January 12, 2020

Clergy News

January Worship Service Features AWF Seminary Students

As conference leadership encourages AWF clergy to find ways to spiritually, physically, and emotionally care for themselves at all times and especially in the midst of the challenges they have faced, we invite you to use this January worship service featuring AWF seminary students. The video includes a prayer exercise, musical offering, and a sermon. You may use this service any time during the month of January. 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. 
Welcome and Prayer Experience: Chase McCoon, Candler School of Theology
Musical Offering: Jennifer Precht, Asbury Theological Seminary (accompanied by Wilson Newell)
Message: Jeffery Postell, Wesley Theological Seminary
Click here for service

2021 Lay Leader and Board of Laity Meetings

As we start off the new year, we are putting a key focus on lay leadership development. To initiate this effort, Beverly Maddox, conference lay leader, and Celeste Eubanks, director of leadership strategies, have scheduled quarterly meetings for local church lay leaders, as well as members of the board of laity. Bishop Graves will be joining in on their first meeting to be held on Thursday, February 4. Additionally, lay leaders and board of laity members are being invited to take part in the Reboot Recovery training (in which CEUs will be awarded). An email was sent out to all lay leaders and board of laity members on December 1, 2020, detailing the dates and times of these meetings and trainings. A copy of that email can be found here. We are asking all clergy to ensure that your local church lay leader is aware of these dates. Also, please ensure that the email address for your lay leader is up-to-date on your church dashboard as all communication with lay leaders and board of laity members is done via email. Instructions on updating your church dashboard may be found here. Zoom links to lay leader and board of laity meetings and trainings will be sent out prior to the meeting and will also be posted on the board of laity page on the Conference website.

Upcoming Trainings for Clergy

Next Bishop's Time Apart Announced

Join us for Bishop’s Time Apart on February 4, 2021, from 10am-Noon. Susan Beaumont, author of “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going” and former senior consultant with the Alban Institute, will join us for a time of discussion. Susan's educational background includes a M.B.A. from Northwestern University and a M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary. She is also a graduate of the Shalem Institute in Spiritual Formation. Please mark your calendar now. Click here to register

Both/And Event - Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences for Online & In-person Audiences

As churches envision new opportunities for both online and in-person ministry, the BOTH/AND webinar is in high demand. This  Zoom webinar, led by Jason Moore of Midnight Oil Productions, will delve into strategies for creating powerful transformative worship where no one feels like they’re an afterthought for both online and in-person audiences. It will explore:

  • Re-imagining worship for both/and
  • How to create interactive both/and experiences
  • Bringing at-home and in-person audiences together in real time
  • Alternative opportunities for online audiences watching in-person livestreams
  • Repurposing in-person worship for online audiences
  • Strategies for adapting practices for both/and
  • How to avoid letting your groove become a rut
  • And more!

The resource is live via video for 30 days through this link (password is "hybrid)". You may download the handbook here

For those churches desiring to enhance your digital worship presence, AWF congregational development is making a limited number of micro-grants available. To express interest and learn more about securing a grant, please contact Bill Kierce, director of congregational development at 334-750-4820 or

Clergy Resources and Tools

2021 Season of Lent Requires Creativity

While we cling to hope that COVID-19 will begin to slowly fade, this year's Lenten, Easter and Pentecost seasons will require creativity, as have other liturgical seasons in the past ten months. Rev. Katrina Paxson at Beulah UMC has prepared creative ways to connect with her congregation. In this document you will find unique ways to continue ministry during the pandemic.  

Tanzania Wesley College Fundraiser Announced

HARAMBE in Swahili means ‘coming together.’ HARAMBE is also a community-based fundraising method in Tanzania. Wesley College, a United Methodist-affiliated institution, is hosting a Harambe in Spring 2021. Your church is invited to find out more about this opportunity through an informational Zoom call in January, led by Reverend Eric Soard. Eric and Liz Soard served as UMC missionaries in Tanzania for over 10 years. Over time, they began to believe that education was the best route for both individual and community transformation. Wesley College began as a dream in 2014, was endorsed by UMC in 2015, and opened to students in 2017. Eric now lives in Tennessee and serves as the Executive Director of Wesley College Foundation, which supports the ministry overseas. More information, including dates and times, may be found here


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