Morning Worship: For the fourth 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. Michael Precht of Dauphin Way UMC organized and directed worship for 2021. Tamela Stallworth, a young person from Theodore First United Methodist Church, gave a video devotion. Back again in person was Jarvis Wilson, professional musician from Atlanta, GA. Jarvis and Celeste Eubanks led the conference by singing, "Jesus is All the World to Me."
Business Session: After joining our voices together in the traditional singing of, "And Are We Yet Alive?" Dr. Debora Bishop, District Superintendent of the Mobile District, welcomed everyone on behalf of the host district. Video prayers from those in the district were shared at the opening of each business session. Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Conference Secretary and Director of Connectional Ministries, led the conference in approving the bar, secretarial staff, journal, agenda and consent agenda.
Agenda Update: The AWF Board of Trustees will be presenting two items for a vote. The first item was previously announced and posted. The second item was announced at today's session. Click here to read the additional item.
Laity Report: Beverly Maddox presented the laity report and highlighted the work of the laity in the conference. She expressed a special "thank you" to the laity who stepped up to help their churches continue ministry during the pandemic. One of the most joyful highlights was that lay servant ministries certified six people in the Baypines District. Lay servant ministries gave 210 pulpit messages, 75 devotionals, 74 worship leaders, 79 faith sharings and 7 teachings in the past year. The United Methodist Women sent 101.4% of a $118,000 pledge to mission funds for national agencies. She quoted Winnie the Pooh and centered her message around the quote that says, "In order to get to where you need to be you have to walk away from where you are."
Connectional Ministries Report: Rev. Ashley Davis presented this report and discussed the updated conference priorities as well as highlights from the past year. Click here to see the document she presented.
Service of Remembrance: Sixty-nine clergy and clergy spouses who passed since the 2019 AWF Annual Conference session were remembered today during the Service of Remembrance. Rev. Jean Tippit, Baypines District Superintendent, offered the opening prayer and Rev. Misty Barrett of Headland UMC delivered the inspiring and uplifting sermon entitled, "The Well-lit Path." She proclaimed, "We've gathered here and online to praise God and give witness to our faith as we celebrate these sixty-nine clergy and clergy spouses who have passed away over the past two years." She also said, "I can personally tell you that in this group of men and women, many of them touched my life personally. They were on my district committee of ordination, they were there on the board of ministry when I became a deacon and an elder. Several of them were my pastors. One of the sweetest ladies I've ever known taught me how to drive." Barrett continued, "The most important thing I can say about every single one of them, many years ago each one of them asked Jesus Christ into their hearts as eternal savior and lord.....this is the highest achievement they accomplished." The message was based on Revelation 14:13. Bishop David Graves led the conference in a baptismal remembrance. Each individual name was read aloud by Dr. Jeff Wilson and Dr. Deborah Bishop. Rev. Jean Tippit and Dr. Mike Pearson lit a candle for each person we remembered today. Bishop Graves took a few moments to also remember the late Wayne Sigler, music director at Frazer Memorial UMC for twelve years. Wayne was a significant part of AWF annual conferences over the years. We give thanks for his service. Ms. Jere Thomas, vocalist, and Mrs. Colleen Hicks, organist, of Dauphin Way UMC presented a moving musical rendition of The Lord's Prayer. Mr. Jarvis Wilson and Rev. Steve Badskey of Aldersgate UMC (Montgomery) led the music for this service. To see photos from this service, click here. To order a DVD copy of this service use this form.
Local Pastors: Those local pastors receiving their license for the first time were named and recognized by Dr. Jim Sanders, chairs of the Board of Ordained Ministry. They were invited to receive their license in person on Saturday, June 5 at Bishop Graves' local pastors family meeting. Full-time local pastors who were approved are: James Flick, Melanie Foust, Jennifer Guidoni, Jody Hadden, Ross Jenkins, John Kelsoe, Joshua McLamb, Tim Morris and Sam Wyckoff. Part-time local pastors who were approved are: Scott Aspden, Kevin Blair, Glenda Carlson, Gordon Carnes, John Fuller and Chandler Robbins.
Course of Study: Gina Bryan was honored for completing the basic course of study.
Although those in extension ministries were not present, they were recognized and individually named during this afternoon's session.
Retiring Clergy Recognized: Twenty-two clergy were recognized upon their retirement by Dr. Jim Sanders of Dothan FUMC during today's order of the day. Together, these twenty-two clergy have over 653 years of service in our conference. The retirees are:
Deacons: David Goolsby and Kathy Jorgensen
Elders: Danny Arnold, Jim Batchelor, Gail Baughman, Jimmy Boone, Herstel Carter, Alan Cassady, Stephanie Cox, Mike Gaby, Marvin Luckie, Oakley Melton, Dough Pennington, Charles Smith, Tim Trent, Spencer Turnipseed.
Local Pastors: Tonny Algood, Reggie Evans, Paul Ferrell, Greg Nobles, Marg Perelli, Gayle Woodard.
Sanders concluded his report by honoring Rev. June Jernigan for her years of service as Director of Ministerial Services. She will be appointed and continue her service as Assistant to the Bishop, effective July 1, 2021.
A video message was shown demonstrating the outstanding ministries happening through the Teaming with Tanzania partnership. They are one of our missional offering recipients. This year's offering will be a collective effort of four conference ministries. Acts 1:8 reads, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Following the movement of the Spirit and seeking to be Christ’s witnesses to our community, nation, and throughout the world, we ask that you choose from the following four mission endeavors to support during this annual conference: Blue Lake Camp, Communities of Transformation, AWF Disaster Response Ministry and Teaming with Tanzania. Click here to for more information to give.
Service of Commissioning: The Service of Commissioning was held this afternoon in the sanctuary of Frazer Memorial UMC. The limited congregation represented invited family members and special friends of those being commissioned. Prior to the start of the service, the cathedral choir of Montgomery FUMC presented worshipful music led by Dr. James Seay and Dr. Josh Coble. The service included the commissioning of two provisional deacons and six provisional elders. Bishop David Graves preached a sermon titled, "Time to Step Up," based on John 12: 20-26, Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 2 Corinthians 6:1-11. He remembered the times spent with the commissionees at seminaries, the Holy Land and even a ride to a basketball game. Graves continued, "Being commissioned is not only a call to your life but a chance to step up." He outlined several suggestions for their ministry: 1) Always stay in love with Jesus; 2) Ministry is best accomplished when doing it as a team; 3) Surround yourself with people who are better than you are; 4) Learn to be a great communicator; 5) Don't just work hard but work smart; 6) Change is a must; 7) Handle success like you handle failure. A special offering was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund. Click here to donate. To see photos from this afternoon's service, click here. To order a DVD copy of this service use this order form.
View photos from the 2021 Annual Conference session (added today and tomorrow, all photos by Luke Lucas).
2021 Service of Ordination Archive
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Watch the conference LIVE from your home or office.
Tuesday, June 8
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
Wednesday, June 9
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service (following the morning business session)
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