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Agency Updates

Mary Ellen"s Hearth Opens Its Doors

After years of planning, the new ministry, Mary Ellen"s Hearth " a ministry of the Nellie Burge Community Center " opened its doors to homeless women and their children on August 1. Click here for more information.

Nellie Burge Receives Development Grant

(The Montgomery Advertiser) - Several Montgomery charities together will receive more than $650,000 in federal and state grant money to support their work in the community. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange announced 10 grant recipients at a news conference Thursday, and a representative from each organization said a few words about how the funds would help them accomplish their goals. The Nellie Burge Community Center, where the news conference was held, will receive $55,000. The center provides transitional housing to the homeless and their children while helping its residents gain skills to live independently after their two-year stay. Full article here.

Dumas Wesley Community Center Video Produced

Click here to see a new video about Dumas Wesley Community Center in Mobile, AL. {Note: you may need to click "play" then "pause" and allow a few minutes for the video to load}.

Conference News

New Advance Ministries Approved; Brochure Available

As United Methodists we share in the rich tradition of realizing the exponential opportunities for impacting the world for Jesus Christ through our connectional giving. On an annual conference level the Advance represents our arm of intentional giving in support of emerging ministries within the AWF annual conference.

Through an annual application process, the Conference Board of Global Ministries recommends the listing of those missions and ministries approved for Conference Advance Special Status. The list is approved during annual conference each year.

Through this listing, found in the brochure and in the 2012 Brochure of Reports, churches have the opportunity to go the "extra mile" in giving. 100% of every Advance gift is sent directly to the mission or ministry of your choice.

For more details, visit www.awfumc.org/advance. At that link, you can also download a copy of the current brochure.

For paper copies of the brochure, and more information, contact Susan Hunt at susan@awfumc.org, or Bill Felio, Conference Advance coordinator, at 334-799-9928.

Awads Itinerate Through Conference

Alex and Brenda Awad, United Methodist Missionaries serving in East Jerusalem, Palestine, will be itinerating through our conference in late September. If your church is interested in hearing from these missionaries, they have two open days on their schedule " September 28 and 29. Contact Susan Hunt at 334-356-8014 or susan@awfumc.org for more information.

This is their remaining schedule if you are nearby and want to hear them speak:
Wednesday, September 26
Daytime: Woodland UMC, Pike Road
Evening: First UMC, Montgomery
Thursday, September 27: Bradford"s Chapel, Shorter, AL
Sunday, September 30: Christ UMC, Mobile

Discernment Event: Is God Calling You?

Deaconesses and Home Missioners in the United Methodist Church are lay women and men who have responded to a call from God to enter into vocations serving with those who are marginalized and in need in the world today. Deaconesses and Home Missioners have a formal connection to the United Methodist Church while serving in a variety of vocations. These include nurses, non-profit directors and program coordinators, teachers, advocates, and many more.

Maybe God is calling you into that ministry, too. There will be a discernment event October 5-7 at Pensacola First UMC where you can learn more about this special calling.

Click here for more details. Or contact Susan Hunt at susan@awfumc.org or 334-356-8014. Deadline for application is August 25, 2012.

Mobile Ministry Featured at Annual Conference

During Annual Conference this June, a powerful video was shown to the delegates. The video was all about excellent mission ministry happening in Mobile. In case you missed it, or just want to see it again, click here.

Disaster Response Update

Disaster Kits Collected at Annual Conference

Thank you to all the churches who participated in this year"s relief kit drive at Annual conference. A total of 1,285 kits were collected from 58 churches. Click here to see more details.

A special big thank-you goes to Coleman-American/Covan for their donation of the truck and for transporting the kits on to UMCOR"s Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, Louisiana. This is the third year they have supported this collection drive.

Connecting Neighbors: Is Your Church Prepared for the Next Disaster?

What if a disaster strikes your church? Your parsonage? Your neighborhood? Your city? Does your church have a plan? It"s too late after a disaster has struck to come up with that plan. Local churches are in a unique position to be a positive force in response to disasters. Many churches already do respond just after a disaster in their neighborhood, but churches with a plan can offer ministry that is even more effective. A proper plan can minimize confusion and can speed up the process of responding and tending to peoples" spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

UMCOR offers a training program that helps churches prepare for disasters. It is called "Connecting Neighbors." This is a two- to three-hour training for church leaders, and is not the same as ERT (Early Response Team) Training. Click here to see a PDF brochure.

To schedule a "Connecting Neighbors" workshop at your church, contact Amelia Fletcher, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at amelia@gulfhsoresumc.org or 251-978-8384.

Connectional News

United Methodist Volunteers in Mission " Proposals at Jurisdictional Conference

At Jurisdictional Conference just a few weeks ago, the delegates approved two recommendations related to the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (SEJ). The first request encourages local churches "to observe Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Awareness Sunday annually"" The second request encourages all churches to coordinate all short-term mission teams through UMVIM. Both requests were overwhelmingly approved. Click here for more details.

Young Adults from Nine Countries to be Commissioned for Mission

Through the General Board of Global Ministries, young adults have an opportunity to serve in Mission work. US-2s serve in the United States for two years. Mission Interns serve for three years, approximately half of the time abroad and half of the time in their home country. The 36 members of the class of 2012 represent nine countries and will be serving in 17 countries and ten annual conferences.

As part of their training, the young adults share how God is calling them into mission. For three weeks, they prepare through prayer, Bible study, cultural training, and community-building to become young adult missionaries for The United Methodist Church.

The class of 2012 will be commissioned as Mission Interns and US-2s on August 3, 2012, in Alexandria, Virginia. The commissioning service will be webcast live. Full article here.

Contact Susan Hunt at susan@awfumc.org or 334-356-8014 for more information about the US-2 and Mission Intern programs.

Haiti Progress Report

UMCOR"s (The United Methodist Committee on Relief) report on its work in Haiti during the first two years since the 2010 earthquake is a valuable tool for study about the progress that is possible through partnership. Click here to download a copy.

Medical Team Invitation for Haiti

(Susan Meister) - UMVIM and UMCOR in Haiti have announced that medical teams are now welcome to schedule mission service to existing partner health programs in the Port-au-Prince area. These programs include King's Hospital; Partners in Development (PID); Grace Children's Hospital; and HUEH TB Clinic, Hospital General. In addition, UMVIM volunteers are invited to mission service at one of the nine Methodist Church of Haiti (EMH) clinics or to participate in the EMH Mobile Clinic pilot project.

For more information, or for any questions, click here to read the full press release and/or email Susan Meister at haitivolunteers@yahoo.com.

Book Recommendation

When Helping Hurts

There are many great books out there about mission work and how churches can be engaged in the process of reaching out to their communities. One I highly recommend for all churches is When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. The subtitle is "How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor " and yourself."

This book is good for all congregations to read, but is especially good for congregations that are reconsidering their outreach programs and how they minister to people in need. Instead of continuing ministries and programs that only put bandages on people"s difficult circumstances, or even make their situations worse, this book explores strategies for truly transforming lives.

It is challenging, practical, and also inspiring. It can even be used in a small-group setting.

If every church in our conference, large and small, read this book and began to utilize the principles it recommends, the difference we could make would be substantial. The principles also fit well with the "Circles of Transformation" initiative we are starting throughout the Alabama-West Florida Conference, and is already a key part of the training for that ministry.

For congregations that have read the book and want to know more, there will be a seminar held by the Chalmers Center on Saturday, August 18 in Birmingham. Click here for more information or click here to register.



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