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October 2017 Newsletter

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Dear (Contact First Name),        
I saw the prayer below online, listed anonymously, with no author cited. I made a few changes, and I want to be clear that this piece is not primarily my own writing.
As I read it, I was inspired, and at some level I longed for an opportunity to start over with the parenting of my son, who is now 37 and my daughter, who is 35. Hopefully these words will stay with me as I live out my role as grandfather to a 12, 8, and 3 year old.
As I got in touch with the many ways that as a parent I fell short from the ideals expressed in this prayer, I found myself wondering if a similar awareness on the author's part is what caused her/him to post it anonymously. Perhaps that's why she/he closed with "the ways that I open myself to the experience of your grace in the face of my imperfections."
That's my prayer for all of us mostly well intentioned, yet broken individuals who so often don't get it right, whether that's with our parenting or in other aspects of how we relate with folks in the various circles of our lives: that we might open ourselves to the experience of God's grace in the face of our imperfections. That's what God wants us to do.
A Parent's Prayer
Oh Heavenly Father, make me a better parent. Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly.
Keep me from interrupting them or criticizing them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.
Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame or ridicule when they displease me.
May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction or to show my power.
Guide me, hour by hour, that I might demonstrate in everything that I say or do, that honesty produces fulfillment in life.
May I ever be mindful that my children are children, and that I should not expect of them the judgment of adults.
Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.
Bless me with the bigness to grant them their reasonable requests and the courage to deny them the privileges I know could do them harm.
Make me fair, just and kind, and fit me, O Lord, to be loved, respected, and imitated by my children, including in the ways that I open myself to the experience of your grace in the face of my imperfections.
Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In the District
Bishop Carter Encourages Churches to Give to Hurricane Irma Fund
To the Clergy and Laity of the Florida Annual Conference:

Each of you has been in my prayers as we have journeyed through Hurricane Irma. Traveling around our state, I have seen with my own eyes the courage of our pastors and the vulnerability of many of our impoverished communities who were hit hard by this storm. Thank you for what you have already done and for your willingness to continue to be a part of the short-term relief and long-term recovery efforts. God will use these efforts to further extend our witness into our communities.   

We encourage churches to continue to give to UMCOR. 100% of donations go to relief work. We do know there will be needs beyond those for which UMCOR can care. To that end, the Cabinet has established the Hurricane Irma Fund, which will help to repair local churches in the Florida Conference and rebuild the communities that surround them in the spirit of Isaiah 65. The funds will be distributed by the Bishop and Cabinet with accountability to the Council on Finance and Administration.

The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Ken Carter
Florida Episcopal Area
Just in Time Training
October 4 & 5 - Hyde Park UMC & Community of Hope
Many of you have been working with your local church, your district office and the conference to assist in meeting the immediate needs of so many of our communities affected by Hurricane Irma. You have also offered to do more but are not sure where to start or what's needed next.
We have immediate opportunities for care teams (2-3 people) to interact with survivors in affected communities, talking with residents and homeowners. These volunteers will serve as the "front team" to  help us identify and triage the needs.  We also have an immediate need for work teams who will then go in with the right skills and tools to meet that need. Teams will be needed on the weekends and during the week, in a wide variety of locations. Teams may deploy for multiple days, much like a mission team, or they may deploy one day at a time.  

If you are feeling a call to help in one of these ways, please join us for one of four trainings sessions Oct. 4 & 5.  Click HERE to register or for more information.  There is no charge for this training.  If you are unable to make one of these trainings, there will be future opportunities in the coming weeks.

Questions?  Email Pam Garrison, Disaster Response Coordinator
Fall Clergy Meeting Rescheduled!
January 30, 2018 - Asbury UMC, Maitland 
The Fall Clergy meeting has been rescheduled!  January 30 is the new date for the meeting that was cancelled in September due to Hurricane Irma.  We are asking everyone who is planning on attending to register, even if you had registered for the September meeting.

Rev. Jason Micheli, Executive Pastor at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria, VA will join us for our time together and share his experiences after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone Cancer.  He is also the author of Cancer is Funny:  Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo. 

Click HERE to register.

All Full-time clergy serving in the local church are expected to attend.  Please make this time together a priority in your schedule.  If you absolutely cannot make it due to a previous commitment, please call Dr. Bob Bushong to request to be excused.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month
 Click HERE for ideas on honoring your pastors!  
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders
Staying Rooted Through the Storm
9/11/17 Hurricane Irma: Floridians braced for the worst as the howling winds blew through the early morning hours. We prayed for ourselves and our families. People all over the country and the world prayed for us as well. The psalmist knew our prayers:

Psalm 57:1
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    until the destroying storms pass by.

