September 14, 2021

Conference News

Alabama-West Florida Conference Gives $100,000 to Louisiana Conference for Ida Response

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31
Bishop David Graves, resident bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, hosted a Zoom presentation with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Conference and other conference leaders. After sharing a few words about our United Methodist connection and the help the AWF Conference received after Hurricane Michael, Graves informed Harvey that an initial donation of $100,000 would be sent immediately to be used with disaster response and recovery. More here

The Louisiana Conference Needs Our Help: Supply and Team Information

(Rev. Chris Ackerman) - Last week we received a special invitation from the Louisiana Conference to help with the initial organization of relief needs. Several trained assessors from our conference and I have spent the last few days in Ponchatoula, LA, helping with boots-on-the-ground organization and assessments. We also had some of our select ERTs with heavy equipment helping with large tree work. Our goal was to provide initial relief, help set up housing sites, and pave the way for the arrival of more supplies and volunteers. I can tell you that the need in Louisiana is significant. We will be assisting in two ways: by sending supplies and by sending teams. Too many churches have self-deployed on their own from our conference as well as others without going through the proper conference channels. I can tell you first hand that it has caused disorganization as well as a great deal of wasted time and energy. Please help us to be a good partner with the Louisiana Conference by following the below instructions. More here

Five-year interview with Bishop David Graves

Bishop David Graves begins his sixth year as the Episcopal leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Hear from him about several relevant topics including his new assignment to the South Georgia Conference; navigating COVID; and general conference; to name a few. We invite you to watch and share on social media as well as with your small groups. Click here to watch

AWF Clergy Fall Learning Series Continues

AWF clergy have the opportunity to hear from several leaders who will help them explore their best ministry in the coming months. All meetings will be held via Zoom. Below are individual links for each event for more information and to register:
September 30: Bishop's Time Apart with Stephen Handy, "Preaching Justice" - sponsored by the AWF Coalition for Dismantling Racism
October 12: Both/and Hybrid Worship Workshop with Jason Moore, sponsored by AWF Connectional Ministries and Congregational Development
November 2: Ministry in a politically divided world and preaching in the red/blue divide with Leah Schade

Around the Conference

Age Level Ministry Cohort Opportunities

Do you work or volunteer in a ministry for children, youth, or older adults? Consider joining one of three age level ministry cohorts we have in our conference. Every month, ministry leaders in these areas come together virtually for one hour with colleagues in the same ministry area to have a time of devotion, resource sharing, check-ins, and general discussions. The cohorts include ministry leaders from all over the conference, and the older adult ministry cohort even includes ministry leaders from outside the Alabama-West Florida Conference. If you are looking for a group to be in fellowship with while learning and hearing about new and innovative ways to do ministry, this cohort experience may be just right for you.
Dates and times of cohort meetings:
Children’s Ministry Cohort – Second Thursday of each month at 11am CT
“50 Plus” Older Adult Ministry Cohort – Fourth Thursday of each month at 10am CT
Youth Ministry Cohort – First Thursday of each month at 6pm CT (will resume in October)
Please contact Celeste Eubanks ( to get more information on these cohorts or to join.

Next Bishop's Time Apart with Stephen Handy Announced 

Join us for the next Bishop's Time Apart on September 30, 2021. Rev. Stephen Handy and Bishop Graves will discuss what positional authority, personal awareness, trauma, confession, and repentance have to do with preaching justice. We will hear about sermon preparation that expands our perspective and living a life of justice that goes beyond the pulpit. Clergy will spend time in virtual small groups processing all of these things together as well. This Zoom event is sponsored by the AWF Coalition for Dismantling Racism. Click here to register. 

Bright Bridge Ministries Making Room for More Guests

(Bright Bridge) - Our men's dormitory at Bright Bridge is getting a facelift! His Place Ministry is our men’s transitional housing facility that provides a place for continued recovery and spiritual growth following completion of a rehabilitation program. "Being here has helped me strengthen my relationship with God and given me new insight into what I need to work on," said Eric, His Place Resident. Last August, the dorm temporarily closed and residents were relocated to two houses offsite. We are now in full swing with renovations as we prepare to reopen our dormitory in a few months. Thanks to funding through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the renovations will allow His Place Ministry to expand with an added emergency shelter, now called "His Place Shelter." To find out more about His Place, visit our website at

Connectional News

Discussion series explores what it means to be United Methodist

(Connectional Table) - “Tuesdays at the Table: Should I stay? Or should I go?” is a new discussion series for United Methodists, presented by the Connectional Table (CT) in cooperation with general agencies and contributors. Weekly segments will explore topics aimed at helping viewers better understand their faith, their church and themselves. The sessions will premiere every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. CT from October 5 – December 21 on Facebook, and will also be available for later viewing at and the UMC YouTube channel. "This new series seeks to help us think through the issues that are confronting our church," said the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Chief Connectional Ministries Officer. "As the church navigates the realities presented by tensions within the denomination and the global coronavirus pandemic, it is essential that United Methodists explore and understand who we are, what we believe and how we live as people of God." More here

Church work continues in Afghanistan

(UM News) — The chaotic scene as people fled Afghanistan while the Taliban took over doesn’t mean that United Methodists are through trying to help there. The denomination is still working with ecumenical partners to improve conditions for Afghans. United Methodists in the U.S. also are working to strengthen Christian-Muslim relations. Jim Patterson reports. Read story.

COVID-19 vaccination named missional priority

(UM News) — The Connectional Table, which acts as a church council for the denomination, declared that addressing COVID-19 vaccine inequities is a United Methodist "missional priority." The leadership body hopes the church will target the disease with the same organized zeal as it has malaria and Ebola. Heather Hahn reports. Read story.


World Communion Sunday Pastor and Leader Kit

World Communion Sunday is October 3, 2021. This offering supports diverse mix of national and international ethnic young adults to make a global impact for Christ. Half of the offering benefits World Communion Scholarships for graduate students from the U.S. and other countries; the remainder assists Ethnic Scholarships for U.S. and international undergraduates studying in the U.S. and Ethnic In-Service Training. These funds are administered by the General Boards' of Higher Education and Ministry and Global Ministries. Click the below link for local church resources. Click here for more

Becoming a Digital Savvy Congregation

(Lewis Center) - The Great Commission tells us to go out and preach the gospel to all nations and all people. We feel like we should reach everybody. But the truth is, we can’t. I try to help churches understand that. What audiences are your low hanging fruit? The people you could connect with very easily because of the personality of your pastor or leader, the demographic makeup of your church, your geographic location? Focus on that crowd. If every church reached those people and really connected on a deep level, we would actually reach the whole world. But instead, we dilute our efforts by trying to reach everybody. And that’s just not going to happen. Whether your church is in Los Angeles or Tulsa or Des Moines or Atlanta, you’re not going to reach everybody. So, let’s really focus on the people it makes sense for us to reach. A lot of that will depend on the calling, the gifts, and the talent of the leader. That’s a good starting point to figure out our identity and brand story. More here.  


2021 Academy of Church Business Administration, September 20-30

Preaching Justice with Stephen Handy, September 30

Resilience: Healing Practices for Mind, Body and Spirit, Sept 30-Oct 2

World Communion Sunday, October 3

Both/And Zoom Event with Jason Moore, October 12

Ministry in a Politically Divided World & Preaching in the Red/Blue Divide with Dr. Leah Schade, November 2


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