A Word from the Bishop: EF-4
EF-4 is the designation used to describe a storm whose winds reach 200 miles an hour. Yesterday, May 20, 2013, such a storm devastated Oklahoma. This will be an epic disaster, a tornado that at one point was two miles wide, scorched twenty miles in length, and continued for at least 45 minutes.
What has happened is hard to put into words. It is truly an unspeakable, horrific, tragedy. We are once again thrust into a nightmare where the natural forces of nature remind us how vulnerable we...
Making a Difference: Reaching out to Local Schools
(Susan Hunt) - Churches frequently ask me for ideas on how to reach out into their local community. I am becoming more and more convinced that one of the best ways our churches can reach out is through the local schools. Many public schools are seeing lower test scores, inadequate staffing, decreased funding, and overall decline. Parents work two and three jobs and cannot spend the time at the school during the day like my own mother did.
The quality of education for all children affects us...
Alabama Rural Ministry wins national honor
By Maidstone Mulenga*
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Alabama Rural Ministry, a volunteer ministry of the Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church, was honored April 25 with 13 other groups as one of America's top volunteer organizations.
During the annual Make A Difference Day Awards luncheon at Carnegie Library in Washington, the members of Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM) were hailed for "putting their faith into action" for orchestrating the work of...
Pennington Named by Bishop to AWF Cabinet
(Montgomery, AL) - Bishop Paul L. Leeland announces that Dr. Doug Pennington has been appointed as the District Superintendent of the Mobile District of the Alabama-West Florida (AWF) Conference, effective July 1, 2013.
Currently serving as the senior pastor of Lynn Haven United Methodist Church of Lynn Haven, Florida, Pennington was ordained as an elder in the AWF Conference in 1984. Pennington’s previous appointments in the conference include pastor at Grand Bay FUMC, conference...
A Word from Bishop Leeland: Guaranteed Appointments?
(Bishop Paul L. Leeland) - In preparation for making appointments of clergy to serve our 640 plus congregations, I received an invitation from a student at Huntingdon College asking me to participate in his research paper by responding to some questions he had regarding “guaranteed appointments” within The United Methodist Church. This student is taking a class on United Methodist Doctrine and Church Polity, and during this specific time of the year, he became interested in the...
Bishop Names Sims to AWF Cabinet
(Montgomery, AL) - Bishop Paul L. Leeland announces that Dr. Robbins Sims has been appointed as the District Superintendent of the Montgomery-Opelika District of the Alabama-West Florida (AWF) Conference, effective July 1, 2013.
Currently serving as the senior pastor of Eufaula First United Methodist Church of Eufaula, Alabama, Sims was ordained as an elder in the AWF Conference in 1996. Sims’ previous appointments in the conference include senior pastor at Whitfield Memorial United...
Appointive Cabinet Holds Scheduled March Session
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - The Appointive Cabinet of the Alabama-West Florida Conference met in regular session last week in Montgomery. Bishop Leeland and the district superintendents reviewed several aspects of the ministry of the annual conference and our local congregations through the course of the meeting.
Dr. Herb Sadler, Director of the Academy for Congregational Excellence (ACE), provided an update to the Cabinet. 2012 marked the first full year of ACE, as it seeks to fulfill a vision...
Academy Of Congregational Excellence Names New Director
(Bishop Paul L. Leeland) - The Board of Directors for the Academy of Congregational Excellence (ACE) of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church has named Rev. Ron Ball, District Superintendent of the Montgomery-Opelika District, as the new Director of ACE effective July 1, 2013.
The Academy is the fruition of the conference CORE Team that provides oversight of all conference ministries and shared a clear vision for the development of an academy that would...
An Invitation from Bishop Paul L. Leeland
Our deep love for the Church makes it difficult to hear statistics that continue to come from very reliable sources. For the first time since colonial days, according to the Pew Research Center, Protestants account for less than 50 percent of the population. Further, one of every three young adult Americans does not affiliate with any religion. Of course, you have probably recognized this waning influence of the Church within your own community, or even within your own extended...
2012 Multicultural Conference: "Creating a Church for All People"
(Susan Hunt and Rev. Frederick Outlaw) - On November 29 - December 1, 2012, the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) convened a Multicultural Conference (MCC) at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. A delegation of some fifteen persons, including Bishop Paul Leeland and the appointive cabinet, represented the Alabama-West Florida Conference at this gathering of United Methodists. As stated in the summary document to the MCC Steering Committee, “…The 2012 Multicultural Conference...
