The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Here for You - Serving Jesus
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Video about Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries
A video from the August 15, 2016, webinar about Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries is now posted at as well as on the Pensacola District's Community Ministries page (here.)  The video is courtesy of Alabama-West Florida Conference United Methodist Church Mission & Outreach. 
Group Studies Materials Available at Reduced Cost
Community Life United Methodist Church has an abundance of several group studies that they would like to sell at a very reduced rate. Any church interested, please call the church office at (850) 916-1660. Community Life Church is located at 4115 Soundside Drive, Gulf Breeze, FL.

ere are the items:
  • "The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus" by Adam Hamilton - 22 DVDs
  • "The Cross: An Anthology" series by Thomas Nelson - 9 hardback books (a collection of the best classic and contemporary literature)
  • "God Is Closer Than You Think" by John Ortberg - 4 DVDs, 56 participant guides
  • "Better Together: What on Earth Are We Here For?" by Rick Warren - 150 workbooks
  • "The Life You’ve Always Wanted" by John Ortberg - 23 DVDs, 160 participant guides
  • "God’s Story Your Story" by Max Lucado - 20 participant guides
  • "Experiencing the Passion of Jesus" by Lee Strobel/ Garry Poole - 26 discussion guides
  • "Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson - 15 paperbacks, 12 workbooks
FREE Community-wide Mental Health Symposium Wednesdays Beginning August 31
6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church (Parish Hall), 3200 North 12th Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32503
The Center for Clergy Care & Education, in partnership with St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, is offering a community-wide mental health symposium for seven Wednesday nights beginning August 31, 2016. Each presentation begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. The presentations will be an opportunity to receive current information regarding specific mental health issues, possible treatments, and hopeful outcomes. There will also be attention given to the pastoral care of each other as a community of God's people. Two of the meetings will be led by local psychologist Dr. John Hodges, who has been in practice in Pensacola for more than 30 years.  There is no cost to attend. For more information contact Dr. Winslett at 850-474-0042.
The schedule will be as follows:
  August 31, 2016 Depression - Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care Don Winslett, Ed.D., Presenter
                                         September 7, 2016 Suicide - Causes and Care Don Winslett, Ed.D., Presenter
  September 14, 2016 Do Not Be Anxious: Easier Said Than Done John Hodges, Ph.D., Presenter
  September 21, 2016     Substance Abuse - How and Where to Get Help Don Winslett, Ed.D., Presenter
  September 28, 2016 Do I Call It ADHD or ADD? John Hodges, Ph.D., Presenter
  October, 5, 2016 Managing Grief and Bereavement Don Winslett, Ed.D., Presenter
  October 12, 2016 Caring for God's People Don Winslett, Ed.D., Presenter
Waterfront Rescue Missions Seeks Churches' Assistance to Fill Position
Waterfront Rescue Mission wrote us, "As an organization that has served this community for 67 years, we realize the value of our church partners helping us fill key roles at Waterfront." They have a Public Relations Associate position available and hope that Churches can help them find someone with an enthusiastic desire to make a difference in the lives of the homeless and needy in our community. Click here for the flyer. (Posted 8/4/2016)  

Look at these GREAT upcoming events!

