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September 2015 Newsletter

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I was on an airplane, coming home from a conference that I had attended.  It was a late flight.  I was tired.  I was trying to get into a comfortable position in which to get some sleep.  As is true on many planes, there was a minimal amount of legroom between the seat in front of me and my knees.

As we taxied away from the gate, out onto the runway, I noticed that sitting in the two seats in front of me and in the next two across the aisle was a family of four - a mom, dad, and two daughters - most likely on the way to Orlando for a vacation.  The younger child was next to the window, with her mom on the aisle.  Her dad was across the aisle.  Her big sister, about nine or so, was next to him.  While bouncing against the seat in front of me, the younger girl called out her sister's name in rhythm - "Sher-ry, Sher-ry," with each syllable receiving a bounce against the seat.  It was annoying, to say the least, and I anticipated a long ride to Orlando.

The plane picked up speed, lifted off the ground and into the dark sky.  The lights of the city below became visible very quickly.  Suddenly I heard the little girl in front of me exclaim, "Oh, Mommy, look, look, isn't that beautiful?  Isn't this wonderful?  I just love it up here!"

Then she settled down, awestruck as she kept her eyes glued to the window that provided a spectacular view from the night sky.

I looked out my window and saw what was below with new eyes because of the enthusiasm of this child.  As she continued to share her excitement with her mother, I paid more attention to the view than I would have otherwise.  I began to feel my own sense of excitement about what I saw.  I reflected on some of the information that had been shared at the conference I had attended and how it might impact my ministry in a positive way.  I thought about my family, and how good it would be to get home.  I said a brief prayer of thanksgiving for all that is good in my life.

Then it hit me.  The energy and excitement and enthusiasm of this little girl by whom I had been annoyed just minutes before had transformed my negative attitude about sparse legroom on a crowded flight late at night.  This little girl's enthusiasm had given me a new set of eyes through which I saw some things that otherwise I many not have seen.  Suddenly I felt pleased that she was sitting in front of me.  (Of course, it helped that she had stopped bouncing!)

I thought of Jesus' words in Mark 10:15-16, with parallel passages in Matthew and Luke:

Truly I tell you, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.  And he took them up in his arms and blessed them. 

In other words, whoever does not have a humble, teachable spirit...whoever does not have an openness, a sense of enthusiasm for life and its many facets...whoever is not open to a new perspective, a new way of looking at the things of going to miss the presence of God and the fresh, new perspective, the direction and guidance and insight and meaning that God's presence brings into our midst.

I'm grateful for the many children that have been a part of the churches I have served.  I'm grateful for churches that take seriously a ministry that is inclusive of children, that values them and celebrates them, that nurtures and encourages them.  I'm grateful that we have the opportunity to teach our children about the love of God - and I'm grateful that God has seen fit to teach us adults some things about him through our interactions with them.


Grace and Peace,

Bob Bushong
District Superintendent
East Central District

In The District
Installation Service for Rev. Dr. Bob Bushong
Installation Service for
Rev. Dr. Bob Bushong
East Central District Superintendent

You are cordially invited to attend the installation service for
Dr. Bushong

Sunday, October 18, 2015
Asbury United Methodist Church
Sanctuary Building
220 W Horatio Avenue
Maitland, FL  32751

A reception immediately following the ceremony will be held in the Fellowship Hall.
Click HERE to view the event page and to click on the registration page.

Come welcome our new District Superintendent to the ECD!
East Central District Office has Moved to Winter Park!
The new address for the East Central District Office is:

East Central District
2221 Lee Road, Suite 21
Winter Park, FL  32789
Phone number:  407-636-9240
Fax number:  407-636-9238
East Central District 2015 Charge Conference Information
Annual Fall Charge Conferences will be held as individual Charge Conferences in your own local church.
  • Each church will schedule their own individual Charge Conference date and invite an elder to preside.  Click HERE for the list of elders. 
  • Bob is available to preside at a limited number of Charge Conferences.  If you have a need for Bob to preside at yours, please contact him directly as soon as possible to give him a heads up. 

Pastor's Responsibility to prepare for your 2015 Charge Conference:

  • Select the date and time you wish to hold your 2015 Fall Charge Conference. 
  • Invite an Elder to preside.  Click HERE for the list of Elders.
  • All churches should have emailed Claudia Sava at with your Charge Conference date, time & presiding elder.  If you have not, please do so as soon as possible.

All Charge Conference forms with detailed instructions are available on the Florida Conference website and the East Central District website

All Annual Charge Conferences must be held by Friday, November 13, 2015.

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
To All Local Church Clergy and Staff Parish Relations Committees:

It's time again for the Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership.  This assessment can be downloaded from the Office of Clergy Excellence website and is available in both English and Spanish.  It is due December 1, 2015.

