September 3, 2020
AWF September Worship Service Now Available
Bishop Graves has requested that all AWF clergy find ways to spiritually, physically, and emotionally care for themselves at all times and especially in the midst of the challenges they have faced this year. One way to do this is to practice sabbath. To assist our clergy in that practice, the conference will be producing a short worship service each month in the fall that includes a prayer exercise, musical offering, and a sermon. You may use this service any time during the month. We invite you to stream this service on your Facebook page, share with your congregation through email, or stream at your regularly scheduled worship time so that you may have time away. This month's service features: Giving, 2 Corinthians 8, 9:6-15.
Sermon: Bill Kierce, Director of Congregational Development;
Musical Offering: Celeste Eubanks, Director of Leadership Strategies;
Welcome and Prayer Experience: Rev. Ashley Davis, Director of Connectional Ministries.
Click here for the complete service. You may also use the sermon-only file if you would like to incorporate it into your worship service. Click here for the sermon only.
Annual Conference Information Released
Comprehensive information related to 2020 Annual Conference was released on Monday, August 3. Clergy should register for both Zoom links. The clergy session will be held on Sunday, September 13, 2020, at 4:00pm and the half-day annual conference session will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 1:00pm. A non-voting live stream option will be available for guests. A working agenda for the 1/2 day annual conference is available by clicking here. Complete information, including registration links, may be found here.
Ackerman Offers Guidance After Hurricane Laura
AWF Disaster Response Director, Rev. Chris Ackerman, has some very important words and advice for our conference after going through a traumatic hurricane just two years ago. Please carefully read his guidance.
(Rev. Chris Ackerman) - As a conference, we want to keep you updated on the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. As you can imagine, emergency crews are hard at work cleaning up debris and restoring utilities. The infrastructure of the impacted area took a severe hit, and it will be some time before basic utilities are functional. As a result, we have been asked by the Louisiana Conference, by UMCOR, and by federal, state and local agencies to NOT deploy into Louisiana at this time. Too many people showing up and trying to help is actually making it difficult for the emergency crews to do their job. In other words, an excess of people descending into the area is actually making the relief efforts worse and stopping people from restoring what is critical. State and local agencies are supplying basic needs of food, water and shelter. They are also not allowing entry or reentry in and out of the affected areas. More here.
Upcoming Trainings for Clergy
AWF Advent Sermon Series Workshop Registration Now Live
An Advent sermon series, led by Dr. Sam Parkes of Mary Ester UMC and Dr. Cory Smith of Auburn UMC, will be held on September 10 from 9-11am.
Click the below Zoom link to register.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Online Charge Conference information now available; trainings announced.
As Bishop David Graves indicated on July 15, 2020, charge conference will be 100% online this year. The forms are now available through your church dashboard and will be due by October 5. Click here for complete instructions. Please note, all completed forms will be due by October 5, regardless of the date of your charge conference. Forms will not be accepted through mail. After thoroughly reading the instructions, we invite you to join a troubleshooting session; should you need. The sessions will be led by Sarah McWilliams, Kim Doss and Charlene Moncrief. You may also submit a question through this link.
September 14, 10:00 am
Register in advance for this meeting:
September 15, 6:00pm
Register in advance for this meeting:
Worship, Music, and Ritual: Reimagining Advent Church Services
(Amplify Media) - Advent and Christmas services hold some of our most treasured spiritual memories. Think back to a Christmas Eve candlelight service. You likely can still smell the flames and hear the hymns that were sung together. Yet this year, we may not be able to celebrate in these same ways. So how do church leaders imaginatively translate Advent services to in-home and virtual environments or plan for a combination to meet the needs of your church community? More here.
Clergy Resources and Tools
Bishop's Time Apart with Dr. John Paul Lederach
Clergy are in the midst of many layers of conflict around decisions related to in-person worship, racial tensions, political divides; to name a few. The month of October is clergy appreciation month. We want to offer our clergy a time apart with Bishop Graves on October 22nd from 10am-12pm. Our time together will be led by Dr. John Paul Lederach. Dr. Lederach has experience with international conciliation work in war-torn settings such as Nicaragua and Somalia. He has also written over 22 books on peacebuilding including the book, “Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians.” He currently is a Senior Fellow with Humanity United, a Foundation that works with peace and conflict resolution. The organization also seeks to end present day slavery and child trafficking. He will share with us about his experience in international conflict situations, give us the scriptural basis for such work, and leave us with practical tools for working through conflict in our setting. Our time apart will also include breakout sessions to connect with peers. Please put this date on your calendar. Click here for Zoom registration link.
Annual Conference Virtual Choir Participation Still Needed
Calling all choir members, clergy and those who like to sing! Our opening hymn for virtual annual conference is, "And Are We Yet Alive." It will certainly mean more to us this year. The deadline for sending in videos has been extended to Sept 7th. Click on this link for instructions: https://www.awfumc.org/virtual-mass-choir. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Brad Bradford at Brad@shalimar-umc.org.
Clergy Counseling Available through conference EAP
The conference has fielded many questions around options for clergy to receive counseling and mental health services. All clergy under appointment have access to counseling through our EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Join us for this Webinar on September 3rd to learn more about this program. BeLinda Carnegie will walk you through accessing and getting the most out of this benefit. Suzanne Krejcar, AWF Treasurer, and Rev. Steve Reneau, AWF Board of Pension and Health Benefits Chair, will also be available to answer questions.
September 3, 11am registration:
For clergy who are on conference insurance, sign up for the CHC wellness seminar to learn more about the health and wellness program available through our insurance. BeLinda Carnegie will also moderate these sessions and answer questions.
September 3, 12pm registration:
For those not able to join, a recording of each topic will be available at a later date.