October 21, 2019/Volume 18, No. 12
New Alabama-West Florida Podcast Series Focuses on Preaching Excellence
The Alabama-West Florida Conference is pleased to announce a new clergy preaching resource. “Word on the Street” is a bi-weekly podcast that was designed to offer unique ways to explore the lectionary text and other relevant passages of the Bible. “One of our greatest gifts as United Methodist clergy is to be in connection with one another,” said Rev. Ashley Davis, Alabama-West Florida Director of Connectional Ministries. “Preaching is a gift but can also be a daunting task week after week. Our hope is that we can present new ways to consider scripture that will challenge and enhance our weekly sermons.” In 2018, Bishop David Graves announced four conference staff priorities. One of those is, “to teach, train, and coach to support excellent preaching so that people encounter Jesus and live out the Great Commission.” More here.
Hurricane Michael Tour Exemplifies Strength of Connection
October 10, 2018, will be a day not easily forgotten for thousands of people along the Gulf Coast. As with any traumatic event, the first year can be the hardest. For Hurricane Michael survivors, the first anniversary was an opportunity to remember the devastation caused by the category five storm and look ahead to better days. The Alabama-West Florida Conference remembered this historic event in multiple ways and provided video and print resources for local churches to use the weekend prior to the anniversary. In addition to the local church participation, Bishop David Graves spent four weekends over the course of September and October visiting with AWF churches who sustained damage and who helped their communities in the days after the storm. More here.
Alabama-West Florida Conference Awarded Grant for Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts
On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael, the Alabama-West Florida Conference was awarded a $1.125 million-dollar grant from Volunteer Florida Foundation dedicated to repair and rebuild at least 73 homes. "We are truly humbled to be the recipient of this grant as only four organizations were chosen related to Hurricane Michael," stated AWF Grant Writer, Kristi McClellan. "This grant is a reflection of the strength of our organization, volunteer support and the infrastructure established with the help of UMCOR and their financial support," she explained. More here.
Around the Conference
New Benefits Added for AWF Active Clergy and Conference Staff
The Alabama-West Florida Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits is pleased to announce new benefits at no cost to you starting January 1, 2020, for eligible clergy and conference staff. Rev. Steve Reneau, Pension and Health Board President and BeLinda Carnegie, Conference Benefits Officer, offer initial details in this video. Click here to view or on the image below.
Great! So what do I need to do to take advantage of this?
- You do not need to do anything. Eligible clergy and staff will automatically be enrolled in both plans at no additional cost. Clergy spouses will be enrolled in the CHC Wellness Program.
- If you would like to learn more about these new benefits, plans for upcoming Webinars and trainings will be announced soon.
- Please check the BOPH Website for brochures related to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the CHC Wellness Program. Click here for additional information.
Pastor Appreciation Month Celebrated in October
(UMNS) - Pastor appreciation month is held annually in October. One of the best ways we can support our pastors and show them our appreciation is to regularly pray for them. But it can be difficult to know exactly what we should pray for. To help get started, we’ve assembled fifteen areas of pastors’ lives and ministries where they would value your prayers. Click here for more.
Advent Resources Now Available
Advent is weeks away. Need a last-minute resource? Check out this list categorized by nurture, outreach, witness and advocacy. Click here for more.
Domestic violence: We want our churches to be talking about it
(UMCOM) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we want our churches to be talking about it,” writes Susan Burton, director of women’s and children’s concerns for the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, in “Articulating our Theology: Domestic Violence Webinar.” The webinar introduces participants to a slideshow presentation church leaders can use with their congregations. “Articulating our Theology: Domestic Violence” explores ways United Methodist churches and individuals can work to eliminate domestic violence and minister to victims and survivors. More here.
What Question is Your Church Trying to Answer?
(Lewis Center) - Quincy Brown says most churches are focused on answering questions related to their own survival rather than answering the life questions that people beyond the church really care about. The question needs to shift from saving the congregation and its traditions to helping people feel at home in a world awash in chaos by following the path of Jesus. More here.
Dothan District Lay Servant Training, October 25-26
Environmental Justice Seminar, November 4
Connecting Neighbors Workshop - Dothan District, November 9
Tanzania Partnership Information Session - Marianna/Panama City District, November 10
SEJ Clergywomen Retreat, November, 18-21
Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, November 21-24
AWF Historical Society Old Fashioned Christmas Meeting, December 5
Appalachian Christmas at Lake Junaluska, December 12-15