The assessment's goal is to create a space for conversation and goal setting with the Staff Parish Relations Committee and their pastor.  Click HERE to access the assessment and instructions.

Please do not hesitate to call the Office of Clergy Excellence at (863) 688-5563, if you need clarification or further assistance in completing the Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership. 
A Message from Alice Williams, District Lay Leader
Have been hearing a lot lately in the press and in conversation with friends about the upcoming 2016 Presidential race.  What strikes me most is that the things that seem to be differentiating the candidates are not political as much a moral.  For most of us it seems that it's critical to have leaders who know and follow their moral compass as much as understand the political system.  Which causes me to think that there are a lot of folks out there who are looking for moral teaching, guidance and counsel.  Sadly, not all of them are looking to the one place that can, should and does provide help in those areas - the church.

Both John and Charles Wesley understood that reaching people who need to hear the gospel most meant that they had to get outside the walls of the church - to where people are in order to share the gospel message.  John would preach on street corners or out in the fields to whoever would listen.  And Charles wrote over 6000 hymns, many of which were set to pub tunes so that people could learn them quickly.  I'm hoping that we keep that in mind as we think about our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our schools as mission fields where we can share the love and grace of Christ!

If you would like a good refresher of our Methodist DNA, two great recommendations for reading or group studies are:  "The Five Marks of A Methodist" by Steve Harper and "Being United Methodist - What It Means and Why It Matters" by J. Ellsworth Kalas.  Both are great reminders of who we are and whose we are!

UMW Mission Studies Sampler
September 19, 2015 - First Pine Hills
East Central District United Methodist Women
Saturday, September 19, 2015
9:30am - 12:30pm
First UMC of Pine Hills
1400 N Nowell Street, Orlando 32808

Spiritual Growth:  Created for Happiness:  Understanding Your Life in God
Geographic:  Latin America:  People and Faith
Issue:  The Church and People with Disabilities

You are invited to wear Latin American or Caribbean clothing.
Event RSVP deadline:  Tuesday, September 15th  Click Here for flier.
RSVP Contact:  Suzy Nagy at or 407-617-0779.
CFL Wesley Golf Tournament
September 26, 2015 - Oviedo

CFL Wesley is hosting its second annual golf tournament.  Last year we had a great time playing golf for such an important cause.  This year, let's do it again!  The Golf Tournament will help support the ministries of CFL Wesley.

When:  September 26, 2015
Where:  Twin River Golf Club 2100 Ekana Drive Oviedo, FL  32765
Style of Game:  Scramble*:  4 person Teams - Best ball
Cost:  $300 foursome / $85 individual player
Lunch: Provided by Huey Magoos
Start time:  Registration at 7:30am, Shotgun start at 8:30am
Prizes: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place

*Scramble is made up a 4-person team, and involves choosing the one best shot following every stroke, with each team member then playing again from that one spot.

Click HERE for a flyer to display.  Click HERE for more information and to register.

September 27, 2015

SundayServe is just 26 days away.  Although you will need to work quickly, there is still time to come up with a few easy service projects for this day of service.

Please be sure to review the SundayServe Keys to Success Checklist, to be sure all your bases are covered.  Check out the SundayServe page on the East Central District website.

If you have just come on board as a SS leader in your church and want to connect with regional churches, please contact Janet Kelley at

Bishop's Clergy Gathering
October 6-7, 2015, LEC
The Annual Bishop's Clergy Gathering is coming soon!  We will be gathering together on October 6-7 at the Life Enrichment Center.  The gathering begins at 1:00pm on Tuesday afternoon and will conclude with lunch on Wednesday.  Our theme for this year is HEART 2 HEART:  WE ARE NOT ALONE; and, as in years past, we are anticipating a wonderful time of renewal and connection!  Our speakers for this event include:  Bishop Carter, Jim Harnish, Geraldine McClellan, & Gary MarcelinJeremy Hearn will lead our worship, and the team has been hard at work putting together a program that we believe will continue to unify us even more strongly than we have been in the past.

With the event now less than two months away, it is time to register!  Would you please do that today?  Click HERE to register.

Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshop

Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system.  Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers - called Stephen Ministers - to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. 


October 10, 2015
9:00am - 1:00pm
First Baptist Orlando
(Faith Hall-Stage Side Room)

3000 S John Young Pkwy
Orlando, FL  32805 

Click HERE to register.  View map

Great Expectations for Boomers & Beyond
October 22 - 24, 2015 - First UMC, Winter Park
For more details about the conference, to check out the schedule of breakout sessions or to register, go to our Web Site:

Great Expectations for Boomers & Beyond is a conference designed to address the needs of the growing population of those over 50.  This unique event will encourage and engage participants with passion and creativity.  It also will provide countless ideas and opportunities for growth, as well as pave the way for tapping into the spiritual gifts and talents of older adults.

