We are quickly approaching the 2019 session of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. We are excited to see many of you soon. Click here to access a working agenda. Copies of the final agenda will be distributed at the doors of Wesley Hall prior to Monday's first business session.
The reservation system will close tomorrow, May 17, 2019, at 2:00pm. After this date and time, the reservation system will be closed so that we can accurately report head counts to our host churches. Click here to make a reservation.
The 2019 Guide to Annual Conference has been published. It contains the bulletins for the Opening Worship Service and Memorial Service and overviews of the morning worship services. We continue to strive to be good stewards of our resources. Therefore, printed bulletins will not be produced for these services (family attending the Memorial Service will receive keepsake copies). The 2019 Book of Reports is available online. Hard copies may be ordered through Amazon at this link.
The clergy session and laity session will be held Sunday evening following opening worship (please note the start time for opening worship). Clergy will report to Wesley Hall and laity may remain in the sanctuary. Registration will close during opening worship but will briefly reopen prior to these sessions to accommodate those who are not able to register prior to opening worship. It will close promptly at 8pm Sunday evening. Clergy need to have their name badge visible to enter the executive session.
Each morning (Monday-Wednesday) will begin with worship in Wesley Hall at 8:30am. Holy Communion will be served on Tuesday and Wednesday. Please plan to join your fellow clergy and laity for a special time of worship and reflection. This was a very meaningful part of last year's annual conference.
We will be electing clergy and lay delegates to the 2020 General Conference. Electronic voting devices will be used only for these elections. More information on voting rights, badge colors and voting devices may be found here. If you were not able to make a pre-conference briefing, please carefully read this information. Voting devices will be obtained inside Wesley Hall and will not leave the room. Your name badge is required to receive a device. The Bishop may call for a vote at any time during a business session. Please note that Tuesday evening is a business session (this is new for 2019).
At the beginning of the Wednesday session in Wesley Hall, we are asking all clergy to find their local church lay members and sit with them by district. There will be a screen visual (see image below) and pages to assist you in finding your district. If you are projected to receive a new appointment, please find your new church lay members. If you are retiring clergy, please sit in the district where your charge conference is held. This will be important for our Sending Forth service.
We look forward to seeing everyone June 2-5, 2019, at Frazer Memorial UMC!
Hello friends of the Alabama-West Florida Conference!
We are excited to share some updates on the Hurricane Michael Recovery efforts in our conference. We have had many hurdles to jump while building our recovery program. One of our case managers likened it to building an airplane while in flight! However, we are confident that the time we have taken to put our systems into place will be multiplied back to us as we journey down this road to recovery.
The good news is that we are starting to gain traction with our construction projects in each of our three areas: Panama City, Marianna and Port St. Joe. Thus far, we are working with over 150 families and we anticipate that over 100 of them will be ready for construction in the coming days, weeks and months. Believe it or not, we are on track to far exceed our initial goal of 300 home repairs and/or rebuilds! Our summer is packed with volunteers and we are excited about the number of families that we will be able to assist thanks to your help. Please look ahead on your calendars to the fall and winter and consider helping us fill our weeks with volunteers.
If you are a pastor or leader in your local church, I encourage you to show this brief video update in your worship services and on social media. If you have not already partnered with a church through our conference, consider exploring that option. More information can be found here or by contacting Susan Hunt.
Finally, I am grateful to the United Methodist Committee on Relief and their generous $4.6 million-dollar-grant. This grant will help launch and fund the first two years of a phased four-year recovery program in response to Hurricane Michael. You can read more about that here.
If I can answer any questions you may have about how you can help with our relief efforts, I welcome a conversation. Continue to pray for us as we minister to our neighbors in the best way possible. Thank you for you care, support and prayers.
Rev. Chris Ackerman
You may also listen to this message as an audio-only podcast by clicking here, by searching for "AWFUMC Podcasts" on iTunes or in your preferred podcast player. We invite you to subscribe to these podcasts.
UMCOR Awards $4.6 Million Grant to Alabama-West Florida Conference to Support Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts
A $4.6 million UMCOR grant for the Alabama-West Florida Conference will help launch and fund the first two years of a phased four-year recovery program in response to Hurricane Michael.
Scientists at NOAA's National Hurricane Center recently determined that Hurricane Michael had an intensity of 160 mph when it made landfall at the Florida Panhandle last October and upgraded it to a Category 5 hurricane. The last hurricane of such intensity at landfall was Hurricane Andrew, which struck South Florida and Louisiana in 1992.
Since the hurricane struck, AWFC has continued to triage and collect data to determine the unmet needs in the affected areas. Grant funds will enable them to strategically review the list of families who have been denied Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance and begin outreach to those survivors.
The conference aims to provide at least 375 households with disaster case management services and connect them with vital goods and services to help them achieve their individualized recovery goals.
“In the midst of major devastation, the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Conference was a beacon hope to local communities as its churches served as resource centers for those impacted by the tremendous storm,” said Roland Fernandes, executive director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). “UMCOR is proud to support their ongoing efforts to bring hope and recovery to those impacted by Hurricane Michael.”
“Since the time Hurricane Michael made landfall the Alabama-West Florida Conference has served those in need along the panhandle of Florida,” said Bishop David Graves. “As we have been saying for months, this will be a long-term effort to which our conference is committed to for years to come. We are grateful to UMCOR for recognizing the extensive need along the coast.”
In December 2018, the conference received a $628,768 grant from UMCOR to allow for three volunteer coordinator sites to be established, support staff to manage these sites, construction costs for those we help and assessments for the next grant.
Hurricane Michael swept across a narrow band of the Florida panhandle on Oct. 12, leaving total destruction in some areas. Six of the 12 counties that are FEMA-eligible are in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, which has received additional support from UMCOR and the United Methodist connection. Alabama-West Florida also will receive a separate $180,000 UMCOR grant for church repair.
About the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian aid and development agency of The United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States and its territories. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering—whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster— with open hearts and minds to all people. UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community's ability to recover on its own. UMCOR works through programs that address hunger, poverty, sustainable agriculture, international and domestic emergencies, refugee and immigrant concerns, global health issues, and transitional development. Learn more at www.UMCOR.org, www.Facebook.com/UMCOR and www.twitter.com/UMC_UMCOR.
-The Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church
Click here for a full summary.