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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...

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...
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