January Cabinet Synopsis
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - Bishop Leeland and members of the Cabinet recently held their first meeting of 2014. There is much to celebrate in the life of the Alabama-West Florida Conference because the Spirit is moving among our congregations and we are developing devoted followers of Jesus Christ across our area. We give thanks for the leadership of clergy and laity who bear witness to the love of God, who inspire others, and who serve with gladness in our communities. The collective...
Bishop's Day Apart for All God's Servants, an Invitation from Bishop Leeland
It is my sincere pleasure to invite you, as clergy and laity, to our Alabama-West Florida Conference “Bishop’s Day Apart for All God’s Servants” which is scheduled for March 3, 2014, at St. James United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL from 9:00am-4:00pm.
This year, reflecting the growing partnership with laity who are leading our congregations and serving on District Mission Teams, we are inviting both clergy and laity – All God’s Servants...
Upcoming Deadlines in Standing Rules
Greetings in the name of Christ. As preparations are underway for the 2014 meeting of Annual Conference, June 1-4 at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, Alabama, the Committee on Standing Rules will be looking at proposed changes to these rules; you will find them listed on pages 17-27 of our 2013 Journal. If you do not have a printed Journal, you may view it online here.
Let me alert you to these upcoming deadlines, which are in our current Standing Rules:
• Any proposed...
Advent Greetings from the Bishop
Dear Alabama-West Florida family,
"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'"
"After they had heard the king, they went on their way and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When...
Foundation Dream Realized: $10,000 Scholarships to Full-Time Students
(Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation) - In September 2013, Dr. Karl K. Stegall dared to write of a bold vision. He said in the Foundation’s quarterly brochure, “With your great encouragement and generosity, I am now dreaming of the day, in the not too distant future, when we might be able to provide a minimum of $10,000 as a cash scholarship for each full-time student, sharply decreasing what they have to borrow.” As donors read those words, God was already...
Prepare for upcoming clergy retirement plan changes
Changes to the clergy retirement plan are fast approaching. Have you taken the actions necessary to prepare?
The General Conference 2012 plan changes – which go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 – will affect clergy in different ways. If you are in the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP), you may need to start or increase your United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) contributions to ensure you earn matching contributions to the CRSP Defined Contribution plan. You...
Council of Bishops Takes Action Following Same-Gender Ceremony
(Lake Junaluska, N.C/UMNS) Following the action of a retired bishop to conduct a same-gender ceremony in violation of church law, the United Methodist Council of Bishops took a series of actions to address the issue during their annual meeting this week in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The Council requested that Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council, and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference file a complaint regarding Bishop Melvin Talbert’s action,...
Bishop Leeland Encourages Offering for Philippines Relief
Bishop Leeland Encourages Offering for Philippines Relief
In the Philippines, home to more than 210,000 United Methodists, countless numbers of people are suffering from the devastating results of Typhoon Haiyan, described as one of the most powerful hurricanes in history. Typhoon Haiyan caused extensive damage, destroying about 41,000 homes, displacing at least 670,000 people, and affecting a total of 11.3 million people. Thousands are feared dead. Without assistance, many more lives are in...
AWF 2016 Delegation Number Announced by General Conference Secretary
Delegates to the 2016 General Conference are to be elected at either the 2014 or 2015 session of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. (Paragraph 502.3)
You are to elect 5 Clergy Delegates and 5 Lay Delegates.
In accordance with Pars. 34-36 in the Constitution, delegates to the jurisdictional conferences are also to be elected.
¶ 34. Article III.—The annual conference shall elect clergy and lay delegates to the General Conference and to its jurisdictional or central...
With needs on rise, religious leaders warn against food stamp cuts
(Linda Bloom*, UMConnections) - If Congress drastically cuts the federal food stamp program, religious institutions will not be able to fill the gap for hungry families.
That was the message delivered by religious leaders from southeastern states who participated in an Oct. 30 media briefing.
The leaders expressed their concerns the same day as the first public meeting of the Congressional farm bill conference committee in Washington. The U.S. House version of the farm bill would cut the...