Driving around Orlando and Winter Park after Hurricane Irma, we saw leaves, limbs, and whole trees littering yards - a few piercing roofs. The toppled trees were mostly the almost 100-year old Laurel Oaks planted years ago to create those lovely tree-lined streets of Orlando and Winter Park. They grow tall and quickly, creating a dense canopy of shade, but they have weak wood and a tendency to decay. The gnarly, meandering Live Oaks held their ground far more often. Their deep roots, shorter height, and strong wood help them better withstand high hurricane winds.

Lord, let me be a Live Oak. Help me to dig deep into your Word to grow a root structure that will steady me in a storm. Let me stretch my arms wide, curling around to touch others. Let me sway in the wind, as it whips and growls, being flexible yet unbreaking.

Lay Action: Our church, First UMC Orlando, answered a frantic call for help from seniors at the Kinneret Towers, who were stranded 15 floors up with no power and very little food and water. Church members cooked meals, assembled survival bags, and delivered them all to those desperate seniors. They asked, and God answered, through the faithful with willing hearts and hands and feet.

Loving the Laity,
Melanie and Kim Lee

Send your Lay Action stories to:
Enroll Now in No-Cost FLUMC Member Benefits
The Florida Conference Now Offers a One-Stop Shop for Your Healthcare Needs
one-stop shop for your healthcare needs.
Member Benefits, the FLUMC Private Health Exchange is a no-cost service available to you and your church staff to help you choose the products and services that best suit you.  Member Benefits is about ease of use and choice...for anyone connected to our Florida United Methodist Conference.  You can even open an HSA with Member Benefits.
We hope that Member Benefits - along with the $1,000 annual healthcare stipend increase per family size - will help uncomplicate your 2018 healthcare decisions.
Click HERE for a Member Benefits flyer and for a detailed Summary of Research and Changes to Clergy Benefit Program for 2018 click HERE.

Questions?  Email Marilynn Mollica or Lois Durham
Fall Charge Conferences
Charge Conferences have begun!!  Dr. Bob Bushong will preside over six Church Conferences from October 1 through November 12. Each church has been notified where and when they are asked to participate.  

First UMC Sanford is hosting our first Church Conference Oct. 1 at 4pm.

Completed Church Conference packets with all documents signed will be turned in at the Church Conference.  We do not need originals, as we will scan the packet and then shred it.

All Charge Conference forms with detailed instructions are available on the Florida Conference website and the East Central District website
News from Lay Servant Ministries
Fall LSM Training at First Kissimmee Rescheduled for October 6 and 7
Due to Hurricane Irma, the fall LSM training was rescheduled. We're still offering 5 classes: LSM Basic in English, Spanish and Creole, and two Advanced courses in English. Lay Servant Training prepares the laity to be in ministry through caring, communication and leadership. To download a brochure and registration form, click HERE

Youth Lay Servant Training - The NEW date is:  Saturday, October 28, 2017; 8:30 am-5:00 pm at Montverde United Methodist Church
The day is geared towards equipping and empowering our youth Lay Servants providing them the opportunity to discover how and where they are being called to serve. To help them to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ who can then go and make other disciples. Through the discipleship paths of H.O.P. E. (Hospitality, Offer Christ, Purpose, and Engagement) participants should leave with an understanding of the many ways they can serve within their church and the community. Cost: $15 (includes meals and all materials). 
REGISTER TODAY! Click HERE for a downloadable flyer and registration form.

Joyfully serving with each of you in His Vineyard,
Lynn & Jim

For more information, please contact: Jim Boesch 407-721-0416 ; or Lynn Campbell 407-520-0272 .
Innovating Spiritual Movements with Brian McLaren
Collective Church, DeLand - November 18, 2017
The conference Fresh Expressions team invites you to join us on Saturday, November 18th from 9am to 4pm in Deland at Collective Church for an inspiring one-day intensive with acclaimed writer, pastor and emergent spiritual leader, Brian McLaren. Brian will discuss themes relevant to Fresh Expressions from his recent book, The Great Spiritual Migration. Following conversation with Brian, we will workshop next steps in our own projects. This intensive will be of particular value to those who have existing knowledge of Fresh Expressions or have participated in a Spark Day and are looking for next steps in starting, growing or supporting a Fresh Expression of church. The cost for the day will be $29 per person. Click HERE to sign up! Limited space is available, so be sure to sign up soon.

Experience this intensive in the context of Collective, a Fresh Expression of how church is being redefined in the Florida Conference, an incubator for spiritual community that reaches new people in new places and in new ways. Local Lunch and Artisan Coffee will be provided.

