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May 2016 Newsletter

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It seems that an elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his contractor employer of his plans to leave the house-building business and begin to live a more leisurely life with his wife, together enjoying their extended family -- especially their grandchildren. Of course, he would miss his paycheck, but he was ready to retire, and they could get by.   

The contractor was sorry to see such a good worker leave, and he asked the carpenter if he would build just one more house, as a personal favor.
The carpenter said yes, and it soon became easy to see that his heart wasn't in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and he used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a successful career.
When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. He handed the key to the front door to the carpenter and said, "This is your house. It's my gift to you."
Of course, the carpenter was shocked. If only he had known . . .

It's a story, of course. We might call it a parable, a story that someone came up with to make a point, to get people to think. And it made me think. It made me think about how often we live our lives as if they don't matter. How often we just get through the day without thinking too much about the impact of the words we utter or the actions we take - or perhaps the words we don't utter or the actions we fail to take.
We put less than our best into what we're doing. We get by.
Then sometimes we look back, and we wish we could do it over. And we can't go back. There are no do-overs. We must live in the house that we built.
How's it going in your life?

  • Is there some time you need to spend in prayer, some Bible study that you need to work in to your schedule, a new commitment to going to worship that it's time for you to make?
  • Is there a kind word that someone needs you to speak, an apology that you need to offer, a note for you to write, a phone call you need to make, someone you need to forgive?
  • Is it time for you to give more attention to your spouse or your children, perhaps your parents, a lonely neighbor or a friend?
  • Would it be a good idea for you to read a novel, or go to the beach, or find some other way to bring yourself refreshment and renewal?
  • Is it time to raise your level of generosity? Do you need to share your resources more, evaluate your material priorities in general, write a generous check to meet some need outside of your own?  
How's the house that you're building?

Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District
In The District
East Central Warmly Welcomes Betty Sims to Our Staff
We are thrilled to announce that Betty Sims in on staff here at ECD! 

Betty's last position was Publications Secretary at Vineville UMC in Macon, Georgia.  After a six-year stint, she retired to Orlando with her husband of 25 years, Pastor Curtis Sims.  The Sims are the proud parents of five adult children, nine grandchildren, four great grands, and a Shih Tzu named Maggie!

Please join us in welcoming Betty Sims to the East Central District Staff as a part-time Administrative Assistant.  Betty's hours are 9am - 2pm four days a week - she is off on Tuesday.

Betty started working with us on April 25th.  You may reach her via email at and she will be at extension 5.
Bishop Announces Full-Time Appointments
Below are the East Central District Appointment changes effective July 1st.  Let me invite you to be intentional about welcoming and congratulating these pastors on their moves and new appointments!

As a Connectional Church, I am grateful for the ministries and gifts we share for the sake of the Kingdom.  I know that you join me in celebrating the outstanding Pastoral Leadership in our congregations across the East Central District and the Florida Conference.

Full-Time Appointments in the EC District
Asbury, Maitland - Associate - Mike Luzinski
Azalea Park - Andrew Miller
Broadway/Reeves - David Carefoot
Conway  - Dianne Davis
Covenant, Port Orange - Betty-Jo Foster
Faith, Orlando - Matt Findley
First, Oviedo - Brian James
First, Winter Park/NCD Residency - Craig Blocher
Florida UM Children's Home - Madeline Watts
LifeSong, Orlando - Tim Farrell
Orange City - Raphael Dessieu
Sanlando - Jacquie Leveron

EC Retirements
Paul Pollock - retiring from Covenant, Port Orange

EC Clergy receiving appointments out of the East Central District
Josh Beaty - Christ, Ft. Lauderdale - Associate
Drew Dancey - First, Seminole
Jaime Faberlle - St. John's, Sarasota
Daniel Ivey - Edge Memorial
Lyndol Lloyd - Lubbock, Texas
David Mullins - Carlson Memorial, LaBelle
Michael Pestel - Harvest, Brandon
Katie Pestel - Harvest, Brandon - Deacon
Mark Stiles - Archer/Bronson

