Morning Teaching Sessions: Dr. Kevin Watson, Assistant Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Candler School of Theology, led two morning teaching sessions titled "No Holiness but Social Holiness: The Theology and Practice of Wesleyan Small Group Formation" and "Reclaiming the Wesleyan Class Meeting Here and Now."
Business Sessions: Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson led the attendees in several moving musical selections. Various reports were given throughout the day from the Journal Committee, Standing Rules, Resolutions and Petitions, Connectional Ministries, Board of Laity, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, United Methodist Children's Home and Methodist Homes for the Aging, to name a few. Details on some of these reports are below.
Resolutions & Petitions: Two resolutions were presented to the annual conference voting body at today's session. A Resolution Calling for the Death Penalty Reform in Alabama was passed with an amendment. A revised copy will be posted online as soon as it is available. A motion was made to refer A Resolution Supporting Harm Reduction for LGBTQ Teens to the AWF Board of Church & Society. This motion was approved.
Connectional Ministries: Dr. Cory Smith delivered the Connectional Ministries report. He updated the conference on the various ministries making an impact in Alabama and West Florida. He welcomed the Communities of Transformation (COT) Vistas and highlighted a video on COT and the wonderful work they do as an innovative ministry that partners low-income families with community volunteers. Rev. Dan Pezet was introduced and explained how the Antioch Project is already making an impact on 18 AWF churches in the first year of this program. Dr. Smith introduced the directors of the AWF mission agencies to briefly tell of their work. In February, the AWF Conference welcomed Rev. Jeremy Steele as the Youth Ministry Liaison. Steele has exceptional experience in youth leadership ministry and has already formed a year-long youth cohort, which will regularly meet to pursue personal holiness and professional excellence. He concluded his time with a humorous video featuring a local Montgomery celebrity, Sammy Stephens. Click here to see video.
General Conference Report: Prior to hearing the General Conference report, Bishop Leeland took a moment to honor Dr. and Mrs. Lawson Bryan. He offered a prayer for Dr. Bryan as the AWF Episcopal Nominee. At the conclusion of that special moment, Dr. Bryan and Dr. Steve Furr (AWF Conference Lay Leader) summarized General Conference, which was held in Portland, OR, on May 10-20, 2016. Bryan and Furr thanked the delegates for their dedication and reviewed legislation that came before the voting body. Furr reported that a petition that came from the AWF 2015 Annual Conference was passed at general conference relating to withdrawing from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. To read daily updates from general conference, click here. Dawn Wiggins Hare, COSROW General Secretary, brought greetings from Chicago and also reported about general conference and challenged the clergy and lay leaders to offer their pulpits to someone who doesn't look like them. She also celebrated the 60th anniversary of full inclusion into the UMC.
Laity Report: Dr. Steve Furr updated the conference in regards to the work of the laity. He called on Lynn Hamric, AWF UMW Chair; Helen Edwards, Southeastern Jurisdictional and AWF Director of Lay Servant Ministries; and Frank Moore, AWF UMM Chair. They updated those in attendance about their respective areas of work. Beverly Maddox, the incoming AWF lay leader, honored Dr. Steve Furr for his eight years of service to the conference as lay leader. The conference body applauded his work and dedication.
Francis Asbury Award: Dr. Frank Buckner received the Francis Asbury Award today, presented by Dr. Rob Couch. Dr. Buckner currently serves as the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Faculty Development Dean at Huntingdon College. Dr. Couch also recognized campus ministers in attendance. As part of this Campus Ministry & Higher Education report, President Cam West of Huntingdon College briefly spoke and mentioned that they are striving to create a climate unlike what you'd find at other schools to determine what students are called to do with their lives. Rev. Julie Holly, chaplain at Birmingham-Southern College, brought greetings from the college and shared the exciting news that the college was welcoming its 15th president, Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, to campus today. Couch also mentioned that his committee was exploring expanding campus ministry to Auburn Montgomery under the leadership of the Revs. Bessie & Elvyn Hamilton.
Local Church Heritage Award: Rev. Pam Avery presented the 2016 Local Church Heritage Award. The recipient was Texasville UMC.
Denman Evangelism Award: There were four winners of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The clergy winner is Rev. Rurel Ausley of Crosspoint UMC. Lay recipients are Kristen and Ben Wallace of Dothan FUMC and the youth recipient is Riley Newton of the Auburn Wesley Foundation and Wesley Parish. A special moment was Rev. Newton, chair of AWF Discipleship, presenting the youth award to his son, Riley. Riley is also the grandson of the Denman recipient from 33 years ago, Rev. Doug Newton.
Alice Lee Award: This award goes to someone who was inspired by Alice's service and has chosen a path of service of their own. This year's recipient is Ruth Goff Penton of Enterprise FUMC.
Complete bios on today's award winners may be found here.
Imagine No Malaria: The Alabama-West Florida Conference celebrated a significant milestone earlier in 2016. The conference raised one million dollars in cash, therefore reaching our goal of saving 100,000 lives for Imagine No Malaria. We celebrated this in today's afternoon business session through a responsive litany and the singing of, "We Are Marching." Bishop Tom Bickerton, chief spokesperson for the campaign and Bishop of the Western Pennsylvania Conference, thanked the conference via video for our dedication to this initiative. Rev. Paula Roane, Rev. Pam Barnhart, Rev. Emily Kincaid and Rev. Mike Owenby, deacons in the AWF Conference, led this joyful time.
Laity Banquet: Under the leadership of Dr. Steve Furr, the laity celebrated their work at the annual banquet. A highlight of the evening was the entertainment by Dr. James Seay and Joshua Bullock from Montgomery FUMC. James and Josh are completing their first year as director of music and organist/assistant director of music, respectively. The Mary Ellen Bullard Leadership Address was given by Coach Tim Horton. He is an assistant coach for the Auburn University football team where he coaches running backs and is an active member of Auburn UMC. Frank Moore, AWF UMM President, presented the second annual Susanna Wesley Award for Excellence. The recipient of this annual award is Lynn Hamric. The Venture Crew from Foley UMC received the Bishop's Scouting Award of Excellence. Pam Baker accepted this award on behalf of the church and troop.
UMCOR Relief Kits: Tomorrow is the last day to bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies Wednesday from 7:30am-11:00am.
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View photos from the 2016 Annual Conference session (added daily, all photos by Luke Lucas).
Watch selections of the 2016 Annual Conference LIVE from your home or work.
Remaining Streaming Schedule
All sessions available at www.frazerumc.org/live. All times are CDT.
Wednesday, June 15
-Conference Business Session, 8:30am
-Sending Forth Service, 11:00am
Several sessions from annual conference have been uploaded to the Frazer UMC Website. Click here for links.
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