Annual Conference, Day One: June 12, 2016

June 12, 2016

In the News

Opening Worship: A capacity crowd attended the Opening Worship Service of the 2016 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference session, which was held Sunday evening, June 12, in the sanctuary of Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL. Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference preached the sermon based on John 20:19-23 entitled, "The Recovery of Sentness." He passionately told of instances where Jesus continues to show up in our own ministry and lives. He explained that his presence pierces a tense and anxious atmosphere and said, "God never quits on us!!" He continued, "You will never have any ministry that is worth anything unless that ministry takes on flesh and blood. Ministry will mean taking on flesh in every situation and every circumstance." At the conclusion of his message, the congregation affirmed his words with a standing ovation. A mass choir from around the conference, and led by Wayne Sigler of Frazer, provided inspiring music for the service including moving renditions of, "All Creatures of Our God and King," "I am Not My Own" and "Send Me." The Gospel lesson was read by Rev. Sheila Bates. Rev. Bates returned home to the AWF Conference from Nashville, TN, where she is serving as the Director of Student Faith and Leadership Formation, Collegiate Ministries Office at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson, talented worship leaders from the Atlanta area, returned to conference this year and led an inspirational and spirit-filled worship medley. Bishop Paul L. Leeland, presiding over his eighth conference as Resident Bishop of the AWF Conference, paused for a moment before the opening prayer to reflect on the tragedy that happened early this morning in Orlando, FL, and reminded the conference that we have a rare opportunity to be agents of God's unconditional love in this world. Click here to read a statement on this mass shooting from Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual Conference. It was announced that a time of corporate prayer would be held in the Experiential Prayer Room in the Easy Sanctuary tomorrow, June 13, from 7-8:00am for those wishing to reflect on the Orlando tragedy. All are invited and encouraged to stop in for a time of prayer. The Opening Worship Service also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ordination of the Deacons in the UMC. Deacons in the AWF Conference participated in various parts of the service and processed into the service together. We give thanks to God for their ministry!

AWF Disaster Response & Recovery Ministry: AWF Disaster Response & Recovery Ministry is the beneficiary of the 2016 missional offering. Churches from within the conference collected money and presented their offerings at opening worship. Rev. Michael Lawler delivered the offertory prayer. Lawler is the pastor of Elba FUMC in Elba, AL, where severe flooding occurred in late December of 2015. He has been active in the flood recovery efforts in the area. He took a moment of personal privilege to express how the love of Christ came to Elba and touched so many lives. Amelia Fletcher, director of this ministry, explained the process of disaster response and recovery and the connectional system at work. She emphasized partnership and the importance of funding to help those in a critical time of need. At time of press, over $38,000 was collected this evening. Thank you for your generosity!

Biometric Health Screenings: As part of the conference health initiative, biometric health screenings will be offered during annual conference in the Cokesbury Room at Frazer Memorial UMC on Monday, June 13th and Tuesday, June 14th, from 8:00am-2:00pm. This is offered as a part of our health and wellness initiative designed to help you maintain good health. You may visit the Cokesbury Room to make an appointment with Belinda Carnegie, AWF Benefits Coordinator. For more information, click here

UMCOR Relief Kits: Bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot during annual conference. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. Thank you to Coleman American for providing the truck again this year, and for transporting the supplies to Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, LA. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies during the following hours:
Monday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Tuesday: 7:30am-12:30pm
Wednesday: 7:30am-11:00am 
Thank you to the youth of Prattville FUMC (Monday), Wetumpka FUMC (Tuesday), and St. James UMC (Wednesday) for working at the truck and receiving the supplies.


View photos from the 2016 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2016 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or office. 

Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at, except the Service of Commissioning and Ordination. See special link for that service below. All times are CDT. 

Monday, June 13
-Service of Remembrance & Holy Communion, 10:30am
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm
-Recognition of Retiring Clergy (following afternoon business session)
-Service of Ordination, 7:00pm (

Tuesday, June 14
-Conference Business Session, 8:00am
-Teaching Session with Dr. Kevin Watson, 8:30 am and 10:00am
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm

Wednesday, June 15
-Conference Business Session, 8:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am

WFRZ TV Schedule
The following service will be broadcast live on Frazer TV, WFRZ. Check your local provider listings for channel. 

Monday, June 13
-Service of Remembrance & Holy Communion, 10:30am

Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form

Social Media

Follow the action of the conference live:

Hashtags: Use #awfac16 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

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