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July 2017 Newsletter

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Someone sent the following story to me via E-mail. If you haven't yet seen it, I think it may cause you to think - and perhaps even to respond.
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy pilot serving in Vietnam. After seventy-five combat missions, one day his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected from the plane, parachuted into enemy hands, was captured and spent a number of years in a North Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day when Plumb and his wife were having dinner in a restaurant, a man came up to him and said, "You're Charles Plumb! You flew jet fighters from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk in Vietnam, and you were shot down."
"How in the world do you know that?" asked Plumb. "I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped with surprise and gratitude.  "I guess it worked," the man said as he shook Plumb's hand.   "It sure did," was the reply. "And I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you."
Plumb said later that he wasn't able to sleep that night, thinking about that man. "I kept wondering," he said, "what he had looked like in a Navy uniform. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and never even said, 'Good morning' or 'How are you?' or anything else. You see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."
Plumb thought of how many hours that sailor would have spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silk of each chute, holding in his hands the fate of those whom he didn't even know.
Now Plumb asks his audience, "Who packs your parachute?"
Everyone has someone - or someones - to help provide what they need to make it through the day. Sometimes, in the midst of the daily challenges that life brings our way we miss the things that are really important. Many times we fail to say a simple "hello," much less a "thank you" or a "congratulations" or pay a complement or do something nice for no particular reason.
It's probably a good thing for all of us to think about who are the people in our lives who pack our parachutes - and then to let them know how grateful we are.
Grace and Peace,
Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In the District
When a New Pastor Arrives
Bishop Ken Carter Shares Five Essential Keys to Beginning a Relationship
June 29, 2017
This week a number of men and women have left a community and a congregation and have traveled to begin a new ministry. This process is physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging.
The appointive cabinet's role in reflecting on the gifts of clergy and sending them to assignments began in December, and continued through the middle of April. Our work included prayer, consultation with laity and clergy and listening (link to our core values). In the end, the appointments were affirmed at the Florida Annual Conference, meeting in Orlando earlier this month.
And now, in many congregations, a new season of life and ministry is beginning. To continue reading, click HERE
East Central District Churches
Effective today, we are welcoming churches to the East Central District and are excited to be in ministry with them!!  Click HERE to see a map of our district.

Altoona UMC/First Paisley-2 Point Charge
Rev. David Paul
Beymer Memorial UMC, Winter Haven
Rev. Rob Harding
Dundee UMC
Rev. Sharon Davis
Edge Memorial UMC, Groveland
Rev. Daniel Ivey
First UMC, Auburndale
Rev. Jim Mitchell
First UMC, Eustis
Rev. Chris Haden
First UMC, Lake Alfred
Rev. Cathy Thacker
First Lake Wales/Indian Lake Estates UMC
2 Point Charge
Rev. Jeff Kantz
First UMC, Mt Dora
Rev. Gary Upleger
First UMC, Tavares
Rev. Mike Briggs
Grace Haitian Mission, Eustis
Rev. Georges Racine
Rev. Wilington Leger
Lena Vista UMC, Auburndale
Rev. Pam Childs
New Horizon UMC, Davenport
Rev. Frank Adams
St. John's UMC, Winter Haven
Rev. David Averill
Trinity UMC, Winter Haven
Rev. Sam Ramirez

We are also excited that Berea Haitian Mission and Rev. Thomas Toussaint have joined Rev. Eliantus Valmyr and Emmauel Haitian Mission. They are now Emmanuel/Berea Haitian Mission and worshipping on W. Concord St. in Orlando!!
Clergy Meetings
New Clergy Meeting - Wednesday, August 23 11:30am - Asbury UMC, Maitland
This is for all Clergy in the ECD with New Appointments, as well as Clergy in Churches that are now in the East Central District due to restructuring.  Click HERE to register.

Fall Clergy Meeting - Thursday, September 7 8:30am - Asbury UMC, Maitland
This is for all ECD Clergy.  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.

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.
Fall Charge Conferences

The East Central District will have Cluster Charge Conferences this Fall.  Clergy and Administrative Assistants will be receiving an email soon regarding the date & location.  We hope to have a total of six Charge Conferences this year.
A Message from Kim & Melanie Lee, District Lay Leaders
 What Are Your Lay Actions to God's Call?

