News

General Conference 2020 Petition Submission Process Opens

published 7/8/2019

Nashville, Tenn.: Petitions for consideration by the 2020 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary now through September 18, 2019.

According to church law, "Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference...".

Detailed instructions for submitting a petition are available on the General Conference website atumc.org/gcpetition. Petitions must be typed and may be submitted through the General Conference website, by postal mail or fax, or via e-mail to petitionsecretary@umcgc.org. This e-mail address should be used for petition submission only. All other correspondence should be directed to aherrera@umcgc.org

Due to the passage of legislative material by the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference, an addendum to The Book of Discipline 2016 may be found at https://www.umofficialresources.com/updates. These paragraphs replace what is printed in The Book of Discipline 2016.  Petitions related to these paragraphs must reference the material in the Addendum.  The Errata (corrections) for The Book of Discipline 2016 are included at the end of the Addendum document and should also be considered in petition texts.

The mailing address for petitions (hard copy accompanied by digital version on USB drive) is:

Abby Parker Herrera, Petitions Secretary
United Methodist General Conference
7409 Barcelona Drive
Austin, TX  78752

Eligible petitions are given numbers and assigned to one of 14 legislative committees or the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters. The committees will debate the proposals and determine whether to approve, amend, combine or reject them for recommendation to the full body of General Conference.

When submitting a petition, you must indicate whether a petition has "general church budget implications," meaning a petition that causes the need for funding (i.e., creation of a new program, staff position, support requirements, etc.) through the general church apportionments. Such petitions require review by the General Council on Finance and Administration to verify if the funding is already included under the recommended quadrennial budget.

Submitters must also indicate whether a petition has "global implications," meaning it is a constitutional amendment, has a direct effect on the global work of general agencies, places requirements or expectations on all annual conferences, districts or churches, or speaks to societal concerns regardless of the particular form of secular government.

Questions about the petition submission process may be submitted by e-mail to the Petitions Secretary at aherrera@umcgc.org.


Partners in Recovery: Disaster recovery partnerships form in wake of Hurricane Michael

published 6/18/2019
(Kari C. Barlow for AWFUMC) - More than seven months after Hurricane Michael toppled countless trees around Grace United Methodist Church and peeled back the corners of its metal roof, the tiny church continues to struggle.
 
Most of the trees have been cleared, but every member of the congregation had damage from the massive storm, and many were displaced indefinitely.
 
“Some of the individuals were in a retirement home, and the retirement home’s roof was destroyed, and they’ve all been sent to other locations,” said Birdie Perkins, treasurer at Grace UMC. “We’re very small and we’ve lost seven people. We’re down to, like, 15 on a good Sunday.”
 
Grace UMC is one 28 churches across the Alabama-West Florida Conference damaged by Hurricane Michael and still grappling with long-term recovery. To aid in that process, the   conference is helping churches outside the disaster area form partnerships with congregations in recovery.
 
“When you live in a disaster area, the reminders are constantly there — broken trees, debris everywhere, tarped roofs,” said Susan Hunt, director of mission and advocacy for the AWFUMC.  “Those reminders can sap your energy, cause discouragement, and make the recovery that much harder. Through the partnerships, the members affected by the storm are reminded that they’re not alone or forgotten.”
 
Hunt said the support can take many forms, but the goal is to lift spirits and offer hope to keep going.
 
“We can do so much more together than we can as isolated congregations or as individuals,” she said. “We come together for each other in times celebration as well as times of tragedy and disaster.”
 
Grace UMC found a partner in FUMC Eufaula, which sits about two hours due north of Marianna. Cathie Wilbourne, a long-time member at FUMC Eufaula, said she and many others in her Sunday school class jumped at the chance to offer their support.
 
“We knew there was a lot of destruction,” she said. “We want to be ongoing partners and to be helpful in any way we can.”
 
Their first effort was to let Grace UMC know that FUMC Eufaula was praying for its continued recovery.
 
“Their prayers—that meant more than anything,” Perkins said. “There are still a lot of people in need.”
 
A few weeks later Wilbourne and two other members drove down to Grace UMC to attend a women’s Bible study class. In March, Perkins and four other women from Grace UMC traveled to Eufaula where they enjoyed a tour of the city’s historic homes and a luncheon with Wilbourne and other women from FUMC Eufaula.
 
