District News


Early Disaster Response Training (ERT) Be prepared to respond to the next disaster. Early response training covers the basics of early disaster response, including roof tarping, cleaning out damaged homes, spiritual and emotional care, team protocols, and more. Click here for a description of what well-trained ERT teams look like. Click here for "Seven Important things to know about Disaster Spiritual and Emotional Care".

Proper credentials are required for individuals and teams responding in the first few days after a disaster. Participants who successfully complete this training will receive those credentials, including an ERT badge.  

Training sessions are open to all people ages 18+. All participants must either have a background check done or bring proof of a background check from an employer or church.  

To schedule a training for your church, contact Amelia Fletcher at 251-978-8384.

Upcoming Disaster Early Response Team Training sessions:

October 14, 2017 - Elba UMC

October 15, 2017 - Jubilee Shores UMC

October 28, 2017 - Lynn Haven UMC

 Click on a date above for more information about the scheduled training session. If your church would like to host a Early Response Team training, contact Susan Hunt at 334-356-8014 or Amelia Fletcher at 251-968-2411.

The following conference trainers are both early response trainers and UMCOR badged:

Amelia Fletcher, Baypines District*

Glenn Glover+, Montgomery-Opelika District
334- 821-7091

Michael Lawler*, Dothan District
334- 798-9913

Pat Shubird+, Baypines District
251 454-7988

Ron Baughman**, Pensacola District
251- 408-1426

John Swanson, Montgomery-Prattville District

*also trained for Connecting Neighbors
**also trained for Community Training
+ also trained for Chainsaw Training

For information about United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training sessions, click here. With this training, learn how leaders can effectively lead teams to areas near and far to be in mission to a hurting and broken world for Christ’s sake. This training is helpful for team leaders going to tornado disaster areas in Alabama (not early response), as well as mission teams traveling all across the world.


Composer/Arranger Mark Hayes at Gulf Shores UMC on December. 9th and 10th  at Gulf Shores UMC is excited to welcome well-known composer/arranger of church music Mark Hayes this holiday season.  In addition to directing the annual Christmas Concert on Sunday December 10 at 7pm, Mark will be conducting an all-day public rehearsal with the Chancel choir on Saturday December 9 from 9am to 3pm.  Following the morning portion of the rehearsal a light lunch will be served in the fellowship hall along with an information session by Mark.

All area choir directors and church musicians are invited to attend the Saturday session.  Online registration is requested to assist GSUMC in planning for the Saturday event and Sunday concert for which there is no charge.  Visit the church website at www.gulfshoresumc.org or call the church office at 251-968-2411.  Large groups are encouraged to register by December 1st.  If pastors and other church officials receiving this information might pass it along to their church music family, it will be appreciated.  


(UPDATED) -This workshop has been canceled. Please contact the Conference Office if you would like to learn more about Healing Ministries OR if you would like to host such a workshop in your local area- The Alabama West Florida UMC Board of  Board of Discipleship,  is planning an event for our conference and would like to invite you to prayerfully consider attending this very special event that will held at Crosspoint North Crestview, Fla. (Oct. 7), or Montgomery, Al. (Oct. 8).

(New) Wesley Heirs Fall Gathering - Wesley Heirs is a group of Alabama-West Florida Conference clergy retirees (and spouses) and surviving spouses. This group meets twice a year, but there are smaller meetings held within Districts that meet monthly or quarterly. Wesley Heirs will host their Fall Gathering October 10 - 11, 2017 at Blue Lake.  They will have a "getting to know you" session with Bishop David and Mrs. Graves.  Bishop Graves will also preach at the Memorial Service on Wednesday morning. For more information, please email Jim Dannelly at jpdcjd@yahoo.com



Program Director’s House

Construction is underway


How you can help?

Blue Lake is building a 1500 square foot 3-bedroom 2 bath house for the Program Director. Your Church, Men’s Group, Methodist Women’s Group, Youth Group, or your Business can donate time, or can choose from a list of items for the house to help in the completion of this project. The foundation has been completed and we plan to erect the walls and trusses on October 13-14, 2017. We could use man power on those dates. If you have other gifts and talents let us know how you can help as we work toward the completion of the house. If you would like to help please call 334-222-5407. For a list of needs and cost contact Steve.  Donations can be sent to 8500 Oakwood Lane, Andalusia AL, 36420

(New) Southeastern Jurisdiction - Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) - The Southeastern Jurisdiction Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) will hold its jurisdictional meeting in Atlanta, GA, October 19 - 21, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel - Atlanta, GA. The BMCR is the organized Black caucus of the United Methodist Church. It is one of the United Methodist denomination's five U.S.-based ethnic caucuses. BMCR represents and is dedicated to more than 2,400 Black United Methodist congregations and approximately 500,000 African American members across the United States. More information at http://www.bmcrumc.org

(New) UMW Spiritual Enrichment Retreat - The Alabama-West Florida Conference UMW Spiritual Enrichment Retreat will be held October 20-22, 2017 at Blue Lake. More information will be forthcoming at http://www.awf-umw.org/.

