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Mission Agency Prepares for Long-term Integrated Response to Ebola

10/9/2014
October 8, 2014—Since June 2014, the General Board of Global Ministries’ United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Global Health unit have been working in collaboration on a global scale to coordinate an integrated approach in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Community education about the disease, health worker protection and psychosocial counseling for affected people and their families are the strategy’s three prongs, said Dr. Olusimbo Ige, of Global...

United Methodist Agency to Reshape Its Global Mission and Ministries

10/7/2014
New York, NY, October 3, 2014—The United Methodist Church’s global mission agency will create a network of offices around the world linked and accountable to headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning in late 2016. Part of the plan requires the approval of denominational financial and program coordinating entities. Directors of the General Board of Global Ministries in a historical action on October 3 voted to set up offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A new Georgia-based...

A Word from the Bishop: Reflections on Acts 15

10/5/2014
Bishop Paul Leeland is part of a reading group, initiated by Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Conference. The group, including many bishops and laity from across the world, are reading one chapter of Luke and Acts, which totals 52 weeks. This allows the group to read one chapter per week and share insight on the readings with one another. Bishop Leeland shares his thoughts below on Acts 15.  Acts 15 provides great insight into our current Church where there has been "no little...

Circles of Transformation: Transforming People, Congregations, and Communities

9/23/2014
(Fred Blackwell) - “I’ve got people now!” So exclaimed Jose Maya, a recent Circles graduate in Dothan, Alabama. Dothan is the pilot site for Circles start-up in the AWFUMC. Maya is typical of those who can benefit from the Circles ministry. He’s struggling to make a living and wants to find a better way forward. After losing his job, he found himself in remedial math classes at the local community college. These classes were needed to prepare him for career...

Imagine No Malara: An Update from the AWF Director of Mission & Advocacy

9/8/2014
(Susan Hunt) - 65,321. That is roughly the population of the city of Dothan, Alabama. That is also how many people in Africa will now have the chance to live because of the effort you, the Alabama-West Florida Conference, have made toward beating malaria through the Imagine No Malaria campaign. We are now 65.3% of the way to our goal of saving 100,000 lives. Imagine No Malaria is the commitment by the United Methodist Church to fight malaria and end deaths due to this completely...

Blue Lake Board of Trustees Announces New Director

9/5/2014
The Blue Lake Camp Board of Trustees are pleased to announce Steve Lewandowski as its new executive director following the recent retirement of Ms. Phyllis Murray.  Steve grew up in Tulsa, OK, where he was heavily involved in his youth group at the First United Methodist Church. It was at summer camp that Steve dedicated his life to the service of Christ. He graduated from Tulsa Edison High School and received both his BS and MS degrees from Oklahoma State University in...

Know Your DS: Dr. Chris Eckert

9/5/2014
The next three editions of the NewsCONNECTION will feature a district superintendent that has not yet been featured before. This edition's spotlight is on Dr. Chris Eckert, Demopolis District Superintendent. What Brought You to the Ministry? The call from God on my heart. I truly feel God called me to be a service to the people in this area of the south. The Best Book I’ve Read About Methodism Is: American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists Favorite Vacation Destination: Two...

Guest Commentary: Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon

8/25/2014
During a sociology of religion class, our professor shared that religious belief and participation helps to hold the elements of life together. As a Christian and a pastor, I would agree but contend that for us as followers of Jesus Christ, he anchors us in the varied, unexpected, unanticipated events of our earthly existence. This weekend has been a reminder of this for me on several levels, dealing with emerging matters that command your time and attention. I am mindful of the saying that...

Know Your DS: Dr. Doug Pennington

8/21/2014
The next four editions of the NewsCONNECTION will feature a district superintendent that has not yet been featured before. This edition's spotlight is on Dr. Doug Pennington, Mobile District Superintendent. What Brought You to the Ministry? I came to faith in college and ended up attending Camp Glory on Perdido Bay where I felt called to ministry. The Best Book I’ve Read About Methodism Is: "The Burning Heart: John Wesley, Evangelist" by A. Skevington Wood Favorite...

Bishop Schnase's Statement on Ferguson

8/19/2014
Dear friends, People have asked about what the United Methodist Church is doing in response to the events in recent days in Ferguson, Missouri, and so I’d like to lift up a few significant points of engagement and offerings of ministry. The Missouri Conference launched a new church start in Ferguson two years ago after identifying the community as underserved by the United Methodist Church. Wellspring United Methodist Church is located two blocks from the area seen frequently on...

