Conference News

Annual Conference, Day Four: June 7, 2017

published 6/7/2017

In the News

Full Recap and Bulletin Insert coming this Thursday! Stay tuned to www.awfumc.org/ac2017 for an informative bulletin insert. It is printer friendly and we encourage you to share it with your local congregation this Sunday. A full recap article detailing all actions of the conference will also be posted on the home page by Thursday.

Morning Worship: The final day of annual conference began with morning worship and Holy Communion. Rev. Julianna Cooper, deacon serving at Gulf Shores UMC, offered a greeting and call to worship. Rev. Meghan Kelley of Ozark FUMC preached a spirited sermon based off of John 13. Rev. Geoffrey Kagoro of Capitol Heights UMC prepared the table. Bishop Graves gave thanks for Meghan and Wes Kelley and the ministry they bring to our conference. The Kelleys will be co-pastoring Clanton FUMC in the coming year. 

Business Session: Various reports were presented from the Journal Committee, Board of Pension and Health Benefits, Council on Finance and Administration, Equitable Compensation and the Cabinet. Rev. Michael Cobb of Aldersgate UMC in Montgomery, AL, recommended on behalf of the Committee for Equitable Compensation that minimum salary be $37,200, it was approved. We celebrated the last of eight district glory sighting videos by showing the Pensacola District video, featuring Richards Memorial UMC and Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries.

Board of Pension and Health Benefits: Rev. Bob McKibben updated the conference on their work. Two items were approved by the conference: the housing allowance policy on pages 83-84 of the Book of Reports and the 2018 Pre-82 past service rate (clergy: $758 and surviving spouse: $530.50). Rev. Meghan Kelly announced the winners from the Thrive Wellness Initiative. The team with the most weeks where they met their goals is 'Friends for Life." A Fitbit was awarded to the winners. 

Districts Task Force: As a result of a motion from the floor of the 2014 Annual Conference, a task force was formed to explore the number of districts in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Dr. Robbins Sims presented an update on behalf of the group affirming the number of districts is appropriate for our conference. The team was given a list of recommendations to consider in order to be more effective in their work. Dr. Sims reported that the cabinet is living into those recommendations, with one being longevity in appointments, when possible. Creating relationships within the districts was another priority. Bishop Graves was able to help facilitate this with the town hall meetings. The cabinet is also utilizing technology to reduce conference travel expenses. 

Approved Budget: The conference established a $11,084,468 million budget for mission and ministry for 2018, a 1.21 increase from 2017. The recommended district superintendent salary for 2018 is $120,475.

Statistician's Report: Mr. Frank Dunnewind reported that membership stands at 137,618 down 1% from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 61,273 down 2%. Asian, Native American and Multiracial attendance all showed areas of increase over the past year. Other areas that also showed increases were baptisms, constituents, and children and youth in christian formation. In 2016, 404 churches paid 100% of their apportionments, which is the highest in the past few years. There was a 1.58% increase in missional giving over 2015, which was at it highest level since 2001. Thank you! 

Courtesies and AppreciationsDr. Wesley Wachob of Pensacola FUMC entertained the audience with his delivery of courtesies and appreciations as he recapped the 2017 Annual Conference session. He also thanked those who were instrumental in leading the event. He particularly cited more involvement from female clergy at this year's conference and led applause in showing appreciation. Wachob even sang a brief tune of "Rocky Top" for our new Bishop! 

Episcopal Address: Presiding over his first AWF Annual Conference, Bishop David Graves delivered his Episcopal address to the body of the conference. Before he preached, he took intentional time to diligently thank those who were an integral part of annual conference. Graves conveyed to the conference how valued this team is to him and how blessed we are to have this leadership. His powerful sermon was entitled, "Too Hard" based on Exodus 14:10-13. Graves walked through various scenarios that seemed impossible but through imagining faith, they occurred. He spoke of racial and gender barriers that have divided our church and made a public apology to people of color and women who have been victims of discrimination. An emotional standing ovation was given after these statements. He explained that his recent trip to the Council of Bishops meeting felt at times, too hard. He said, "Can you begin to imagine, and do you believe by faith it can happen? Then start acting like it!!" He spoke of Nehemiah 9:19; Psalm 68:20; Psalm 42:8; and Psalm 68:20 as a help in times that feel too difficult. He ended by saying, "Let's get moving, the best is yet to come!" A video of his address will be posted online in the coming days. 

