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 service. This year we welcome Bishop Lindsey Davis from the Kentucky Conference and Dr. David E. Cann of ITC/Gammon Theological Seminary. There are several changes to annual conference you will want to make note of.
First, note that annual conference is Sunday, June 2-Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Registration is now available by clicking here.
Tuesday afternoon of annual conference is designated as "mission day." Susan Hunt, Director of Mission & Advocacy, has been hard at work with her committee organizing this meaningful afternoon. Box lunches and t-shirts will be provided at no charge if you are clergy or a delegate. Non-delegate participants may participate and a fee will be charged for the lunch and shirt. You may register for a project here. Please come dressed in appropriate work clothes and wearing your mission day t-shirt to Tuesday's morning session. It will be a casual day to accommodate our work in the mission field.
This year we will welcome back the staff from Lifetouch Photography. They will photograph and organize the pictorial directory our conference produces on a quadrennial basis. You will have a chance to signup online prior to annual conference so that you know your time slot to be photographed. A complimentary copy will be sent to all active pastors who participated in the directory. Conference staff and leaders will also be in the directory as usual. Please wear appropriate, professional clothing for your photo. This directory is very helpful for face recognition in many areas of our conference from the cabinet to the local church.
We are excited to announce that this year's missional offering will go to the New Jersey Annual Conference for their Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy raced ashore as a category two storm but devastated millions due to the densely populated area. The Greater New Jersey Sandy Relief Fund has been established to raise funds to repair homes of the elderly and low income residents in communities, as well as to repair parsonages and church buildings. Churches have sustained damage and many that have been flooded do not have flood insurance. Millions of dollars will be needed to repair all that was damaged. Please prayerfully consider reciprocating the generosity our conference received after Hurricane Ivan.
In lieu of the traditional spouse's luncheon, clergy spouses will gather at Christ United Methodist Church to assemble UMCOR relief kits. It is a designated project on the mission day registration. Please be sure to register if you are a clergy spouse to have a head count of box lunches and t-shirts (cost is covered for you by the eight districts).
To accommodate as many people as possible, most sessions of annual conference will be held in the Christ Center gymnasium including opening worship, memorial service, sending forth service and all business sessions. Smaller groups meeting at Christ UMC will be assigned a room like last year. You may eat at your preferred restaurant for lunch and dinner off campus throughout annual conference and time has been built into the agenda to allow for this change. Traditional group lunches may be at Christ UMC and will handle their own catering. The laity banquet will be the only meal catered to Christ UMC.
The laity banquet will once again be in the Christ Center. Since Tuesday afternoon will be the mission day, you are encouraged to come as you are. The speaker and menu will be announced soon.
Please note the ordination and commissioning service on Monday, June 3, will start at 7:00pm. This is 30 minutes prior to years past. We encourage you to attend this celebratory service at Dauphin Way UMC.
In order to be good stewards of the conference budget, we will not have printed worship bulletins for several services. Instead, a downloadable "Guide to Annual Conference" pdf will be provided several weeks before annual conference. In it will be an agenda, worship bulletins, pages that were previously bag inserts and other relevant notes. You may wish to utilize it on your computer, tablet or phone, or print a hard copy on your own to bring with you. Printed worship bulletins will be provided to family members at the memorial service as a keepsake. The traditional ordination and commissioning bulletin will be a printed version as usual.
Should you or your agency wish to submit an insert that normally would go in the tote bag, it must be laid out and submitted no later than April 15. It will go in the "Guide to Annual Conference" behind the agenda and worship bulletins that will be electronically distributed to all clergy and delegates. All inserts must be one page, 8.5 x 11 submitted as a pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org. No late submissions will be accepted.
Your Brochure of Reports will be sent to your district office and either distributed at a gathering or picked up by each pastor. Please look for instructions from your district office. Tote bags will be available for you to pick up should you need one at annual conference but will not be mass distributed. Feel free to bring your own bag if you wish.
Alabama-West Florida boards and agencies have been given priority for the limited number of available display spots. The deadline for their response is March 15. Other pertinent inquiries may go to email@example.com to be placed on a waiting list. Should there be openings, she will contact you in order of request. Requests must be affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
We will be collecting UMCOR relief supplies again this year. However, all churches are asked to bring the supplies instead of completed kits. Click here to see which supplies your church (by district) is to collect.
As a reminder, we encourage you to prayerfully consider nominating someone for one of our conference awards: The Alice Lee Award, Jane Walker Scholarship Award, Francis Asbury Award and Harry Denman Evangelism Award. Click here for more information.
Special rates for hotels in Mobile have been announced. Check out www.awfumc.org/ac2013 for updates.
We look forward to seeing you at Annual Conference in Mobile, AL, June 2-5, 2013!
Mary Catherine Phillips
Director of Communications