An Update from the AWF Delegation

March 12, 2021

Friends in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, 

I hope this finds all of our brothers and sisters in the Alabama/West Florida Conference doing well and finding hope in the Lord Jesus Christ during these unusual times. It has now been a year since the COVID 19 virus changed our ways of living and worshipping. The one thing that did not change was God’s faithfulness to be with us. Jesus said, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” God’s Word has been my comfort during this year and I am sure it continues to bring you hope as well.

I wanted to give you an update on our delegation and the work we have been involved in since our election in 2019. As all of you probably know by now the General and SEJ Jurisdictional Conferences which were scheduled for spring and summer of 2020 did not happen because of the COVID virus. As a result, the General Conference was postponed until August of 2021 and the SEJ Jurisdictional Conference could not meet until the General Conference has been in session. Therefore, the 2020 delegation has been placed on hold until the General Conference can meet.

This does not mean that your delegation has not been active. We have stayed in touch on a regular basis and have had regular update meetings with Bishop Graves. Here is the latest:

  1. The 2020 General Conference has now been rescheduled for a second time from 2021 to meet on August 29 - September 6, 2022 still in Minneapolis, MN.
  2. In the meantime, the Council of Bishops have called a special General Conference on May 8, 2021 to vote on one item…to suspend the rules so that a mail in ballot could be sent with 12 pieces of legislation.  There will be no debate on any of these pieces. The legislation can be found here.
  3. With the called General Conference being held in May, it will allow us to move forward to the business of the SEJ Jurisdictional Conference. This will be a virtual conference held in July of this year.
  4. The delegation has participated in Zoom sessions with all US General/Jurisdictional delegates and another with all SEJ Jurisdictional delegates. These meetings have centered around the concerns of funding present bishops because of the shortage of funds in the reserve Episcopal Fund. Polls were taken and a majority of the SEJ delegates have agreed on the following proposals to be brought before the SEJ Jurisdictional Conference.
    ?a.  Receive the retirement of the five bishops who have stated their intention to retire.(Bishops Bryan, Leeland, Swanson, Taylor and Ward.)The effective date is to be determined.
    b.  Elect no new bishops at this time.
    c.  Consider a recommendation of interim episcopal area assignments from the Committee on Episcopacy.

Dr. Steve Furr and I continue to represent the AWF Conference on the SEJ Committee on Episcopacy. We are still functioning as your representatives from the 2016 delegation since we have not had another SEJ Jurisdictional Conference. I am sure this has to be the longest running SEJ Committee on Episcopacy. Dr. Furr is in his sixth year serving as chair. The SEJ COE has been diligent in meeting on a regular basis.

I want to say how much I appreciate the members of our delegation for their dedication to serve in this capacity as your representatives. They have been faithful to meet and to keep informed on the issues before us. I also want to thank Rev. Ashley Davis for keeping us on track and Bishop Graves for graciously giving his time to meet with us and give his interpretation of the most recent happenings as they unfold in the UMC. Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward to proudly represent the AWF Conference.

With Gratitude,
Dr. Larry Bryars
Head of Delegation

Larry Bryars
Steve Furr
Lisa Ausley
Beverly Maddox
Sung Kuk Hong
Gene Floore
Lester Spencer
George Mingledorff
Riley Newton
Frank Moore
Rurel Ausley
Notalsia Whiting
Virginia Kogoro
John Mooneyham
Doug Pennington
Robert Brooks
Misty Barrett
Tripp Gulledge
Matt Mobley