A Holy Week Message from Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon
(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
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
(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
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
(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
(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...
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...