(New) Prayer Shawl Retreat


Theme:          Teach us to Love!
Dates:            October 23-26, 2017
Place:             Blue Lake
Registration:  10/23 from 3-4:30
Cost:            Single Occupancy:        $244
                    Double Occupancy:       $176
                    Commuter Rate:            $79
                    Visitor Rate (One Day): $28

Deadline for registration is October 9, 2017. To Register, visit Prayer Shawl Retreat →

Please email donellseager@gmail.com or call (850) 723-5781if you have any questions

At The Table: An Intentional Multi-Ethnic Gathering on October 28, 2017 “A Place at the Table" is a gathering of ethnic believers (lay and clergy) seeking to have intentional conversations about inclusion and unity throughout the Church. We confess that God’s heart for the Church is that we be a community of diverse believers, working and serving together for the transformation of the world. It is our prayer that this time of intentional conversation will aid in establishing commonality, creating community and bringing clarity of purpose to all our ethnic members and churches within the Alabama-West Florida Conference. For more information on this event, please visit:

(New) 2017 - 2020 Spiritual Direction Training -The three year Spiritual Direction Training, hosted by Sacred Space Spiritual Formation, is suited to those who hunger to experience deeper intimacy with God, to grow in attentiveness to God’s movement, are drawn to compassionate listening, feel a call to companion others on the spiritual journey, and seek spiritual community with others.

• Lifelong compassionate listening skills
• Strong community development between participants
• Personal transformation and deeper inner-personal relationships
• Certificate as a trained spiritual director

Click here for a downloadable brochure.

A spiritual director is neither a counselor, coach, mentor or teacher but a companion who listens deeply to our sacred story. Time spent with a spiritual director, offers a safe space to share our inner most revelations of God’s work in our lives. Holy listening invites us to notice where God is moving in our daily experience.

“My spiritual formation practices and spiritual direction work guide me to become who I am called to be in God…a constant love song…for God, myself, and the world.” - Rev. Jacqueline Slaughter, Clergy AWF conference

Year One
November 13 - 16 // 2017
January 8 - 11 // 2018
April 16 - 19 // 2018
Year Two
August 6 - 9 // 2018
October 8 - 11 // 2018
January 7 - 10 // 2019
April 8 - 11 // 2019
Year Three
August 5 - 8 // 2019
October 7 - 10 // 2019
January 6 - 9 // 2020
March 30 - April 2 // 2020

Arrival:  Monday // 3:00 - 5:00pm
Departure:  Thursday // 12:00pm

‘“As a person whose life has been transformed by spiritual formation, I wholeheartedly recommend any opportunity to be shaped and formed in the image of Christ for the sake others. This focus on spiritual direction is particularly appealing because so many souls need the care that only a spiritual director can provide.” - Pat Luna, Academy For Spiritual Formation

This program equips the participant for the art of holy listening. A selection of readings prior to each forum lays a critical foundation for the lectures, discussion and experiential learning. First year forums include introduction to contemplative prayer, practice of contemplative prayer, and opportunity for discernment concerning spiritual direction. During the second year, faculty presentations will include understanding of spiritual direction, the history of the church and its spiritual masters. The third year’s focus is on the practice of spiritual direction – the art of Holy Listening. Each forum will be an experiential as well as an academic experience with at home reading and work required. 

“Spiritual direction is a Holy conversation that guides heart and mind to clarity. These conversations are much more than counseling or praying with another person. I highly recommend this spiritual practice.” Dr Cory Smith, Clergy AWF Conference

The daily rhythm will include morning meditations, faculty presentations,silent reflections, plenary discussions with faculty, Eucharist, Covenant Group time and more. The daily rhythm restores a contemplative balance to our lives. Silence,
conversation, rest, and fellowship help us open our hearts and minds to what God has in store for each of us.

“I have received spiritual direction for approximately 5 years. My spiritual director helps me discover the hitherto unseen ways God is active in my life and work and gives me opportunity to become a better person and leader. I recommend this spiritual practice to any whose hearts and minds yearn for a deeper relationship with Christ.” Dr Robbins Sims, Clergy AWF Conference

Enrollment Fee // $50.00
Each Forum // $390.00 (Includes instruction, meals, & private room/bath)
Click here for enrollment forms.
Forms and $50.00 non-refundable enrollment fee are due by October 16.  You will be responsible for your own books, notebook, pens, and paper.

Blue Lake Camp
8500 Oakwood Lane
Andalusia, Al 36420


(New) The United Methodist Children’s Home has this year’s White Christmas material ready! Please take the time to look at their new website – it is very user friendly! Click here to visit UMCH's White Christmas Website (downloadable)!  A new video is still being edited but will be ready by next week! 

 Opportunities in the Baypines District:

(New) Guy’s Chapel UMC in Bay Minette (Rabun area) is seeking a part time Youth Minister. This position will be on Sundays, Wednesday evenings and on special occasions. For more information on this position, please contact Mrs. Maxine Stewart at (251) 937-5996 or (251) 253-2496.