July 24, 2017/Volume 16, No. 12

Conference News

AWF Conference Launches Resource Page

"Where do I click?" "I can't find the forms." "Can the conference office help me with this?" These are common questions the staff of the Alabama-West Florida Conference hears often. As a result of feedback from clergy and laity, a dedicated Resource page is now live on the Website. By visiting, Web users will find resources ranging from forms to videos to tools and much more. "This is a significant new offering in our conference," said Rev. Nancy Watson, Director of Connectional Ministries. "Our conference staff's primary goal is to serve our 600 churches. This will enable churches to better find what they need in less time. I am thankful to the staff for recognizing the need and implementing the design and functionality of the page." Full story here

Video Message from Bishop David Graves: July 14

We invite you to watch a video 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 transcriptYou 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.

UMICM Receives Grant From Children's Trust Fund of AL

The United Methodist Inner City Mission (UMICM) is proud to announce that they are a recipient of a $90,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. The $90,000 grant is for two years of program activities. The primary goal of UMICM's proposed program is to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors related to child maltreatment prevention in150 Kindergarten - Twelfth graders attending year-round programming at Taylor Park Community Center in inner-city Mobile. The secondary goals of the program are to enhance life skills, improve school performance and increase overall well-being. More here

Around the Conference

‘God is at Work': Casa de Dios Gets Permanent Home in Pensacola

(Kari Barlow for AWF) - The ceremony on June 29 was simple, but for Pastor Andres Doimeadios, the small gathering marked the start of something huge. It was the day the Pensacola District Board of Congregational Development gifted the Casa de Dios Gateway of Heaven Church with a permanent home—a vacant property on Pace Boulevard in Pensacola. “Up to now, we have been leasing a space for $1700 per month,” said Doimeadios, who has led the district’s UMC Hispanic Ministry since 2011. “Now this is our new home, a place of new beginnings.” Full feature here

'It was Always Important': Alabama Chief Justice Lyn Stuart Makes Church Family a Top Priority

(Kari Barlow for AWF) - Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Lyn Stuart loves the view from her office window, which overlooks historic River City United Methodist Church on Dexter Avenue. “It’s a beautiful old church with beautiful stained-glass windows and a really, really tall steeple with a big cross on top of it,” she said. “I just love having that be what I look at.” On Thursday, she happily joined family and friends inside that beloved sanctuary for a special service celebrating her recent appointment as well as the appointment of Associate Justice Will Sellers. Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Stuart in late April following the resignation of former Chief Justice Roy Moore. Ivey tapped Sellers to serve in the open associate justice seat held by Stuart. Full story here

Photo Submissions for Quadrennial Pictorial Directory

We are excited to work with Color Craft Directories this year for our quadrennial pictorial directory. They will be available late summer. Many of you had your photos taken at annual conference, we appreciate it! If you are clergy and were not able to stop by the booth, you may send a high resolution, professional headshot photo to All submitted photos will be included in the back of the directory. Please, no camera phone photos. The deadline is Friday, July 28, 2017. 

Join Bishop Graves in a Holy Land Pilgrimage

This is your invitation to be a Tour Host and invite your people to join you in a rich spiritual journey into God's Word. As you know, Educational Opportunities Tours works through pastors, church staff, and lay leaders who will serve as Tour Hosts to invite their people to Christian travel. In every church there is probably someone who has had a lifelong dream of visiting the Holy Land and walking in the footsteps of our Lord. But most will never realize that dream unless someone they know and trust says to them, "I'm going to the Holy Land, and I'd love for you to join me." There's a wonderful ministry in this - a twofold blessing. First, you bless the pilgrim by your making their journey possible, and then you will find great delight and blessing as you watch them make wonderful discoveries and grow in God's Word on their journey. More here. Click on the above image to see a promotional video

Connectional News

Culture of the Call Nominations Sought 

(LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C.) — The Foundation for Evangelism seeks nominations for its annual Culture of the Call Award, which recognizes a United Methodist church with a history of helping young people discern a call to full-time Christian service. Nominations will be accepted through September 15. Read press release.

Wildfire Survivors' Homes Under Construction 

(ALCOA, Tenn.) - Construction has begun on new homes for survivors of last year's wildfires. The new homes are the first of at least 25 that Appalachia Service Project will build in partnership with the Holston Conference. Annette Spence has the story. Read story

Higher Education and Ministry Announces 2017 YCI Grant Recipients

(GBHEM) - The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) as part of their strategy to enable and resource leadership within the church has selected the 2017 Young Clergy Initiative (YCI) grant recipients. This year, applications were received from every United Methodist jurisdictional conference, and of those applications, 34 grants were awarded. Award amounts vary based on project scope, and some grants are awarded funds over the period of several years for ongoing projects. Rev. Don Woolley was one of the recipients for the purpose of the QuadW Summer Internship Expansion. More here

Social Principles Revision Process Underway 

(Church & Society) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has undertaken the first comprehensive revision of the United Methodist Social Principles since the guidelines were adopted in 1970. At the direction of the General Conference 2016, the proposed revisions will be presented to General Conference 2020. Writing teams have been named and will meet from July to October. Read press release.

Local Church Resources

Christmas in July: Advent Resources

(Interpreter Magazine) For 2017, Abingdon Press and The Upper Room are introducing nine new studies. Included are studies emphasizing Joseph and creation care, devotions specifically for families and a coloring book. While several of the studies are for churchwide or small group use, all can be used for individual devotions. Although some of the books will release in late summer or early fall, most are now available for pre-order. Click here for more

5 Ways to Evaluate the Success of Your VBS

(North Georgia Conference) - The crafts and decorations may be packed away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year’s Vacation Bible School plans. Mimi Sanders, Children’s Director at Tucker First UMC, knows this all too well. Her church has served as a test church for Cokesbury’s VBS curriculum twice now – most recently this June. Cokesbury is already at work developing curriculum for 2019. Each year, they choose several test churches to use their VBS curriculum before they release it to the public. Read more

Financial Planning for Clergy Candidates

(GBHEM) - The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has joined with Wespath and EY (formerly Ernst & Young) to offer financial planning services to certified candidates for licensed and ordained ministry. The services will be offered for free to candidates upon certification by their district committees on ordained ministry. Read press release.


Beginning Pastor's Workshop, July 28-29

Blue Lake United Christian Ashram, August 4-6

Festival of Wisdom and Grace, August 7-10

2017 - 2020 Spiritual Direction Training, August 14-17

Montgomery-Prattville District Summer Family Clergy Gathering, August 19

Dothan District Lay Servant Training, August 25-26

Steeple To Street Training Day, August 26

Means of Grace | Day Apart for Spiritual Formation, September 2

Academy for Spiritual Formation Five Day Academy, September 10-15

Marianna/Panama City District Lay Servant Training, September 16

Pensacola District UMW Day Apart, September 16

United Methodist Social Principles Seminar, September 18

Marianna-Panama City Lay Servant Ministries Training, September 23

ERT Training Dothan District, September 23

Dothan District Fall Gathering, September 25

Pensacola District Lay Servant Ministries Training, September 30 

Pensacola District Lay Servant Ministries Training, October 7

Wesley Heirs Fall Gathering, October 10-11

SEJ Black Methodists for Church Renewal, October 19-21

UMW Spiritual Enrichment Retreat, October 20-22

Prayer Shawl Retreat, October 23-26

At The Table: An Intentional Multi-Ethnic Gathering, October 28


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