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November 2016 Newsletter

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I feel sure that by now you know for whom you will vote for President of the United States on Tuesday, November 8 - or that you have already voted. I put my ballot in the mail last Thursday.  
Our elections - and specifically right now our presidential election - are important. As followers of Jesus first and as citizens of the United States of America second, we are called to be salt and light in this world. A part of what that means at this time of this year is to participate in the elections, not only to vote, but also to support those whom we believe will govern our nation in the most just manner. As followers of Jesus our first task always is to respond as we believe Jesus would have us respond. That includes selecting the persons for whom we vote.
Lots of things have been said from a variety of perspectives during this election season. Some of these things have been positive and uplifting. More have been ugly and hurtful. More money has been spent than anyone might even be able to figure out. The campaigns - first the primary campaigns and then the general election campaigns - have gone on for a very long time.
Many Americans are weary of the whole thing. Some question the process. And yet, few in our nation would disagree that, when compared to other countries around the world, ours promotes more opportunities for its citizens to express ourselves and to have a say in governing than does any other.
Does it matter who is elected on November 8? Certainly, most of us believe it does. And most of us have an opinion on who the "best" candidate is, that is the one whom we believe will be the most effective leader for our nation.
I had an enjoyable visit with a long-time friend one recent evening. As we often seem to, this friend and I are voting for different candidates. That night we had some serious conversation about the issues identified during this election cycle and the possible outcome, as well as about our concern for the state of our country and of the larger world.
The conversation that evening between two friends was civil and respectful. Both of us are followers of Jesus. Both of us care deeply about the world around us. Both of us are voting as loyal citizens of our country. We are voting for different candidates. At the same time, we respect one another and love one another and are ready to move forward with positive spirits as followers of Jesus and as citizens of this land - regardless of who is elected on November 8.
Let's be in prayer for this election. Let's be in prayer for whoever the winner is. Let's also remember that no matter who wins at the ballot box, Jesus remains the Lord of the universe. No election on earth will change that.

Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In The District
East Central District 2016 Charge/Church Conference Reminders
Paperwork due 7 days PRIOR to Charge Conference (without signatures):
1. 2016 Charge Conference Voting Matters Agenda
2. 2017 Appointed Pastor's Compensation Form
3. 2017 Appointed Pastor's Housing Exclusion Form
  • ALL Paperwork must arrive into the district office via US mail NO LATER than 1 week after Charge Conference.  (Please send the photocopies and keep the originals.  Do not use a cover or bind the materials.)  All documents must have All signatures.
  • The Church Dashboard must be updated with all the leaders for 2017 within 1 week of Charge Conference.
  • Financial Audits:  We will be looking for the date and the name of the auditor.  If an audit has not been completed this year, we will want the name of the auditor and the date in the near future that it will be completed.
All Charge/Church Conference forms with detailed instructions are available on the Florida Conference website: Click HERE.
2017 Connectional Giving
The apportionments for 2017 are now available on the conference website. To access your 2017 apportionment information:
  1. Go to the Conference homepage:
  2. Click on the "Monthly Reports" tab at the bottom right of the page.
  3. Click on the top link under Monthly Billing Reports:  "Click here to download monthly reports."
  4. Click on 2017 Apportionment Report in the drop down menu.  This link will take you to your 2017 apportionments.
  5. Enter your six digit GCFA number.
Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
Note - Due Date is now May 30
To All Local Church Clergy and Staff Parish Relations Committees: 
The Cabinet has approved changes to the pastoral assessments that in previous years have been due in October.  We have streamlined the forms and are moving the due date to May 30.  We did this to make them easier as well as move them from the fall that is already busy with charge conferences, stewardship, and Advent/Christmas preparation.

