News

Special Collection for Mississippi Flooding

published 2/18/2020

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

-Isaiah 43:2
 
Friends,
 
If you live within the Alabama-West Florida Conference you are aware of the record-setting rainfall we have received over the last few weeks. Our friends to the west in the Mississippi Conference are experiencing devastating flooding and the rain has not stopped.
 
As you know, we still depend on help from around the connection to sustain our disaster response efforts related to Hurricane Michael and Lee County tornado relief. We have been the beneficiary of countless gifts and donations that have directly impacted local relief and rebuilding. In the spirit of our strong United Methodist Connection, I am asking each congregation to collect a special offering for the flood relief efforts in the Mississippi Conference. The money will be sent to UMCOR as they are often the first line of relief after a natural disaster. You may mail checks to the conference office (designated for UMCOR Mississippi flooding) or give online through this link. At the moment, ERT teams are not being requested but will be notified if they are needed at a later date.
 
I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for the many ways you continue to financially support missional apportionment giving in this conference. Despite the projected forecasts, this conference finished its 2019 fiscal year stronger than anticipated with 370 churches giving 100% of their apportionments (63% of apportioned churches) and 47 churches gave more in 2019 than they did in 2018. Also, January of 2020 was one of the best starts recorded in our financial records since I have been your bishop. I am grateful for your continued commitment to this connection that allows us to demonstrate what it means to be United Methodists, especially in uncertain times.
 
Join me in prayer for the Mississippi Conference that with God’s help they may minister to those around them and fill unmet needs. I invite you to give generously to this offering and am grateful for each of you. May God bless you and your ministry.
 
In Christ,
Bishop David W. Graves
Resident Bishop
Alabama-West Florida Conference
 
Checks may be mailed to:
Alabama-West Florida Conference
Mississippi UMCOR Special Offering
4719 Woodmere Boulevard
Montgomery, AL 36106


You are invited to the AWF Bishop's Discernment Task Force Listening Session

published 2/17/2020

Let us consider how to spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not neglecting to come together but doing so as the opportunity arises!
-Hebrews 10:24

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
 
The Bishop’s Discernment Task Force on the future of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church is working diligently on your behalf.  Obviously, this vital effort cannot be done well in a vacuum or in isolation from the leaders of this great body. Therefore, we need your help!
 
On Monday, March 2, 2020, we will gather at Montgomery FUMC for a time of deep conversation. We will facilitate a listening session with clergy and lay leaders from 1:00-3:30pm with light refreshments. We are intentionally inviting you to be a part of this candid time of sharing your hopes and concerns for the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church with us in these challenging times regarding denominational uncertainty. We are very interested in learning the challenges and issues you face in this matter and how we can have a credible Christian witness during this contentious time. 
 
Would you be willing to join us for discussion? This will not be a wasted exercise as we genuinely care about your experience and perspective and invite your voice to the table.
 
Please register your attendance to attend this event by February 28th so that we may plan for this event. Let us be in prayer as we discern God’s will. We respect the vital role you have in this Church and look forward to meeting with you.
 
Blessings,
The Bishop’s Discernment Task Force

To learn more about the Bishop's Discernment Task Force, click here


A Word from Bishop Graves: The Release of Protocol Legislation

published 2/7/2020
Friends,
 
The next step related to General Conference 2020 is the release of the legislation from the Protocol of Grace and Separation team. That information was released today, February 7, 2020.
 
That information may be found here.
 
At this point, this is legislation that will be presented to the voting body of General Conference to be held May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN.
 
There are still several steps that this legislation will undergo; such as approval from one annual conference and approval of the Judicial Council in April.
 
I invite you review this information. However, please remember only General Conference speaks for the United Methodist Church.
 
Let us all continue to pray for our delegates, our conference, our churches, our pastors and our laity during this uncertain time.
 
Bishop David Graves
Resident Bishop
Alabama-West Florida Conference
 

AWF Bishop's Task Force Continues Work Related to General Conference

published 2/6/2020

The Alabama-West Florida Conference Bishop’s Discernment Task Force met February 3-4 in Pensacola, FL, to continue the vital work of processing information related to General Conference 2020.

The members represent various ministry areas of the conference and bring a collective set of gifts to the table. After several meetings in the fall of 2019, the group invited a professional facilitator who is familiar with the conference, Julia Kuhn Sharp, to lead the remaining meetings.
 
The committee members are:
Rurel Ausley
Larry Bryars
Dunford Cole
Ashley Davis
Celeste Eubanks
Bishop David Graves
Cortney Howard
June Jernigan
Bill Kierce
Emily Kincaid
Suzanne Krejcar
Beverly Maddox
Bob Northcutt
Mary Catherine Phillips
Audrey Rodgers
David Saliba
Roman Shaul
Terri Turner
Jeff Wilson

The mission of the task force is to empower and equip the Alabama-West Florida Conference to discern its future through these objectives:
-develop a structural and strategic process to produce a guiding document;
-resource our congregations to assist them in effective decision making;
-provide systems of care for our leaders in transition; and
-create a communications strategy.

In light of the release of the Protocol on January 3, 2020, the group is anticipating the release of formal legislation in the coming days and will design their work around this next step.
 
“In these uncertain days, I humbly ask for prayers on behalf of the task force,” stated Bishop David Graves. “These servants are giving their time and expertise to help lead the conference in the best way possible by providing relevant and necessary information as it becomes available to educate clergy and laity.”
 
The task force is committed to transparent work and will provide updates on a consistent basis. Those updates, along with pertinent documents and links, will be posted to www.awfumc.org/taskforce.


Statement from SEJ Heads of Delegation regarding Protocol

published 1/29/2020
We, the undersigned SEJ Lay and Clergy Heads of Delegations, affirm the work done on the ‘Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation’ and recommend the Protocol be among the first legislative items considered by General Conference 2020.  We look forward to seeing the related legislation and give thanks to those who did this work on our behalf. 
SEJ Lay and Clergy Heads of Delegations who support this statement include:
Larry Bryars, Clergy, Alabama West Florida Annual Conference
Molly McEntire, Lay, Florida Annual Conference
Alex Shanks, Clergy, Florida Annual Conference
Emily Ballard, Lay, Holston Annual Conference
Kim M. Goddard, Clergy, Holston Annual Conference
Alan Beuscher, Lay, Kentucky Annual Conference
Bill Arnold, Clergy, Kentucky Annual Conference
David Reed, Lay, Memphis Annual Conference
Autura Eason-Williams, Clergy, Memphis Annual Conference
David Stotts, Lay, Mississippi Annual Conference
Fred Britton, Clergy, Mississippi Annual Conference
Steve Lyles, Lay, North Alabama Annual Conference
Glenn Conner, Clergy, North Alabama Annual Conference
Christine Dodson, Lay, North Carolina Annual Conference
Jane Finley, Lay, North Georgia Annual Conference
Byron E. Thomas, Clergy, North Georgia Annual Conference
Marilyn R. Osborne, Lay, Red Bird Missionary Conference
Robert Amundsen, Clergy, Red Bird Missionary Conference
Bill Hatcher, Lay, South Georgia Annual Conference
Jim Cowart, Clergy, South Georgia Annual Conference
Jim Allen, Lay, Tennessee Annual Conference
Harriet Bryan, Clergy, Tennessee Annual Conference
Warren R. Harper, Lay, Virginia Annual Conference
Tom Berlin, Clergy, Virginia Annual Conference
Jennifer Davis, Lay, Western North Carolina Annual Conference
Kimberly T. Ingram, Clergy, Western North Carolina Annual Conference
 

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