QuadW Missional Internship Receives YCI Grant of $86,000

8/18/2014
(Rev. Don Woolley) - The QuadW Missional Internship has been awarded an $86,000 grant from the Young Clergy Initiative, administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) of the United Methodist Church. This grant will fund expansion of the QuadW Missional Internship into the Western, North Central, and Northeastern Jurisdictions of the UMC. We are grateful and excited about this opportunity to partner with the YCI and United Methodist churches to help young people...

An Invitation To Catapult 2014

8/14/2014
One of the emphases of my address to the annual conference was that every church can be a missional-invitational church. Every church within the bounds of the Alabama-West Florida Conference can embody the God who sends and the God who welcomes. It is from this missional-invitational posture that we can more effectively make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Today, I want to tell you about how you can learn more about missional life and ministry and what it means...

New Cabinet Meets in Scheduled July Session

8/11/2014
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - The Cabinet of the Alabama-West Florida Conference met recently in Montgomery. The session was devoted primarily to reviewing the overall mission and ministry of the conference. Bishop Leeland and the district superintendents were apprised of the ongoing work to develop spiritual directors to work with individual clergy and laity, as well as congregations, in areas of spiritual formation and disciplines. Reverend Dan Pezet, the Director of Congregational Vitality,...

The Power of a Small Envelope

8/11/2014
Life-changing moments are expected to happen with the birth of a child, marrying your true love, saying goodbye to a parent, perhaps even being called into the ministry. It’s the unexpected moments and generosity of others that can have a profound impact on one’s life. On the evening of August 7, 2014, a capacity crowd gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery, AL, to celebrate a remarkable foundation. The Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation held its...

Know Your DS: Dr. Larry Bryars

8/7/2014
Many of you will remember the spotlight on our eight district superintendents. The next five editions of the NewsCONNECTION will feature a district superintendent that has not yet been featured before. This edition's spotlight is on Dr. Larry Bryars, Marianna-Panama City District Superintendent.  What Brought You to the Ministry? I did not run from ministry. In fact, I was running towards it. In college I was working in a ministry that was seeing people come to know Christ. I had a...

Know Your DS: Rev. Sara Shaver

7/24/2014
Many of you will remember the spotlight on our eight district superintendents. The next six editions of the NewsCONNECTION will feature a district superintendent that has not yet been featured before. This edition's spotlight is on Rev. Sara Shaver, Dothan District Superintendent.  What Brought You to the Ministry? I began my journey to the ordained ministry by working at Dalraida UMC as the Director of Christian Education. During that time is when God called me to move toward...

Strong Support Moves Alabama-West Florida Toward Imagine No Malaria Goal

7/17/2014
United Methodists in Alabama-West Florida had cause to celebrate at their annual gathering this year: An outpouring of grass-roots support has put them at almost 60 percent of a $1 million goal for Imagine No Malaria. Earlier this year, Bishop Paul L. Leeland had announced an initiative to save 100,000 lives through Imagine No Malaria, The United Methodist Church’s campaign to help eradicate deaths in Africa from the mosquito-borne disease. At the annual gathering in June in Montgomery,...

Texas Bishops Respond to Border Crisis in Joint Letter to all Texas Methodists

7/17/2014
The bishops of the five Texas Annual Conferences have issued a letter to all Texas Methodists in response to the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Bishops’ prayer is that the letter be shared with local churches throughout the state in myriad ways – such as included in local church newsletters and on websites and social media pages; incorporated  into sermons and/or worship liturgy; and offered up to small groups and Bible studies to focus...

June 18, 2014, Flood Update

6/19/2014
Below is a recap from Amelia Fletcher, AWF Conference Disaster Response Coordinator.   Alabama: Baldwin County has set up a Long Term Recovery operation with officers. An office has been set up at Prodisee Pantry in Spanish Fort. Assessment and evaluation of information is currently being done. Lutheran Disaster has loaned us an office/volunteer manager for three to four weeks.  Case management will be handled by the current service agencies. ALVOAD has...

Poll: Making disciples tops United Methodists priorities; sexuality ranks low

6/5/2014
June 4, 2014 Poll: Making disciples tops United Methodists’ priorities; sexuality ranks low More than 90 percent of members say church shouldn’t split over issue NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A new poll of United Methodists in the United States shows that issues related to human sexuality rank significantly lower than other concerns, and members want the church to engage on this issue and bring a positive perspective to the discussion.   Creating disciples of Christ, spiritual...
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