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

August 17, 2016

The District Office Will Be Closed Tomorrow!  :-)

Students Return to USA Wesley Foundation for Fall Semester

As students return to campus this fall the USA Wesley Foundation wants to continue the tradition of providing meals for them each Tuesday night. We are seeking volunteers to help provide this meal each week.  This is an important time in the lives of these young students and what a great opportunity for you to show hospitality and get to know them as they grow in their relationship with Christ!  They expect to feed approximately 40 folks each week. Wesley will have paper products and drinks so they only need the meal... but be sure to include a dessert – we are talking about college students you know.  :-)  You are welcome to stay and eat with the students or you may simply drop off the food at the Wesley Foundation by 5:30pm. This could be a great project for your Sunday School Class or a small group within your church. 

Here are the dates that are still open for the Fall Semester:

August 23 or 30
September 6, 13 or 27
October 25
November 1, 8 or 29

Please consider supporting the students of The Wesley Foundation in this way and contact Missy Smith at to volunteer today!

Midtown Community Job Fair : West Side United Methodist Church

269 Mohawk Street - Mobile, Thursday, September 22nd

9am to 3pm....All are invited.

West Side United Methodist Women Mission Lunch

Come and join West Side United Methodist Church Sunday, August 21th at 12:00 noon, for our United Methodist Women mission’s lunch. The cost is only $6 for one of the best lunches offered in the city of Mobile. All proceeds are used to support the missions. This lunch is a West Side UMW sponsored event. So those looking for a great meal and fellowship, visit us at 269 Mohawk Street in the Midtown section of Mobile.

From AWF Conference Disaster Response Ministry

Dear Alabama-West Florida Congregations:

Our hearts are broken with the news of severe flooding in Louisiana over the last several days. Thousands of people have been displaced and are in temporary shelters after over two feet of rain fell in a short span of time, flooding many homes. Our brothers and sisters there need our help.

  • First, please pray for all those who are affected by this disaster.
  • Second, please do not self-deploy to disaster areas until the people in Louisiana have issued an invitation. In the weeks and months to come there will be an appropriate time we can help in person, but that time is not yet. There is no place for volunteers to stay, and we would displace those residents needing shelter now.
  • Third, there are a few items they have requested:
  1. UMCOR Cleaning Buckets (Formerly called Flood buckets; click here for assembly instructions)
  2. Box fans (To help dry out homes)
  3. 25' Extension Cords (So people can move the fans around in a home)
  4. 2 gallon garden sprayers (To kill mildew and mold)
  5. Flat billed shovels (To take out wet carpet, carpet pads, sheet rock, insulation, etc.)
  6. Garden rakes with 3" tines (To gather limbs, leaves and trash that have floated into a home.)
  7. 2-wheeled wheel barrows (To carry wet items and trash to the road/street)
  8. Adult diapers, baby diapers and baby wipes.

UMCOR's Sager Brown depot, located in Baldwin, LA, is already shipping items they had on hand to places where roads are open. Now, they are asking us to help replenish their supplies and their feeder warehouse in Decatur, AL.  We will soon have several collection points throughout the conference where you can take your items and they will be transported to Decatur or Louisiana. Watch for a that information in the next day or two.

Please do not send items that are not requested. 

  • Fourth, your financial contributions are always welcome. You can send donations directly to Louisiana Annual Conference, 527 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802, with "August 2016 Flood" in the memo field.

Or you can send contributions for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) to the conference fiscal office at AWFC, 4719 Woodmere Blvd, Montgomery, AL 36106. Write "US Disaster Response #901670 - Louisiana flooding" in the memo line.

This is still an active disaster and our response will evolve as the full scope and needs are understood. As new information is available, we will pass it on.

Many thanks,
Amelia Fletcher, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator
Susan Hunt, Conference Director of Mission and Advocacy
Click here for an article describing the best and worst ways to help after a disaster.

September is Hunger Action Month at SOSA

Nearly 50 million people in the United States today are hungry or food insecure.

Plan now to make September a time for your congregation to stand together against hunger, joining with the Society of St. Andrew to see that each person in this country has healthy, nourishing food to eat. 