“It was wonderful,” Perkins said. “They were so gracious, and it was very personal.”
 
FUMC Eufaula has plans to send a adults and youth to help some of Grace UMC’s members demolish a damaged shed.
 
“We also have a person here who is willing to go down and fill their pulpit one weekend,” Wilbourne said. “It’s just a matter of scheduling.”
 
Thus far, 25 of the 28 churches have agreed to having a partner, and 10 of those 25 have at least one partner. Another 15 — mostly small, rural congregations — still need partners.
 
Wilbourne and Perkins said the partnership between their congregations has shown them that God is very much at work in the area’s ongoing hurricane recovery.
 
“Mission doesn’t have to be far away,” Wilbourne said. “We have people in our own backyard who are struggling after events that were out of their control, and we want to be of help.”
 
For Perkins and many others, simply being in touch with FUMC Eufaula helped them feel less alone.
 
“It was a godsend, to me, that they were interested in connecting with us,” Perkins said. “I feel like if we had a real issue, we could call.”  

Pictured are ladies from Grace UMC and Eufaula FUMC: Henrietta Harbert, Carolyn Grimsley, Birdie Perkins, Becky Strickland, Sheila Adams, Lou Martin, Cathie Wilbourne, Terri Tarquinee. 
 
WANT TO HELP?
To participate in a Disaster Recovery Partnership, contact Susan Hunt, director of mission and advocacy, at susan@awfumc.org.
 

2019 Annual Conference: In Review

published 6/6/2019

The 2019 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference was held June 2-5 in Montgomery, AL, with the theme, "This We Proclaim." Bishop David Graves, presiding over his third annual conference session since becoming the resident bishop, welcomed clergy and lay members to Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery.

A capacity crowd attended the Opening Worship Service held Sunday evening, June 2, in the sanctuary of Frazer Memorial UMC. A mass choir from around the conference, and led by Frazer Memorial UMC Music Director, Wayne Sigler, provided inspiring music for the service including powerful renditions of, "Come, Christians Join to Sing," "O, Praise the Name" and "Amen," which featured soloists Courtney Selman and Adam Murphy. Bishop David Graves welcomed those in attendance and emphasized how honored the Alabama-West Florida Conference was to have two special guests this evening. Bishop Tracy Smith Malone of the East Ohio Conference and Rev. Eric Soard from the Tanzania Annual Conference were participants in tonight's service. Bishop Malone preached her heartfelt sermon based on 1 John 1:1 entitled, "This We Proclaim," which was appropriately titled to reflect the theme of the 2019 Annual Conference. 

Wesley College, a part of Teaming with Tanzania, was the recipient of this year's missional offering. Rev. Eric Soard, Global Ministries Missionary appointed to the Tanzania Annual Conference, was present and shared a few words about our partnership. A brief video was shown as part of his presentation. Wesley College has quickly outgrown their current space in downtown Mwanza and plans have been made to build a campus that will offer more courses and will feature dorms, classroom space, a cafeteria, offices, and more for the projected 2,500 students who will become part of Wesley College. Our annual conference offering will help Wesley College realize this dream of a campus that will better meet the needs of their students. In the Monday morning worship service, Bishop Graves signed a partnership covenant with the Tanzania Annual Conference. Click here for more

For the third year, each day of conference began with morning worship. These worship services, under the direction of Rev. Michael Precht of Crestview FUMC, incorporated people from around the conference. A special emphasis was made to involve people representing the various stages of ministry, which included seminary students, local pastors, deacons, elders, laity, clergy spouses and conference staff. 

Thirty-seven clergy and clergy spouses who passed since the 2018 AWF Annual Conference session were remembered during the Service of Remembrance and Holy CommunionBishop David Graves offered the opening prayer and Rev. Dan Morris of Gulf Breeze UMC delivered the inspiring and uplifting sermon entitled, "The Lamb Our Shepherd." It was based on Revelation 7:9-17, which was read responsively by the congregation under the leadership of Rev. Richard Williams of Aldersgate UMC, Montgomery. Each individual name was read aloud by Dr. Olivia Poole of St. Luke UMC, Enterprise, AWF Commission on Archives and History Chair. The acolytes lighted a candle for each person we remembered today. Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson led the congregation in favorite hymns while communion was served. The AWF Commission on Archives and History hosted surviving family members at a special luncheon prior to the service. To see photos from this service, click here

