living and loving God, redeemer, and sustainer that just like John Wesley, your heart too will be "strangely warmed".

A Message from Jeff Campbell, District Disaster Coordinator
We may be in the middle of a very quiet Atlantic hurricane season, but there is nothing quiet as far as natural disasters occurring.  In the past few weeks in the news we have seen lightning-ignited wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, and severe storms.  Even closer to home, I recently traveled on Florida's Turnpike and saw 5 large columns of smoke between Yeehaw Junction and Kenansville.  We may be safe and secure, but let's not forget the unfortunate ones touched by these terrible events.  They could very easily be us.  God bless and I will see you next month.

Jeff Campbell
Celebrate Jesus
The CELEBRATE JESUS ORLANDO AREA MISSION will take place during the week of July 25-August 1.  Church members will be joined by visiting missionaries to share the love of Jesus with our community in a variety of ways.  You are invited to join us at the following services as we share in uplifting praise and worship, listen to powerful testimonies, and pray for our neighbors.
Friday, July 24, 7:00-800pm
Conway United Methodist Church
1411 N. Dean Road, Orlando, FL  32825

Saturday, July 25, 3:00 - 4:30pm
Aloma United Methodist Church
3045 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL  32792

Wednesday, July 31, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Community United Methodist Church
4921 S. Hwy 17-92, Casselberry, FL  32707

Saturday, August 1, 10:00 - 11:30am
Aloma United Methodist Church
3045 Aloma avenue, Winter Park, FL  32792

Celebrate Jesus, Inc.
Global Leadership Summit - August 6-7, 2015
Pine Ridge Fellowship Howland Campus, Deltona
Pine Ridge Fellowship UMC is area's official satellite location for The Global Leadership Summit 2015, the Willow Creek Association's annual world-class leadership event broadcast from the Willow campus near Chicago.  The Summit is a two-day world-class leadership event experienced by more than 200,000 leaders around the world.  It's crafted to infuse vision, skill development and inspiration to help Christians grow their leadership to maximize Kingdom impact.
"Everyone wins when a leader gets better." -- Bill Hybels

Step up today and get better at leading.  Right where you are.  Right where God has put you.  We believe the local church is the hope of the world, but only when it's working right, and for it to work right, it must be well-led.  The Summit is an unprecedented global movement of Christian leaders making lasting change in the world.  In the decades to come it will become even more critical that the local church is working right.  The church is still God's plan to redeem and restore our broken world.  Register HERE.  
Contact Yvonne Levesque at 407-324-1614 or for details.
Great Expectations for Boomers & Beyond
October 22 - 24, 2015 - First UMC, Winter Park
Around The Conference 
United Methodist Men's October Retreats
October 9-10, 2015 and October 23-25, 215 - LEC

Could you use some restorative time before the 2015 holiday season begins?  Join us in October for one of two Men's Retreats to recharge your batteries!  We are taking advantage of the peacefulness found at the Life Enrichment Center outside Leesburg to offer inspiration, relaxation and fulfilling relationships.  There will be retreats on October 9-10 and October 23-25.  Click HERE for details and the registration form.
Rooted - Youth Worker Training Event
September 21 - 22, 2015 - Warren W. Willis Camp
Conference Youth Ministry Training Event
  • Monday, September 21st - Tuesday, September 22nd
  • Cost:  $50 for whole event or $20 for one day only (Monday or Tuesday)
  • Warren W. Willis UM Camp
    4990 Picciola Road Fruitland Park, FL  34731

Rooted is an annual youth worker training, networking, and gathering event for youth workers in the Florida Conference put on by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Youth Ministry Institute. 

Please note:  If you are new to youth ministry, new to the Florida Conference, or if you are new to the United Methodist Church we have a block of training on Monday afternoon that you cannot miss. 
Click HERE for more information or email Joel Pancoast at

Leadership Institute 2015
October 1 - 2, 2015 - Church of the Resurrection
Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection brings together clergy, church staff and volunteers who share a passion for renewing churches.  Lean in to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by investing in your leadership and leaders of your church.  Leaders with fresh ideas, renewed focus and inspired by the Holy Spirit are able to unleash the potential of a church and community.  Bring your ministry leaders to the largest mainline church training event in the country and be equipped, renewed and inspired.  Over the past 15 years, more than 20,000 leaders have returned to their congregations and communities ready to "Go and Lead" with impact, vitality, excellence, passion and boldness.  Click HERE for more information and registration.
2015 Florida Clergy Mates Retreat
November 5 - 7, 2015

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. 
Summer Opportunities 
 lis Summer Camp
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 - July 13-16 
Family Camp - 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! 
District Calendar of Events

July 2015
July 3: District Office Closed in observance of July 4th Holiday

July 9-12: UMW Mission U - Bethune Cookman University

July 10 - 11: Candidacy Retreat
July 10, 17, 24, 31: District Office Closed on Fridays for Summer Hours


August 2015

August 12-13: EC District Office Moving to Lee Road Office. No phone or internet access until the 14th.

August 24: Charge Conference Forms launch date. Live on-line for church access.

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

August 31: New Clergy to ECD Orientation - 11:00am-1:00pm District Office: 2221 Lee Road Suite 21, WP, FL


September 2015

September 7: District Office Closed in observance of Labor Day
September 8-9: Cabinet Meeting in Lakeland
September 14-16: Janet and Claudia in Lakeland for Administrative Training
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 6-7: Bishop's Gathering with Clergy at the LEC
October 12-13: Cabinet Meeting in Lakeland

October 15: EC Local Church Administrative Staff Training
October 22-24: Great Expectations Boomers & Beyond, First Winter Park

October 24: UMW District Annual Meeting - Orange City UMC

October 29: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland


November 2015

November 11: District Office Closed in observance of Veterans Day
November 19: EC dCOM - 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 26 & 27: District Office Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday


December 2015

December 1: SPRC Training - 6:30pm - Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 3-4: Cabinet Meeting Lakeland

December 7: SPRC Training - 6:30pm - Tomoka UMC Ormond Beach

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

December 24-25: District Office Closed for Christmas Holiday

December 31: District Office Closed for New Year's Eve



January 2016

January 1: District Office Closed for New Year's Day

January 8 - 9: Candidacy Retreat

February 2016

February 6: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo


May 2016

May 10-20: General Conference of the UMC, Oregon Convention Center in Portland Oregon

June 2016

June 15 - 18, 2016: Annual Conference - The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, Lake Buena Vista

July 2016

July 8 - 9: Candidacy Retreat


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