August 20, 2018/Volume 17, No. 13: Special Edition
This edition of the NewsCONNECTION will be dedicated to informing you of several important and helpful events being held in our conference in the next few months. Contact information and details may be found under each event.
AWF Clergy Boundary Training
August 25, 27, 28
All clergy in the Alabama-West Florida Conference should plan to attend the Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Requirement, sponsored by the AWF Board of Ordained Ministry. Those who participate fully in the day and the reading/writing assignment will receive 1.0 continuing education unit (CEU). For more information contact Sarah McWilliams.
Means of Grace, Day Apart for Spiritual Formation
Means of Grace | Day Apart for Spiritual Formation is a two-year program which offers a day apart every quarter where the participants will learn about John Wesley’s means of grace and their potential for spiritual transformation. The leadership team for this program has heard the call to co-labor with God and the local church in making of disciples for the transformation of the world. The first day apart will be an Introduction to the Means of Grace, the next six days apart will cover each of the six means of grace, and the final day apart of the two-year program will be Celebrating the Means of Grace. Our hope is that each participant will not only learn about each of the means of grace or spiritual disciplines but will also experience them and will be able to implement them in their daily lives. More here.
Social Principles Listening Sessions
The General Board of Church and Society is in the process of revising the UM Social Principles and they are looking for feedback on the draft of their revised document. You can be part of the process and give your feedback. The conversation and listening session will be held at Cokesbury UMC on August 27 at 6 p.m. There is no cost to participate. More here.
Blue Lake Sunday
Thoughts of Blue Lake bring warm and happy memories. Impressions of friendships; worship hikes; studies; discussions; vespers; and singing instantly transport people to a place where God is always present. Many met Christ at Blue Lake and made life-changing decisions. The Alabama-West Florida Conference has designated the second Sunday in September as Blue Lake Sunday to provide much-needed support for the care and future of this legacy. More here.
One Day, An Older Adult Event
This is an annual event hosted by the AWF UMC Older Adult Task Force and will be held at Blue Lake Methodist Camp (Wesley Chapel) on Saturday, September 15, 2018, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm with check-in beginning at 9:30 am. The 2018 Theme is "Celebrating Life". We welcome our speaker, Rev. Lisa Ausley, Pastor, Crosspoint South Crestview Campus, OMS Board members and Asbury University Board of Trustees member. Special Music will be provided by Gloryland of Shalimar UMC and a hymn sing of old favorites will be led by Rev. Ed Shirley, Pastor, Brundidge UMC. An offering will be accepted for an AWF UMC Conference ministry. More here.
District Town Hall Meetings with Bishop Graves
September 16, 23, 30, October 7, 14, 21
Bishop David Graves continues to visit each district to meet with clergy and laity about the Commission on A Way Forward plans and General Conference 2019. The meetings will begin with a time of spiritual reflection and centering. A video will then be shared which highlights the specifics of each of the three proposed plans. There will then be a question/answer time with Bishop Graves moderated by the host district superintendent. Click here for a list of remaining town halls.
Prayer Shawl Retreat
This year's Prayer Shawl Retreat will have participants looking for hope, especially hope in those unexpected places. There will be plenty of time to knit and crochet, time to grow in the art of creating prayer shawls, time for fellowship, and even time for fun, like doing a drum circle. One of our guest speakers, Pastor Suzie Beeson, will give us an introduction into weaving prayer shawls. This year's service project is for Alzheimer's Association. There's so much more, but you'll have to come to the retreat to find out what other fun and exciting things we're going to be doing! More here.
AWFC-Historical Society Annual Meeting
Join with the AWFC-HS to learn about the Father of Methodism in Alabama, Rev. Ebenezer Hearn. Visit his gravesite, enjoy a dramatic monologue by Hearn himself (Rev. Ed Shirley), hear of the interesting landmarks in the area presented by the Wilcox Historical Society, and enjoy a wonderful lunch at the actual home Hearn built in 1837, The Gaines Ridge Dinner Club. For more information and registration contact Sharon Tucker 334-833-4413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More here.
The Ultimate Training Event
Children and Youth Ministry teams in our annual conference are joining forces to offer an incredible training event for all staff and volunteers who minister to children in the Alabama-West Florida Conference! Bring your whole team of staff and volunteers for an incredible day of training. The Ultimate Training Event (UTE) will be held September 22, 2018, at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Cost is $20 per person, which covers lunch. For teams of five or more, the cost is reduced to $15 per person. More here.
At the Table
At the Table is a conference event held annually that gathers people of ALL races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds together to have conversations on race and cultural differences. Now in its second year, At the Table has proven to be a great time of fruitful and effective conversations that are helping the church to become more diverse and inclusive. This year's At the Table event will focus on cultural competence - having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural norms of others. Rev. Dr. Maria Dixon Hall of the North Texas Annual Conference will be the keynote speaker at the event. She will also be leading the clergy breakout session. (A separate laity breakout session will be led by conference staff). More here.
AWF United Methodist Women Spiritual Enrichment Retreat
Women of all ages are invited to register and attend this annual event. The event centers on growing spiritually, becoming more deeply rooted in Christ with experiences that guide us to effective witness and action. The event includes a speaker, gathered worship, group focus times, Bible study, individual meditation times and interactions that lead to service and advocacy. The schedule is planned to allow opportunity for individual prayer and worship time in the wooded rural setting of our beloved Blue Lake. A short business session for the purpose of electing officers is also held at the same time as the retreat. More here.