Eighteen clergy were recognized upon their retirement by Rev. Kathy Knight of Kingswood UMC during today's order of the day. Rev. Doc Kirby of Pine Level UMC spoke on behalf of the retiring class. Back by popular demand was the "passing of the torch." Rev. Brad Goode of Good News UMC, who was ordained an elder in full connection Monday evening, spoke on behalf of the newly ordained class, signifying new leadership in the conference. Together, these eighteen clergy have 434 years of service in our conference. The retirees are:
John L. Bracther
M. Vann Bush
Donna Cumbie
Mark Dees
John C. Friedman
David Mitchell Kirby
Steve Kopp
Roy C. Lane, Jr. 
James Calvin Moore
Gene Nelson
Freddie S. Nichols
Jamie E. Pickard
Mike Sigler
William Robbins Sims
Jo Spivey
Joel Thaddius Wasson, Jr. 
Paul Douglas Wolfe
Robert Charles Yawn

The Service of Commissioning and Ordination was held Monday evening in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The congregation represented family members and special friends of those being commissioned and ordained. Prior to the start of the service, the cathedral choir of Montgomery FUMC presented worshipful music led by Dr. James Seay. The service included the commissioning of one provisional deacon and seven provisional elders and the ordination of two elders in full connection. Bishop Tracy Smith Malone preached a spirited sermon entitled, “The Courage of Conviction," based on John 14:15-31. A special offering was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund. To see photos from this service, click here

The Alabama-West Florida Conference elected ten clergy and ten lay delegates and four reserves to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The delegates are as follows:
General Conference delegates
Larry Bryars, clergy
Lisa Ausley, clergy
Sung Kuk Hong, clergy
Lester Spencer, clergy
Steve Furr, laity
Beverly Maddox, laity
Gene Floore, laity
George Mingledorff, laity

Jurisdictional Conference delegates
Allen Newton, clergy
Rurel Ausley, clergy
Virginia Kagoro, clergy
Doug Pennington, clergy
Frank Moore, laity
Notalsia Whiting, laity
John Moneyham, laity
Robert Brooks, laity

Reserves
Misty Barrett, clergy
Matt Mobley, clergy
Tripp Gulledge, laity
Antonius Barnes, laity

The conference was honored by the outstanding leadership of several guests. Bishop Tracy Smith Malone of the East Ohio Episcopal Area preached the Opening Worship Service and Service of Commissioning and Ordination. Rev. Eric Soard, Global Ministries Missionary who is appointed to the Tanzania Annual Conference, shared a few words Sunday evening and preached the Monday morning worship service. Sean Dietrich of Sean of the South entertained guests at the spouse's lunch and laity banquet. Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson, talented musicians from the Atlanta area, blessed our worship time together. 

Several awards were given to recognize outstanding leadership and service in the conference. Tanner Williams UMC is the recipient of the Local Church Heritage Award. The One Church Matters Award was given to Haleburg UMC by the AWF Town and Country Commission. Lee Thomas of Millbrook FUMC received the Francis Asbury Award for his work with the Tuskegee University Wesley Foundation. President Cam West was in attendance to present Bishop Graves with the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. There were three winners of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The clergy winner is Rev. Dunford Cole of Campground UMC and Rutledge UMC. The Youth recipient is Amber Gay of Robinson Springs UMC and the Lay recipient is Matt Hull, youth director at Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton. This year's Alice Lee Award recipient is Geraldine Stiffler of Foley UMC. Blake Horne with the United Methodist Children's Home was in attendance to present this year's Guardian of the Bell Award to Montgomery FUMC. Rebekah Antonelli was presented a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the United Methodist Federal Credit Union. Allen Dunham, AWF UMM President, presented the fifth annual Susanna Wesley Award for Excellence. The recipient of this annual award is Judy Reiter of Enterprise FUMC. Complete award winner bios may be found here.

Two resolutions were presented to the annual conference voting body at Tuesday's session. A Resolution Concerning Predatory Lending in Alabama was presented and recommended by the committee. It was approved. Evaluation for Continuing Formation for Full Members and Local Pastors was recommended by the committee. A clarification amendment was made but not passed. It was approved. Approved resolutions may be found here.