Click HERE for the event flyer.  Questions? Email
Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training
The Annual East Central District Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training Event will provide you with the effective tools needed in your responsibilities.  Dr. Bob Bushong our District Superintendent will facilitate. There will be two trainings offered, one in Sanford on November 28 and one in Haines City on November 30.  Pick the location or date that is convenient for you. 

Pastors, SPRC Chairpersons and Committee Members, Lay Leaders, and Lay Members to Annual Conference are strongly encouraged to attend this important training event.  Please register by clicking on the link under the training you would like to attend.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Lakeside Fellowship UMC
121 N Henderson Lane
Sanford, FL  32771
Click HERE
Thursday, November 30, 2017
6:30pm - 8:30pm
New Horizon UMC
400 Orchid Drive
Haines City, FL  33844
Click HERE
EC District UMW Annual Meeting
Saturday, October 21, 2017; 9:30 am-1:00 pm; First UMC - Clermont
To all the units in the East Central District:
Thanks to all the brave souls who attended the Mission Sampler in September. For all the units who were unable to attend we want to send a special message for you to attend the upcoming District Annual Meeting. 

First United Methodist Church
950 Seventh Street
Clermont, FL  34711

October 21, 2017
9:30 am to 1:00 pm

The cost is $12.00 with meal and $2.00 if you are attending only the service.
We would especially like to have all the units that will be starting in a new district as of January 2018 to attend. We need to say good-bye properly. To download a registration form, click HERE Send to Celeste Hicks by October 17th; address is on the registration.

Questions?  Suzy Nagy, ECD UMW Communications
Support your Local Campus Ministry
4th Annual Wesley at UCF Golf Tournament
Twin Rivers Golf Club - October 21, 2017
Wesley at UCF is hosting its Fourth Annual Golf Tournament. The tournament will help support the ministries of Wesley at UCF. Wesley is a place where real friendships are born, leaders are developed and our love for Christ and one another inspires action in our community. Click HERE for flyer.

When: Sunday, October 21, 2017
Where: Twin River Golf Club; Oviedo, FL
Style: Scramble: 4-Person Teams; Best Ball
Cost: $300/Team; $85/Player; $10 Mulligans
Registration:  7:30 am (free range balls);
Start time:  Shotgun at 8:30 am

Provide a Tuesday Night Meal at Wesley UCF
We are looking for people to sponsor or help provide a meal. They can access all of our information on this website 
At Wesley we believe that a lot of connections and great conversations are made during our meal time. It has become a HUGE part of our ministry and something that our students really look forward to each week. Many of our students don't have the resources to have a delicious home cooked meal while away at college and through your help this has been made possible. Connecting with each of you has also allowed our students to develop new relationships with individuals and churches so that one day they, too, can give back to the community. You may sign up for a week to bring a meal or even send in a monetary donation to cover the cost ($200-$300) of a meal for that week. You are such a big blessing to our students and we are so thankful for your donations!

Erwin Lopez,
Director, CFL Wesley
Stetson Wesley
Stetson Wesley has a new website.  There are lots of ways to help support Stetson Wesley.  Check out to keep up to date with all their activities.  Like them on Facebook @StetsonWesley.   

Questions?  Contact Interim Co-Directors Caitlin White or Rev. Ben Collins at or 386-742-9423.
Around the Conference
 Join the United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union
Celebrate International Credit Union Day on October 19, 2017 in Lakeland
The United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union (UMC FCU) was established to financially serve you, a member of the United Methodist Church. Ministers, lay members, employees, church staff and employees of organizations and ministries affiliated with the United Methodist Church of the Florida Conference are all eligible to join. Immediate family members of our members are also eligible. 

Banking with the UMC FCU is a smart choice as we are owned and operated by the people who use us. That's why we're dedicated to the things that really matter to you and specifically positioned to offer you better rates, services, and products that often out match traditional or conventional financial institutions while also supporting the UMC mission. We've taken great strides to provide you services the way you like, online and mobile banking, and new technology that will make your experience with us easy.
Please join in our celebration of "International Credit Union Day" on October 19th with various activities at our Marietta, Georgia and Lakeland, Florida branches as well as on our social media sites. To learn how to become a valued member of the UMC FCU, visit our new website at and be sure to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
Bishop Carter's Annual Clergy Gathering 2017
Life Enrichment Center; Fruitland Park, FL - October 24-25, 2017
Sabbath in the Midst of the Storm and Recovery
Register at

Then let your friends know you've registered!!! Spread the word! Come as a covenant group, or come to learn how to form a covenant group. Come for centering prayer. Come for canoeing or a massage. Come for Sabbath! Spiritual directors from Shade and Fresh Water will be available.

