June 4, 2018
Special reminder: please remember that Frazer Memorial UMC is an Alabama primary voting location tomorrow, June 5. The polls will be located in the gymnasium area away from most of the annual conference activities and are only available for voters registered for that precinct (you may not drop off absentee ballots at this location). The three parking lots on the east side of Frazer's campus, surrounding the gyms, will be reserved for voters. Annual conference participants are asked to park in the west parking lots, and additional spaces will be opened on the soccer fields. There will be shuttle services available throughout the day.
Morning Worship: For the second year at annual conference, each day began with morning worship. Bishop David Graves made this addition so that the conference session would start with a sense of Holy time and carry that worship-filled spirit throughout the day. Rev. German Gomez of San Juan Mission at Clanton FUMC, preached his sermon based on James 2: 5-10 (NKJV). At the conclusion of the sermon, Bishop David Graves gave thanks for Rev. Gomez and commented that we might have come to annual conference to do business but we're here for a revival. Kristin Curtis Wright, third year MDiv Student at Candler School of Theology, gave the greeting. Laurel Akin and Celeste Eubanks, who were recently consecrated as deaconesses in the United Methodist Church, were commissioned as part of this morning worship service. Clara Ester and Susan Hunt, current deaconesses, joined them in this special commissioning time.
Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion: Thirty-one clergy and clergy spouses who passed since the 2017 AWF Annual Conference session were remembered today during the Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion. Bishop David Graves offered the opening prayer and Rev. June Jernigan, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Ministerial Services, delivered the inspiring and uplifting sermon entitled, "Thankful for God's Call." It was based on 1 Samuel 3:1-18, which was read by Rev. Richard Williams of Aldersgate UMC. This year's sermon was particularly special as Rev. Jernigan reached out to all families remembering a loved one prior to this service. She asked them to tell her more about their deceased loved one's ministry call story, which came in different ways. Whether it was a call at a young age or later in life, their call was significant in many ways. She journeyed through several personal call stories telling how these saints came to know Jesus and know their life was to be in ministry. She also honored the clergy spouses who "led the parsonage life." She also stated, "To the families, thank you for being here and reminding us all of something today: the importance to the call of God. It keeps women and men in ministry and binds us together as leaders of the church." Each individual name was read aloud by Rev. Olivia Poole of Mt. Zion UMC, AWF Commission on Archives and History Chair. The acolytes lighted a candle for each person we remembered today. Rev. Emily Kincaid, deacon and serving Orange Beach UMC, prepared the communion elements. Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson provided comforting music through their rendition of, "I'll See You Again." The AWF Commission on Archives and History hosted surviving family members at a special luncheon. To see photos from this service, click here.
Business Session: After joining our voices together in the traditional singing of, "And Are We Yet Alive?" a video celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Methodist Church was shown to the members of the conference. Rev. Allen Newton, Demopolis District Superintendent, welcomed everyone on behalf of the host district. Dr. David Saliba, AWF Conference Secretary of Perdido Bay UMC, led the conference in approving the bar, secretarial staff, journal, agenda and consent agenda. Amelia Fletcher, former AWF Director of Disaster Response, was in attendance and was honored for her many years of service and dedication. She was presented a handmade keepsake bowl and given a standing ovation.
Today's afternoon session opened with a video from the Methodist Homes for the Aging. Christopher Tomlin, CEO and President, then offered a prayer. As part of the afternoon business session, Dr. David Saliba presented his nominations report, which was approved by the members. Bishop Graves introduced Rev. Ashley Davis, incoming conference secretary, and gave thanks to both of them for the tireless work they accomplish for the conference. Blake Horne, President of the United Methodist Children's Home, updated the conference on their work, which includes new branding to better connect potential and current donors in the Florida area. The request to increase the number of UMCH board members was approved. At the conclusion of this afternoon's session, it was announced that $52,489 has been collected thus far for the 2018 AC Missional Offering, benefitting Communities of Transformation. Thank you for your generosity!
Laity Report: Beverly Maddox, AWF Conference Lay Leader, updated the conference in regards to the work of the laity and emphasized the partnership of clergy and laity. She called on Debbie Bell, AWF UMW Chair; David Bowen, AWF Director of Lay Servant Ministries; and Frank Moore, AWF UMM Chair. They updated those in attendance about their respective areas of work.