The conference established a $9,606,334 million budget for mission and ministry for 2020, a 10% decrease from 2019. The 2020 budget is the lowest in 20 years and ten percent lower, as previously indicated, than 2019. The recommended district superintendent salary for 2019 is $122,764,a 1.9% increase from the previous year to be in alignment with Conference Average Compensation. The unqualified audit report will appear in the 2019 Journal. In 2018, 377 churches paid 100% of their apportionments. Thank you for your faithful giving! 

Ms. Suzanne Krejcar, AWF Treasurer, reported that membership stands at 130,250 and worship attendance stands at 57,963. Native American, Multiracial, Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino attendance all showed areas of increase over the past year. Children and Youth in Christian Formation also showed an increase. Direct giving to United Methodist causes slightly decreased but showed a 274% increase since 2009. 

Christy Crow with the AWF Trustees presented the GCFA disaffiliation plan which was a result of petition 90022 from the 2019 special-called General Conference session. Each conference Board of Trustees could propose amendments for this petition. Click here to see the proposed document that was approved. 

Bishop David Graves took intentional time to diligently thank those who were an integral part of annual conference and expressed what a collective effort it takes to make an event like this happen. In his Episcopal address, Graves told of the trials of the past year from a hurricane to general conference to struggles with challenging personalities using the comparison of this and that. With that being the things that bring people and a conference down. "We take our eyes off of this, and focus on that," he said. He referenced Mark 1:15 as what we proclaim. "If we focus on that, we are doomed," he stated. Graves outlined several thriving churches, even through challenges like a pastor diagnosed with cancer or a church devastated from a hurricane. He mentioned numerous upcoming events and opportunities where we expect God to show up because this is what we proclaim. He challenged the conference to spend more time proclaiming than on tedious other things that distract us from the call. He communicated four priorities we should all focus on:

  • Growing God’s kingdom by making disciples and developing a multiplication mindset throughout the annual conference;
  • Attracting and retaining exceptional talent that helps promote a culture of call for clergy and laity;
  • Teaching, training, and coaching to support excellent preaching so that people encounter Jesus and live out the Great Commission;
  • Being adaptive leaders through uncharted times emphasizing connectionalism and focusing on Kingdom work.

Graves concluded his address with inviting everyone to joyfully sing in unison, "Victory in Jesus." 

Hundreds of UMCOR kits and countless supplies from each district were collected over the course of the annual conference. The Dothan District had the biggest percentage of their churches participating in the collection. Aldersgate UMC, MontgomeryMulder Memorial UMCWoodland UMC and Frazer Memorial UMC sent youth group workers who managed the collection truck. Thank you for your donations and to the youth who received these supplies! 

The clergy appointments may be found online here. A friendly URL has also been established: www.awfumc.org/apt2019

The 2020 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 7-10, 2020, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination. We express our sincere appreciation to both of these staffs for hosting us this past year.

A downloadable pdf recap that can be used in your upcoming church bulletins can be found here. Click here to see the recap video produced by Jeb Hunt. We invite you to share both of these resources in your worship services this weekend. Full coverage of the 2019 AWF Annual Conference may be found here. To see photos taken by Luke Lucas, click here. To access an archived session, click here


Annual Conference Day Four, June 5, 2019

published 6/5/2019

In the News

Full Recap, Bulletin Insert and video coming this Thursday! Stay tuned to www.awfumc.org/ac2019 for an informative bulletin insert and brief video. The insert is printer friendly and we encourage you to share it and the video with your local congregation this Sunday. A full recap article detailing all actions of the conference will also be posted on the home page by Thursday.

Morning Worship: The final day of annual conference began with morning worship and Holy Communion where the congregation was invited to remove their shoes and place them at the altar, giving weary feet rest. Rev. Jackie Slaughter offered the wonderfully animated Call to Worship and presided over communion. Rev. Sara Shaver, Dothan District Superintendent, preached a sermon based on Romans 10:5-15. Rev Emily Kincaid of Orange Beach UMC prepared the communion elements. Bishop Graves offered the benediction and gave thanks for Rev. Shaver and her time on the cabinet. We would like to express our deep appreciation to the 2019 Annual Conference worship team. Under the direction of Rev. Michael Precht, the following members planned this year's worship services: Rev. Dana Brady, Rev. Jake Brady, Rev. Sarah Jones, Dr. Geoffrey Lentz and Rev. Sam Parkes. 

Courtesies and AppreciationsDr. Wesley Wachob of Pensacola FUMC entertained the audience with his delivery of courtesies and appreciations as he recapped the 2019 Annual Conference session. He also thanked those who were instrumental in leading the event. 

