This week's news.......

February 2, 2017

A Word from Bishop David Graves: January 29, 2017

We invite you to hear a message from Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Click on the image or here to view. Click here to read the written transcript. Bishop Graves gives specific information about the upcoming day apart on February 21, including a few requests about what to bring in preparation for the day.  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.

Click here to find current edition of the AWF NewsCONNECTION!

Attention Servant Heart Emmaus Community

We are still in need of applications to attend Servant Heart Emmaus Walk #36 scheduled for March 2-5, 2017
The expectation is for a FULL walk (36 ladies) but we ONLY have around 20 so far and TIME IS SHORT.  We need for applications to be filled out and mailed ASAP.   Please be in much prayer about sponsoring someone to a attend this walk weekend.  As you were told at the cross ceremony, "God is Counting on You".  So too, Servant Heart Emmaus is Counting on You!
Please pray about this and then follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. For your convenience click here to find an application. 

The Board of Servant Heart Emmaus

Disabilities Sunday Designated in the AWF Conference

Sunday, February 26, 2016, has been designated as Disability Awareness Sunday in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. As United Methodists, "We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good. As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God's grace to the unity of the Church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus' ministry to [and with] all persons." (¶140, The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church 2012). More here.

Conference Lay Servant Training

Lay Servant Ministries will host a conference wide Lay Servant Training March 10-11, 2017 at Blue Lake. 

Who should attend? Church Lay Leaders, Certified Lay Speakers, Certified Lay Servants, and those interested in becoming Lay Servants.

What is provided in the cost?  One nights lodging; Linens: Sheets, blankets, pillow; 1 towel,1 washcloth; Meals, limited snacks, coffee; Course Materials and a tote bag
Tidbits to know?  Bring your Bible and note taking materials; Classroom chairs are unpadded; Casual dress with comfortable shoes; Cell phone service extremely limited (Blue Lake numbers:  Office: 334-222-5407, after hours 334 -222-3080)

Click here to find brochure.

7th Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast

The Conference Board of Church and Society is sponsoring the 7th Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, February 16. You are invited to attend, as well as all laity. The invitation is attached to this email. The breakfast will be held at the Alabama State House at 7:30AM.  Please RSVP to by February 14.

Location:  Alabama State House, 11 South Union Street,Montgomery, AL 36130, Room 200
To enter the State House that morning, use the Washington Ave. entrance (south side of building) at the corner of Washington Ave. and S. Union Street. Room 200 is to the right immediately after passing through security.

The purpose of the breakfast is to be in prayer with our lawmakers and elected officials that the decisions they make in 2017 will be in accordance with God's will for our state. The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon of Montgomery First UMC will be our speaker this year.

Knowing how busy our elected officials are and the number of invitations they receive, we would like to encourage their attendance in every way possible. You can help by contacting your local legislators and issuing a personal invitation. You will find their contact information at Please encourage your legislators to also RSVP by February 14.

Inspirit 2017 - A Retreat For Older Adults

Inspirit 2017, a time to rekindle, relax and renew ... a ministry event designed for adults age 50 , will be held April 6 - 8, 2017, at Blue Lake Assembly.  The 2017 theme will be "Old Time Religion: Come explore with us the days of camp meetings and circuit riders."  

Keynote speakers will be Dr. Jimmy Jeffcoat (Professor of Religion, Huntingdon College) and Rev. Ed Shirley, Pastor at Brundidge UMC. Registration brochure is attached below.  Reservation deadline is March 22.    Click this link to find brochure: inspirit2017brochure.pdf

Registration open for 2017 Huntingdon Leadership Academy  

Huntingdon College is accepting registrations for the 2017 Huntingdon Leadership Academy, established in 2015 to assist high school juniors and seniors in discerning God's call on their lives. Supported by a gift from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the 2017 Academy has been expanded to six days and five nights, June 25–30. United Methodist churches in the Alabama-West Florida and North Alabama Conferences of The United Methodist Church are invited to sponsor high school youth to participate in the program. More here.

Time to think about Blue Lake Summer Camp!!

Click here to find the summer schedule!

Disaster Response Update

This past weekend, tornadoes ripped through Mississippi and South Georgia leaving behind destruction and at least 20 people dead. Our brothers and sisters in those conferences are asking for our help in several ways. All details are at this link: Check that site for updates as available.
Here is a summary:
Collecting health kits: 
We are collecting health kits to replenish the supply (5,000) sent from UMCOR Sager Brown to Mississippi yesterday. The collection sites are Montgomery First UMC and Gulf Shores UMC, and more may be added. Click here for assembly instructions.
ERT teams requested:
South Georgia and Mississippi Conferences are both requesting ERT (Early Response Team) trained teams. Teams will need to be self-sufficient as some areas are still in search and rescue mode. Work will include tarping and debris removal.
Please keep track of your hours and send that information to your district disaster response coordinator. All forms can be found here.
Chainsaw teams requested:
South Georgia and Mississippi Conferences have both requested disaster trained chainsaw teams, along with tree removal equipment.  
Visit for contact information and more details.