Part-Time Appointments will be announced at a later date.
Click HERE for a complete list of appointments.
A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
As I'm writing this, in less than 14 days 18 members of the FLUMC, including yours truly, will be headed to Portland, Oregon to join representatives from UMC churches and missions all over the world for General Conference 2016.  There will be 864 delegates gathering in Portland from May 10th through May 20th to discern how God is calling us as people called Methodist to go about our mission of making "disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world".   As part of this process the delegates are assigned to committees (after all, we are Methodists) and in these committees we will wade through and refine some 1,044 pieces of legislation.  The most crucial pieces of legislation then comes before the entire body for discernment and vote (we truly are a democratic denomination).  In addition to the legislative work, we will hear how God is at work in and through the Methodist church throughout the world.  We will also take part in what I am sure will be many moments of meaningful worship.  
While I am extremely excited about being a part of this General Conference, I would be dishonest if I didn't also let you know that I am somewhat apprehensive.  There is no doubt that God will lead us and that whatever the outcomes, His steadfast love and grace will abound.  My concern lies with how well we will honor what makes us so unique as a denomination - our connection, our unity.  Through the extensive work over the past 10 years in the Florida Conference that I've been fortunate to be involved in, I have come to realize that as a denomination we are blessed to be a connectional church.  We simply can do more and be more by being in connection with one another.  While this General Conference is far from being a one issue conference, it does appear that our varying positions around human sexuality has been and continues to set a contentious undertone.  There are those who say we will split because of it, and others who say nothing will change.  I'm of the opinion that the outcome will be something in the middle - and what that looks like I haven't a clue.  My head and heart tell me that we are the church of Jesus Christ and that our table and denomination is open to and has room for all.  God has gifted each congregation in unique ways and callings.  I want to believe that as United Methodists each congregation can live into their calling that God will honor and use to reach a world in need of His love and redeeming grace.
The General Conference events will be accessible live via the web so that you can watch as you like.  Simply go to UMC General Conference 2016 to catch the live-stream starting on the 10th.   More importantly I would ask that you hold all those attending General Conference and especially your Florida delegates in prayer.  This will not be easy work or a "cushy" time in Portland.  The days will be long and I expect the work to be intense.  As delegates, we've been preparing spiritually and intellectually since last year's Annual Conference and I think we are about as ready as we can be.  I am more familiar with the Book of Discipline (parts are still a snoozer to read) and our church's polity now than I ever thought I would be.   As events unfold, I will do my best to send email blasts to keep you updated on key events.  Most of all, I commit to representing my church, the East Central District and the Florida Conference in a way that I hope honors God.  
Here are the names of our delegates for you to hold up in prayer:

Molly McEntire
Derrick Scott
Alice Williams
Mickey Wilson
Russ Graves
Jeremy Hearn
Rachael Sumner
Carlene Fogle-Miller
Janet Earls
Sue Haupert-Johnson
Alex Shanks
Rini Hernandez
Dionne Hammond
Harold Lewis
David Dodge
Cynthia Weems
Jaqueline Leveron
Sharon Austin
Remembering who we are and whose we are,
Alice Williams
Delegate to GC 2016, proudly representing the East Central District and the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church
2016 Annual Conference  |  June 16-18
Buena Vista Palace Hotel, Orlando
174th Session of the Florida Annual Conference
Thursday, June 16 - Saturday, June 18
Gathering Events begin Wednesday, June 15