Warren W. Willis Retreats
Warren W. Willis is not just for Summer Camp...although that is an amazing time! Click on any of the following links for information on the wonderful programs you and your church can attend. 
Confirmation Retreat: Feb. 16-18, Mar. 2-4, & Mar. 16-18, 2018
Connect: Oct. 13-15, 2017 & Nov. 10-12, 2017                      
College Connection:  Registration opens in October
37th Annual Clergymates Retreat
Life Enrichment Center - November 2-4, 2017
Rev. Pam Carter, spouse of Florida UMC Conference Bishop Ken Carter, writes,
"Dear Fellow Mates,
The Clergy Mates Retreat is an ideal occasion to do something special for yourself - while enjoying the peaceful serenity of the Life Enrichment Center on beautiful Lake Griffin.
This annual gathering is a unique opportunity given to Florida mates to receive refreshment,
a spiritual lift and connection to other clergy spouses. I invite you to join with other mates for this special time. The retreat will be from Thursday evening to noon Saturday, November 2-4, 2017.

This year features Vidalis T. Lopez, as the special guest speaker. The Associate Pastor of First UMC of Coral Gables, I know that Vidalis will bring you an inspirational message that offers both insight to and practical application of Philippians 4:8-9.

Register early for this one-of-a-kind event, available only to Florida Clergy Mates. Click HERE to register online. 
To download a brochure, click HERE.
In His Love, Pam
All Local Historians: Attend the SEJ Heritage Preservation Workshop
November 17-18, 2017; Lake Junaluska Conference Center; Lake Junaluska, NC
Conference Theme: Bringing Life to History

About our Presenters
The living history portrayal session will be presented by George W. Cobb, D.D. Dr. Cobb is a retired United Methodist minister whose hobby is Living History. In addition to chairing the Commission on Archives & History in the North Alabama Conference, he is a member of the SEJ Commission and serves two rural churches. Since retirement in 2004, he and his wife Betty have shared Living History presentations with more than 100,000 school children. He has done Historic Portrayals of several 18th century ministers in six Southeastern states. 
The oral history section of the workshop will be facilitated by Laurie Preston, Associate Professor and Head of Reference at Randolph-Macon College, in conjunction with members of the SEJ Commission on Archives and History. Ms. Preston has been involved with several oral history projects and has presented at several conferences and meetings including the Oral History Association, Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Virginia Library Association, and the Virginia Forum.
Registration Fee: $50 per person; Please Note: Registration is limited to 50 participants, so act now! To download a registration form, click HERE.
Easter Pilgrimage to Italy with Bishop Carter: April 2018
Led by Bishop Carter, travelers will visit Venice, Assisi, Siena, Florence and Rome while studying the Gospel of Mark and the legacy of Peter during April 3-12, 2018.
From Bishop Carter: "We will learn more about the gospel of Mark in Venice and the legacy of Peter; we will read the dialogues of Catherine of Sienna and the meditations of Dante; and we will reflect on the renewing vision given to Francis of Assisi," and more.
For more information, a brochure with a detailed itinerary and online registration, click HERE.
District Calendar of Events
October 2017
October 1: Cluster Church Conference 4:00pm First UMC, Sanford
October 6&7: Lay Servant Training Weekend First UMC, Kissimmee
October 8: Cluster Church Conference 4:00pm First UMC, DeLand
October 15: Cluster Church Conference 4:00pm First UMC, Kissimmee
October 19:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Sept. 28)
October 21: UMW District Annual Meeting - First UMC, Clermont
October 22: Cluster Church Conference 3:30pm First UMC, Orlando
October 24-25: Clergy Gathering - LEC
October 28: Youth Lay Servant Training Day 8:30am Montverde UMC
October 29: Cluster Church Conference 4:00pm St. John's UMC, Winter Haven
November 2017
November 4: UMW Conference Annual Meeting; Lakeland
November 10: Veterans Day Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
November 12: Cluster Church Conference 4:00pm First UMC, Clermont
November 18: Fresh Expressions Workshop - Collective, DeLand
November 23 & 24: Thanksgiving Holiday - Conference and District Offices Closed
November 28: SPRC Training - Lakeside Fellowship UMC, Sanford
November 30: SPRC Training - New Horizon UMC, Haines City
December 2017
December 11: Clergy Retiree Christmas Luncheon - District Parsonage
December 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Nov. 30)
December 25: Christmas Day - Conference and District Offices Closed

January 2018
January 12 -13: Candidacy Retreat
January 30: Fall Clergy Meeting - Asbury UMC, Maitland

February 2018
February 3: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo
June 2018
June 7 - 9: Annual Conference - Florida Southern College, Lakeland
July 2018
July 13 - 14: Candidacy Retreat

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