Sending Forth: Each district superintendent read aloud the appointment changes within their respective district. The District Lay Leaders prayed after each district was presented. The Bishop then set the appointments. 

2017-2018 AWF Conference Clergy Appointment Book: The clergy appointments may be found online here. A friendly URL has also been established: www.awfumc.org/apt2017

2018 Annual Conference: The 2018 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 3-6, 2018, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination. We express our sincere appreciation to both of these staffs for hosting us this past year.

Special Offerings Update: We continue to celebrate the missional offering for the Local Mission Agencies at Opening Worship of $46,022. Over $2,700 was collected at the Service of Commissioning & Ordination for the Ministerial Education Fund. Thank you for your generosity!

UMCOR Relief Kits: 4,944 UMCOR kits were collected over the course of the annual conference. The Baypines District collected the most with 1,720 kits with Montgomery-Prattville District next with 1,641. Montgomery FUMC, Mt. Zion UMC (Prattville), and Aldersgate UMC sent youth group workers who managed the collection truck. Thank you for your donations and to the youth who received these supplies! 

Miss OneClick here to view each of the daily e-mails sent during the 2017 Annual Conference.  

Post Annual Conference Survey: Click here to take the survey. This year's version is shorter–we want to hear from you!

Multimedia

Photos
View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live. New this year is a custom Snapchat Geofilter! It will be available throughout conference. Find the photos and share with us on various social media platforms. Don't forget to tag it with #awfac17. 
                 

Hashtags: Use #awfac17 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at http://www.awfumc.org/ac2017.

Get the App

Navigate the conference Website easier by downloading the free AWF app! Scan the above QR code to download. Available for iPhones, iPads and Droid mobile devices. 


Annual Conference, Day Three: June 6, 2017

published 6/6/2017

In the News

Morning Worship: Day three of annual conference began with morning worship and Holy Communion. Rev. Amanda Messer, a deacon at Ashland Place UMC, offered the greeting and prepared the table for communion. Rev. Sung Kuk Hong of The Lord's Church of Montgomery presented the scripture reading, John 5:1-9, and offered the sermon message. Rev. Angie Long from Greenville FUMC presided over communion. Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson lead an incredible and uplifting version of, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" to conclude the service. Bishop Graves affirmed Rev. Hong's ministry and cited that The Lord's Church of Montgomery is the fastest growing Korean church in the country.

Morning Teaching Sessions: Claire Bowen and Dr. Victor Dingus presented the morning teaching sessions. Bowen, a lay person from the North GA Conference and member of Peachtree Road UMC, invited clergy and lay members to sit with one another by local church and district. Her presentation engaged the members about planning and visioning. She asked clergy and lay members to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 the following statements (and an answer on the last): 
-I understand our communities needs and demographics;
-I am clear about what our church has done well in the past;
-We have communicated inspiring vision which guides us;
-These are my hopes and dreams for the church I serve.  
She has been engaged with the Alabama-West Florida Conference since September of 2016 leading various on-boarding sessions with Bishops Graves. Click here for her presentation

Dr. Victor Dingus presented the second teaching session of the morning. He continued the theme Claire Bowen began with how to do an accurate assessment of your church. These core work questions can help any church, regardless of size, evaluate where to go next:
-Who are we now?
-What is our purpose now?
-Who is our neighbor now?
-What is our next step now?
His passion, Next Step Ministries, believes their solution to the decline in the church today is a proven model based in an indigenous understanding of transformation, utilizing the existing resources of the local church, while seeking the direction of God for this time and place in ministry. Click here for his presentation