Annual Conference 2013 Information
Annual Conference 2013 is quickly approaching! This year's theme is the first part of the SEND Model many in the conference have adopted. It is, "The Great Commission: Seeking Disciples." We are most appreciative to Rev. Jeff Spiller and his staff at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL, for hosting us again this year as well as the Revs. Robin and Jeff Wilson and their staff at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church for hosting the ordination and commissioning...
AWF Conference Secretary Named
Bishop Paul L. Leeland, in conjunction with the AWF Cabinet, is pleased to appoint Dr. Neil Epler as the interim Conference Secretary for our Alabama-West Florida Conference effective March 1, 2013. Dr. Epler will be nominated for election at the upcoming 2013 Annual Conference (¶603.7).
Dr. Epler is currently appointed as Associate Minister of Congregational Care at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church. He will now assume the responsibility of conference secretary for the annual...
AWF Holds Third Annual Prayer Breakfast for State Officials
(Montgomery, AL) - The Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church Board of Church & Society hosted a prayer breakfast on February 28 in the fellowship hall of River City Church (formerly Dexter Ave. United Methodist Church). Alabama Supreme Court Justices Lyn Stuart and Tom Parker, former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, Senator Bryan Taylor, Senator Trip Pittman and Representative Charles Newton gathered to pray for our state. Also attending were Senator Billy...
February Cabinet Update
(Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon) - The Cabinet of the Alabama-West Florida Conference met in a regularly scheduled session on February 19-20 at the Conference Office in Montgomery. During the two day meeting, Bishop Leeland, the district superintendents, and members of the extended cabinet participated in the Incubator process, reflecting on the mission and ministry of the annual conference, discussing Edwin Friedman's book, Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, and spending time in...
Frisco City Suffers Fire Damage
Frisco City United Methodist Church suffered damage due to a fire Sunday morning, February 24. It is believed that an upstairs heating unit could possibly be the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported. The damage was primarily in the sanctuary area and second floor offices, and included smoke damage and water damage from extinguishing the flames. The fellowship hall and other areas of the church property were structurally evaluated and have been cleared for use. Services in the coming...
An Invitation from Bishop Paul L. Leeland
It is my sincere pleasure to invite you, as pastors and clergy, to our Alabama-West Florida Conference “Bishop’s Day Apart” which is scheduled for March 11, 2013, at St. James United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL from 9:00am-3:00pm.
Dr. Maxie Dunnam, a United Methodist clergyman, is a scholar, preacher, leader and popular author of more than forty books. Dr. Dunnam is the Pastor Emeritus and Director of Christ Church Global at Christ United Methodist Church...
MATthew 6 Ministry: Helping the Homeless
Below is a Q & A with Rev. Diane Baldwin, pastor of Georgetown-Chunchula United Methodist Church, about their new MATthew 6 Ministry.
Q: Tell us what the MATthew 6 ministry is and the meaning behind the name.
MATthew 6 is a ministry that centers around the needs of the homeless in our community and beyond. Many homeless find themselves on the streets or in makeshift shelters. Our mission is to provide some basic personal items that provide some comfort and relief from the outside...
Extraordinary Women Doing Ordinary Things, COSROW 2013
(Ruth Ann Powers) - It was with a rousing send-off that the COSROW Event of 2013 began. The participants came together with joy and sadness to honor Dawn Wiggins Hare. Dawn has been selected to serve as the General Secretary of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and will work out of her office in Chicago.
According to our research, Dawn Wiggins Hare is the only member of the Alabama-West Florida Conference who has ever been named to be the chief executive officer of a...
Glory Sighting: God is at work in Plantersville and Jones
(Rev. Butch Cousins) - When I was assigned to be the pastor at Plantersville United Methodist Church and the pastor of Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church things did not look very promising.
Plantersville was in a state of decline and the handful of members were concentrating on keeping the doors open. We began praying for God to show His awesome power and lead this congregation into a closer relationship of service to Him and the community. A few months later, we were given the deed to a...
Ultimate Training Event to Prepare Youth Leaders in AWF
Nick Mielke, Director of Youth at Prattville First United Methodist Church, talks with us about the upcoming Ultimate Training Event in Youth Ministry and what conference attendees can expect.
Q: Tell me a little bit about Ultimate Training for Youth Ministry and its history within the AWF Conference.
Ultimate Training Event started in the early 1990's under the leadership of Greg McKinnon. It was designed to be, and still is, an accessible way for churches to send all manner of people...