Committee on Episcopacy: Alexis Tibbetts of Shalimar UMC, chair of the Episcopacy Committee, presented her report and welcomed back Bishop and Mrs. David Graves to their second Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference session. Tibbetts explained the work the committee has done over the past year, including a comprehensive survey evaluating the bishop. As expected, the results were very favorable in all areas. She invited Mrs. Graves to the stage and presented flowers to her. The conference expressed their thanks to them at the conclusion of the report.
Commissioning & Ordination Recognition: Dr. Jim Sanders of Dothan FUMC spoke to the conference on behalf of the board of ordained ministry. He introduced those on the board and in the office of ministerial services. A concerted effort of the board is to recruit transformational church leaders. He walked through six characteristics and qualities of future church leaders. He introduced Rev. Shannon Conklin-Miller, who was in attendance, and is the GBHEM Assistant General Secretary for Clergy Formation. Those approved for commissioning and ordination as deacons and elders were introduced by Rev. Emily Kincaid of Orange Beach UMC and Dr. Brian Miller of Aldersgate UMC in Montgomery, AL. A brief word about each of the honorees was given. This group was confirmed by their clergy peers at last evening's clergy executive session.
Local Pastors: Those local pastors receiving their license for the first time were introduced and recognized by Rev. Dunford Cole of Campground UMC/Rutledge UMC and greeted by Bishop Graves during today's afternoon business session. The conference extended their hands to these persons as Bishop Graves prayed over this group entering the mission and ministry field. Cole also introduced those who have completed the Basic Course of Study and Advanced Course of Study.
Extension Ministers: Members of our annual conference that are in extension ministry (appointments outside the local church) introduced themselves and briefly told of their appointments. This time is always a highlight of the conference as we are able to see the many areas our clergy reach beyond the bounds of the conference.
Retiring Clergy Recognized: Eighteen clergy were recognized upon their retirement by Rev. Kathy Knight of Milton FUMC during today's order of the day. Rev. Joe Reams spoke on behalf of the retiring class. Back by popular demand was the "passing of the torch." Rev. Sung Kuk Hong, who was ordained an elder in full connection this evening, spoke on behalf of the newly ordained class, signifying new leadership in the conference. Together, the following clergy have 487 years of service in our conference. The retirees are:
"Lift High the Cross" was sung in unison celebrating this dedicated group. A receiving line was formed Monday afternoon in honor of the retiring clergy.
Service of Commissioning & Ordination: The Service of Commissioning and Ordination was held this evening in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The congregation represented family members and special friends of those being commissioned and ordained. Prior to the start of the service, the cathedral choir of Montgomery FUMC presented worshipful music led by Dr. James Seay. The service included the commissioning of two provisional deacons and one provisional elder and the ordination of one deacon in full connection and four elders in full connection. Bishop David Graves preached a sermon entitled, “Let Them Know You Love Them," based on John 15:9-17. He challenged the ordinands and commissionees to not forget that it's more about Jesus than the church. He stated, "You can know everything in the world, you can have everything in the world but if you don't have love, you have nothing." He told the example of a difficult couple in a church from a previous appointment that commanded a lot of attention from the church staff. Graves told him about a one-page paper that was due each week in seminary years ago that was time consuming to type and expensive to pay a typist. The man approached him in the church parking lot, Graves thinking it was about to become confrontational, and presented to him a brand new word processor and printer. It was a tremendous gift, especially at that time. He further said that from that time on, it changed the relationship. Eventually the man became a local pastor in the UMC. The man told Bishop Graves, "the people of this church and you, as a pastor and youth director, loved us in spite of us. You taught us what the love of Christ is all about." Graves finished by saying, "Love always finds a way." A special offering was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund. To see photos from tonight's service, click here.
Deacons in Full Connection:
Elders in Full Connection:
Sung Kuk Hong
Biometric Health Screenings: Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the Biometric Health Screenings in the Cokesbury Room at Frazer Memorial UMC. The hours are 7:30am-12:30pm. This is offered as a part of our health and wellness initiative designed to help you maintain good health. 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. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies during these hours:
View photos from the 2018 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas).
Watch selections of the 2018 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office.
Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at www.frazerumc.org/live and times are CDT.
Tuesday, June 5
-Morning Worship and Communion, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Teaching Session with Julia Kuhn Wallace (following morning business session)
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm
Wednesday, June 6
-Morning Worship and Communion, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am
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Archived Sessions: Archived sessions may be found at this link. The link will continue to be updated throughout conference.
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