Business Sessions: Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson led the attendees in several moving musical selections. Various reports were given throughout the day from the Journal Committee, Standing Rules, Resolutions and Petitions, Connectional Ministries, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry and the United Methodist Children's Home, to name a few. Bishop Lawson Bryan sent greetings from a video message to the conference. The South Georgia Annual Conference is meeting simultaneously as the Alabama-West Florida Conference. He expressed his thanks to his home conference for their support over the past year both to his family and through conference support after natural disasters in South Georgia. Details on some of these reports are below. As a conference we continued to celebrate the inspirational stories from our districts through video glory sightings. Click here to watch the Marianna-Panama City District video, featuring Panama City FUMC; here to watch the Mobile District video, featuring Ashland Place UMC; here to watch the Montgomery-Opelika District video, featuring Embrace Church; and here to watch the Montgomery-Prattville District video, featuring Montgomery FUMC. The 2017 Missional Offering for local mission agencies has received $45,107 thus far. Thank you for your generosity! If you have not yet donated, see Frank Dunnewind or you may text to give

Proposed Constitutional Amendments: Five amendments from General Conference 2016 were brought before all annual conferences in the denomination. Click here to read the proposed amendments. The amendments could be discussed but could not be amended. Per the instructions from the general church, results of these votes will not be reported by annual conference. The collective results will be announced at a later date.  

Hispanic Translation Services: New this year for conference was the availability of translating devices for Hispanic clergy and lay during business sessions. Erika Glawson, AWF Assistant to Ministerial Services, provided translation services, as did Demetria Weekly of Birmingham, AL. This service was a result of a spring meeting with Hispanic leaders and conference staff where it was indicated this would allow our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters to be more engaged at conference. Listening devices were also provided for those who are hearing impaired. 

Connectional Ministries: Rev. Nancy Watson delivered the Connectional Ministries report. She updated the conference on the various ministries making an impact in Alabama and West Florida. The office has undergone some realignment to better serve the local churches as a response to what has been requested. Watson said, "We exist to help the local church." She reported that the conference Website is now available in Korean and Spanish. Bishop Graves and the connectional ministries have made a concerted effort to meet in small groups to hear what the needs are from groups like Hispanic ministries, Ethnic ministries and small membership churches. Kristi McClellan is now a contract grant writer with the conference to be able to assist our local mission agencies. She has applied for well over $200,000 in grants in just a few short months. Rev. Jeremy Steele of Christ UMC and his team have expanded their efforts to train youth leaders and volunteers. The Antioch Project is also another area helpful to local churches that will continue with current staff. Rev. Dan Pezet congratulated Gonzalez UMC on being the first church in the conference to officially complete the Antioch Project from inception to completion. Pezet asked anyone who has been involved with the Antioch Project to stand and be recognized. 

Francis Asbury Award: Dr. James R. (Jimmy) Jeffcoat received the Francis Asbury Award today, presented by Rev. Scott Hohn of Eufaula FUMC. Dr. Jeffcaot currently serves as the Associate Professor of Religion at Huntingdon College. Rev. Hohn also recognized the Wesley Foundations at seven colleges and universities around our areas and introduced those affiliated with them who were present. As part of this Campus Ministry & Higher Education report, Lane Estes, Chief of Staff, on behalf of Birmingham-Southern College and President Cam West of Huntingdon College brought greetings to the annual conference. 

Denman Evangelism Award: There were three winners of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The clergy winner is Rev. Andres Doimeadios of Casa De Dios Gateway Of Heaven. The Lay recipients is Malcolm Smith of Canton Bend UMC and the youth recipient is Brett Herndon from Chickasaw UMC

Alice Lee Award: This award goes to someone who was inspired by Alice's service and has chosen a path of service of their own. This year's recipient is Daphne Johnston of Montgomery FUMC for her work on the adult Respite Ministry Program. This is the 25th year for this special award. 

One Matters Award: Parker UMC is the inaugural winner of this award given by the AWF Town and Country Commission. Rev. Lance Eiland of Robinson Springs UMC presented this award and showed a video explaining why just one person or one church can make a significant impact on our denomination. The church will also receive a $1,000 award. Seventy-three churches in our conference went from zero professions to at least one in 2016. Parker UMC went from zero to eight and significantly expanded their children's ministry. Rev. Gary Stringfellow accepted the award on behalf of the church. 

