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April 9, 2012 / Volume 11, No. 7 View Online

Annual Conference 2012 News & Updates

Updates to the Annual Conference section of the Web site are occurring often. To find out more information, go to www.awfumc.org/ac2012. Registration is now live online and can be found here. As a reminder, tote bags and packets will be distributed by your district office ahead of time. Click here to read about this new system. This year will feature a prayer line in partnership with the Upper Room. Details can be found here.

Conference News

EQUIP Leader Training

(Rev. Neil McDavid) - Cultivating fruitful leaders and congregations who make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is at the heart of our mission in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. One of the ways we are engaging the cultivation of fruitful leaders is through EQUIP LEADER TRAINING, a biblically based, servant leader training resource. The newly formed Academy for Congregational Excellence is leading this effort in partnership with the John Maxwell EQUIP group. Click here for full article.

Community Garden Helps Ex-offenders Give Back to Community

(Pensacola News Journal) - Darnell Wright remembers going to a Brownsville parking lot where he could hear the thudding beat of boom boxes, see cars with rims and candy paint jobs, and deal large amounts of drugs. Today, an area just down the street from that lot has been transformed into the REAP What You Sow Community Garden " a project first envisioned by U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers to help ex-offenders after their release from prison. Click here for full article.

Holy Land 2013

Join Bishop Paul Leeland and others from the AWF Conference for the trip of a lifetime in the Holy Land. Hear a message from him and learn more about the January 2013 pilgrimage here.

Summer is Right Around the Corner

Spring is officially here which means summer is just around the corner. Be sure to check out the Blue Lake summer website to register, to find information about all the camps they are offering this summer, and to take a look at the summer brochure. Click here to visit the website.

General Conference Dinner

If you are planning on attending General Conference and you would like to join the delegation for dinner on May 1 at Jackson's Bistro near the convention center, please contact Pat Luna at patluna@charter.net. Space is limited to 50 people. Reservations are required and will be taken on a first come first serve basis.

General Conference News

General Conference News and Info: www.gc2012.umc.org

Call to prayer for General Conference: The beauty of being a part of a connectional church is that we can call on one another to pray and support each other in prayer. As the 2012 General Conference approaches, it is important to know our prayer foundation is firm and we are connected in a global prayer network. In partnership with The Upper Room, the Prayer Support team for General Conference is providing "50 Days of Prayer for the General Conference," a daily prayer resource available free as an e-pub, email subscription or downloadable PDF. More>>

General Conference Petitions Online: 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.

2012 Schedule: The first week of General Conference is set aside for legislative committee work and the second week for plenary sessions. Take a look at what"s on the agenda in Tampa. View schedule.

General Conference 101 Online Course: General Conference 2012 begins in less than 60 days and one way to prepare is to use a self-directed course about the function and importance of General Conference now available online. "Exploring General Conference" invites users to read content, watch video clips, listen to audio clips, take quizzes, find supplementary materials, and participate in discussion forums. Click here for course.

General Conference App: Download the General Conference mobile app from United Methodist Communications. The iPhone, iPad and Android apps are now available.

Social Media: Use social media, including Facebook, www.facebook.com/gc2012, and Twitter, www.twitter.com/gc2012. The Twitter hashtag is #gc2012. Join the AWF Delegation on Twitter with the hashtag #awfgc12.

Daily Meditations: Join Robert Schnase for "Remember the Future: 30 Days of Preparation," a series of reflections as The United Methodist Church prepares for General Conference 2012. These daily meditations explore hope, purpose, leadership and making and becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. With Wesleyan, scriptural, and leadership themes, explore together the mission of the church in a time of great change. More>>

Q&A with General Agencies: A number of proposals are aimed at restructuring the denomination and its general ministries, so UMNS asked the top executives of each agency to answer five questions about their agency's role in the church.

Connectional News

UMCOR Cleaning Buckets Needed

(UMCOR) - As we begin to respond to Spring storms and approach hurricane season, we need to encourage folks now to get cleaning buckets to one of the seven UMCOR Relief Supply Network depots. Addresses and contact information can be found here. Details of what contents make up a bucket can be found here. We can"t afford to wait until the disaster happens. We have to be preparing today!

Do Numbers Matter?

(Ministry Matters) - All of us who support the mission of the UMC and work to achieve it continue to ask, how is success measured? How do we know if we are making progress and how do we define our faithfulness and fruitfulness in measurable terms? More.

Death of a Daughter - Our Experience of Grief Begins with a Good God

(UM Reporter) - Asbury Theological Seminary Professor Ben Witherington III writes about coping with his daughter"s recent death. He clings to the belief that "good grief begins with a good God." Click here for commentary.

Resources

Common Performance Rights Myths

(GBOD) - There are a lot of myths surrounding copyrighted material and its use in the church. Addressed in this video are some of the most common myths we come across, along with explanations, to better inform the Christian community of its requirements and responsibilities when performing and playing copyrighted music.

5 Tips for a Brilliant Blog

(UMCOM) - Simple to update and free to maintain, a blog provides the perfect platform for letting your congregation"s personality shine. It"s an informal way to let people get to know your church apart from your website. But what separates a good blog from BRILLIANT one? Check out these 5 tips.

Upcoming Events

How Online Giving Can Raise Your Church's Income Webinar, April 12

The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting, April 12

Inspirit: Hooray for the Red, White and Blue, April 12-14

Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries, April 12-15

The Academy for Ministries with Children, April 13-14

John Mark McMillan & Friends, April 14

National Workshop on Christian Unity, April 16-19

United Methodist Men's Advance, April 20-21

Beginning, Renewing and Rescuing Marriage, April 20-22

River Region Great Day of Service, April 21

Native American Ministries Sunday, April 22

Licensing School, April 24-29

General Conference, April 24-May 4

Marriage Encounter, April 27-29

Hooked on Helping, April 28

Troy University Wesley Foundation Golf Tournament, April 30

"Heaven is for Real" Book Tour, May 4

Early Response Training, May 12

UMCH Golf Tournament, May 20

Springtime by the Sea, May 21-24

AWF Annual Conference, June 3-6

SURGE into Missions: Christian Summer Youth Events, June 14-July 22

UMCH Softball Tournament, June 16

Generations Together at Epworth by the Sea, June 22-25

Summer Church Music Workshop, July 15-20

Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 18-20

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