Bishop David Graves, resident bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, announced a task force to address structuring matters of the conference.
At the conclusion of their work, the committee will have made a proposal with recommendations related to the number of districts, district lines, district offices, the Episcopal residence, the conference office, and conference lines; to name a few.
Some matters will be properly before the cabinet, still other items are the responsibility of the Conference Board of Trustees (subject to annual conference approval), some will be before the annual conference, while additional matters would be addressed by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference or our delegates to the conference.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” stated Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon, senior pastor at FUMC Panama City and chair of the task force. “Our task force is comprised of leaders who have served in a variety of settings and in all levels of The United Methodist Church. They bring a tremendous depth of knowledge as it relates to the history of our conference. They understand the gravity of the task before us as we navigate this unprecedented time in our denomination. The report we bring will be comprehensive in scope and will position us to move forward from this challenging period in our life together. We are hopeful that the report we offer for consideration by the annual conference, our delegates, the College of Bishops and the Southeastern Jurisdiction will enable us to re-engage fruitful and effective ministry, in structures we will be able to support going forward.”
The parts of the proposal before the conference will be presented to the voting members of the 2023 Annual Conference session, to be held June 11-14 in Mobile, AL, at the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
“The work of this task force under Dr. Pridgeon’s leadership has been exceptional,” stated Bishop Graves. “We began the difficult work of reducing staff and cabinet positions in May of 2020. At the time we took criticism for making deep cuts, yet it proved to be beneficial. As the episcopal leader of this conference, I continue to ensure that we are being good stewards of our resources while forecasting changes that will be needed to be sustainable. It’s no secret that the United Methodist Church is in a season of change. On the other side of the division, we will be well-positioned to move forward with Kingdom-building work.”
The task force members are as follows:
Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon, Elder, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Dr. Cory Smith, Elder, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Dr. Darren McClellan, Elder, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Rev. Cherie Meadows, Deacon, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Rev. Christina Shaver, Elder, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Dr. Shirley Woodie, Laity, First United Methodist Church, Ozark
Rev. Dale Cohen, Elder, North Alabama Conference
* The late Rev. Frederick Outlaw, Elder in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, faithfully served on this committee until his recent death.