UMC Federal Credit Union Scholarship: Caroline Barrett of Marion United Methodist Church was presented a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the United Methodist Federal Credit Union. Keith Pritchard presented the award from the credit union. 

Complete bios on today's award winners may be found here

Resolutions: Two resolutions were presented to the annual conference voting body at today's session. A Resolution Concerning the Welfare of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the Alabama-West Florida Conference was amended to include the state of Florida and approved. A Resolution Concerning Adequate, Long-term Funding for Alabama Medicaid was also approved with an amendment to include the state of Florida. Church and Society had previously accepted an amendment changing the Governor's name from Robert Bentley to Kay Ivey. Revised copies of the amended resolutions will be posted on the conference Website in the coming days. 

Special Called Session: Bishop Graves reminded the voting members of the special called session of General Conference. The current delegation, which was elected two years ago, was recognized and will continue to represent the Alabama-West Florida Conference at the special called session in Missouri in February of 2019. Dr. Larry Bryars will move to the head of the delegation and Rev. June Jernigan will move from first alternate to a general conference delegate. 

Laity Banquet: Under the leadership of Beverly Maddox, the laity celebrated their work at the annual banquet. A highlight of the evening was the entertainment by Huntingdon College students Ryan Dean, Jarred Billups, and Olivia Harris. The Mary Ellen Bullard Leadership Address was given by Patricia Barnes, or famously known as Sister Schubert. Sister is known throughout the country for her world-famous dinner rolls but has a special testimony. She expressed that she never set out to make money but instead, to find her purpose in life. She inspired the laity by reminding them that it is through their work that people will find Jesus. "The rolls are a way to gather around the kitchen table and have a mission to connect and bring people together," said Barnes. The blessings of her business have allowed her to help others. She continued, "The gifts you bring in lay service go beyond any words I could express." Click here for local coverage on her visit to our conference. Frank Moore, AWF UMM President, presented the third annual Susanna Wesley Award for Excellence. The recipient of this annual award is Helen Meigs Edwards of Church Street UMC in Selma, AL. Her nomination letter summarized Helen's dedication by saying, "Helen Edwards embodies John Wesley’s Theology; Faith, Grace and Works! She has used her gifts of love, wisdom, drive, intelligence, determination and passion to serve the church, her family, brothers and sisters in Christ as well as numerous communities. Helen Edwards has always told me that you cannot make things better if you are not willing to be a part of the solution."  

UMCOR Relief Kits: Tomorrow is the last day to bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies Wednesday from 7:30am-11:00am.

Multimedia

Photos
View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2017 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office. 

Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at www.frazerumc.org/live and all times are CDT. 

Wednesday, June 7
-Morning Worship and Communion, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live. New this year is a custom Snapchat Geofilter! It will be available throughout conference. Find the photos and share with us on various social media platforms. Don't forget to tag it with #awfac17. 
                 

Hashtags: Use #awfac17 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at http://www.awfumc.org/ac2017.

Get the App


Annual Conference, Day Two: June 5, 2017

published 6/5/2017

In the News

Morning Worship: An addition to the agenda this year is to begin each day with morning worship. Bishop David Graves made this addition so that the conference session would start with a sense of Holy time and carry that worship-filled spirit throughout the day. Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson, guest musicians, prepared our hearts for worship with favorite hymns. Rev. John Brooks, Montgomery-Prattville District Superintendent, preached his sermon based on Luke 6:43-45. Rev. Gillian Walters of Montgomery FUMC offered a responsive reading and a moment of reflection and challenge. A special time of prayer at the altar in Wesley Hall was offered before the business of the day began. Bishop Graves affirmed Rev. Brooks' ministry as did the members of the annual conference with a standing ovation. 

Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion: Thirty clergy and clergy spouses who passed since the 2016 AWF Annual Conference session were remembered today during the Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion. Bishop David Graves offered the opening prayer and Rev. Ralph Sigler, Founder and Leader Pastor of Harvest Church UMC, delivered the inspiring and uplifting sermon entitled, "Things Above" based on Colossians 3:1-4 and Ephesians 3:20-21. He mentioned that, "We need to honor them, they don't need us to honor them." Sigler explained that we often look to others for validation but Jesus is the One to affirm us. He felt that if our loved ones could talk back to us after their death they would say, "I'm fine. Don't worry about me." Sigler continued with, "I don't believe that anyone who has gotten to Heaven would want to come back." He disputed the common opinion that Heaven is a boring place. A capacity crowd remembered those who gave many years of service to the conference. Each individual name was read aloud by Rev. Olivia Poole of Mt. Zion UMC. A candle was lit for each person we remembered today. Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson provided comforting music through their rendition of, "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Jerrod Dorminey, Worship Leader at Frazer UMC, shared remembrance music as communion was served. Surviving family members were hosted at a special luncheon by the AWF Commission on Archives and History. To see photos from this service, click here.

Business Session: After joining our voices together in unison in a worship medley and the traditional singing of, "And Are We Yet Alive?" Dr. Darren McClellan, Baypines District Superintendent, and his wife, Kristi, welcomed everyone on behalf of the host district. Each business session throughout the conference will start with a video story of a district glory sighting. These video messages depict the fruitful ministries making a direct impact on communities in our conference, with many of them being small membership churches. Click here to watch the Baypines District video, featuring Marlow UMChere to watch the Demopolis District video, featuring the Pine Hill Charge and the Dothan District video featuring Cottonwood UMCDr. David Saliba, AWF Conference Secretary of Peridido Bay UMC, led the conference in approving the bar, secretarial staff, journal, agenda and consent agenda. Rev. Joe Bullington with EO Tours was offered a point of personal privilege to invite members to join Bishop David Graves on a trip to the Holy Land in January of 2018. Click here to see a promotional video. As part of the afternoon business session, Dr. David Saliba presented his nominations report, which was approved by the members. Bishop Graves took several moments to introduce the conference chancellor, Alan Livingston, and the new associate chancellor, Bob Northcutt. At the conclusion of this afternoon's session, it was announced that $43,987 has been collected thus far for the 2017 AC Missional Offering, benefitting the local mission agencies. You may still donate by seeing Frank Dunnewind or texting to give

Laity Report: Beverly Maddox, AWF Conference Lay Leader, updated the conference in regards to the work of the laity and emphasized the partnership of clergy and laity. She called on Debbie Bell, AWF UMW Chair; Frank Moore, AWF UMM Chair; and David Bowen, AWF Director of Lay Servant Ministries. They updated those in attendance about their respective areas of work. As a fun moment to conclude the report, Maddox challenged four laity vs one clergy to nail a board to demonstrate the laity supporting clergy. In an unexpected turn the sole clergy person, Dr. Tim Trent, won the challenge! 

Committee on Episcopacy: Alexis Tibbetts of Shalimar UMC, chair of the Episcopacy Committee, presented her report and welcomed Bishop and Mrs. David Graves to their first Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference session. She invited Mrs. Graves to the stage and presented a gift and flowers to her. The conference expressed their thanks to them at the conclusion of the report. 

The Commission on the Way Forward: A video was shown to the members, which will be shown to all annual conferences, providing an update to the work of this group. Bishop Graves reminded those in attendance of the dates of the special called session, which will be held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, MO. He encouraged everyone to stay focused on Jesus and see the unseen–that we can make a tremendous difference in our corner of the world. 

Church and Society: Pat Luna of Pt. Washington UMC presented an update from the AWF Committee on Church and Society. Last year a resolution related to the bullying of LGBTQ persons was referred to a committee. As a result, Courageous Conversations, a three-session participatory event, was born out of this committee. Dr. Scott Hughes has been the facilitator from the General Board of Discipleship and is the author of "Courageous Conversations." A free download of this book may be found here. The goal of these conversations was to create dialogue to truly to listen and learn from one another. Luna feels that as a result of these conversations we have built unity and trust. 

