Full Recap coming this Thursday! Stay tuned to www.awfumc.org/ac2021 for an an overview of the conference. You may use any content from this review in your local churches.
Morning Worship: The final day of annual conference began with morning worship. Rev. June Jernigan, AWF Director of Ministerial Services and Assistant to the Bishop, offered the Call to Worship and Prayer for Illumination. Rev. Michael Precht of Dauphin Way UMC preached a powerful sermon entitled, "Seeing is Not Believing," based on Luke 24:13-35. He said, "God's surprises are better than our most sincere and well-thought-out plans." Bishop David Graves led the conference in a Spiritual Communion and Baptismal Remembrance. Mr. Jarvis Wilson and Rev. Steve Badskey of Aldersgate UMC (Montgomery) led music for this service.
The conference established a $7,295,663 million budget for mission and ministry for 2022. The 2022 budget is 4.49% higher than the previous year but the 2021 budget was the lowest in 20 years. The recommended district superintendent salary for 2022 is $104,349, unchanged from 2021. The unqualified audit report will appear in the 2021 Journal. In 2020, 352 churches paid 100% of their apportionments. Thank you for your faithful giving! This report was approved by the voting body and presented by George Mingledorff, CFA chair.
Ms. Suzanne Krejcar, AWF Treasurer, reported that membership stands at 120,863. Attendance at worship is approximately 44% of professing membership. Ethnic ministries showed an increase in attendance.
Rev. June Jernigan, AWF Director of Ministerial Services and Assistant to the Bishop, presented the report of the cabinet. She reviewed change in charge lines by district and church closures. She also read a resolution regarding the Demopolis and Mobile district lines. Jernigan covered church closures due to disaffiliation where the process is complete (payments received and cabinet work finished). The approved report may be found here.
Dr. Olivia Poole, AWF Trustees chair, presented an additional motion. The "policy for single signature authority" was before the voting body. Click here for the text of the motion. After multiple questions and answers, a motion was made to vote. That was approved and a vote was taken on the original motion. It was approved by a vote count of 391-70.
Presiding over his fifth annual conference, Bishop David Graves expressed his heartfelt thanks to those who were instrumental in the 2021 Annual Conference planning and delivered his Episcopal address. He centered his message around Wesley's historic question, "How is it with your soul?" and based the address on Matthew 13:8. He emphasized that we are called to be the church now more than maybe any other time in our lives. After showing the below visual, he explained that Jesus uses this image of the seed to talk about spirituality." If we want to be honest, many problems in our church are spiritual problems," he said. He told of his personal struggles over the past year and realizing that it was not well with his soul. At 4:20am on May 8, 2021, he heard God speak to him by saying, "It's not about you, David, it's about all these people that have put their trust in you. You need to remember your calling." He continued to ask clergy of the Alabama-West Florida Conference to step up. "I am here to help everyone get to where you need to be, but in the meantime, we need to be the church," he proclaimed. "I am a United Methodist pastor, I am a United Methodist Bishop," he continued. Graves expressed that he wants his legacy to be remembered as winning people to Jesus. While he hasn't always agreed with everything in the United Methodist church, Graves' churches have always paid their apportionments. "If you do what God calls you to do, God will bless you beyond measure. I am challenging you to step up and step forward," he implored. He told of the $86,000 of Southeastern Jurisdiction apportionments that were returned to the AWF Conference and through the collaboration of the conference staff, the money went back to the local churches in the form of a "Be a Sower" grant. To those clergy who attended the clergy family meeting in late May, they received a grant to start a ministry out of their church. "When there is something to talk about, we will do all of that in due time, but I will be about winning people to Christ," he said. A recording of this message will be available online next week.
The 2022 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 12-14, 2022, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination. This later date will accommodate our bishop serving two annual conferences.
View photos from the 2021 Annual Conference session below.
Service Video Archives
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