Annual Conference, Day One: June 4, 2017

June 04, 2017

In the News

Opening Worship: A capacity crowd attended the Opening Worship Service of the 2017 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference session, which was held Sunday evening, June 4, in the sanctuary of Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, AL. The service began with an uplifting reading of the Pentecost Story in six languages (English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Shona and Hebrew) from lay and clergy representing various areas of the conference. A mass choir from around the conference, and led by Wayne Sigler of Frazer, provided inspiring music for the service including moving renditions of, "For the Glory of the Lord," "To Whom, Then, Will You Liken God" and "Whenever I Hear His Name." The Scripture lesson was read by Jenn Lusher, AWF Director of Leadership Strategies. Bishop David Graves presiding over his first conference as Resident Bishop of the AWF Conference, was introduced by Alexis Tibbetts, Chair of the Episcopacy Committee. She expressed a heartfelt welcome to Bishop Graves and his wife, Nancy, and articulated how sincere and genuine Bishop Graves has been since the first day of his assignment. Rev. Robin Wilson, Senior Pastor of Dauphin Way UMC, preached the sermon based on Ephesians 3:7-21 entitled, "More Than We Imagine." She recalled the past memories of attending annual conference as a child and youth delegate and the impressions those years made on her. She said, "I saw and I knew the power and presence of our God. At the age of 17, I felt called into ordained ministry and wanted to show the world what you as a church had witnessed so faithfully to me." She passionately challenged the congregation to truly imagine what God can do in this place and reminded them of the first pentecost and how the earnest followers had no idea what to expect of their God. Some might have imagined Jesus would come quickly, or a mighty deliverance, but they never imagined what God was about to do, and we are no different. "We have such set expectations of what God should do, that we have lost the creativity to imagine what God can do." In the coming weeks, two of Wilson's new sermons will be broadcast on the nationally broadcast radio show Day1 (formerly known as the protestant hour). Click here for more

Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson, talented worship leaders from the Atlanta area, returned to conference this year and led an inspirational and spirit-filled communion medley. The Opening Worship Service celebrated all phases of ministry and included laity, seminary students, local pastors, elders and deacons. For the first year, communion was served as a part of this service. Rev. Jay Cooper of Bay Minette FUMC coordinated the service and focused on the collective ministry we emphasize in the conference. Communion servers represented Asbury, Candler, Duke and Vanderbilt seminary students and also included clergy and laity from around the bounds of the conference. The invocation and communion liturgy were taken from the Feasting on the Word Worship Companion: Liturgies for Year A, Vol. 1. This year's conference will feature more clergy and laity leadership from within Alabama and West Florida, an answer to constructive feedback from previous years. We give thanks to God for the participants and those they represent in ministry!

AWF Local Mission Agencies: The Alabama-West Florida Local Mission Agencies are the beneficiaries of the 2017 missional offering. Churches from within the conference collected money and presented their offerings at opening worship. Rev. Nancy Watson, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, delivered the offertory prayer prior to the monetary collection. The agencies benefitting from this collection are The Ark, Dumas Wesley Community Center, Mary Ellen’s Hearth, Milk and Honey Outreach Ministries, United Methodist Inner City Mission in Mobile, and Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries. For the first year a text-to-give option is available. Click here for instructions. At time of press, $39,491 was collected this evening. An updated amount will be reported in the coming days. Thank you for your generosity!

Quadrennial Pictorial Directory: This year we will host Color Craft to produce our quadrennial pictorial directories. They will be photographing clergy and conference leadership on Monday-Wednesday in rooms 3013/3015. Click here for times. All clergy, conference staff, district administrative assistants and district lay leaders should have their photo taken. The Episcopal office highly recommends all clergy have their photo taken. These photos will also be used on our clergy finder section of the conference Website.

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 5th and Tuesday, June 6th, 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 


View photos from the 2017 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas). 

Live Streaming
Watch selections of the 2017 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 5
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-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 6
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Teaching Sessions with Claire Bowen and Dr. Victor Dingus (following morning business session)
-Conference Business Session, 1:30pm

Wednesday, June 7
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-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 5
-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. New this year is a custom Snapchat Geofilter! It will be available throughout conference. Find the photos and share with us on various social media platforms. Don't forget to tag it with #awfac17. 


Hashtags: Use #awfac17 to join the Twitter conversation and to tag your Instagram photos. 

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