Commissioning & Ordination Recognition: Those approved for commissioning and ordination as deacons and elders were introduced by Rev. Allison Posell and Dr. Brian Miller, of Aldersgate UMC in Montgomery, AL. A brief word about each of the honorees was given. This group was confirmed by their clergy peers at last evening's clergy executive session. Bishop Graves recognized Dr. Karl Stegall and his work for the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation, which assists seminary students with their financial debt. He was honored with a standing ovation. Those serving on this board were also honored for their service. Bishop Graves mentioned how this first class of ordinands will always be special to him. 

Local Pastors: Those local pastors receiving their license for the first time were introduced and recognized by Rev. Susan Beeson of Cain's Chapel UMC and greeted by Bishop Graves during today's afternoon business session. Three persons who have completed Course of Study and Advanced Course of Study were also recognized in this afternoon's session. 

Extension Ministers: Members of our annual conference that are in extension ministry (appointments outside the local church) introduced themselves and briefly told of their appointments. Bishop Graves offered a prayer for those serving around the world on our behalf. 

Retiring Clergy Recognized: Twenty-one clergy were recognized upon their retirement by Rev. Kathy Knight during today's order of the day. Together, the following clergy have 617 years of service in our conference. Bishop Graves gave a heartfelt prayer honoring this group in a new season of life. Rev. Libba Stinson spoke on behalf of the retiring class. Back by popular demand was the "passing of the torch." Stinson presented a stole to Rev. Woods Lisenby, who was ordained as an elder in full connection this evening, signifying new leadership in the conference. The retirees are:
James Aaron
John Baxter          
Susan Lee Beeson
Gerald (“Jerry”) Caryl- Gordon
Harold Caserta Jr.
Philip Duncan Craddock
Edward J. Dealer
Tommy Gaillard
Charles H. ("Chip") Hale
Rudolph Heintzelman
Ruth M. Knights
Jody Hanna Kranz
Ronnie Locke
Freddie L. McCain
David E. McVay
David A. Murray
Rodney Smith
Libba Stinson
Rob West
Charles Wise
Randal Mack Woodham

"Lift High the Cross" was sung in unison celebrating this dedicated group. A reception was held Monday afternoon in honor of the retiring clergy.

Service of Commissioning & Ordination: The Service of Commissioning and Ordination was held this evening in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The congregation represented family members and special friends of those being commissioned and ordained. Prior to the start of the service, the cathedral choir of Montgomery FUMC presented worshipful music led by Dr. James Seay. The service included the commissioning of one provisional deacon and five provisional elders and the ordination of two deacons in full connection and six elders in full connection. Bishop David Graves preached a sermon entitled, “Be All That God Called You to Be," based on Matthew 28: 18-20. He asked those being commissioned and ordained to remember where they came from and challenged them to be all God called them to be by doing several things. He explained to first, stay in love with Jesus–ministry is best accomplished when you do it as a team and said, "Surround yourself with people who are better than you." Next, learn to be a great communicator and listening is crucial to that. Discipline yourself so that no one else has to do so. Don't just work hard when you need to, work smart. Graves stated, "Success is having the right person in the right place at the right time. When you need help, ask for it." Change is a must. Finally, handle success like you handle failure citing you can't control what happens but you can control how you handle it. A special offering was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund. To see photos from tonight's service, click here.

Provisional Deacon:
James Waltrip Bradford, II 
Provisional Elders:
Rhett Sims Butler 
Bradley Davis Chamblee
Tara Camille Chamblee
James Thomas Irby
Elizabeth Fulmer Sullivan 
Deacons in Full Connection:
Julie Robertson Hare
Amande Kelly Messer
Elders in Full Connection:
Clifton Jason Borders
Brandon Lee Bures
Virginia Kagoro
Woods Bradshaw Lisenby
Alice Danielle May
Evan Hunter Pugh 

Quadrennial Pictorial Directory: This year we will host Color Craft to produce our quadrennial pictorial directories. They will be photographing clergy and conference leadership today and tomorrow in rooms 3013/3015. Click here for times. All clergy, conference staff, district administrative assistants and district lay leaders should have their photo taken. The Episcopal office highly recommends all clergy have their photo taken. These photos will also be used on our clergy finder section of the conference Website.

