(Sharon Tucker) - The Alabama West Florida Conference Historical Society (AWFC-HS) held their 2014 annual meeting at DeFuniak Springs United Methodist Church
on January 24, 2015. The meeting was held on this date so that it would coincide with the Florida Chautauqua Assembly. This organization and arm of the Commission On Archives And History meets once a year for the purpose of studying some aspect of the history and development in this Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The Chautauqua Assembly was started in upstate New York by the Methodist as a means of educating the youth and children’s leaders. It evolved into a cultural enrichment and development program spreading further than the Methodist Church. The warm weather, railroad accessibility, and winter visitors made DeFuniak Springs, Florida, an enticing location. The first Florida Chautauqua Assembly was opened on February 10, 1885. The original building still stands today.
Mr. Craig Reynolds, a member of DeFuniak Springs United Methodist Church, gave a wonderful presentation concerning the history of the church and how it was involved with the Chautauqua Assembly every year. He presented a historical timeline of the area highlighting the Assembly and the DeFuniak Springs UMC. He also led a “window tour” around the church.
Mr. Robert Daniel presented a wonderful guide of the history of the Chautauqua Movement. He had several enlarged photographs concerning the growth of the Florida Chautauqua Assembly.
At this AWFC-HS annual meeting a short business session was held where the Executive Board was elected. The Executive Board members At-Large elected are Carolyn Coker, Craig Reynolds, and Joyce Stimak. This board also consists of the following officers: Mary Ann Pickard will remain as Financial Secretary, Sharon Tucker is the new Secretary, Rev. Ed Shirley
is the Vice-President (Program Chairman and Webmaster), and Jim Young is now the President of the Alabama West Florida Conference Historical Society.
Anyone wishing more information concerning the AWFC-HS please contact the Methodist Archives Center at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 334-833-4413. At this time a program is being created for the annual AWFC-HS Meeting of 2015. Tentative plans include a visit to some of The Lord’s Lighthouses (older churches in our conference).