(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 support fruitful leadership and healthier, vital congregations. Dr. Herb Sadler, who served as Senior Minister of Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church (1975-2003, 2008-2010) and District Superintendent of the Dothan District (2003-2008), agreed to serve as the first director of this academy. Dr. Sadler guided the initial birth and development of the academy by creating a Board of Directors, creating financial support, development of its initial curriculum, and identification of its mission and name, The Academy of Congregational Excellence.
Following the announcement of Dr. Sadler’s desire to retire and relinquish oversight of the Academy, the Board of Directors affirmed the tremendous work of Dr. Sadler. Next, the Board of Directors confirmed Rev. Ron Ball as the Director of the Academy. Rev. Ball has served as senior minister of Enterprise: Heritage (1984-1995); Woodlawn UMC (1995-2007); and District Superintendent (2007 to present). A new district superintendent for the Montgomery-Opelika District will be named at a later date.
Rev. Ball and Dr. Sadler share a Wesleyan understanding of vital piety and vital knowledge which will contribute to the educational, spiritual, and practical curriculum of the Academy for laity and clergy throughout the annual conference.
Our annual conference continues to express gratitude for the following persons who serve The Board of Directors for the Academy of Congregational Excellence: Lawson Bryan, Larry Bryars, Rob Couch, Bill Hill, Darryl Lapointe, Neil McDavid, Hays McKay, Conrad Pierce, Patrick Quinn, Lane Rees, William Sadler, Sara Shaver, Paulette Thompson and Shirley Woodie.