You can do the assessments anytime between January and May.  Click HERE for more information.
A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
Greetings East Central District! 
As we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to offer up a few things I'm thankful for beyond the typical family, friends and heath (all of which I am deeply grateful for). Despite all the election fallout, I am grateful that we live in a country where we have the freedom to choose our leaders. I'm also grateful to be part of a denomination where there are so many wonderful ways in which our church has been at work here locally and around the world! As a denomination, Lord knows we are not perfect. We don't agree on politics, Biblical interpretation, and as of late, we don't even agree on the future of the church. But through it all we are still Methodists. As such we believe that we are sinners saved by grace who are called to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ to the world. We recognize that in our humanness, we will constantly struggle with our calling and our "walk towards perfection." We believe that we are called to have an "outward focus" in ministry to our community and the world rather than to be self-serving to our own denomination.  We believe the table of grace is open to all who "earnestly repent of their sins and seek to live in peace with one another."  All of these are things that I'm grateful for.
Throughout history, we Methodists have also felt a true calling to social justice in all its forms.  There have been times when we've been on the prevailing side of an issue, and other times when we've gone against the grain. We've not always agreed amongst ourselves but we've always had a presence. There are many social justice issues facing our community, country, and world today that we, as Methodists, find ourselves being called to take a stance. Some of these issues truly mean life or death, others impact the ability of people to live in freedom, others focus on differences of belief, and others are simply issues of what my Mom calls "good manners and the golden rule."
I have been asked to serve on the Way Forward Commission designed to craft options to help the UMC move forward from the impasse we are in regarding Human Sexuality-- primarily our doctrine regarding those who are LGBTQ. This is not the first time the UMC has faced a crossroads over a specific issue, and I suspect it won't be the last. And like other critical issues we've encountered, this is a deeply personal issue for most of us.  So I am asking that you continue to hold our denomination, and especially those asked to serve on the Way Forward Commission, in your thoughts and prayers in the coming months.  Pray for clarity, for wisdom, and for the ability to hear the Holy Spirit's calling on the UMC.
As I've heard more than once regarding the upcoming election: on November 8th someone is going to be elected President, regardless of who that is Jesus Christ will still be Lord, the Church will still exist, and we will still be called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. The same is true of whatever the outcome of the work of the Way Forward Commission.
Abundant blessings and a truly Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
-- Alice
Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) Training
November 28 - Tomoka UMC, Ormond Beach
November 29 - Asbury UMC, Maitland
The Annual East Central District SPRC training event will provide your team with effective tools for the many responsibilities of the SPRC.  Pastors, SPRC Chairperson and Committee Members, Lay Leaders, and Lay Members to AC are encouraged to attend.  Please join Dr. Bob Bushong and Wendy McCoy from the Conference Human Resources Ministry for this important informational event.

Wendy will have a presentation regarding the changes to clergy health benefits that start January 2017.

Both days will cover the same material.  Register for the date that is best for you.
Monday, November 28 - 6:30pm
Tomoka UMC
1000 Old Tomoka Road
Ormond Beach, FL  32174
Click HERE to RSVP for Tomoka
Tuesday, November 29 - 6:30pm
Asbury UMC
220 W Horatio Ave
Maitland, FL  32751
Click HERE to RSVP for Asbury
Benefits Update: 2017 Health Initiative
Open Enrollment Begins November 1st
Open Enrollment on the Federal Health Exchange, also known as, starts on November 1, 2016. Here are the most important dates to note:
  • November 1, 2016: Open Enrollment starts - first day you can enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2017 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017.
  • December 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017 to ensure coverage for January 1st.
  • January 1, 2017: 2017 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
  • January 31, 2017: Last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan.
Don't Delay - Secure Alternative Coverage Now!
Visit now to shop and compare insurance plans available in your area. We recommend that you select a plan and complete enrollment no later than December 15, 2016 for coverage to be effective on January 1, 2017. Finally, you must pay your first month's premium by your health plan's due date or you could lose your coverage. Each insurer is different, so pay careful attention to their due date.
Keep in mind, if you do not have health insurance from another source and you fail to complete enrollment through the Federal Exchange by January 31, 2017, you will not have health insurance in 2017. The Open Enrollment window for the Marketplace ends and you can't enroll after that date. In addition, the government requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty in addition to self-insuring yourself and your family for all health care needs.  Click HERE for a .pdf with this information.
Fresh Expressions Spark Event
9:00 am-3:00pm, November 5; Tuskawilla UMC; 3952 Red Bug Lake Road; Casselberry
All are welcome to join us for the Multi-site Spark Day event on Saturday, November 5th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The cost is $10 and the event will be held at seven different locations around the state: Bradenton, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tallahassee, and West Palm Beach. Tuskawilla UMC is the location in the East Central District.

Spark Day is a great way to discover more about Fresh Expressions. In an interactive format, you will have the chance to:
  • Learn how Fresh Expressions is renewing the church
  • Learn more about the Mission-Shaped church
  • Discover tools to start Fresh Expressions in your area

Click HERE to register today! For questions or more information, email Matt Harrell, Fresh Expressions Coordinator at Click HERE for a flyer.