Buena Vista Palace Hotel
1900 Buena Vista Drive

Orlando, Florida  32830

Click HERE for up to the minute information.  Rev. Bill Hybels (Willow Creek Church) will be the Special Speaker on Thursday, June 16 at 7:00pm!
Bishop Carter's Annual Conference Offering
I am pleased to announce that a grand offering will be collected at the 2016 Florida Annual Conference event during June 16-18. Our theme this year is "Leading Like Jesus" and I invite you to be a part of this special opportunity.
This offering will support the clergy and laity of our annual conference with resources for leadership development in three areas:
  1. Grants for innovative forms of "church beyond the walls" through the Fresh Expressions network.
  2. Inspiring and equipping our congregations to see, identify with and reach the neighborhoods around them in evangelistic, prophetic, apostolic, and missional ways.
  3. Training a core group of spiritual guides and mentors to encourage and sustain this work that has already begun.
Our fundamental goal in the stewardship of these resources - both people, our laity and clergy, and money - is that we follow Jesus into the world that he loves and join him in his mission to love, heal, and save the people of Florida. We are discovering that we need new skills and capacities to fulfill this calling. And, if we are honest, we may need a new heart and a new spirit!

We are asking local churches to receive an offering on May 15 (Pentecost) as a participation in this expression of God's mission. Please use the attached bulletin insert as needed.

Thank you for your support of our efforts to engage the next generation in the mission of God and to develop leaders who have a heart for service and will make a difference in our world.

The peace of the Lord,
Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.
Florida Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church

Click HERE for the bulletin insert.

Jeff Campbell - District Disaster Preparedness Coordinator
We are only one month away from yet another Atlantic storm season. For the last 6 years I have tried to find interesting and useful topics to bring the importance of preparedness to your attention. This month I have decided to help you be aware of a rescue plan for the ultimate disaster. Like other major events, we have evidence that it is coming and how we need to prepare. Unlike natural disasters we have no idea as to when it will occur or even imagine the magnitude of its unfolding. To ease our minds we are told of the unfolding of this event and the outcome, however it's a plan that we, in general, cannot easily comprehend and even scholars are sharply divided on its meaning and time line. The plan I have been building up is the unfolding of the last days, the end of times, the Day of the Lord, the coming of the New Jerusalem and New earth and new heaven. What I am referring to is the last book in the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ [as told to John the Apostle].   Click HERE to continue reading.
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.
The Global Leadership Summit (GLS)
August 11-12, 2016 - Pine Ridge Fellowship, Deltona
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 2016. Throughout the fall, Summit events take place at an additional 675+ sites in 125 countries and 59 languages. 

Click HERE for a flyer.  Pine Ridge Fellowship in Deltona is a host site.  Questions?  Contact Yvonne at
Around The Conference 
General Conference 2016
May 10 - 20, 2016 - Oregon
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church which meets once every four years.  The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social public policy and economic issues.  It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs.

Click HERE to stay informed.
UMC Online Courses on Vitality & Hospitality
You're invited to participate in United Methodist - specific online courses, designed to better equip you and your ministry.  Registration ends June 20, so get in while there's room.

Click on the different course selections:  Increase the Vitality of Your Church, Engage Your Church and Community Digitallyand Take Your Church's Hospitality to the Next Level.

Warren W. Willis Summer Camp
Check out Warren W. Willis for many summer opportunities.

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 - 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 the November retreat!

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
May 2016
May 10-20: General Conference of the UMC, 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 & Transfers - Lakeland
June 16-18: Annual Conference - The Buena Vista Palace Hotel, 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 15 - 16: 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 2016
September 5: Labor Day Holiday - District 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 2016
October 22: EC District UMW Annual Meeting, First Winter Garden
October 25-26: Clergy Gathering - LEC
October 27: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 2016
November 5: UMW Conference Annual Meeting (TBD)
November 11: Veteran's Day Holiday - District Office Closed
November 17: EC dCOM - 9:00am - 4:00pm Asbury UMC, Maitland
November 24 & 25: Thanksgiving Holiday - District Office Closed
December 2016
December 15: EC dCOM 9:00am-4:00pm, Asbury UMC, Maitland
February 2017
February 4: Called to Serve - First UMC, Oviedo

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