February 19, 2019/Volume 18, No. 3

Conference News

A Word from Bishop Graves: General Conference 

We invite you to watch a video message from Bishop David Graves related to the upcoming special-called General Conference. Click here to viewClick here to read transcript. There are many resources available related to this special-called general conference session. Click here to access the dedicated page on the Alabama-West Florida Conference WebsiteYou 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.

General Conference 2019 Information Available

The Council of Bishops has called a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based on the recommendations of the Council of Bishops. A dedicated page on the conference Website will be frequently updated as information is available. Click here for more

Initial 2019 Annual Conference Details Announced

Annual Conference 2019 will be held June 2-5 at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery. Our theme is, “This We Proclaim” based on 1 John 1:1. The missional offering will go to Teaming with Tanzania, which was established to develop a long-term partnership between the Alabama-West Florida Conference and the United Methodist Church of Tanzania. Click on the below links for more information. 
Pre-conference Briefing Information
Hotel Information
Biometric Health Screening
Resolutions Submission Deadline
Laity Delegate Information for GC 2020
Laity Delegate Profile Form for GC 2020
Submit Book of Report entries to Sarah McWilliams
UMCOR Kit Collection

Around the Conference

Century Church project gaining ground

(Kari Barlow for AWFUMC) - Century Church is several steps closer to finalizing the design of its innovative new campus at The Oaks in Pike Road. In mid-December, church members, community residents and local officials joined roughly two dozen accomplished architects, planners and engineers from across North America in kicking off “The Century Project.” The four-day workshop centered on new approaches to church planning and specifically the long-term vision for Century Church’s permanent campus. “It’s a beautiful piece of land,” said Rev. Patrick Quinn, lead pastor at Century Church. “We have 23 acres the Lord is letting us play on.” Century Church—originally planted by Frazer UMC in 2016—meets regularly at Pike Road Elementary School. The congregation has grown rapidly since its inception, baptizing almost 80 people growing a membership of 525. It’s also a young church, with an average age of 39 and 85 to 90 children in attendance every Sunday. Early on, Quinn and church members began debating whether they should be portable or permanent, and after much prayer and discussion, they concluded they can do the most good with a permanent campus. More here

Post General Conference Regional Meetings

Please save the date for a post 2019 general conference regional meeting in your area. Bishop David Graves and AWF conference leadership are inviting all clergy and laity to join them for an overview of the called session and a question and answer time. The dates and locations are below.
Thursday, March 7, 2019, at Montgomery FUMC
Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Covenant UMC in Dothan, AL
Sunday, March 10 2019, at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL
There will also be a clergy gathering on Monday, March 11, 2019, at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL, from 10am-2pm. All clergy are invited. If you plan to attend this clergy gathering, please register here

Bishop Meets with AWF Seminary Students

Bishop David Graves and Rev. June Jernigan have spent intentional time over the past week visiting with seminary students from the Alabama-West Florida Conference. They visited with students from Candler School of Theology, Gammon Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary. Pictured are students who visited with Graves and Jernigan. Bishop Graves also had the honor of preaching at the Tuesday chapel service at Candler. This visit aligned with one of our conference priorities that states, "The AWF Conference is committed to attracting and retaining exceptional talent that helps promote a culture of call for clergy and laity."

Rev. Walter Cash to retire as Director of Alabama Course of Study School after 24 years of service

“I am where I am in ministry because of persons who have taken an interest in me – helping me and mentoring me and providing a way for me to be the best pastor I can be,” the Reverend Walter Cash reflects. “Because so many have helped me, I have always had a desire to mentor others and help them become all they can be.” Equipping, educating and helping local pastors be the best they can be in ministry is close to Cash’s heart. He helped start the Alabama Course of Study School in the mid-1990s and has served as the Director of the program for 24 years. In June 2019, he will retire from this role. “I am proud to be part of a denomination that takes the education of its pastors seriously,” Cash says. Full feature here

