COT Video Premieres at Annual Conference

The Rev. Cory Smith at AWFUMC Annual Conference. Photo by Luke Lucas

In his final report as Director of Connectional Ministries for the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Rev. Cory Smith shared a new video about Communities of Transformation at Annual Conference. The video, produced by Sarah and Thomas Boutwell of T2 Photography of Auburn, features Robert Lupton, author of Toxic Charity, in addition to comments by several COT participants and volunteers. You may view the video by clicking here.

Please share the video with others and help spread the word about the good things that are happening with Communities of Transformation!


A Season of Change and Growth for Communities of Transformation

The new COT VISTAs are (l-r) Darlene McGaw, Union Springs; Alecia Glaize, Baldwin County; Reba Wiley, Demopolis District; Anita Watson, Brewton/Evergreen; Dorothy Fitts, Selma; Jennifer Lancaster, Montgomery; Laurel Akin, Communications.

Meet the new members of the COT team!

Seven new Communities of Transformation staff members attended orientation with Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) in Miami in late May. They began their new jobs immediately--four by beginning the work necessary to establish new sites and two by assuming leadership roles in established sites. The seventh new VISTA is the new COT communications coordinator.

Darlene McGaw is a retired educator from New Jersey and moved to be near her mother in Union Springs two years ago.She began working to establish a Communities of Transformation site in Union Springs at the Bullock County Job and Community Resource Fair her first week on the job.

Alecia Glaize, a United Methodist deacon, served on the leadership team for COT in Brewton with her husband, Ed Glaize, who was then pastor of the host church, First United Methodist Church of Brewton. Now that the Glaize family has relocated to Fairhope, Alecia is working to develop new Communities of Transformation sites in Baldwin County.

Reba Wiley played a large part in establishing Communities of Transformation in Selma while she was pastor of Church Street United Methodist Church. Now retired to the Demopolis District, where she once served as district superintendent, Reba is developing COT sites in her new home territory.

Anita Watson, a retired elementary school principal in Evergreen, volunteered with Communities of Transformation in Brewton for over a year. She now serves as that site's VISTA in addition to working to bring COT to Evergreen.

Dorothy Fitts, a retired registered nurse, became a part of the Selma COT volunteer team last year along with her husband Sidney. As a new VISTA, she now fills the leadership role for Communities of Transformation in Selma.

Jennifer Lancaster worked for Senator Mary Landrieu in Washington, D.C. and is now a Montgomery resident. A member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, she is working to bring Communities of Transformation to Alabama's capital.

Laurel Akin began volunteering with COT in Dothan three years ago and now serves as communications VISTA for Communities of Transformation. She says she's working hard to fill the shoes of her predecessor, Heather Allen!


Preparing for Job Readiness in Selma

 COT participants and volunteers pray together following completion of resumes. Photo by Janet Wooten.

June has been an exciting month for participants and volunteers at the Selma site!
As part of the job readiness plan, Laurel and Fred Blackwell coached participants on effective resume writing. One key factor emphasized throughout the four weeks of training was how to utilize skills learned not only from employment experiences but from volunteer experiences as well. With the assistance of volunteers, participants developed resumes and prepared for the interview process. 
The primary goal for these classes was to provide the skills, practice and confidence needed to participate in a job fair hosted by Dallas County Family Resource Center on June 30, 2016.



Photos: Top left, COT Coordinator Fred Blackwell leads an exercise on the pros and cons of working; top right and bottom photos, participants and volunteers examine how to translate work and volunteer skills in compiling resumes.



July Events

All times Central unless otherwise noted. Please check the website calendar for locations.


July 5   No meeting

July 12, 4:30: Leadership team meeting

July 12,  5:30-8:00: Financial workshop part 1

July 19, 5:30-8:00: Financial workshop part 2

July 26, 11:30: Community Pastors' Luncheon

July 26, 5:30-8:00: Financial workshop part 3


July 5 No meeting

July 12, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 19, 5:30-8:00: Participant celebration

July 26, 5:30-8:00: Meeting


No meetings in July


July 7, 5:30-8:00: Fun movie night

July 14, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 21, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 28, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

Phenix City (all times Eastern)

July 5, 5:50-8:00: Meeting

July 12, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 19, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 26, 5:30-8:00:Meeting, Crisis Center of Russell County speaker


July 4  Independence Day, no meeting

July 11, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 18, 5:30-8:00: Meeting

July 25, 5:30-8:00: Meeting



Want more?

Contact us

Laurel Akin
Communications VISTA
Phone: 334.300.2098
Email us

Fred and Laurel Blackwell

COT Coordinators


Janet Wooten
Administrative Assistant

Community Contacts

Baldwin County:
Alecia Glaize
Brewton & Evergreen:
Anita Watson
Demopolis District:
Reba Wiley

Caroline Pinckard

Suzann Tibbs

Katy Wrona


Jennifer Lancaster


Phenix City:
Ruth Ann Powers


Dorothy Fitts


Union Springs:

Darlene McGaw


Laurel Blackwell
Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.