Episcopal Address: Presiding over his third AWF Annual Conference, Bishop David Graves took intentional time to diligently thank those who were an integral part of annual conference and expressed what a collective effort it takes to make an event like this happen. Graves told of the trials of 2019 from a hurricane to general conference to struggles with challenging personalities using the comparison of this and that. With that being the things that bring people and a conference down. "We take our eyes off of this, and focus on that," he said. He referenced Mark 1:15 as what we proclaim. "If we focus on that, we are doomed," he stated. Graves outlined several thriving churches, even through challenges like a pastor diagnosed with cancer or a church devastated from a hurricane. He mentioned numerous upcoming events and opportunities where we expect God to show up because this is what we proclaim. He challenged the conference to spend more time proclaiming than on tedious other things that distract us from the call. He communicated four priorities we should all focus on:

  • Growing God’s kingdom by making disciples and developing a multiplication mindset throughout the annual conference;
  • Attracting and retaining exceptional talent that helps promote a culture of call for clergy and laity;
  • Teaching, training, and coaching to support excellent preaching so that people encounter Jesus and live out the Great Commission;
  • Being adaptive leaders through uncharted times emphasizing connectionalism and focusing on Kingdom work.

Graves concluded his address with inviting everyone to joyfully sing in unison, "Victory in Jesus." 

Sending Forth: Prior to the service, district clergy and lay members were asked to sit together. A unique and new moment for this part of the conference was the distribution of letters from district superintendents to each pastor under appointment. The district superintendent read aloud the appointment changes within their respective district. Each pastor receiving a new appointment stood as their name and church was read. The districts stood together as the district lay leaders prayed. The Bishop invited the delegation to come forward and thanked them for the work they will do on behalf of our conference. He then prayed, set the appointments and conference was adjourned. 

2019-2020 AWF Conference Clergy Appointment Book: The clergy appointments may be found online here. A friendly URL has also been established: www.awfumc.org/apt2019

Special Offerings Update: We continue to celebrate the missional offering for Wesley College/Teaming with Tanzania at Opening Worship of $41,020.33. Over $1,650 was collected at the Service of Commissioning & Ordination for the Ministerial Education Fund. Thank you for your generosity!

UMCOR Relief Kits: Hundreds of UMCOR kits and countless supplies from each district were collected over the course of the annual conference. The Dothan District had the biggest percentage of their churches participating in the collection. Aldersgate UMC (Montgomery), Mulder Memorial UMC, Woodland UMC and Frazer Memorial UMC sent youth group workers who managed the collection truck. Thank you for your donations and to the youth who received these supplies! 

Miss One? Click here to view each of the daily emails sent during the 2019 Annual Conference.  

Post Annual Conference Survey: Click here to take the survey. We value your input and use your feedback to make key decisions about the upcoming annual conference session. 

Multimedia

Photos
View photos from the 2019 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Archived SessionsAll sessions will be archived here. Below are specific service links.

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live. 
                 

Hashtags: Use #awfac19 to join the Twitter and Facebook conversations and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at www.awfumc.org/ac2019.


Annual Conference Day Three, June 4, 2019

published 6/4/2019

In the News

Morning Worship: Day three of annual conference began with morning worship and Holy Communion. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz of Port St. Joe UMC gave the moving sermon entitled, "Washed by the Water" and based on Matthew 3:13-17. Perhaps one of the most powerful moments of conference, thus far, was the conclusion of the sermon where Lentz sang the chorus of, "Washed by the Water" and then the collective singing of, "It Is Well." Ontonio Christie of St. Andrew UMC gave the Call to Worship and Invitation to Communion. Rev. Paula Roane of Trinity UMC (Ft. Walton Beach, FL) prepared the elements for communion and Rev. John Blount of St. Andrew UMC presided over communion. Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, recognized those working on Hurricane Michael and Lee County recoveries. Those working on these recoveries were given a standing ovation. Rev. Chris Ackerman, AWF Disaster Recovery Director, walked through several ways to help. Bishop Graves affirmed their ministry and expressed that, "In five years, everyone will come to us to know how to do disaster ministry." 