The Daily Calendar for Prayer and Action includes a scripture reading and related activity for each day of September.  Using this calendar, your congregants will take direct action against hunger and give money that, through the Society of St. Andrew, will be used to put nourishing fruits and vegetables on the tables of our hungry brothers and sisters right here in the U.S.

Click here to find free resources and more information! 

Upcoming Conference Events

  • September 11 - Service of Installation and Welcome Reception for Bishop and Mrs. David Graves - Montgomery FUMC at 4pm with a reception following service.
  • September 18 - Welcome Service for Bishop and Mrs. David Graves at 4pm with reception to follow at Crosspoint UMC.

Ultimate Training Event for Children and Youth Leaders

Your leaders need good training to minister to the children and youth in your church! This September the Alabama-West Florida Conference will be offering a one-day event filled with seminars from incredible children and youth workers from around the area. The event will be hosted by Christ UMC in Mobile, AL, on Saturday, September 17, 2016
The cost is only $20 per person (including lunch) and drops to $15 per person when you bring your team of five or more.  Register now to make sure we have a lunch waiting for you!   Click here for more information on topics, leaders and how to register. 

God’s Welcome - The Spirituality of Hospitality

On October 16-21, 2016 a 5-day Academy for Spiritual Formation will take place at Camp McDowell.  The theme is “God’s Welcome” and focuses on the spirituality of hospitality.  Hospitality is one of the church’s earliest and most foundational characteristics and we will explore its roots in our early Christians tradition as well as how it can bear fruit in our churches and in our lives.This Academy is going to be an extraordinary opportunity and will be a blessing for both clergy and laity and all are welcome. 

Our faculty features two gifted and inspirational speakers:  Dr. Amy Oden is the former Dean of Wesley School of Theology in DC and professor of church history at St. Paul’s.  Bishop Kee Sloan is the Episcopal Bishop of AL and insightful author.  Both are wonderful teachers and storytellers and their presentations will be transformative and enlightening.  CEU’s are available, so take advantage of this amazing ecumenical opportunity for growth and sabbath.

Camp McDowell, the Episcopal camp for North Alabama, is beautifully nestled in the mountains and streams of northern Alabama near Jasper.  It is a wonderful oasis, especially during the beauty of autumn.  The camp is also 100% accessible so we especially welcome those that may not have attended before because of physical limitations.

Click here to see brochure or click here for other details.


Academy for Congregational Excellence offers Training

Please allow me to invite you to the 4th year session of Becoming a More Effective Leader (BAMEL), a ministry of the Academy for Congregational Excellence of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.  This year, we are offering you the opportunity to:

  1. Enroll and attend as a clergy or staff person of a church or ministry, or
  2. Enroll as a clergy person and, at the same time, enroll 2-3 key lay persons from your church, thereby building a team that can help your church apply relevant concepts and practices learned in the BAMEL sessions.  
This second approach will provide the foundation for a partnership with laity as you do ministry together. The practical principles you will learn here will work in a church of any size and in any location.  

The course will begin meeting on Thursday, September 15, 2016, and continue through April 20, 2017 (meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month) at Frazer Memorial UMC (6000 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery, Al., 36117*) promptly at 10 am and ending at 2 pm.  The cost is only $150 for all 8 sessions and that includes your lunch prepared by the Frazer cooks, who provide a magnificent meal and friendly service.  A list of the sessions and the presenters accompanies this invitation. Each person who completes the course will receive 3 C.E.U.’s.

The course is designed for a maximum capacity of 40 participants (minimum of 25).   Click HERE to enroll today!  Click HERE to review seminar topics and names of presenters.

Partners in Preaching Seminar for Clergy

Partners in Preaching is a monthly seminar-style coaching group for pastors and preachers to grow in the art and craft of preaching.  Dates are September 2016 through May 2017.  Lead Partner is Dr. Sam Persons Parkes.  Cost is $200 per person for seven sessions over nine months. Each session will be held 9:30 am to 2:30 pm CT with lunch provided.  Sessions will be held in Dothan at Cloverdale UMC on the second Monday of each month, except in December and April and in Montgomery at Aldersgate UMC on second Thursday of each month, except in December and April.  This monthly seminar style coaching group is set up for only SIX TO EIGHT pastors and preachers at each location.   3 units of CEUs will be granted.  Click HERE to register, deadline is September 1.

