AWF Lay Leader Plays Key Role in MLK Memorial
As we celebrate Black History Month, probably the most notable leader in the Civil Rights Movement is now properly memorialized in our nation's capital thanks to one of our outstanding leaders in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Mr. Frank Jenkins, III, a member of Metropolitan United Methodist Church, where he serves on the administrative council as well as several conference committees, was appointed to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation"s board of directors upon its formation in 1998 and has served from inception to dedication as chairman of the audit committee. Click here for full article.
What I've Learned About Church Planting in My First Six Months
(Rev. Sean Peters) - I have been planting my new church, The Journey, for the past six months. It is something I have always wanted to do from the moment I began pursuing a call to full-time vocational ministry in 2003. I was elated when the Conference informed me last year that I would be appointed to start a new church in July. I began to immediately map out what my new church was going to look like and the strategic process that I would implement in order to ensure that The Journey would become successful. That was in June. It is now February, and I have learned a lot. Here are a few lessons I"ve learned that may help potential new church start pastors or any pastor for that matter when heading into a time of change or renewal. Click here for full post. Sean's blog was also selected to be a featured blog post on www.umc.org and is live now!
Nellie Burge Announces New Executive Director
The Board of Directors of the Nellie Burge Community Center proudly announces the appointment of Debbie Dobbins as the new Executive Director. Ms. Dobbins brings to this position 25 years experience with nonprofits and over twelve years in senior management. She directed an outreach office with the Methodist Children"s Home in Waco, TX, and was the COO for the United Methodist Children"s Homes in Alabama. Click here for more.
Housing Allowances for Clergy
The following information was shared with us from the Legal Department at the General Council on Finance and Administration regarding housing allowances for clergy: In December 2010, the U.S. Tax Court issued a controversial decision in a case involving the clergy housing allowance. The decision held that a ministerial taxpayer could apply the housing allowance exclusion to more than one home. The IRS appealed the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. On February 8, 2012, the 11th Circuit reversed the Tax Court"s decision and held the housing allowance can only be applied to one home. Click here for full article.
Around the Conference
Living Into a Dream: The Teaching Parish Program
(Guest Commentary: Rev. Jay D. Cooper) - History reminds us that unless we learn from the past we are likely to repeat it. No other appropriate words could apply to the way Montgomery has witnessed strides toward racial reconciliation than these. Although we should all acknowledge that more may be done to bridge the divide between all boundaries we create for ourselves, we should also celebrate the sacrifices and efforts of those who have paved the road toward justice and peace. This reality could not have landed any more closely to home than it did on February 6th. Click here for full article.
"Next Year in Jerusalem"
(Rev. Joe Bullington) - That"s the way the Passover Seder ends, and it"s appropriate for the Alabama-West Florida Conference; Bishop Paul Leeland invites the conference to join him in January of 2013 for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It will be a life-changing experience for all who participate. You"ll never read the Bible in the same way again after you have walked in the places where God unfolded His drama of redemption. Its scenes will come alive after you have bowed at the manger in Bethlehem, worshipped on the Sea of Galilee, followed the Palm Sunday crowd down the Mount of Olives, knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane, walked the Via Dolorosa, wept at Golgotha, and sung at the empty tomb. Click here for more.
Teaching Children to Tithe
(Rev. Dan Pezet in Lewis Center for Church Leadership) - Teaching children to tithe is an important part of their faith education that we often overlook. Giving to God is a core value of our faith that should be taught early and reinforced often. The most common way that I see tithing taught to children is simply by grownups giving children a quarter to put in the offering plate. This is okay for very young children because it gives them an opportunity to participate. But this may not send the right message to elementary school children. Click here for more.
PUMC Youth Shares Personal Account of Mission Work
Click here to read a Q and A with Hannah Gipson. A 17-year-old youth group member at Prattville United Methodist Church who has been blessed and a blessing thanks to her involvement through mission work at the local church level. She also discusses the yearly fundraiser her youth group holds so that youth are able to experience these life-changing moments.
Simpson Chapel Rededication
(GBCS) - Bishop Deborah Kiesey, president of the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), will preach at a rededication service Wednesday, Feb. 15, of the historic Simpson Memorial Chapel in the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. For more than eight decades, Simpson Chapel has offered a place for worship, education and reflection at the heart of Capitol Hill. The rededication follows a two-month renovation, the second in its history. Click here for full story.
'Singing Church' Conference to explore congregational song
Emory University"s Candler School of Theology delves into the issue of music in worship at "The Singing Church: Current Practices and Emerging Trends in Congregational Song" March 19-21. The school has assembled a roster of well-known church music professionals to address the so-called "worship wars," a topic that has divided churches for more than a decade. For full article, click here.
General Conference Petitions Online
(UMNS) - The Advance Edition of the Daily Christian Advocate, the official journal of General Conference, is now online and available for download at gc2012.umc.org/ADCA. The advance contains all the legislation submitted for consideration by the delegates. The edition is available in English, French and Portuguese.
What Will the UMC Look Like in 80 Years?
(GBOD) - Click here to see a video from the General Board of Discipleship about what some think the church will look like several generations from now. This is part one of a five-part series.
US-2 and Mission Intern Deadline Extended
Address the causes of injustice and live the gospel alongside communities and organizations seeking peace by applying to become a US-2 or Mission Intern. The deadline has been extended to February 19, 2012. Information can be found here or here.
One Great Hour of Sharing is March 18
One Great Hour of Sharing is just weeks away. Be sure to order your free offering resources for this offering that supports the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) so that it may respond immediately and effectively to emergencies around the world as they did in our conference this past spring. When you give to One Great Hour of Sharing, you help to build the strong foundation on which all other UMCOR ministries are built. Because One Great Hour of Sharing covers UMCOR"s administrative costs,100 percent of gifts designated for specific projects is used for those programs.
Sermon Series for Lent
(Ministry Matters) - Ash Wednesday is only weeks away! If you need ideas for Sundays during Lent, explore the Lent Sermon Series bin. And be sure to check out the This Sunday bins each week for worship helps, message ideas, Bible study aids, and other tools. And don't forget"you can create your own bins to organize everything you find on Ministry Matters. Plus, you can create as many bins as you like!
Upper Room App Available
(UMNS) " A free Upper Room Devotional Life app is available for download on Apple and Android products. The app will offer meditations from The United Methodist Church"s Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide. The Upper Room is part of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Click here for more.
UMVIM Team Leader Training, February 18
VBS Training for Operation Overboard, February 19
Preaching Excellence: A Learning Community, February 20
Safe Sanctuaries Training with Rev. Joy Melton, February 21
Fair Labor Standards Act for Church Staffing Seminar, February 22
UMW Tapestry Retreat, February 24-25
Prayer and Mission Conference, February 24-25
Disaster Response and ERT Training, February 25
Creating Jazz Liturgy, February 27-29
Knit, Pray, Love, February 29-March 2
AWF Bishop's Day Apart, March 5
28th Holy Spirit Conference, March 9-10
Stephen Ministry Workshop, March 10
Wesley Heirs Spring Meeting, March 13-14
Lay Speaking Training Academy, March 16-18
The "Revelation Event," March 23-25
Ultimate Training Event (UTE) - Training in Youth Ministry, March 31
Inspirit: Hooray for the Red, White and Blue, April 12-14
The Academy for Ministries with Children, April 13-14
United Methodist Men's Advance, April 20-21
Beginning, Renewing and Rescuing Marriage, April 20-22
Springtime by the Sea, May 21-24