Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, in accordance with ¶603.5 of the 2016 Book of Discipline
, calls for two 2023 special sessions of the annual conference on Sunday, May 7, 2023, and Sunday, November 12, 2023. These meetings are in addition to the already-announced special session on Saturday, November 12, 2022
. All special-called sessions will be held via Zoom.
The purpose of the special sessions is to ratify local church disaffiliations within the Alabama-West Florida Conference and allows local churches additional discernment time and necessary conversations with conference leadership.
“I have stated over and over that I will be a United Methodist bishop and I also hope each member, clergyperson and church would choose to remain in the United Methodist Church,” stated Bishop Graves. “However, I am aware that some churches will choose to explore other options. For those who feel like this is their next step, these sessions are being offered. An opportunity to do so will allow all parties involved the necessary and appropriate time needed to prayerfully explore all options.”
The special conference sessions only ratify local church disaffiliations; no other business may be considered. Complete information pertaining to local church disaffiliations may be found at www.awfumc.org/disaffiliation
Elected lay members or alternate lay members (whoever was last seated) who served at the 2022 June annual conference session will serve as the voting lay members for the called sessions in November 2022 and May 2023. Elected lay members who will serve at the 2023 June annual conference session will serve as the voting lay members for the November 2023 session. Clergy membership of the annual conference is defined in ¶32 of the Book of Discipline
. Specific voting member instructions and information will be distributed by Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF conference secretary.
**The Book of Discipline
¶603.5: A special session of the annual conference may be held at such time and in such place as shall have been determined by the annual conference after consultation with the bishop, or by the bishop with the concurrence of three-fourths of the district superintendents. A special session of the annual conference shall have only such powers as are stated in the call. (See Judicial Council decision 397)