Biometric Health Screenings: Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the Biometric Health Screenings in the Cokesbury Room at Frazer Memorial UMC. The hours are 8:00am-2:00pm. This is offered as a part of our health and wellness initiative designed to help you maintain good health. For more information, click here

UMCOR Relief Kits: Bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot during annual conference. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies during these hours:
Tuesday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Wednesday: 7:30am-11:00am 

Multimedia

Photos
View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2017 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office. 

Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at www.frazerumc.org/live and times are CDT. 

Tuesday, June 6
-Morning Worship and Communion, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Teaching Sessions with Claire Bowen and Dr. Victor Dingus (following morning business session)
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm

Wednesday, June 7
-Morning Worship and Communion, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live. New this year is a custom Snapchat Geofilter! It will be available throughout conference. Find the photos and share with us on various social media platforms. Don't forget to tag it with #awfac17. 
                 

Hashtags: Use #awfac17 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at http://www.awfumc.org/ac2017.

Get the App

Navigate the conference Website easier by downloading the free AWF app! Scan the above QR code to download. Available for iPhones, iPads and Droid mobile devices. 


Annual Conference, Day One: June 4, 2017

published 6/4/2017

In the News

Opening Worship: A capacity crowd attended the Opening Worship Service of the 2017 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference session, which was held Sunday evening, June 4, in the sanctuary of Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL. The service began with an uplifting reading of the Pentecost Story in six languages (English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Shona and Hebrew) from lay and clergy representing various areas of the conference. A mass choir from around the conference, and led by Wayne Sigler of Frazer, provided inspiring music for the service including moving renditions of, "For the Glory of the Lord," "To Whom, Then, Will You Liken God" and "Whenever I Hear His Name." The Scripture lesson was read by Jenn Lusher, AWF Director of Leadership Strategies. Bishop David Graves presiding over his first conference as Resident Bishop of the AWF Conference, was introduced by Alexis Tibbetts, Chair of the Episcopacy Committee. She expressed a heartfelt welcome to Bishop Graves and his wife, Nancy, and articulated how sincere and genuine Bishop Graves has been since the first day of his assignment. Rev. Robin Wilson, Senior Pastor of Dauphin Way UMC, preached the sermon based on Ephesians 3:7-21 entitled, "More Than We Imagine." She recalled the past memories of attending annual conference as a child and youth delegate and the impressions those years made on her. She said, "I saw and I knew the power and presence of our God. At the age of 17, I felt called into ordained ministry and wanted to show the world what you as a church had witnessed so faithfully to me." She passionately challenged the congregation to truly imagine what God can do in this place and reminded them of the first pentecost and how the earnest followers had no idea what to expect of their God. Some might have imagined Jesus would come quickly, or a mighty deliverance, but they never imagined what God was about to do, and we are no different. "We have such set expectations of what God should do, that we have lost the creativity to imagine what God can do." In the coming weeks, two of Wilson's new sermons will be broadcast on the nationally broadcast radio show Day1 (formerly known as the protestant hour). Click here for more

Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson, talented worship leaders from the Atlanta area, returned to conference this year and led an inspirational and spirit-filled communion medley. The Opening Worship Service celebrated all phases of ministry and included laity, seminary students, local pastors, elders and deacons. For the first year, communion was served as a part of this service. Rev. Jay Cooper of Bay Minette FUMC coordinated the service and focused on the collective ministry we emphasize in the conference. Communion servers represented Asbury, Candler, Duke and Vanderbilt seminary students and also included clergy and laity from around the bounds of the conference. The invocation and communion liturgy were taken from the Feasting on the Word Worship Companion: Liturgies for Year A, Vol. 1. This year's conference will feature more clergy and laity leadership from within Alabama and West Florida, an answer to constructive feedback from previous years. We give thanks to God for the participants and those they represent in ministry!