Fresh Expression Vision Day

Fresh Expressions is a missionary minded movement of people who are creating new kinds of church alongside existing congregations.  It is designed for churches who desire to move into their mission fields and connect with the growing diverse and unchurched population.  It is a movement of the church that is about going where people are and creating relatively small new communities of faith which are often lay-led.  Churches of varying sizes are engaging in this movement of creating new, fresh expressions of church.
The Alabama-West Florida Conference (AWFC), along with the Board of Congregational Development, is sponsoring a Fresh Expressions Vision Day October 3, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, FL.  The event will begin at 9am and end at 4pm CT.
Vision Day is about:
•    Sharing how Fresh Expressions is renewing the church
•    Hearing about the development of Fresh Expressions US
•    Learning more about the Mission-Shaped church
•    Discovering tools to help your church start Fresh Expressions in your community
At its heart, Fresh Expressions is about reaching people we are not currently reaching, and building the body of Christ right where they are.  This is an indigenous, context oriented, mission field driven, local church connected approach to creating new places for new people.  Plan to be present on October 3 and bring a team from your congregation. 
Click here to find more information or to register for the event.

Mid-Career Clergy Retirement Planning Seminar

A Mid-Career Retirement Seminar will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at Covenant UMC.  There are many aspects of retirement that require planning at different stages of a pastor’s ministry. This one day seminar provides vital information regarding the needs of pastors who still have fifteen or more years before retiring. We encourage spouses to come as well.  Click here to see brochure with more details.

Historical Society to meet at St Stephens UMC

Laity and clergy are invited to the annual meeting of the Alabama-West Florida Historical Society September 15, 2016 at 9:30am.  The meeting will be held at Saint Stephens UMC here in the Mobile District.  You do not have to be a member of the Historical Society to attend and this would be an interesting outing for your Older Adult Ministries.  
There will be guest speakers from the 18th and 19th centuries and you will also learn about the St. Stephens United Methodist Church which was built around 1857.  The main sanctuary of this church is the original structure and was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage on March 25, 1976.
Preregistration is required by September 8th; a catered lunch is included in the registration fee of $20.    Click here to find a brochure or visit the Historical Society website at

Job/Ministry Opportunities - click here for full descriptions

To submit a Job/Ministry opportunity on the AWFUMC website click here

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

August 18 - Communities of Transformation Taste and See Event - Spring Hill Ave UMC - 5:45pm

August 21 - West Side United Methodist Women Mission Lunch - 12:00 noon

August 31 - Deadline to order Boston Butts and Ribs to support Inner City Mission - (251) 432-1122

September 9-10 - Lay Servant Training - Pensacola District at Trinity UMC

September 15  - Historical Society Annual Meeting - St. Stephens UMC -Mobile

September 17 - Ultimate Training Event for Children and Youth Leaders

September 18 - Mobile District's Blue Lake Sunday

September 22 - Midtown Community Job Fair : West Side UMC - 9am to 3pm

Church Dates

August 23 - Bridging the Gap Event - Toulminville-Warren Street UMC - 6pm

September 24 & 25 - Dauphin Way UMC  - Dill Lecture Series featuring Rachel Held Evans

Conference Dates

August 26-27 - Dothan District Lay Servant Training

August 26-27 - Becoming a Healthy, Growing Church

August 29-31 - Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

August 17-20 - School of Congregational Development 2016

September 11 -Service of Installation and Welcome Reception for Bishop GravesMontgomery FUMC

September 15  - Historical Society Annual Meeting - St. Stephens UMC -Mobile

September 17 - Ultimate Training Event for Children and Youth Leaders

September 18 - Welcome Service for Bishop and Mrs. David Graves -4pm - Crosspoint UMC

October 16-21 - 5-day Academy for Spiritual Formation

November 4-6“Imagine What’s Next” Conference

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


Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.