Annual Conference Day One, June 3, 2018

June 03, 2018

In the News

Opening Worship: A capacity crowd attended the Opening Worship Service of the 2018 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference session, which was held Sunday evening, June 3, in the sanctuary of Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL. The service began with a Call to Worship led by Beverly Maddox, Lay Leader of the conference. A mass choir from around the conference, and led by Wayne Sigler of Frazer, provided inspiring music for the service including moving renditions of, "Love Devine, All Loves Excelling," and "Behold Our God." Bishop David Graves, presiding over his second conference as Resident Bishop of the AWF Conference, thanked Frazer for being outstanding hosts and expressed his appreciation to the mass choir, which set a conference record of having over 250 participants. Bishop Graves invited his wife, Nancy, to introduce Delphine Swanson, wife of Bishop James Swanson, Episcopal leader of the Mississippi Episcopal Area. Nancy presented a small token of appreciation to Mrs. Swanson. Bishop Swanson preached his sermon based on Revelation 21:1-5 entitled, "The Sea is No More." He passionately mentioned, "We don't realize that we, too, are living in a time of exile," referring to the Book of Revelation. He continued, "We no longer enjoy favored nation status as we used to. There was a time, preachers, when your church was full and when you were the only show in town at 11:00." He noted that it wasn't only the worship but the fellowship that brought people to church. Swanson said there isn't a book in the Bible that speaks to us today like the Book of Revelation and that preachers and laity need to have hope today more than ever. "If we put our eyes on Jesus, we won't worry about everything else going on," said Swanson. "There will come a day and an hour and a second where that which threatens you will be no more. That is only a temporary situation you are in, you are Sons and Daughters of Almighty God." The scripture lesson was read by Erica Gage of Capitol Heights UMC. Ephesians 3:20-21 was the sending forth and was read in four languages by Rev. Ashley Davis (Woodland UMC), English; Martha Rovira (Coordinator of AWF Hispanic/Latino Ministries), Spanish; Sean Hong (Prattville Korean UMC), Korean; and Rev. Geoffrey Kagoro (Capitol Heights UMC), Shona. 

Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson, talented worship leaders from the Atlanta area, led an inspirational and spirit-filled communion medley that had the congregation on their feet by the final song. The late Rev. Robert McMichael, a guest musician in previous years with Jarvis, suddenly passed away earlier this year. His talents are greatly missed by the conference and our prayers continue for his family. For the second year, communion was served as a part of this service and celebrated all phases of ministry including elders, deacons, lay members, licensed local pastors, associate members, seminarians, and persons in extension ministry from our conference. Rev. Jay Cooper of Bay Minette FUMC coordinated the service and focused on the collective ministry we emphasize in the conference. This year's conference will again feature more clergy and laity leadership from within Alabama and West Florida, an answer to constructive feedback from previous years. We give thanks to God for the participants and those they represent in ministry! 

AWF Missional Offering: Communities of Transformation, an innovative initiative that partners low-income families with community volunteers, is the beneficiary of the 2018 missional offering. This ministry was launched from the AWF Conference in 2011. Churches from within the conference collected money and presented their offerings at opening worship. Laurel and Fred Blackwell co-founded this ministry seven years ago. Laurel tragically passed away in the fall of 2017. Fred took a moment to remember Laurel during the service and offered words of thanks to those who were instrumental in launching and continuing COT over the past seven years. Beautiful photos of the Blackwells were projected as Fred remembered her. Celeste Eubanks, AWF Director of Leadership Strategies, delivered the offertory prayer prior to the monetary collection. The St. John UMC Praise Band led an energetic and refreshing offertory piece called, "My Name is Victory." A monetary collection update will be in tomorrow's daily news and in the coming days. 

Biometric Health Screenings: As part of the conference health initiative, biometric health screenings will be offered during annual conference in the Cokesbury Room at Frazer Memorial UMC on Monday, June 4th and Tuesday, June 5th, from 7:30am-12:30pm. This is offered as a part of our health and wellness initiative designed to help you maintain good health. You may visit the Cokesbury Room to make an appointment with Belinda Carnegie, AWF Benefits Coordinator. For more information, click here

UMCOR Relief Kits: Bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot during annual conference. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. Thank you to Coleman American for providing the truck again this year, and for transporting the supplies to Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, LA. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies during the following hours:
Monday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Tuesday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Wednesday: 7:30am-11:00am 


View photos from the 2018 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2018 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office. 

Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at, except the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. See special link for that service below. All times are CDT. 

Monday, June 4
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Service of Remembrance & Holy Communion: 10:30am
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm
-Recognition of Retiring Clergy (following afternoon business session)
-Service of Ordination: 7:00pm (

Tuesday, June 5
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Teaching Session with Julia Kuhn Wallace
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm

Wednesday, June 6
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am

WFRZ TV Schedule
The following service will be broadcast live on Frazer TV, WFRZ. Check your local provider listings for channel. 

Monday, June 4
-Service of Remembrance & Holy Communion, 10:30am

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live. Back 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 #awfac18. 

Hashtags: Use #awfac18 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

Stay connected throughout Annual Conference at

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