Standing Rules: Dr. Shirley Woodie of Ozark FUMC presented two standing rules changes. One was related to the addition of adding the annual conference coordinator to the planning committee and that amendments must be presented to the conference secretary in writing prior to debate. They may be found on pages 16-29 of the 2019 Book of Reports. The committee recommended to adopt both changes. Both were approved. 

Resolutions: Two resolutions were presented to the annual conference voting body at today's session by Dr. Bill Richardson of Montgomery FUMC. A Resolution Concerning Predatory Lending in Alabama was presented and recommended by the committee. It was approved. Evaluation for Continuing Formation for Full Members and Local Pastors was recommended by the committee. A clarification amendment was made but not passed. The original resolution was approved. Approved resolutions may be found here.

Delegate Voting: Most of the voting occured Monday so the conference members concluded their work by electing the following delegates and reserves to Jurisdictional Conference. A complete delegate list may be found here

Ballot Five, laity only
Invalid

Ballot Six, clergy
Misty Barrett, 134
Matt Mobley, 134

Ballot Six, laity
John Moneyham, 234

Ballot Seven, laity
Robert Brooks, 228

Ballot Eight, laity
Tripp Gulledge, 232

Ballot Nine, laity
no election

Ballet Ten, laity
Antonius Barnes, 237

Board of Pension and Health Benefits: Rev. Steve Reneau of Elba FUMC and Ham Chapel UMC updated the conference on their committee's work and recognized its members. Report 12 in the 2019 Book of Reports, which was related to rental/housing allowances for retired or disabled clergypersons, was passed. It allows up to 100% of retirement benefits as housing. The 2020 Pre-82 past service rate was proposed and given to the voting body. The proposed rate for clergy was $789 and $552 for surviving spouses, which was a 2% increase from 2019 to 2020. The rate was approved. The articles of incorporation regarding membership were brought into alignment with the 2016 Book of Discipline. It was approved as was the full report. 

Equitable CompensationRev. Michael Cobb of Moundville UMC, Stewart UMC and China Grove UMC recommended on behalf of the Committee for Equitable Compensation that minimum salary be $38,000, a 2.27% decrease from the previous year. It was approved.   

Approved Budget: The conference established a $9,606,334 million budget for mission and ministry for 2020, a 10% decrease from 2019. The 2020 budget is the lowest in 20 years and ten percent lower, as previously indicated, than 2019. The recommended district superintendent salary for 2019 is $122,764,a 1.9% increase from the previous year to be in alignment with Conference Average Compensation. The unqualified audit report will appear in the 2019 Journal. In 2018, 377 churches paid 100% of their apportionments. Thank you for your faithful giving! 

Statistician's Report: Ms. Suzanne Krejcar, AWF Treasurer, reported that membership stands at 130,250 and worship attendance stands at 57,963. Native American, Multiracial, Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino attendance all showed areas of increase over the past year. Children and Youth in Christian Formation also showed an increase. Direct giving to United Methodist causes slightly decreased but showed a 274% increase since 2009. 

2020 Annual Conference: The 2020 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 7-10, 2019, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination. We express our sincere appreciation to both of these staffs for hosting us this past year.

Business session: The afternoon business session was opened with a prayer from President Daniel Coleman of Birmingham-Southern College. Mr. Alan Livingston was recognized for his 27 years of faithful service as conference chancellor. The crowd showed their thanks by rising to their feet with a thunderous applause. Mr. Bob Northcutt was introduced as the incoming conference chancellor and was approved by the voting body. Mr. George Parker was introduced and approved as the associate chancellor.  A video celebrating the United Methodist Women's 150th anniversary was shown. 

Report of the Cabinet: Rev. June Jernigan, AWF Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Ministerial Services, gave the report of the cabinet to include change in charge lines and property resolutions. It was included in member packets. 

Missional Offering Update: The 2019 Missional Offering for Wesley College/Teaming with Tanzania has received over $38,000 thus far. $1,654.10 was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund at last night's Service of Commissioning & Ordination. Thank you for your generosity! 

Local Church Heritage Award: Tanner Williams UMC is the recipient of this award. The award is presented by the AWF Historical Society for churches who perform outstanding work in preserving and celebrating their history. The church just celebrated 100 years in 2018. 

One Matters Award: Haleburg UMC is this year's winner of this award given by the AWF Town and Country Commission. Rev. Lance Eiland of Church Street UMC presented this award. In the fall of 2015, there were three people worshipping at the church. They now are worshipping about 60 with approximately 15 children. The church will also receive a $1,000 award to assist in their discipleship efforts.  