Click here for an article from the South Georgia Conference

Fresh Expressions Vision Day 2017

What is Fresh Expressions? Fresh Expressions is a movement that is cultivating new forms of church alongside existing congregations in order to reach a changing world. Begun in England 10 years ago, it has resulted in the birth of over 2,500 new communities in the UK alone. Fresh Expressions has spread to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and is also taking shape in the US. At its heart, Fresh Expressions is about empowering and equipping God’s people to develop creative expressions of church that can reach the increasingly diverse and growing unchurched population of our society.

What is Vision Day? Vision Day is a great way to discover more about Fresh Expressions. In an interactive format, you will have the chance to:

  • Hear how Fresh Expressions is renewing the church
  • Talk about the development of Fresh Expressions US
  • Learn more about the Mission-Shaped Church
  • Discover tools to start Fresh Expressions in your area

The Alabama-West Florida Conference (AWFC) will host a Vision Day on March 30, 2017, at First United Methodist Church of Prattville, AL. The event will begin at 9am and end at 3:30pm CT. Cost is $20 for members of the AWFC; $35 for non-members.
Click here for more information and/or to register.

Bishop's Day Apart to Welcome Rev. Jerry Herships and Claire Bowen 

The 2017 Bishop's Day Apart will be held Tuesday, February 21, 2017, at Dothan FUMC. Bishop David Graves will welcome Rev. Jerry Herships out of the Denver, CO, area. This day apart will look different from past years and will have a more interactive component. The sessions will be a bit more interactive than perhaps you’re used to experiencing. The topic is entitled, “That'll Preach! How to Make Your Message Stick.” Rev. Herships will explore his innovative techniques to engage all personality types through your sermons. Jerry will give a similar presentation that he did last year at the Fred Craddock Center in Cherry Log, North Carolina. You will walk away with practical knowledge to further engage your congregations. Claire Bowen will facilitate a 15-minute Communications Style Preference assessment at the beginning of our session that will allow us to better understand how we engage with differing personalities. We are also asking that you bring a rough-draft sermon you are working on that is not Wi-Fi dependent, perhaps it is your Easter sermon or Ash Wednesday sermon. 

Click here to register

Know someone facing a transition in his or her life?

Stephen Ministry at Christ UMC is available to assist individuals through these times of transition.  Stephen Ministers will walk with individuals who need a little encouragement during difficult times and they will be there as long as the need exists.
Stephen Ministers are lay people—Christian men and women—trained to provide one-to-one care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, or separation due to military deployment.
Stephen Ministers come from all walks of life. Their commonality? A passion for bringing Christ’s love and care to people during a time of need.
If you know of someone who is facing one of life’s transitions, please refer them to Donna Alexander at 251.510.0905. Your call is confidential.  

Mark your Calendars!

Bishop’s Confirmation Retreat

March 3-5, 2017 at Blue Lake Camp

Job/Ministry Opportunities

St. Mark UMC - Part Time Children's Minister
Theodore UMC - Pianist/Organist
Christ Church UM (Kentucky) - Full Time Youth Discipleship Coordinator
Braodmoor UMC (Baton Rouge, LA) - Director of Youth Ministries

Click here to find details.

District Dates

Second Sunday of Each Month - North Mobile District SINGSPIRATION- 6pm

Clergy Coffee - First Wednesday of each month 8am – Cracker Barrel on Schillinger Road

February 4 - Pick up date for ICM Boston Butts at Open Doors Thrift Store - 10am-12pm

February 25 - Disabilities Awareness Sunday

Conference Dates

February 3-5 - Blue Lake Winter Retreat

February 6-8 - Wespath Clergy Benefits Academy

February 10-11 - UMW Annual Day

February 10-11 - Montgomery-Opelika District Lay Servant Training

February 12-14 - Dothan District Town Hall Meeting with Bishop Graves

February 16 - Legislative Prayer Breakfast,

February 17-18 - Baypines District Annual Lay Speaker Training

February 18-20 - Saint Simons Island Storytelling Festival,

February 21 - Bishops Day Apart

February 26 - Disabilities Awareness Sunday

February 26-28 - Pensacola District Town Hall Meeting with Bishop Graves

March 3-5 - Bishop's Confirmation Retreat


Click here to find The Alabama West Florida Conference calendar online!


Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.