For any questions concerning the conference, please contact Rev. Gary Rideout at

Around The Conference 
Important Storm Information
We are in the midst of Hurricane season and wanted to take this opportunity to provide pertinent information and resources related to the storms.

855-CAT-FUMC (855-228-3862)

If your church has damage from the storm, those claims will be handled by a professional adjusting company that specializes in catastrophe claims.  Claims will be prioritized by the catastrophe response unit based upon the extent of damage and an adjuster will be dispatched to your location as soon as possible.


If your church is damaged by the storm, please take all necessary measures to mitigate further damage to your facility.  Please note that you do not have to wait for the field adjuster to arrive at your location to dry out your facility or to make temporary repairs.  Keep all receipts for any temporary repairs and photograph or video all damage and have this documentation available for the adjuster.

If there are needs in your community after the storm, please contact Disaster Recovery.  We have trained volunteers who can assist with clean up, tarping, debris removal, etc.

Please contact Ministry Protection or Disaster Recovery at the Conference Center (863) 688-5563, if you have any questions or need further information. 

Florida Conference - Ministry Protection
Florida Conference - Disaster Recovery

Comprehensive pre-storm preparation booklet
Hurricane preparedness quick checklist
Hurricane Response and claim information

Disaster Communication Flowchart
Inspired For Life - Women's Conference
September 11 - 12, 2015 - First UMC, Melbourne
Join us for a powerful weekend of worship, guest speakers and workshops that will leave you Inspired for Life!  If you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.  Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that's where the action is.  See things from his perspective.  Your old life is dead.  Your new life, which is your real life - even though invisible to spectators - is with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3

For information &/or to register please email or visit
Mom and Me Weekend
September 18-20, 2015 - LEC
As your church's families plan for back to school, be sure they are planning for Mom and Me Weekend!  It's a great opportunity for Moms and kids to have quality time with each other and with God as they begin a busy fall semester!  From games and silly songs to interactive worship and Bible exploration activities, they'll come home refreshed, renewed, and on fire for their faith! 
Click HERE to register.

Where?  LECFamily at the Life Enrichment Center, Fruitland Park
When?  September 18-20, 2015
How much?  $175 per mom and child: $75 for each additional child

Questions?  Email Rev. Melissa Cooper at or visit FAQ page.
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. 

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.   Click HERE  for more information and registration.
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.
Early Response Team Training
October 23 - 24, 2015 - Warren W. Willis
Early Response Teams (ERT) are self-contained teams who enter a disaster zone at the invitation of local emergency management officials.  ERT's offer a Christian presence and are trained to provide various types of physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to disaster survivors.  ERT's are registered with the Disaster Recovery Ministry of The Florida Annual Conference, and Disaster Recovery coordinates team placement with emergency management to get help where it is needed most after a disaster. 

Note:  Basic Disaster Ministry Training is required before taking ERT Training.   Click HERE for more details and to register online.
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. 
Missio Ecclesia
February 17-19, 2016 - Grace UMC, Cape Coral
Discover WHY and HOW the people of God can join Jesus on mission! 

Also speaking:  Bishop Ken Carter and Pastor Jorge Acevedo.  Click HERE to register.
The Nehemiah Project
The Nehemiah Project is the third in a series of brief fact sheets about our developing major conference initiatives.  The fact sheets, a communication effort designed by Bishop Carter, provide a quick overview describing:
  • What is the initiative?
  • Where are we now in its development?
  • Where are we going with it?

The purpose is to inform our key leaders and others about these initiatives not only for their own information, but also to provide leaders with answers to "What's going on?" questions asked by their constituents.

The fact sheets are being produced by the Strategic Leadership Team and our Communications Department.  They will be published on a regular basis, and future topics include: 

  • The Race Conversation
  • Teaching Churches
  • Fresh Invitation to the Gospel
  • General Conference 2016

Click HERE for The Nehemiah Project fact sheet.  Click HERE for our previous fact sheet on Younger Clergy Debt.

District Calendar of Events
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 8: EC dCOM Training Meeting 9:00am-1:30pm - Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 12-13: Cabinet Meeting in Lakeland
October 15: EC Local Church Administrative Staff Training
October 18:Installation Service Rev. Dr. Bob Bushong 6:
30pm-Asbury UMC, Maitland
October 22-24: Great Expectations Boomers & Beyond, First Winter Park
October 24: UMW District Annual Meeting - Orange City UMC
October 29: EC dCOM - CANCELLED
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 15: Retiree Christmas Luncheon
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
April 2016:
April 17, 2016: Announcement Sunday for Clergy Appointments
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
June 28, 2015: Moving Day for Clergy Moving

July 2016
July 8 - 9: Candidacy Retreat                             

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