October Cabinet Holds Planned Session
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - The Cabinet of the Alabama-West Florida Conference met in a regularly scheduled session on October 14-15 at the Conference Office in Montgomery. A significant portion of this meeting was devoted to reviewing the ministry program of the conference, in a continued effort to align offerings with the SEND (Seek, Engage, Nurture, and Deploy) model for leadership throughout our churches. Following the Seed Cast event, conversation continued to focus on the development...
AWF Delegation Task Force Appointed
(Montgomery, AL) - UMConnections, a blog about the United Methodist Church, recently reported that the 2016 session of General Conference will see a drop in the number of delegates based on a vote by the Commission. Most likely, the Alabama-West Florida Conference will also see a reduction in the number of delegates in 2016.
In response to a motion presented at the 2013 Annual Conference, held in Mobile, AL, a task force was implemented to identify information related to persons who wish...
Pensacola District On Watch for Tropical Storm Karen
The conference office received this note from Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon, Pensacola District Superintendent. It was sent to his district but we are reposting here for our Pensacola-area followers.
Based on the lastest advisory, the greatest impacts from Tropical Storm Karen will be experienced in our area [Pensacola District] during the morning hours on Sunday. Because of the timing of this event, pastors and local church leaders are encouraged to monitor this situation and use...
In Memoriam: Evelyn Lowery
Evelyn Lowery, the wife of civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, died overnight in her Atlanta home.
She was 88.
“My beloved Evelyn was a special woman, whose life was committed to service, especially around the issues of empowering women,” Joseph E. Lowery said in a statement Wednesday. “She was a wonderful mother and wife and I thank God that she didn’t suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close...
A Word from the Bishop: Intentions of a Retired Bishop
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, resident bishop of the Birmingham, Alabama, area, issued a press release yesterday regarding the intention of a retired bishop of The United Methodist Church from another jurisdiction to officiate at the celebration of a same sex union within the boundaries of her Episcopal area. Bishop Wallace-Padgett’s release is included in its entirety below and is provided as a means to guide church leaders who may receive inquires about the retired...
AWF September Cabinet Summary
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - The Cabinet of the Alabama-West Florida Conference met in a regularly scheduled session at the Conference Office in Montgomery on September 10-12. In reviewing ministry across the annual conference, we celebrate the ways congregations continue to "make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." The superintendents shared "Glory Sightings" from their respective districts of churches that are faithfully sharing the gospel in...
Area Ministry Leaders To Be Locked Up!
(Alabama Rural Ministry) - Local church pastors and ministry leaders are uniting together in our 6th Annual "No more Shacks Campaign" with Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM). Lisa Pierce, director of ARM, will live in a makeshift shack for up to eight days. Other ministry leaders will commit to 24 hours in two other "shacks" next to Lisa's. The goal is to raise awareness about poverty housing in our local area and Alabama, provide efforts for people to volunteer to help repair...
Zip Code Missionaries
(Bishop Paul L. Leeland) - During an engaging conversation with one of our United Methodist Missionaries several weeks ago, my wife, Janet, and I found a growing interest in the movement and work of missionaries from a global perspective. We were intrigued with those who dedicated themselves to enter into areas of our world to do evangelism and offer specific ministries that point others to Jesus Christ. This, of course, is the traditional view of missionaries – people who witness...
Open Doors Resale and Thrift Store Announces Grand Opening
(Mobile, AL) - The Mobile District of the United Methodist Church is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Open Doors Resale and Thrift Store located at 4125 Government Boulevard. The store was established to financially support mission endeavors of the United Methodist Church in the Mobile area. With the economic downturn over the past several years, charitable contributions have severely diminished and impacted those needing assistance.
Rev. Charles Fail, current pastor at New...
AWF Conference Office Completes Move
The Alabama-West Florida Conference Office has completed its move. E-mail and phone services have been restored.
The new contact information is as follows:
4719 Woodmere Boulevard
Montgomery, AL 36106
Conference Main Telephone: 334.356.8014
Montgomery-Opelika and Montgomery-Prattville Districts Telephone: 334.239.7329
All e-mail addresses will remain the same. Please call for fax information, if needed.
As various ministry teams packed their offices earlier this week, some...