UMVIM Team Training
9:00am-3:00pm; November 17, 2016; Coronado UMC
Interested in leading or participating on a mission team from your church to Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Africa, Sager Brown or somewhere else here in the states and be the hands and feet of Christ?
UMVIM Mission Team Training, provided by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, prepares volunteers to be part of a Volunteer in Mission team to projects in the U.S. and around the world. UMVIM also helps leaders and team members understand their roles and discover the "ins and outs" of organizing a mission trip -- from recruiting the team, to picking the location, getting support, staying safe, planning the work and much, much more.  You will also enjoy a wonderful time of fellowship and connection with other "mission-minded" folks.
Not sure if you are ready to be a part of a team? Come and learn what it takes - you will be well informed and a better team member!
Cost is $29.95 per person and $39.95 per couple. Individuals receive a Team Leader Manual and we ask that couples share one. Coffee, juice and lunch are included.
Click HERE to register.  Click HERE for a flyer.
Questions?  Greg Harford (800) 282-8011 x195 or
Around the Conference
Holidays and Holy Days: Florida Conference Lay Servant Classes
November 18-20; LEC at Fruitland Park

Florida Conference Lay Servant Ministries 
Join us for a time of refreshing and renewal at
the Life Enrichment Center at Fruitland Park

November 18-20, 2016
Choose from a variety of classes chosen to refresh and renew you:
  • The Good and Beautiful God Series (overview of The Apprentice Series with classroom exercises). Led by Ann Cook and others from Suntree UMC in Melbourne).
  • Connect! with Phil Maynard (connecting in church and in community, discipleship on the move!).
  • Storytelling with Ann Scroggie.
  • Mysticism for Modern Christians with Rev. Gene Yotka.
  • The Basic Course with Kathy Walther.
For further information, registration, schedule and directions, visit our webpage: 
Questions? Contract Rod Groom at,
or call him at 941-356-4566.
How do you #pictureAdvent?
Join Christians around the world as we all celebrate Advent, the season when we prepare our hearts, minds and souls for the coming of Christ!

This year, let's be sure we don't rush through this special season straight to Christmas.  Advent is a special time, and LECFamily want to help you make it a special experience for yourself, your family, and your church.  Here are a few ways to make this Advent season one to remember:

#pictureAdvent Photo-a-Day
We want to share our Advent celebration with all our friends and family, so we're inviting you to use each day's theme to inspire a daily photo.  Post each day with the theme and #pictureAdvent so we can all be inspired together!  Click HERE for more ideas and recources from the LECFamily.
A Gift for the Holidays:  The Christmas Gala
December 10, 2016 - Florida Southern College
The Florida Southern College Department of Music
A Gift for the Holidays:  The Christmas Gala
Saturday, December 10, 2016 2:30pm and 7:30pm

Highly anticipated each year, the FSC Music Department's Christmas Gala has become an essential holiday music tradition for the college and greater community.  This year's edition features Adolphe Adam's O Holy Night and the stirring audience-interactive Christmas Carol Sing-Along, this year's production, A Gift for the Holidays, will reveal gifts of beautiful sacred and secular seasonal repertoire performed by a dazzling array of music ensembles, soloists, and surprise guests. Come join the holiday fun and festivities in beautifully adorned Branscomb Auditorium!  Click Here for their website .
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. 

Connect: Nov 11-13, 2016 
Clergy Kids:  Jan 13-15, 2017 
College ConnectionJan 27-29, 2017  
United Methodist Men: Get Involved!
Our purpose is to encourage men to get involved in church ministries. Maybe they would like to be involved, but were never asked.  We want them to know that UMM can provide courses for their personal growth and their growth in ministry in the church.  For example:  "Man in the Mirror" and "LEAD LIKE JESUS."  We are here to be a resource for the local church.  Please contact me at or 386-263-2021 for more information.
Rich Gray
District President
United Methodist Men
District Calendar of Events
November 2016
November 3-5: Florida Clergy Mates Retreat - Life Enrichment Center
November 5: UMW Conference Annual Meeting - Life Enrichment Center
November 11: Veteran's Holiday - District Office Closed
November 17: EC dCOM - 9:00am - 4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 17: UMVIM Team Training - 9:00am - First Ormond Beach
November 24 & 25: Thanksgiving Holiday - District Office Closed
November 28: SPRC Training - 6:30pm - 8:30pm Tomoka UMC, Ormond Beach
November 29: SPRC Training - 6:30pm - 8:30pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 2016
December 12: Retiree Christmas Luncheon - District Parsonage
December 15: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 23 & 26: Christmas Holidays - District Office Closed
January 2017
January 9: ECD Fall Clergy Meeting (new date) - Canterbury Retreat Center
January 13 - 14: Candidacy Retreat, Lakeland
February 2017
February 4: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo
February 17-19: PAUMCS Annual Training Seminar - LEC
February 25: Tom Bandy - First UMC, Winter Park
March 2017
March 23:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
April 2017
April 1: FUMCH Day on Campus
April 27: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
May 2017
May 18: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
June 2017
June 8 - 10: Annual Conference - The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
June 15:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
August 2017
August 17:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
September 2017
September 21:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 2017
October 19:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 2017
November 30:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
December 2017
December 21:EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland

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