Connectional News

Process Developed to Prioritize Legislative Committee Work at Special Session

(UMNS) - The Commission on the General Conference has devised a process for determining the order in which legislative proposals will be considered by the single legislative committee during the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. Petitions which compose a plan will be considered together as one unit. Petitions which are not part of a plan will be considered individually. On the first official day of the session, February 24, plans and petitions will be listed one at a time on the video screens in numerical order by petition number(s). Delegates will then be able to indicate whether they consider each a high priority or a low priority by pressing either 1 or 2 on their voting device. More here

North Georgia Church Serves Hurricane Michael Survivors

Thank you North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church for sharing this wonderful testament about what it's like to be a servant of Christ. Alpharetta First United Methodist Church made the trip to Panama City, FL, to help Hurricane Michael survivors. We are grateful for this wonderful connection. Click here for more

Evangelism group celebrates 70 years

(Lake Junaluska) - Famed Methodist evangelist Harry Denman and four fellow church members started the Foundation for Evangelism in 1949 to be a catalyst for equipping Christian disciples. To celebrate its 70th, the foundation plans to revisit stories of ministry and explore where God is calling it next. Read press release.


A Prayer for General Conference

As the special-called session of General Conference approaches, the one thing we can all do is pray. Rev. Jeremy Steele, teaching pastor at Christ UMC, wrote this beautiful prayer in preparation for this gathering. We invite you to use this personally, in your worship service, your newsletter or share on social media.

Teaming with Tanzania VBS Resources Available

Does your church have a VBS mission project picked out yet? Here's a great option - join our Teaming With Tanzania partnership! See the website for the resources your church will need. This can be used with any curriculum. Join in our partnership with the UMC in Tanzania, as we seek to make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World. Click here for more

Tackling Clergy Debt: Applications Open for High-Impact Clergy Scholarship

(GBHEM) - Many people preparing for United Methodist ordination are daunted by the high price tag associated with their education, and mounting debt can be a barrier to answering God’s call to serve. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, is continuing a proven scholarship and financial literacy program that not only eases the burden of educational debt for prospective clergy, but also helps them plot a stable financial future. Working with Wespath Benefits and Investments, United Methodist annual conferences and foundations, and the 13 United Methodist seminaries and schools of theology, GBHEM is proud to renew the Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarship for the third year in a row. The project is funded in part by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. More here

Deadline Approaching for Ethnic In-Service Training Grant Proposals

(GBHEM) - Applications are now available for the annual Ethnic In-Service Training (EIST) grants administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). As the leadership development agency for The United Methodist Church, GBHEM is committed to raising up new leaders from diverse backgrounds. Funds awarded through the EIST grant are an important part of that mission. More here

Lenten Resources now available 

Ash Wednesday is weeks away. Still need a Lenten Resource? We have an updated list for 2019 and several selections have an immediate download option. Click here for more


Boy Scout Ski Retreat, February 22-24

ERT Re-certification and Assessment Training, February 23

Early Response Team (ERT) Training, February 23

Early Response Team (ERT) Training, March 2

General Conference 2019 Overview Meeting, March 7

Bishop's Confirmation Retreat, March 8-10

General Conference 2019 Overview Meeting, March 9

Marriage Enrichment Retreat, March 10-12

General Conference 2019 Overview Meeting, March 10

Post General Conference Clergy Gathering, March 11

2019 Legislative Prayer Breakfast, March 14

Pensacola District Lay Servant Ministries Training, March 16

Guided Personal Retreat, March 18-20

Game Changing Generosity - Webinar, March 21

Pensacola District Lay Servant Ministries Training, March 23

Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat, March 27-30

Early Response Team (ERT) Training, March 30

Demopolis District Annual Conference Briefing, March 31

Inspirit Retreat 2019, April 4-6

Marianna/Panama City District Annual Conference Briefing, April 7

Dothan District Annual Conference Briefing, April 7

Right Start, April 23

AWFL UMM Annual Advance, April 26-27

Montgomery Districts Annual Conference Briefing, April 28

SECN Administrator's Annual Conference, April 28-May 1


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