March 26, 2018/Volume 17, No. 6

Conference News

A Video Message from Bishop Graves

We invite you to watch a video message from Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Click here or on the above image to viewClick 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.

Bishop Graves: The Meaning Behind Holy Week

(Bishop Graves for The Montgomery Advertiser) -  This past January, my wife, Nancy, and I journeyed with 140 people to the Holy Land where we visited the areas of Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the region around the Dead Sea, along with many Biblical sites in between. The experience truly felt like standing on Holy Ground.Many of us recognize this time of year as spring. In the church we call the time of March 25 through April 1 Holy Week. It is a time of remembering the last days of Jesus: Palm Sunday remembers Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Maundy Thursday represents the Last Supper and arrest of Jesus, while Good Friday bears witness to more trials, the crucifixion and death of Jesus. More here

Office of Communications Honored for 2017 Work

The Office of Communications is pleased to receive several awards at the 2018 UMAC Gala, held in Philadelphia, PA. Four pieces were recognized at the yearly event. Those pieces are shown in the above visual.
3rd Place | Alabama-West Florida Conference Resource Webpage
3rd Place | Alabama-West Florida Conference: It Is Finished | Mary Catherine Philips
2nd Place | Alabama-West Florida Conference: Passing the Torch | Luke Lucas
2nd Place (tie) | Alabama-West Florida Conference: 2017 Annual Conference Logo

Around the Conference

Conference Leaders on Exploratory Mission Trip in Tanzania

(Jeb Hunt of Pensacola FUMC) - Bishop David Graves, Rev. Allen Newton, Susan Hunt and seven others from around the Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church are participating in an exploratory mission trip through March 28, 2018. In Tanzania, a new seminary, Wesley College, is educating a new generation of leaders; new churches are being established; people are learning new skills for employment and economic stability; children no longer live on the streets; and so much more. The mission team will have the opportunity to see this ministry in action. Please keep this team in your prayers and check back regularly for updates during the trip. You may follow along their journey by clicking here. Photo courtesy of Jeb Hunt

WinShape Camp: Aldersgate UMC prepping for ‘best week ever’

(Kari Barlow for AWFUMC) - When the school year comes to an end, many school-aged children across Montgomery are left without a safe, fun place to spend their days. Aldersgate United Methodist Church is doing its part to change that. This summer the congregation will host the city’s first-ever WinShape Camp on church grounds at 6610 Vaughn Road. “We’re using the tag line ‘best week ever’ because it’s going to be the best week ever!” says Rev. Richard Williams, minister of discipleship at Aldersgate UMC. “Private school, public school, homeschool—this is a camp for the entire city of Montgomery.” Full feature here

AWF Land's End Store Now Online

The Alabama-West Florida Conference now has a Land's End store with approved apparel for men and women. Items, with complementary colors to the logo, have been identified in various styles. Click here to access the store password. After selecting your size, click "apply logo." There are three logo options: full color, white and gray. You may try the three options on screen to see the final look. The white and gray options will look best on a darker item. Should you find an item not in our store that you would like to see added, contact the office of communications. We encourage you to sign up for promotional emails as they often offer significant discounts on items.Click here to access the store

Initial 2018 Annual Conference Details Announced

Annual Conference 2018 will be held June 3-6 at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery. Our theme is, “Imagine: A Church That's the Hope of the World” based on Ephesians 1:18-19. The missional offering will go to Communities of Transformation, a ministry that was launched out of the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 2011. Click on the below links for more information. 
Nominate someone for an Annual Conference Award
Clergy and Lay Member Preparation
Courageous Conversations
Laity Banquet
UMCOR Kit Collection  

Connectional News

Bishop Ough, Thousands of United Methodists to Join in Rally Against Racism

(COB) - As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., United Methodists will unite with members of the National Council of Churches in Washington, D.C., April 3-5, for the Truth and Racial Justice Initiative. The events begin with a briefing on alleviating racism and injustice in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, the media, health care, voting, civil and human rights, environmental justice, education and immigration. Led by the General Board of Church and Society, the briefing will be held April 3, from 1 to 2 p.m., at the Methodist Building at 100 Maryland Ave., NE, in Washington, D.C. Full release here

Way Forward Prepares Final Report to Bishops

(COB) - Members of the Commission on a Way Forward expressed gratitude at the opportunity to be part of the Commission and they signaled hope for The United Methodist Church as they completed their meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 22. The 32-member Commission has been meeting since January 2017 in various places throughout the global denomination to assist the bishops in their charge from the 2016 General Conference to lead the church forward amid the present impasse related to LGBTQ inclusion and resulting questions about the unity of the church. Read press release

King's '68 challenge to church still our calling

(The Commercial Appeal) - The Rev. Rick Kirchoff, a retired United Methodist pastor, heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preach on behalf of the city’s striking sanitation workers less than a month before King’s assassination. The civil rights leader’s challenge to the city that day remains unfinished, Kirchoff writes. Read commentary.

Lake Junaluska to Invest more than $400,000 into Youth and Young Adult Facilities

(Lake Junaluska) - Lake Junaluska has recently received more than $400,000 in charitable donations to renovate youth and young adult facilities. Upgrades will begin in late spring. Rev. Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska, said she is excited to see the transformation of the buildings and the effect it will have on the thousands of youth who stay at Lake Junaluska each year. “I'm thrilled by this resounding affirmation that Lake Junaluska cares deeply about youth and their spiritual growth,” said Johnson. “We're thankful that God has called us to nurture young people, strengthen their relationships with adult mentors and one other, and provide them space to gain confidence in navigating our increasingly complex world that they will one day lead.” More here

Local Church Resources

New Tax Law Not “Moving-Friendly”

(Discipleship Ministries) - We are entering the season when many churches are preparing to receive newly-appointed pastors, and those pastors are contemplating one of the least popular parts of our itinerant system: packing up and moving. The recent (end of 2017) changes to federal tax laws have not helped with the pain of moving and in fact have added a bit more of a bite. Those clergy who are moving in 2018 will have church-paid moving costs reported as income on their W-2 form for 2018 taxes. More here

The One-Point Sermon

(Lewis Center) - Once, I had just preached what I thought was a pretty good sermon. It was chock full of points, quotes, and anecdotes. As I was shaking hands with people leaving worship, a wise lady approached me with a slight grin on her face. She shook my hand and quipped, “Nice sermon series.” Those three words turned out to be one of the greatest lessons I ever learned about preaching: less is more. When I began my ministry, my problem was that my sermons had too many ideas and illustrations. They lacked focus and development. I mistakenly thought that to keep people interested in my sermons I had to fill them with as many clever points, insights, and stories as possible. Those poor people! More here


Community Ministers Breakfast, April 4

Inspirit Retreat for Older Adults, April 12-14

Clergy Community Workshop, April 17

ARM-Cycle of Service, April 20-22

Lay Servant Ministries Training, April 27-28

SECN Administrator's Conference, April 29-May 1

Renovate Conference, May 1-3

Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat, May 2-5

United Methodist Women Assembly 2018, May 18-20

Means of Grace | Day Apart for Spiritual Formation (Fourth Session), May 19


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