Our son is helping us design a new web site for our business, and he asked us what the call to action should be on page 1. What do we want visitors to our web site to do when they pull up our page? Do we want them to watch a video, fill out a form, request more information? The web designing project started me thinking about God's Call to Action for us. When God whispers to our hearts about someone in need or an injustice in our community, what does God want us to do? As Methodists, our mission, our Call to Action, is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. God requires not just a REACTION from us, but a LAY ACTION! We are God's hands and feet. When God directs our attention to something that needs to be done, God asks to act. It's up to us to say, "Let's go!"
Kim and I are excited about the possibilities of the Lay Actions of our church. Already, we have been meeting people from around the district, and we look forward to meeting many more! The laity are on the move in Methodism. Our ministers cannot do God's work alone, and we don't expect them to. We need to get out there and assure people that Jesus loves them, they are worthy, and God is good. When they know that in their hearts, they can heal and grow into the roles that God has for them. That's our Call to Action on Page 1, our Lay Action!
Let us know what the lay folks in your church are doing. What are their Lay Actions to God's call? Tell us the stories of how they are working toward Bishop Carter's initiatives: partnering with nearby schools, creatively building disciples in the community through Fresh Expressions, and rethinking how your church is becoming more relevant to your community. We look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories!
Loving the Laity,
Melanie and Kim Lee
Send your stories to:
News from Lay Servant Ministries
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we pray this finds you doing well in our Lord.
Can you believe that we are already on the "other" side of 2017 - wherever did the time go? Annual Conference has come and gone and if you attended I hope you took time to make new friends and to reconnect with old ones.
Save the Date:
LS Training September 15 & 16 at First Kissimmee 
As some of our EC District Lay Servants move to other districts please know that you CAN continue to attend Lay Servant training events here with us. Now you have two options. We say HELLO and a heartfelt welcome to those Lay Servants joining us. Please know that we are very excited about having you become a part of the EC District LSM. We share with you that our next training event will be held on Friday, September 15, and Saturday, September 16, at First Kissimmee. We have Basic classes planned in English, Spanish and Creole, and two Advanced classes. Please check the District website for details. If you have not been previously involved with this ministry, and would like to know more about it, Jim and I would love to come visit and share. Going forward, we will be reaching out to see if you can host a training event. Too soon? Nah, you joined the family, you get thrown in the pot. We are firm believers of "meeting people where they are," so we would love to hear from you.
Make Sure Your Certification is Current 
So a bit of work...a word about the delightful Lay Servant Annual Report. No, it is not too early... Remember that your certification is renewable every three years, so please check your last certificate. Our District began adding the "valid through date" to your certificates to help you. If you are past the three-year mark and you are unable to physically attend a class in time, you may check into using for ONE TIME ONLY one of the following: Completed Disciple Class or Attendance at Mission U. (Please check with Lynn Campbell at if you need help to determine your best option). Please do not submit the forms to your pastor for a signature without a current recertification class reported on your form.
Help Us Find a Gathering Location for July 29
Our next Lay Servant/Lay Leader gathering is being planned for July 29, and we are still trying to confirm a location. Any takers? The gathering will be held on a Saturday morning from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, possibly in a fellowship hall for about 40. Hoping to have more? Call us!
God's Word and Opportunities for Witnessing
Now how is it with your soul? How is your daily scripture reading going? Stick with it, when you miss, just get right back in there and pick up again. Don't let summer be an excuse to lay off. God's Word is the most amazing and powerful tool of our trade. Please remember that whether we realize it or not, we have a profound responsibility to tell as many people as we can about the eternal life that Christ has to offer to those who believe in Him. Who best to share that message but you, a Lay Servant. Continue to make disciples friends! Be blessed.