AWF Local Mission Agencies: The Alabama-West Florida Local Mission Agencies are the beneficiaries of the 2017 missional offering. Churches from within the conference collected money and presented their offerings at opening worship. Rev. Nancy Watson, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, delivered the offertory prayer prior to the monetary collection. The agencies benefitting from this collection are The Ark, Dumas Wesley Community Center, Mary Ellen’s Hearth, Milk and Honey Outreach Ministries, United Methodist Inner City Mission in Mobile, and Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries. For the first year a text-to-give option is available. Click here for instructions. At time of press, $39,491 was collected this evening. An updated amount will be reported in the coming days. Thank you for your generosity!

Quadrennial Pictorial Directory: This year we will host Color Craft to produce our quadrennial pictorial directories. They will be photographing clergy and conference leadership on Monday-Wednesday in rooms 3013/3015. Click here for times. All clergy, conference staff, district administrative assistants and district lay leaders should have their photo taken. The Episcopal office highly recommends all clergy have their photo taken. These photos will also be used on our clergy finder section of the conference Website.

Biometric Health Screenings: As part of the conference health initiative, biometric health screenings will be offered during annual conference in the Cokesbury Room at Frazer Memorial UMC on Monday, June 5th and Tuesday, June 6th, from 8:00am-2:00pm. This is offered as a part of our health and wellness initiative designed to help you maintain good health. You may visit the Cokesbury Room to make an appointment with Belinda Carnegie, AWF Benefits Coordinator. For more information, click here

UMCOR Relief Kits: Bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot during annual conference. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. Thank you to Coleman American for providing the truck again this year, and for transporting the supplies to Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, LA. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies during the following hours:
Monday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Tuesday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Wednesday: 7:30am-11:00am 

Multimedia

Photos
View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2017 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office. 

Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at www.frazerumc.org/live, except the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. See special link for that service below. All times are CDT. 

Monday, June 5
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Service of Remembrance & Holy Communion: 10:30am
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm
-Recognition of Retiring Clergy (following afternoon business session)
-Service of Ordination: 7:00pm (http://www.fumcmontgomery.org/livestream)

Tuesday, June 6
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Teaching Sessions with Claire Bowen and Dr. Victor Dingus (following morning business session)
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm

Wednesday, June 7
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am

WFRZ TV Schedule
The following service will be broadcast live on Frazer TV, WFRZ. Check your local provider listings for channel. 

Monday, June 5
-Service of Remembrance & Holy Communion, 10:30am

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live. New this year is a custom Snapchat Geofilter! It will be available throughout conference. Find the photos and share with us on various social media platforms. Don't forget to tag it with #awfac17. 

                 

Hashtags: Use #awfac17 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at http://www.awfumc.org/ac2017.

Get the App

Navigate the conference Website easier by downloading the free AWF app! Scan the above QR code to download. Available for iPhones, iPads and Droid mobile devices. 


UMC bishops ask Trump to reconsider decision to withdraw U.S. from climate accord

published 6/1/2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. 

In a statement released today, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the decision by President Trump was disheartening and would worsen the state of this planet already exacerbated by overconsumption and misuse of resources. “The decision further isolates the United States from critical and essential climate and energy use conversations and negotiations.”

Bishop Ough said the bishops of The United Methodist Church were speaking in continuity with the church’s stance as articulated in God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action, Scripture, the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions. “It is our responsibility to take care of this planet we live on, this beautiful gift from God, the Creator of all things seen and unseen.” 

Bishop Ough urged President Trump to rejoin the efforts of nearly 200 countries that have agreed to voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions.

Bishop Ough said The United Methodist Church will continue to call for bold leadership and advocate for policies rooted in justice and sustainability. “By caring for God’s people and God’s planet, we offer ourselves as instruments of God’s renewing Spirit in the world calling for social and environmental holiness. We will do this by challenging those whose policies and practices neglect the poor, exploit the weak and harm the environment.”

Read Bishop Ough’s statement in its entirety.


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