May 6, 2019/Volume 18, No. 5

Conference News

A Video Message from Bishop David Graves

We invite you to watch a video message update from Bishop David Graves. Click here to view or on the above image to view. Click here to read 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.

Hurricane Michael Director Provides Update and Video Resource

(Rev. Chris Ackerman) - We are excited to share some updates on the Hurricane Michael Recovery efforts in our conference. We have had many hurdles to jump while building our recovery program. One of our case managers likened it to building an airplane while in flight! However, we are confident that the time we have taken to put our systems into place will be multiplied back to us as we journey down this road to recovery. If you are a pastor or leader in your local church, I encourage you to show this brief video update in your worship services and on social media. If you have not already partnered with a church through our conference, consider exploring that option. More information can be found here or by contacting Susan Hunt. More here

UMCOR Awards $4.6 Million Grant to Alabama-West Florida Conference to Support Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts

(UMCOR) - United Methodists in Alabama-West Florida are undertaking large-scale recovery programs for those affected by Hurricane Michael with assistance from the United Methodist Committee on Relief. A $4.6 million UMCOR grant for the Alabama-West Florida Conference will help launch and fund the first two years of a phased four-year recovery program in response to Hurricane Michael. Scientists at NOAA's National Hurricane Center recently determined that Hurricane Michael had an intensity of 160 mph when it made landfall at the Florida Panhandle last October and upgraded it to a Category 5 hurricane. The last hurricane of such intensity at landfall was Hurricane Andrew, which struck South Florida and Louisiana in 1992. More here

A Response to the April 2019 Judicial Council Ruling

On April 26, 2019, the Judicial Council ruled that parts of the Traditional Plan passed at the 2019 General Conference were constitutional (other parts were previously ruled unconstitutional). The Judicial Council also ruled the exit strategy passed at General Conference was constitutional and places many of the decisions around this topic into the hands of conference trustees and the annual conference. The new legislation will take effect January 1, 2020. General Conference is the top legislation body for all matters related to the United Methodist Church and is the only body that can speak for the United Methodist Church. The next General Conference session will be May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN. 
-The Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church
Click here for a full summary

Around the Conference

Deadline Approaching for AC Reservations

The reservation deadline for annual conference is May 17th. 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. Click here for a comprehensive email that was sent to all clergy and lay members of annual conferenceThe reservation system, which includes meal tickets, the laity banquet, childcare, youth page applications, table space and more, is now live. Click on the below links for more information. Bishop Tracy Smith Malone of the East Ohio Conference will be the guest preacher for the opening worship and the ordination and commissioning services. Dr. Dan Morris will deliver the sermon for the memorial service. Rev. Eric Soard, Dr. Geoffrey Lentz and Rev. Sara Shaver will preach at the three morning worship services. Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson will again provide music throughout the conference. 
Reservation System
Missional Offering
Hotel Information
Biometric Health Screening
UMCOR Kit Collection
Mass Choir Information

Large Church Pastor Cohort Launches in Destin, FL

Bishop David Graves launched his fourth clergy learning cohort with an event held at the Hilton Sandestin April 24-25, 2019. After extending an invite to all clergy in attendance at the Large Church Pastor’s gathering last September, eleven clergy expressed interest in joining this new cohort. Mike Bonem, known for his work with the Texas Methodist Foundation, will serve as the facilitator for this cohort. Like the other clergy learning cohorts, the Large Church Pastors cohort will loosely focus on developing competencies, building camaraderie, and exploring creativity while addressing other concerns and challenges experienced by large church pastors.

Fountain of Love – Jane’s Story

(MHFTA) - Real people are profoundly impacted by the Fountain of Love Offering, welcome at any time of the year, but often emphasized on Mother’s Day. Consider Jane’s story. Jane was the youngest of 5 girls that lived just outside of Headland, Alabama. Though the other girls stayed pretty close to the farm, Jane went away to school and became a nurse. Nursing was her life, and she prospered many decades in her chosen career. In her older years, Jane got an infection in her bloodstream after knee surgery, which resulted in the loss of the lower part of one leg. And so the dedicated caregiver found herself needing to be on the receiving end of care from that moment on. Click here to access story and resources for the Fountain of Love offering

Connectional News

Church and Society board recommends major revision of United Methodist Social Principles

(GBCS) - The board of directors of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church recommended Friday a new version of the Social Principles to the 2020 General Conference. This vote was the culmination of seven years of work. General Secretary Susan Henry-Crowe said, “I am incredibly pleased that the culmination of two quadrennia of work is finally accomplished. We, as Christians, believe that Christ calls us to live out our faith in the world by seeking justice and pursuing peace. The Social Principles have long been a part of how we as United Methodists express that deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ.” More here


AWF Pastor Releases eBook on Reaching Millennials

Rev. Jeremy Steele, Next Generation Pastor at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL, recently released an eBook through United Methodist Communications. The free download is structured in four parts, answering most of your questions:
Who are the Millennials?
What turns o? Millennials about church? 
What works? Connecting OUTSIDE your church walls
What works? Connecting INSIDE your walls
"The millennial generation is one of the most researched generations in history and this book seeks to harness that research to help local churches be more effective in reaching and communicating to this passionate generation, " said Rev. Steele. "Ultimate success in marketing to Millennials needs a comprehensive plan on how they can connect while inside your walls. Click here for more

Where Do We Go From Here? Honest Responses From Twenty-Four United Methodist Leaders

Following the February 2019 session of The United Methodist General Conference, many United Methodists returned to their Sunday School classes, worship services and small groups, asking the same question: “Where do we go from here?” In Where Do We Go From Here?: Honest Responses From Twenty-Four United Methodist Leaders, bishops, pastors, lay-persons, campus ministers, students, general board directors and others share their honest responses to the question, “Where do we go from here?” More here

Disability Ministries Committee Releases Updated Annual Accessibility Audit

The Disability Ministries Committee of the UMC is excited to share an updated version of our Annual Accessibility Audit for Churches. Click here for audit. Churches can now score themselves and work towards earning badges as "disability-friendly and accessible" if they meet certain items on the audit. This program, described in more detail here, recognizes those churches that have gone the extra mile to become as accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities as possible. Click here for more


Lay Servant Training, May 17-18

Mobile District Annual Conference Briefing, May 19

Baypines District Annual Conference Briefing, May 19

2019 AWF Annual Conference, June 2-5

Huntingdon Leadership Academy, June 23-28


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