For more information on Lay Servant Ministries at the East Central District, please contact: Jim Boesch at 407-721-0416 or email: ; or Lynn Campbell at 407-520-0272 or email .
We live to serve!
Lynn & Jim
Who or What is in That Photograph?
The General Commission on Archives & History Needs Your Help
The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) is pleased to announce the latest addition to our on-line resources. We are now inviting the public to help us transcribe the hand-written captions to over 100,000 on-line images.  So here is your chance to be in on the beginning of something exciting; tell your friends and families!    
This is an invitation to help make history more accessible. Between 1910 and the late 1920s, The Methodist Episcopal Church Board of Missions sent photographers around the world to document the work of the Board. The result was over 200 photograph albums containing more than 45,000 pages of images; nearly 200,000 images in total. The images were assembled into these albums in the 1930s and handwritten captions were added to the images. Many of the captions came from the photographers' logs or notes.
The images capture what life was like in many places around the globe at the beginning of the twentieth century along with the work of the Church in creating schools, hospitals and churches.
We are asking you to participate in transcribing these handwritten captions. This will result in a more complete and robust searching ability for these important images.
Here is how it works:
* Click on the Register link on the home page which will take you to our registration form
* Fill in the registration form and click submit
* You will receive an email letting you know that your request was submitted and another when your account has been approved
* You can then click on the Transcribe a Collection link and select a collection to begin viewing the images and transcribing the captions
* You are not committed to working on just one collection at a time. Feel free to work on a variety; there are images from around the world.
* Staff at GCAH will review your contributions and will decide when your work is ready to be marked as complete. Multiple people can even work on the same image.
Feel free to invite your friends to participate. Share what you've accomplished on Facebook or other social media.
Click HERE to register and begin your trip of engaging in history!
For more information, contact Nell Thrift, FLUMC Archivist at (863) 680-4992.
Prelude:  A Retreat for Incoming Freshmen
August 7, 2017 - UCF Wesley
Do you have students coming to UCF in Orlando?  Help us connect them to campus ministry!  We are starting a new retreat for incoming freshmen to the Orlando-UCF area.  It is a retreat for incoming freshmen that helps them develop a community before school starts.  Please share this retreat with your youth! 
Click HERE to register.
The Global Leadership Summit (GLS)
August 10-11, 2017; Pine Ridge Fellowship, Deltona, FL 
The Global Leadership Summit is a two-day event telecast LIVE in HD from Willow's campus near Chicago every August to hundreds of locations in North America. You are invited to join an expected 305,000 people committed to getting better as leaders in 2017. Throughout the fall, Summit events take place at an additional 675+ sites in 128 countries and 60 languages. For more information, click HERE. Pine Ridge Fellowship in Deltona is a host site. Questions? Contact Yvonne at To register, Click HERE.
Help Our Methodist Home Children Go Back-to-School
 Back-to-School Drive List 
Believe it or not, the school year will be upon us before we know it. The time has now come for our back-to-school supply drive for our children. This is a time when generous individuals, churches, and groups collect necessary school supplies for our students and staff.
Click HERE to download a printable Back-to-School needs list for our children. To help us process the items received, we ask that they please be delivered to the Children's Home (Enterprise campus) no later than August 4th, 2017
If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Bellomy, Volunteer Relations Supervisor, at 386.668.4774 ext. 2321, or email Thank you for your continued support of our students and the ministry here at the Children's Home.
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
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 - 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 - July - 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
Rooted Youth, Children & Family Ministry Training Event
September 18-19; Warren Willis Training Camp; Fruitland Park, FL
Community. Training. Worship.
September 18-19, 2017
Warren Willis Camp
Fruitland Park, FL
Training for children, youth and family ministry staff is critical to prevent burnout and promote strong, healthy ministries in the local church. At Rooted Conference, $%0 provides two full days of workshops, training, speakers and networking (not to mention food and lodging, too!) to equip your staff for the next level of ministry!
Cost: $50 per person (includes meals and lodging)  Scholarships are available to East Central District Church Workers.  Contact Claudia Sava at
To Register, Click HERE.
District Calendar of Events
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
July 29: LSM/LL Gathering, Location TBA
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)
August 23: New Clergy Gathering - Asbury UMC, Maitland
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 15 & 16: Lay Servant Weekend, First Kissimmee
September 21:dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland (materials due Aug. 31)
September 23: "Mission Sampler;" Sanlando UMC, Longwood
September 25: District Leadership Team Meeting - 4:00pm - District Office
September 28: Local Church AA Training - Asbury UMC, Maitland
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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