Full Recap and Bulletin Insert coming this Thursday! Stay tuned to www.awfumc.org/ac2017 for an informative bulletin insert. It is printer friendly and we encourage you to share it with your local congregation this Sunday. A full recap article detailing all actions of the conference will also be posted on the home page by Thursday.
Morning Worship: The final day of annual conference began with morning worship and Holy Communion. Rev. Julianna Cooper, deacon serving at Gulf Shores UMC, offered a greeting and call to worship. Rev. Meghan Kelley of Ozark FUMC preached a spirited sermon based off of John 13. Rev. Geoffrey Kagoro of Capitol Heights UMC prepared the table. Bishop Graves gave thanks for Meghan and Wes Kelley and the ministry they bring to our conference. The Kelleys will be co-pastoring Clanton FUMC in the coming year.
Business Session: Various reports were presented from the Journal Committee, Board of Pension and Health Benefits, Council on Finance and Administration, Equitable Compensation and the Cabinet. Rev. Michael Cobb of Aldersgate UMC in Montgomery, AL, recommended on behalf of the Committee for Equitable Compensation that minimum salary be $37,200, it was approved. We celebrated the last of eight district glory sighting videos by showing the Pensacola District video, featuring Richards Memorial UMC and Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries.
Board of Pension and Health Benefits: Rev. Bob McKibben updated the conference on their work. Two items were approved by the conference: the housing allowance policy on pages 83-84 of the Book of Reports and the 2018 Pre-82 past service rate (clergy: $758 and surviving spouse: $530.50). Rev. Meghan Kelly announced the winners from the Thrive Wellness Initiative. The team with the most weeks where they met their goals is 'Friends for Life." A Fitbit was awarded to the winners.
Districts Task Force: As a result of a motion from the floor of the 2014 Annual Conference, a task force was formed to explore the number of districts in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Dr. Robbins Sims presented an update on behalf of the group affirming the number of districts is appropriate for our conference. The team was given a list of recommendations to consider in order to be more effective in their work. Dr. Sims reported that the cabinet is living into those recommendations, with one being longevity in appointments, when possible. Creating relationships within the districts was another priority. Bishop Graves was able to help facilitate this with the town hall meetings. The cabinet is also utilizing technology to reduce conference travel expenses.
Approved Budget: The conference established a $11,084,468 million budget for mission and ministry for 2018, a 1.21 increase from 2017. The recommended district superintendent salary for 2018 is $120,475.
Statistician's Report: Mr. Frank Dunnewind reported that membership stands at 137,618 down 1% from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 61,273 down 2%. Asian, Native American and Multiracial attendance all showed areas of increase over the past year. Other areas that also showed increases were baptisms, constituents, and children and youth in christian formation. In 2016, 404 churches paid 100% of their apportionments, which is the highest in the past few years. There was a 1.58% increase in missional giving over 2015, which was at it highest level since 2001. Thank you!
Courtesies and Appreciations: Dr. Wesley Wachob of Pensacola FUMC entertained the audience with his delivery of courtesies and appreciations as he recapped the 2017 Annual Conference session. He also thanked those who were instrumental in leading the event. He particularly cited more involvement from female clergy at this year's conference and led applause in showing appreciation. Wachob even sang a brief tune of "Rocky Top" for our new Bishop!
Episcopal Address: Presiding over his first AWF Annual Conference, Bishop David Graves delivered his Episcopal address to the body of the conference. Before he preached, he took intentional time to diligently thank those who were an integral part of annual conference. Graves conveyed to the conference how valued this team is to him and how blessed we are to have this leadership. His powerful sermon was entitled, "Too Hard" based on Exodus 14:10-13. Graves walked through various scenarios that seemed impossible but through imagining faith, they occurred. He spoke of racial and gender barriers that have divided our church and made a public apology to people of color and women who have been victims of discrimination. An emotional standing ovation was given after these statements. He explained that his recent trip to the Council of Bishops meeting felt at times, too hard. He said, "Can you begin to imagine, and do you believe by faith it can happen? Then start acting like it!!" He spoke of Nehemiah 9:19; Psalm 68:20; Psalm 42:8; and Psalm 68:20 as a help in times that feel too difficult. He ended by saying, "Let's get moving, the best is yet to come!" A video of his address will be posted online in the coming days.
Sending Forth: Each district superintendent read aloud the appointment changes within their respective district. The District Lay Leaders prayed after each district was presented. The Bishop then set the appointments.
2018 Annual Conference: The 2018 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 3-6, 2018, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination. We express our sincere appreciation to both of these staffs for hosting us this past year.
Special Offerings Update: We continue to celebrate the missional offering for the Local Mission Agencies at Opening Worship of $46,022. Over $2,700 was collected at the Service of Commissioning & Ordination for the Ministerial Education Fund. Thank you for your generosity!
UMCOR Relief Kits: 4,944 UMCOR kits were collected over the course of the annual conference. The Baypines District collected the most with 1,720 kits with Montgomery-Prattville District next with 1,641. Montgomery FUMC, Mt. Zion UMC (Prattville), and Aldersgate UMC sent youth group workers who managed the collection truck. Thank you for your donations and to the youth who received these supplies!
Miss One? Click here to view each of the daily e-mails sent during the 2017 Annual Conference.
Post Annual Conference Survey: Click here to take the survey. This year's version is shorter–we want to hear from you!
View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas).
Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form.
Follow the action of the conference live. New this year is a custom Snapchat Geofilter! It will be available throughout conference. Find the photos and share with us on various social media platforms. Don't forget to tag it with #awfac17.
Hashtags: Use #awfac17 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos.
Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at http://www.awfumc.org/ac2017.
Navigate the conference Website easier by downloading the free AWF app! Scan the above QR code to download. Available for iPhones, iPads and Droid mobile devices.