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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...

Pensacola District Disaster and Fire Response

5/19/2014
I couldn't help but think of the Lent, Easter, Pentecost cycle as I prepared to worship this morning with the Mount Carmel United Methodist Church in their first service after the loss of their sanctuary on Wednesday. As you know, this holy season in the life of the church began with Ash Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday, June 8 with the celebration of Pentecost. In this "great reversal" we start with ashes and end with fire. Our mortal lives have new life breathed into them...

Prayers for Daleville UMC

5/18/2014
Rev. Dan Morris, District Superintendent of the Dothan District, reports that Daleville UMC suffered a fire early this morning. Preliminary reports say the church is a total loss but a cause is unknown at this time.  {Photo courtesy of Rev. Dan Morris} Please be in prayer for this congregation and its pastor, Rev. John McCullough. This is also the church home of Frank Moore, AWF Conference Chair of The United Methodist Men. More information will be released as it is...

Prayers for Mt. Carmel UMC in Jay, FL

5/15/2014
Mt. Carmel UMC in Jay, FL, suffered extensive damage from a fire yesterday morning. Firefighters from around the area worked for hours to extinguish the flames, but were unable to save the sanctuary. Thankfully, no one was injured. It is believed that this fire was started from lightning. To see news coverage about this loss, click here.  {Photo courtesy of Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon} Mt. Carmel UMC and its pastor, Dr. Lennie Howard, will need our prayers and love in the coming...

Bishop Cancels Cabinet Meeting to Visit Storm Damaged Areas

5/8/2014
The southern parts of the Alabama-West Florida Conference have experienced extreme flooding with predictions of more rain to come this weekend. Due to these circumstances, Bishop Paul Leeland has canceled the regularly scheduled Appointive Cabinet Meeting that was to be held May 13-14, 2014, in Montgomery, AL, in order to visit with United Methodist churches, pastors and residents in the Gulf Coast area. The new district superintendent consultations and Board of Ordained Ministry meetings have...

A Message to Pastors from Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon

5/5/2014
The torrential rainfall this past week created havoc for our district. The descriptions of the flooding as "biblical" in nature underscored the severity of the event. The images that have been seen around the world point to a level of destruction that will require a long-term recovery process for our area. And as persons have been displaced from their homes, the "people called Methodists" have once again stepped up to help alleviate the present sufferings of those who...

Church Leaders Gather for Spring Learning Retreat

5/2/2014
Nashville, Tenn.: The residential bishops of The United Methodist Church and secretaries of the general agencies will gather May 4-8 at Epworth-by-the-Sea in St. Simons Island, Ga. for a time of spiritual reflection and peer learning and sharing. Much of the learning experience will be centered on “adaptive leadership,” led by Marty Linsky, a professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and co-founder of Cambridge Leadership Associates, a leadership...

A Word from the Bishop: Storm Recovery

5/2/2014
Dear friends and colleagues in ministry, The immediate storm within the bounds of our conference produced more rain water than Hurricane Ivan. Hundreds of homes and churches were damaged by the storm. As your Bishop, allow me to invite your prayers and generosity to offer a healing presence within our communities as we share a compassionate presence to bring relief and hope to those who have been impacted by the damaging rains. Our conference volunteers were immediately present to report...

Gulf Coast flooding, April 30, 2014

4/30/2014
To trained ERTs in the Mobile, Baypines and Pensacola districts: Our conference and district disaster response leadership is actively monitoring the situation along the Gulf Coast in response to the recent heavy rains and flooding. First and foremost, please stay safe and do not put yourself in harm's way. The situation is still dangerous and many roads and areas remain closed.  We are working with local EMAs and VOADs to monitor the emergency, as well as speaking to churches and...

An Easter Season Word from the Bishop

4/25/2014
“Peace be with you.” These are the words the Resurrected Jesus speaks to the eleven disciples and their companions gathered in the locked upper room. They were “startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost” (Luke 24:37). In response to their fear Jesus asks, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (v.38, 39). Perhaps this is the...

A Holy Week Message from Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon

4/14/2014
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - Throughout the world, the church shouted "Hosanna!" and waved palm branches commemorating the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the Holy City of Jerusalem. I had the privilege today to preach at the St. Luke United Methodist Church in Pensacola, taking part in their observance of Palm Sunday at the beginning of this Holy Week. The congregation received 16 new members today, four of whom were baptized as they professed their faith in Christ. Pastors from across...

Open Doors, Inc. Announces First Distribution

4/10/2014
Celeste Eubanks, chair of the Open Doors, Inc. board of directors, has announced the first distribution of funds in support of community ministries in the Mobile District of the United Methodist Church. On February 18, 2014, the board approved recommendations by the Distribution Committee for allocating $20,000 in funds generated by the Open Doors Resale and Thrift Store in 2013. “This distribution of funds is very important to the store volunteers,” stated Sarah Doyle, chair...

Bishop Names Eckert to AWF Cabinet

3/30/2014
(Montgomery, AL) – Bishop Paul L. Leeland announces that Dr. Chris Eckert has been appointed as the District Superintendent of the Demopolis District of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, effective July 1, 2014.   Currently serving as the senior pastor of Ozark First United Methodist Church, Eckert was ordained as an elder in the AWF Conference in 1991. His previous appointments in the conference include the Pike Circuit, associate at Dothan FUMC, Denton Road UMC, Hartford FUMC,...

Annual Conference 2014 Information

3/18/2014
Annual Conference 2014 is quickly approaching! This year's theme is the second part of the SEND Model many in the conference have adopted. It is, "The Great Commission: Engaging Disciples." We are most appreciative to Dr. Tim Thompson and his staff at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL, for hosting us again this year as well as Dr. Lawson Bryan and his staff at Montgomery FUMC for hosting the ordination service. This year we welcome Dr. Elaine...

Bishop Names Three District Superintendents to AWF Cabinet

3/16/2014
(Montgomery, AL) - Bishop Paul L. Leeland is pleased to announce three new district superintendents to the Alabama-West Florida Conference appointive cabinet. Rev. John Brooks, Dr. Larry Bryars and Rev. Sara Shaver will begin their new appointments as superintendents starting July 1, 2014. Rev. John Brooks will serve as district superintendent for the Montgomery-Prattville District and currently serves as pastor of Metropolitan UMC in Montgomery, AL. Before serving there he was appointed to...

Lisenby Named by Bishop as Huntingdon College Chaplain

3/14/2014
(Montgomery, AL) - Bishop Paul L. Leeland of The Alabama-West Florida Conference, in partnership with Huntingdon College President J. Cameron West, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Woods Lisenby to Huntingdon College as Chaplain of the College, effective June 1, 2014. Lisenby is currently serving Prattville First United Methodist Church as the director of contemporary worship. He is a 2011 graduate of Huntingdon College with a religion major where he was a leader in the Campus...
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