October 30, 2017/Volume 16, No. 18
QuadW Missional Outreach Receives $2.6 Million Grant
(Rev. Jean Tippit, Board President, QuadW Missional Outreach) - The QuadW Foundation of Dallas, TX has awarded up to $2,600,000 for the expansion of QuadW Missional Internship and Residency programs, as well as the launching of new initiatives. The QuadW Missional Internship program (formerly "3.0") began in Mobile, AL in 2009. In 2013, the QuadW Foundation of Dallas provided the opportunity to expand the program on a national level. Since then, the program has grown to include ten internship sites coast to coast, as well as a new long-term residency program in Kansas City. Full release here. Shown in photo are QuadW Missional Internship site director and QuadW Foundation board members at the site directors meeting in Dallas, TX last month.
Fall is the Time to Show Appreciation
(Bishop Graves for the Montgomery Advertiser) - The month of October is known for many things, such as marking the middle of college football season, fall festivals, changing of the weather, hurricane season and Halloween, to mention a few. It has also become known in recent years as Pastor Appreciation Month. As I travel the roads of Alabama and Florida, where in my first year as bishop I drove over 42,000 miles, I observe numerous church signs. This month, many have expressed appreciation for the church’s pastor and their families. It warms my heart to see this outpouring of appreciation for the ones who give so much of themselves for their church congregation. Pastors are the ones who stand and share God’s Word each week, visit you in the hospital, walk with you in the death of a family member or friend and encourage you in those discouraging moments in life. More here.
AWF Conference Announces New Event Promotion Guidelines
The Alabama-West Florida Conference cabinet and CORE team have approved new guidelines for promoting events in the conference. This will streamline how information is submitted, where events are promoted and also provides suggestions on how groups can help promote their events. The conference will be sending a survey in the coming weeks to better understand more about when, where and what people are interested in attending. Click here to review document.
Around the Conference
New Service at Christ UMC Targets Millennials
(Kari C. Barlow) - Rev. Jeremy Steele didn’t need a think tank’s statistics to know millennials weren’t attending Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile. All he had to do is look around the sanctuary. Like so many churches across the nation, Christ UMC is surrounded by young people in the 19-to-mid-30s age bracket but can’t seem to draw them in. "They’re literally right here, but they aren’t here,” said Steele, teaching pastor at the Grelot Road congregation. That realization, along with more than two years of prayer, research and planning, led to High Point, a new Thursday night worship community that launched in August. Although designed by millennials, and uniquely suited to that demographic, High Point is open to everyone. “It’s going really well for us,” Steele said. “We kind of treated it like a new church plant even though it was in our church. … It’s in our sanctuary, but it looks very, very different. … We transform it into something much more modern.” Photo courtesy of Christ UMC. More here.
No Greater Gift than a Place to Call Home, White Christmas Offering
(UM Children's Home) - Each year during the Christmas season, we are reminded there is no greater joy for us than giving to others. Since 1930, the White Christmas Offering has enabled Methodists to share their blessings with those whose circumstances in life just haven't been fair. These children and young adults certainly didn't sign up to be in the situation they're in and with your support, they have the hope of a much brighter tomorrow. Click here for more.
Jack Ewing to Retire as Executive Director of Lake Junaluska
(Lake Junaluska) - Lake Junaluska Executive Director Jack Ewing announced today that he will retire on December 31, 2017. Over the past seven years Ewing has led Lake Junaluska following four guiding principles: clarity of mission, focus on place, support of staff and development of a sustainable business model. “Jack brought a vision to Lake Junaluska, and over the last seven years he has helped us live into that vision,” said Mike Warren, chairman of the Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees. “Lake Junaluska has thrived under his exceptional leadership, and the guiding principles he put in place will ensure that it continues to thrive well into the future.” Full release here.
UMC Giving is Next Month
It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner. That means it’s time once again for UMC #GivingTuesday. On Nov. 28, United Methodists have the opportunity to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season through gifts to The Advance. Together, we can connect our passions with God’s mission. Through The Advance, United Methodists can give to more than 300 missionaries. Donors also can provide support for more than 600 United Methodist-related projects worldwide. As a partner with The Advance, you provide United Methodists and others with a way to build missional relationships through a designated giving channel they can trust. As always, 100 percent of gifts to The Advance goes directly to the designated project or mission. More here.
6 Ways the Reformation Affects Our World
(UMNS) - When Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, he hoped to spark a theological conversation about repentance. Instead, the German monk unleashed a revolution — ideas that transformed Western Europe and eventually the world. His posting on Wittenberg’s Castle Church door might be the most eventful trick-or-treat in history. Five hundred years later, Christians — and not only Protestants — are still living with the changes wrought by the Reformation he started. Here are six developments we have today thanks to that fateful All Hallows’ Eve. More here.
Mission Teams Needed from Texas to Florida
Alabama-West Florida has received requests for ERTs (Early Response Teams) and mission teams from Annual Conferences affected by recent storms. Coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and South Georgia can all use our help, as can communities affected by Hurricane Matthew last year. Remember that when you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer as a mission team, each requesting annual conference controls the process and coordinates the United Methodist response. Details here.
Local Church Resources
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. Also on the list are some favorites from years past. More here.
Global Migration Sunday Resources
The United Methodist Council of Bishops invites the United Methodist church to join in observance of Global Migration Sunday on December 3, 2017. This is the first Sunday of the season of Advent, a time when we remember the coming birth of the Christ child who himself was a migrant. United Methodist congregations in all the places we serve around the world will join voices to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering the journey of forced migration. In addition, as a people who pray and act upon those prayers, the bishops ask that congregations gather an offering dedicated to the human suffering inflicted by forced migration. Offerings collected should be sent to the Migration Advance No. 3022144. More here.
New Book by Neal F. Fisher Explores the Christian Faith
(GBHEM) - “Introduction to Christian Faith: A Deeper Way of Seeing” by Neal F. Fisher was released by the publishing ministry at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). The book navigates seeking an intensely personal relationship with God, understanding that God is there for us even before we seek God because God loves us. In “Introduction to Christian Faith,” Fisher states that “God is when everything else is not” and poses the question, “What shall we do if God is not our friend?” We respond by seeing what God offers, because in so doing, we will have a deeper understanding of what is real, what is true, and what matters. “Confronting the genuine joys we experience and the agony and sorrows we endure, we reach out to connect our lives with a source of meaning, an object of devotion that will anchor our lives in something more lasting than ourselves,” Fisher wrote. More here.
Charge Conference Forms Available Online
2017 Charge Conference Forms are now available online. You may access them through this link or go to our home page and click on the link under Quick Links. Should you have questions, please contact your district office or Lauren in the Episcopal office. Click here to access forms.
Pensacola District Conference, November 5
Pensacola District Youth Fused Conference, November 5
Urban Ministry Conference, November 9
revitup!, November 13-15
2017-2020 Spiritual Direction Training, November 13-16
United Methodist Student Day, November 26
Global Migration Sunday, December 3
Pensacola District Clergy & Spouses Christmas Dinner, December 5
Baypines District Clergy Christmas Party, December 7
Montgomery Districts Christmas Party, December 7
Appalachian Christmas at Lake Junaluska, December 7-10
COSROW Event, January 19-20