2018 Annual Conference Information

April 18, 2018

Annual Conference 2018 is quickly approaching! This year's theme is, "Imagine A Church That's the Hope of the World." We are most appreciative to Dr. Larry Bryars and his staff at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL, for hosting us again this year as well as Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon and his staff at Montgomery FUMC for hosting the ordination and commissioning service. This year we welcome Bishop James Swanson for the opening worship service and Julia Kuhn Wallace will join us on Tuesday. Mrs. Nancy Graves will be the laity banquet speaker and Mrs. Casey Graves Johnson will be the spouse's luncheon speaker. We are honored to announce that Jarvis Wilson will be leading our music once again. His professional colleague, Keith Wilson of Ben Hill UMC in Atlanta, GA, will join him. Please note several important highlights and changes to annual conference.  

Annual conference is Sunday, June 3-Wednesday, June 6, 2018. The reservation system is available by clicking here. This simplified system is only needed if you or members in your group wish to reserve a meal or participate in the Biometric Health Screening. On-site registration will open on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at 3:00pm. 

We will begin each day of annual conference with worship and communion. Many people throughout the annual conference will be involved in this holy time. Our own clergy will be preaching at all worship services. To see the working agenda, click here. Note that opening worship will begin at 6:00pm on Sunday, June 3. The clergy executive and laity sessions will follow that service. 

This year's missional offering is for Communities of Transformation. We will joyfully collect this offering at opening worship on Sunday, June 3. Click here to access a bulletin insert and video to use in your worship services

We are excited to invite choir members from around the conference to participate in the Opening Worship Mass Choir. Choir directors who are interested in bringing members to participate should contact Wayne Sigler at Frazer Memorial UMC. Details about the evening and music selection information may be found here

Meals will again be served at Frazer Memorial UMC for Monday and Tuesday lunch as well as the Laity Banquet on Tuesday evening. The cost for lunch, unanimously approved at last year's conference, is $8.50. Please make a reservation by clicking here if you plan to eat meals on campus, attend the spouse's luncheon (tickets are limited) or attend the laity banquet. Traditional group breakfasts/lunches may also choose to have their gatherings on campus and will arrange their own catering. If you are in charge of a group or special lunch and need room space, please click here to register your group.

Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church is offering child care for most sessions of annual conference. The Frazer nursery will be open 30 minutes prior to the sessions. Montgomery FUMC will provide nursery care for the ordination/commissioning service and spouse's luncheon. Both facilities offer this care for nursery- and elementary-aged children, except where designated. There is no charge for child care. Child care can be reserved here

Youth pages have always been a part of our annual conference and we appreciate their presence, energy, and assistance! Students, ages 12-18 and active members in the United Methodist Church, are eligible to serve as pages at annual conference. Youth pages extend lay leadership and we appreciate their participation! Click here to apply

Please note the ordination and commissioning service will again be a combined service this year. It will be held Monday, June 4, starting at 7:00pm at Montgomery FUMC. 

In order to be good stewards of the conference budget, we will again forego 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 worship bulletins, pages that were previously bag inserts and other relevant notes. You may wish to access 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/commissioning service bulletin will be a printed version, as usual.

Should you or your agency wish to submit a digital "insert," it must be laid out and submitted no later than May 4. It will go in the "Guide to Annual Conference" behind the agenda and worship bulletins that will be electronically distributed to all clergy and lay delegates. All inserts must be one page, 8.5 x 11 submitted as a PDF to marycatherine@awfumc.org. Please do not submit a brochure repurposed. Digital inserts should be a general overview of your ministry. No late submissions will be accepted. All submissions must be affiliated with the United Methodist Church. 

Your Book 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. It is essential that you review this publication before arriving at annual conference. Should you choose the PDF download option, it is recommended that you download it from the conference Website before arriving at annual conference. As we confirm more cost-effective methods to print/distribute our conference journal, we will provide an updated link with information and instructions for ordering as soon as it is available.

Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has asked all clergy and lay members to annual conference to prepare for the 2018 session by doing several things. Please read The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute and The Church Guide to Making Decisions Together by Thomas Corking and Julia Kuhn Wallace. There is one more opportunity to attend a Courageous Conversation if you have not already done so. You can learn more by going to www.awfumc.org/courageousconversations.

Alabama-West Florida boards and agencies have been given priority for the limited number of available display spots. To reserve a table or exhibit display, click here. Should there be openings, our conference registrar will contact you in order of request. Requests must be affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

We are again anticipating a great response to the request for UMCOR relief kits and supplies. This year we have identified specific supplies for each district to collect. Should you have complete kits, those are also always welcome. A truck from Coleman American will accept donations in the parking lot at Frazer Memorial UMC. We appreciate any group that is willing to continue this ministry and will gladly accept these donations at annual conference. Click here for more

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, Harry Denman Evangelism Award, One Matters Award and the Local Church Heritage Award. Click here for more information.

A centrally located hotel in Montgomery has offered the conference a discounted room block. Click here for more information.

New to annual conference this year is a volunteer registration link. If you are attending conference as a spouse or guest and would like to help, we welcome your service. 

We look forward to seeing you at annual conference in Montgomery, AL, June 3-June 6, 2018!

Mary Catherine Phillips
Director of Communications