August 4, 2015/Volume 14, No. 14
Charge Conference Forms Now Available
The 2015 Charge Conference Forms are now available on the conference Website. Many forms allow you to choose from a fillable pdf and/or a fillable Microsoft Word or Excel document. Should you have questions about these forms, please contact your district office.
Two AWF Churches Receive Grants
Congratulations to New Hope UMC and Orange Beach UMC for being selected to receive a United Methodist Communications Rethink Church Digital Advertising Grant. These grants help attract new visitors and seekers to these churches. These ads will honor the United Methodist brand, while advertising the local church. As part of this grant, the church agrees to have a working, welcoming church Website that clearly indicates United Methodist affiliation, through language and/or United Methodist branding. Click here to learn more about these grants.
Around the Conference
AWF Board of Ordained Ministry Holds Workshop and Retreat
On July 17-18, the Alabama-West Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry held its 2015 Beginning Pastors Workshop at Spring Hill College in Mobile. Pastors serving a church in the conference for the first time attended the workshop, which is a requirement for all clergy taking their first appointment. Eighteen persons attended the retreat. The Candidacy Retreat was also simultaneously held the same weekend in Fairhope, AL, for those wanting to begin the inquiring ministry candidate process. This retreat is one step in the candidacy process. Nineteen interested persons attended the candidacy event. Pictured above are the beginning pastors.
Guest Commentary: Gambling is Not the Answer for Alabama
(Rob Couch/Brian Miller) - With the Alabama Legislature convening for special session on Monday, August 3, Dr. Rob Couch and I produced a letter about the legislature defaulting to gambling as a disturbing answer for the budget shortfall. We appreciate your interest and action. Click here for commentary.
Guest Commentary: Rev. John Brooks, Journey Notes
Sometimes ministry can be filled with fear, especially as the new kid on the block trying to implement change. Your faith, your eminent connection to our Lord and Savior, is intricately constructed to carry you through such times as these. As parishioners begin to see that your walk is a faith walk, the spirit of faith will gain voice in work area meetings. Have you ever gone to a meeting and later heard two people's responses to what went on? Were you amazed at how different their take on it was? Click here for more.
Emory Receives $1 Million for Religious Freedom Work
(UMNS) - The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University School of Law has received a $1 million anonymous gift to expand training in religious freedom for law students. The gift will fund "Restoring Religious Freedom: Education, Outreach, and Good Citizenship," a project that will run for four years, starting in September. More here.
Proposal for New Hymnal Endorsed
(UMNS) — Legislation is heading to the 2016 General Conference that, if approved, would begin the process of developing a new official hymnal and provide for ongoing revision of the hymnal in the future. Boards of the United Methodist Publishing House and Discipleship Ministries have endorsed the proposal. The denomination's most recent hymnal dates from 1989. Read press release.
Complaint vs. Criticism: Do You Know the Difference?
(UMNS) — The Rev. Dave Barnhart points to research that distinguishes between complaining and criticizing in a marriage. Complaints tend be part of a fruitful marriage, the research shows, while constant criticism can lead a couple to divorce. Barnhart, in a commentary for Ministry Matters, shares how this research shapes his approach to conflict. Read commentary.
AWF Trustees Release Church Emergency Resource
Over the past several months, the AWF Trustees have been discussing and developing a resource for local churches to use as they consider emergency preparedness in their congregation. The need for such preparedness has come to the forefront with the tragic events in Charleston, SC, and Chattanooga, TN. Emergency Guidelines for Churches can be found by clicking here. It is not a policy, it is simply a resource to “spark a conversation in your church on emergency preparedness.” The hope is that the Board of Trustees of each local church in our annual conference will consider how best to prepare for accidents, fires, natural disasters, and criminal behavior that may affect your local church.
AWF Pastor and Seminary Student Publish Parenting Book
In the face of the bewildering array of modern parenting advice, author and pastor Patrick Quinn, along with Ken Roach, shows parents a new way to make a positive difference in their children’s lives in How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps: Tame Your Vices, Nurture Their Virtues (June 1, 2015). Modern parenting tends to lean heavily on either behavior—what children do—or on education—what children think. A growing number of parents, however, are most concerned with identity—who children become. Patrick directs these eager parents to the ancient understanding of virtues and vices, the powerful forces that shape one’s character. Click here for more.
Become a Test Church for Disciple Fast Track!
Disciple Fast Track is looking for 10 churches from each annual conference to join them in their second round of beta testing to make sure the new Fast Track study is of the highest quality. For nearly thirty years, the original Disciple Bible Study has helped millions of people read through the Bible and grow their faith through a 34-week class. The new Fast Track study leads groups through the Bible in a shortened, 24-week format while maintaining the integrity and principles of the original study. New, easy-to-use print and video materials and an online community give participants the tools to absorb and retain what they learn in this shortened format. Churches that participate in this beta 2 testing phase will receive the final, official-release materials at no cost. Click here for more.
Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation Dinner of Celebration, August 6
Global Leadership Summit, August 6-7
E. Stanley Jones Christian Ashram, August 7-9
The Montgomery-Prattville District hosts Lay Servant Training, August 14-15
The Marianna/Panama City Districts hosts Lay Servant Training, August 15
Centering Prayer Introduction Workshop, September 12
Lay Servant Ministries Training - Milton, FL, September 12
Women's Retreat With Dr. Lauren Winner, September 17-19
Pleasant Path to Past; AWF Historical Society, September 24
Dothan District Gathering Featuring Dr. Ken Callahan, September 28
Revitup! An Energizing Event For Young Clergy, October 5-7
Order of the Elders with Bishop Mike Coyner, October 8
Mobile District Family Fun Day, October 17
UMW Conference Leadership Training and Annual Day, October 23-24
SEJ Clergywomen's Consultation, October 26-29
Prayer Shawl Retreat, October 27-30