Francis Asbury Award: Lee Thomas of Millbrook FUMC received the Francis Asbury Award today, presented by Rev. Jenni Hendrix of Bethel UMC. Mr. Thomas received this award for his work with the Tuskegee University Wesley Foundation. 

Mary Mildred Sullivan Award: President Cam West was in attendance to present Bishop Graves with the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. He stated, "In this time of denominational turbulence, Bishop Graves has calmly embodied the ministry of hospitality, respectfully listening to all under his pastoral care and welcoming them into a prayerful journey to discern the mission of the United Methodist Church and the ways their gifts may be apportioned by the Spirit for the upbuilding of the Church. His faithful episcopal commitment to the unity of the Body of Christ–while recognizing and honoring the diversity of gifts within the Body–and his focus on the importance of the episcopal teaching office in discerning the shape of that unity moving forward are windows into the spiritual mission of Huntingdon College."

Denman Evangelism Award: There were three winners of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The clergy winner is Rev. Dunford Cole of Campground UMC and Rutledge UMC. The Youth recipient is Amber Gay of Robinson Springs UMC and the Lay recipient is Matt Hull, youth director at Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton

Alice Lee Award: This award goes to someone who was inspired by Alice's service and has chosen a path of service of their own. This year's recipient is Geraldine Stiffler of Foley UMC

Guardian of the Bell Award: Blake Horne with the United Methodist Children's Home was in attendance to present this year's Guardian of the Bell Award to Montgomery FUMC

UMC Federal Credit Union Scholarship: Rebekah Antonelli was presented a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the United Methodist Federal Credit Union. She is a current seminary student at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY. Jonathan Curtis presented the award from the credit union. 

Susanna Wesley Award: Allen Dunham, AWF United Methodist Men's President, presented the fifth annual Susanna Wesley Award for Excellence. The recipient of this annual award is Judy Reiter of Enterprise FUMC. He also updated the conference on the work of the UMM. 

Complete bios from today's award winners may be found online here.

Laity Report: Beverly Maddox, AWF Conference Lay Leader, updated the conference on the work of the laity and emphasized the partnership of clergy and laity. She also took time to recognize the district lay leaders and conference associate lay leader, Mr. Frank Jenkins. 

Conference Board of Trustees: Christy Crow with the AWF Trustees presented the GCFA disaffiliation plan which was a result of petition 90022 from the 2019 special-called General Conference session. Each conference Board of Trustees could propose amendments for this petition. In summary, the Alabama-West Florida amendments are as follows:

  • An amount equal to the Local Church’s pro rata share, as determined by Annual Conference, of Annual Conference’s unfunded Post Retirement Medical (PRM) obligation as calculated by a third-party actuary, valuation date as of 1/1/2019
  • Local Church cemetery property must be included with the Local Church assets that transfer at disaffiliation date
  • Filing for tax exempt status is the responsibility of the disaffiliating Local Church as the Local Church’s group ruling status will be revoked at disaffiliation date
  • Other requirements established by the Annual Conference Board of Trustees with the advice of the Cabinet, Treasurer, Benefits Officer, Director of Connectional Ministries and Chancellor and ratified by the Annual Conference prior to disaffiliation

Click here to see the proposed document. It was approved. 

Laity Banquet: Under the leadership of Beverly Maddox, the laity celebrated their work at the annual banquet. Sean Dietrich, also known as Sean of the South, was the entertainer and guest speaker for the evening. He also entertained the clergy spouses earlier in the day at their luncheon. He began his time with the laity with several crowd favorites such as, "Do Lord" and "This Little Light of Mine." He told old church stories through word and song, which were the well-known songs many people knew from growing up in the United Methodist Church. 

UMCOR Relief Kits: Tomorrow is the last day to bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies Wednesday from 7:30am-11:00am.

Multimedia

Photos
View photos from the 2019 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2019 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office. 

Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at www.frazerumc.org/live All times are CDT.

Wednesday, June 5
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service (following the morning business session)

Archived Sessions: The Frazer UMC AV staff is working tirelessly to archive sessions as soon as possible. All sessions will be archived here. Below are specific service links.

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live.  
                 

Hashtags: Use #awfac19 to join the Twitter and Facebook conversations and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at www.awfumc.org/ac2019.


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