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April 23, 2012 / Volume 11, No. 8 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.

Conference News

Furr to Give General Conference Laity Address

The Alabama-West Florida Lay Leader, Dr. Steve Furr, will give one of three laity addresses at general conference. All three laity address will be Wednesday, April 25 during the 7am-10am plenary session. Furr will follow the morning prayer time and Episcopal address and is the second presenter of three giving a laity address. Immediately following the lay speakers is the young people's address. To watch the live streaming of the address, visit the 2012 General Conference site at www.gc2012.umc.org. Dr. Furr was also featured in the United Methodist News Service Daily Digest. To read his commentary, click here.

Sign up for General Conference Updates

Your Alabama-West Florida Communications Office will be in attendance offering you news and information via the 2012 General Conference e-news updates. These emails will offer you up-to-the minute news, information, photos, and important voting decisions concerning this very important meeting in the life of the United Methodist Church. If you would like to receive the 2012 General Conference e-news updates, please subscribe by visiting this link and select 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conference Updates. Please note: all active clergy and lay leaders are automatically subscribed. Others may opt in via the link provided.

UMCH Board Announces New President/CEO

The board of directors of the United Methodist Children"s Home is announcing the appointment of Dr. K. Blake Horne as the agency"s new President/CEO effective May 16th, 2012. "I am truly humbled to have the privilege of serving the children and families of Alabama and northwest Florida through the United Methodist Children"s Home," said Horne. Click here for full article.

Lenten Challenge for Additional Apportionments

(Rev. Riley Richardson) - The congregation of Myrtle Grove UMC was asked to respond to a "Lenten Challenge." The challenge was for members to give up eating out one night a week during the season of Lent, and to give the amount they would have spent on that meal to our "Special Lenten Offering." The money that was raised would go to help pay ADDITIONAL apportionments for 2012. $3,806.41 was raised and will be paid in addition to what we accepted to pay in our apportionment giving for the year. The first two items that will be paid are our two district apportionments. Myrtle Grove United Methodist really responded to this challenge, and I am so proud to serve this church!

Demopolis District Celebrates Glory Sightings

On Palm Sunday, the Geiger Community gathered for a celebration of the first anniversary of the tornado that destroyed two church buildings: Soul Chapel UMC (Rev. Clarence Burrell) and Mt. Calvary Baptist. These congregations had been invited the previous Palm Sunday to worship with Geiger First UMC (Rev. Wilson Kendrick). This Palm Sunday they joined in worship through song and testimony about the progress that had been made in the community. They were especially grateful that Christians were leading the way as two African American and one Anglo Church came together. Then on Easter Sunday, McDaniel Memorial UMC in Brent had the honor and privilege to baptize three persons and to receive seven adults by profession of faith. This represented a work of faithfulness by the McDaniel Church family and Rev. Elaine Hagenbuch who kept this cause before these families.

GBUMC Celebrates Record Number of Baptisms

(Dr. Lester Spencer, Gulf Breeze UMC) - I want to give the Lord thanks for blessing us with an awesome Easter! Our worship attendance was amazing as 5,649 people attended one of our eight Easter services on this past Resurrection Sunday! And we were blessed to witness close to 100 folks being baptized with approximately 80 of those at the 6am Easter Sunrise Service in the Sound at Flounders on the beach! All the pastors agreed that we had never had so much fun at Easter ... doing the baptisms together!!

Dothan First Grocery Shops for Community

(Rev. Rudy Heintzelman, Executive Pastor of First UMC of Dothan) - As gas prices continue on the rise, many of the working poor in our community have to make the hard decision to buy food or put fuel in their auto to get to work. If they do not go to work, they get no money. It certainly is a Catch-22 situation for them. Of course, we also know that the price of groceries has gone up dramatically over the last few months. Because of this there has been a marked increase in the number of people who literally need to supplement the food resources for their families. Click here for full article.

Around the Conference

AWF Director Offers Prayer on Day of Remembrance

Rev. June Jernigan, AWF Director of Ministerial Services, will give the opening prayer this Friday, April 27, for the Governor's Time of Remembrance at the Alabama State Capitol. Various religious leaders along with Governor Bentley will gather on the capitol steps to remember one of the nation's worst tornado outbreaks in history affecting many states and killing 243 people in the state of Alabama. A record 208 tornados touched down on that horrific day. The United Methodist Church has been integral in assisting those who suffered a loss after the outbreak and continues to rebuild areas that were devastated.

Churches Come to the Service of Dozens of Local Projects

(Montgomery Advertiser) - For some local churches, Saturday was a day of fellowship and a day of service. Methodist churches in the River Region came together to take part in projects around the area in what was called a "Great Day of Service." "It"s a day the church decides to get outside of their buildings and into the community," said John Brooks, pastor at Metropolitan United Methodist Church. The church spent the morning at Davis Elementary School, painting the bathrooms and hallway of the fifth-grade floor. Brooks said there were about 15 people helping throughout the day, with volunteers from both the school and the church. Click here for full story.

Last Call for 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.

Alabama Rural Ministries Seeking Summer Help

Alabama Rural Ministries has three-day camp counselor positions available for its summer mission camps in Tuskegee and Livingston, Alabama. Staff will work most of the day with children ages 5-12 in a summer Christian day camp setting while also hosting youth mission teams each week. Includes a $1,700 scholarship, weekly $20 stipend, housing and most meals. There are also openings for work teams in July primarily at the camp in Tuskegee. For more information go to www.arm-al.org.

Peddlin' for a Cure

Pictured below are Rev. Tommy Gaillard (left) and Rev. Bob Sweet (right) of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church who along with approximately 200 other riders hit the road in Monroeville, AL on Good Friday by riding 62 miles or 100 kilometers in an effort to raise money that will be used to find a cure for cancer. Peddlin" For a Cure is part of the Monroe County Relay for Life that will take place later this month. This year"s event included a short ride to the old Monroe County Courthouse and then to three crosses in Monroeville for a brief Good Friday service before a long day of pedaling. Together, Revs. Gaillard and Sweet raised over $3,700 for this effort which they are both passionate about. Both have lost family members to the disease of cancer and look forward to the day that no one need hear the words " "It"s cancer and I"m afraid there is nothing we can do."

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 tomorrow 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

Episcopal Address to Stream on Web and App

When Bishop Peter D. Weaver delivers the Episcopal Address on April 25 at the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Fla., it will mark the 200th anniversary of the first Episcopal address. While Weaver"s address, titled "The Resurrection Revolution: The Resurrection Christ with Resurrection People for a Resurrection World," is steeped in historical tradition, it will mark the first address to be live streamed on the General Conference mobile app for United Methodists around the globe to experience. It will also be live streamed on gc2012.umc.org. Click here for more.

$130,728 in 2012 Ethnic Local Church Grants

(Washington, D.C.) - This spring, directors of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) have awarded $130,728 in Ethnic Local Church grants. The Ethnic Local Church Grants program is to strengthen congregations through education, advocacy or leadership development for social-justice engagement. Grants are awarded twice each year. Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, an initiative of The United Methodist Church, received $12,000 to support its commitment to nurture and sustain a national network of coaching among African-American congregations. Collaborative Coaching aims to recruit and retain, model and mentor black church leadership. A focus of this funding is coaching congregations concerned about the high rate of incarceration of African-American men. GBCS funding will support work in 21 conferences including the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Click here for full article.

Upcoming Events

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

Retirement Matters: Transitions, Opportunities, Challenges, May 7-18

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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