Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion: Thirty clergy and clergy spouses who passed since the 2015 AWF Annual Conference session were remembered today during the Service of Remembrance and Holy Communion. Bishop Paul L. Leeland offered the opening prayer and Rev. Rurel Ausley of Crosspoint UMC delivered the inspiring and uplifting sermon entitled, "Jesus Wept" based on John 11:21-35. He specifically recalled several who had passed he personally knew, including the late Bishop William Morris, who served the AWF Conference. Rev. Amy Persons Parkes read the Gospel lesson. A capacity crowd remembered those who gave many years of service to the conference. Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson, guest musicians and worship leaders at this year's conference, provided comforting music through their rendition of, "My Soul Has Been Anchored in the Lord." As we continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordination of Deacons in the UMC, they, along with the AWF district superintendents, served communion to those in attendance. Surviving family members were hosted at a special luncheon by the AWF Commission on Archives and History. To see photos from this service, click here.
Praying for Orlando: At the Opening Worship service on Sunday, Bishop Leeland led the conference in a time of remembrance and prayer for the people of Orlando. Today many gathered in the early morning hours for a time of prayer in response to the tragic shooting. Music, poems, silence and scripture were woven together in a time of reflection and intercession. One participant shared, “I wish we knew all of the names and stories of each person as we pray for God’s presence and peace.” An invitation was also shared for people to walk the labyrinth, receive a prayer shawl, and register for spiritual direction. Patti Bodenhamer of the Spiritual Formation Team shared that, “the experiential prayer room will remain open for prayers and spiritual direction during Annual Conference for anyone who wishes to find time to 'be still’ and spend time in the presence of God."
Business Session: After joining our voices together in union in a worship medley and the traditional singing of, "And Are We Yet Alive?" Beverly Maddox, Pensacola Lay Leader, welcomed everyone on behalf of the host district. Dr. David Saliba led the conference in approving the bar, secretarial staff, journal, agenda and consent agenda. Bishop Leeland called on Matthew Pinson to bring greetings from Candler School of Theology and the North Georgia Conference, where he is the outgoing lay leader. At the conclusion of this afternoon's session, it was announced that over $40,000 has been collected for the 2016 AC Missional Offering, which is the AWF Disaster Response & Recovery Ministry. You may also donate online here.
Episcopal Address & Committee: Presiding over his eighth AWF Annual Conference, Bishop Paul L. Leeland delivered his Episcopal address to the body of the conference. He recapped the theme the AWF Conference has adopted the past quadrennium, "SEND" (Seek, Engage, Nurture, Deploy). He emphasized that, "every congregation can be invitational and missional regardless of size." Leeland also mentioned the Four Areas of Focus, which guides the work of the conference. Communities of Transformation was recognized for their work with ministry with the poor and he thanked the conference for their dedication to raising $1 million for Imagine No Malaria. Bishop Leeland also invited everyone to a visioning day on October 3, 2016, in Pensacola, FL, to explore a new way to engage in ministry called "Fresh Expressions." He also highlighted the Antioch Project that works with healthy and good churches, that could be great churches, by focusing on people within their zip codes.
Paulette Thompson, chair of the Episcopacy Committee, presented her report and introduced a special video produced by Luke Lucas, AWF Communications Specialist. The video featured conference leaders who have worked with Bishop Leeland over the past two quadrenniums. Click here to see the video. She invited Mrs. Leeland to the stage and presented a gift to her. The conference expressed their thanks to them at the conclusion of the report.
Local Pastors: Those local pastors receiving their license for the first time were introduced and recognized by Rev. Libba Stinson and greeted by Bishop Leeland during today's afternoon business session.
Extension Ministers: Members of our annual conference that are in extension ministry (appointments outside the local church) introduced themselves and briefly told of their appointments.
Retiring Clergy Recognized: Eighteen clergy were recognized upon their retirement by Dr. Jim Sanders during today's order of the day. Together, the following clergy have over 400 years of service in our conference. Rev. John McCullough spoke on behalf of the retiring class. Back by popular demand was the "passing of the torch." McCullough presented a stole to Rev. Lisa Pierce, who was ordained as a deacon in full connection this evening, signifying new leadership in the conference. The retirees are:
David W. Cook
Jack Purser, Jr.
"Standing on the Promises" was sung in unison celebrating this dedicated group. A reception was held Monday afternoon in honor of the retiring clergy.
Service of Commissioning & Ordination: The Service of Commissioning and Ordination was held this evening in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The congregation represented family members and special friends of those being commissioned and ordained. Prior to the start of the service, the cathedral choir of Montgomery First UMC presented worshipful music led by James Seay. The service included the commissioning of one provisional deacon and four provisional elders and the ordination of one deacon in full connection and five elders in full connection. Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference preached a sermon entitled, “Sent to Serve and Build Up” based on Ephesians 4:11-16. He asked those being commissioned and ordained to remember their baptism by saying, "Everything we need to be a Christian came in the liturgy and waters of the baptism." A special offering was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund. To see photos from tonight's service, click here.
Christopher John Kelsey
Sheila Bernetta Bates
Bradley Allen Goode
Ryan Ray Martin
Faith Elizabeth Parry
Deacon in Full Connection:
Lisa Annette Pierce
Elders in Full Connection:
Levi Santure Gardner
Betty Bowden Middleton
David James Morris
Jeremy Wells Steele
Jean Deann Tippit
Biometric Health Screenings: Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the Biometric Health Screenings in the Cokesbury Room at Frazer Memorial UMC. The hours are 8:00am-2:00pm. This is offered as a part of our health and wellness initiative designed to help you maintain good health. 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. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies during these hours:
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.
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
Get a Copy: CD and DVD copies of many portions of annual conference are available for purchase. Click here for the order form.
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