Please share this with your congregation

"Becoming a Healthy, Growing Church" Workshop August 26 & 27
at Crosspoint United Methodist Church, Niceville
The event page is here.
Crosspoint is a healthy church that is seeing incredible growth. They now have the largest worship attendance of any church in our conference! AND they are the 9th fastest growing large membership church in our denomination. August 26 & 27, Crosspoint staff will be sharing the principles they have learned, the mistakes they have made, and the changes they have undergone to double their attendance in the last 10 years. The cost to attend is $30 per person; this includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday. The deadline to register has been extended to August 23. For the schedule and to register continue here.
"Crosspoint is the ninth fastest growing large membership United Methodist Church in the United States. It is obvious they know what they are doing. They are holding a seminar at their Niceville campus on Friday evening (6:30-9:00 PM) and Saturday (8:30 AM-2:00 PM) the 26th and 27th of August. The seminar is entitled "Becoming a Healthy, Growing Church." The cost is $30. You do need to register for this event and the registration deadline is August 23. I encourage you to attend this workshop no matter what size church you serve. I guarantee it will be well worth your time." - Pensacola District Superintendent Tim Trent
Lay Servant Ministries Training September 9 & 10
The event page with map is here. 
This training will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Registration deadline is August 26. For the flyer as a pdf click here or on the graphic shown here.  See also:  Clarification about Lay Servant / Lay Speaking Ministries positions and forms
Brainstorming Meeting September 13
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. - The District will provide lunch for reservations received by September 12. No cost to attend. The event page is here.
Calling all leaders of Adult / Older Adult Ministries across the Pensacola District! 
Those who lead adult or older adult ministries in Pensacola District churches are invited to this brainstorming session to develop a strategy for surveying and enhancing these ministries in 2017 and to begin planning some joint educational and/or outreach opportunities. Leading this event will be Dr. Timothy Trent (Pensacola District Superintendent) and Dr. Donna Jacobi Pruett, MD (Older Adult Ministries representative on the Pensacola District CORE Team).  We'll meet in the conference room down the hall from the Pensacola District Office (second floor of the Dennison Administration Building at Gadsden Street United Methodist Church). Call Donna at 850-516-1157 or to reserve lunch or for further information or if you are unable to attend but have ideas to share.  UPDATE:  Due to a called meeting of the cabinet, the District Superintendent will not be able to attend the September 13th event - but it will still be held, led by Donna Pruett.
Welcome Service & Reception September 18 for Bishop & Mrs. David Graves
4 p.m. at Crosspoint United Methodist Church, Niceville
The event page is here
UMVIM Training September 24
9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Gadsden Street United Methodist Church, Pensacola
The event page is here(Updated August 15, 2016)
Interested in leading a mission team, but don't know where to start? There will be an UMVIM Team Leader training session on Saturday, September 24, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gadsden Street UMC in Pensacola, Florida. Participants will receive a wealth of information on preparing an UMVIM team for service, including such topics as effective project selection, spiritual development, cultural sensitivity for teams, logistics, and finance.

Participating in the training does not obligate you to lead a team, but will help you understand the fundamentals of team leadership and will enrich any future Mission experiences you have. You will also gain ideas on places around the world where you can serve. 

Maybe you do not think you are qualified to lead a team, or have doubts about your ability to lead a team. Answering God's call to mission is not about feeling equipped or worthy; instead it is about trusting the God who called you to use you as you are. Participating in God's Mission is the call of every Christian. Your willingness to serve can and will transform your life, the lives of those who go with you, and your congregation as well.

Included in the $35 registration fee is the UMVIM Team Leader Handbook and lunch. This training is open to all Alabama-West Florida United Methodists, and it satisfies training requirements for leading an UMVIM team. For more information, contact Gadsden Street UMC at 850-433-0014.

This training session will be led by Rev. Alan Gantzhorn.  To register continue here.

Dementia Caregivers Education September 30
9 a.m.-Noon (Virtual Dementia Tour available afterward) at St. Paul UMC, Gulf Breeze
The event page with flyer is here.
As part of the Pensacola District's efforts to focus this fall on the needs of patients with Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders and their caregivers, Covenant Care's Alzheimer's Services will be providing a Dementia Caregivers Education seminar 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Friday, September 30, at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Gulf Breeze. This is open to anyone who wishes to attend.  This seminar will provide an overview of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, special considerations for caregivers, and resources available to support patients and families through the journey of dementia.  Following the classroom sessions, there will be an opportunity for participants to experience The Virtual Dementia Tour.    Refreshments will be provided.  While there is no cost to attend, registration is required. For further information or to register, please contact Audrey Hanline at 850.202.0928 or  
Fresh Expressions Vision Day October 3
9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Pensacola First United Methodist Church (.5 CEU)
The event page is here.

(AWFC) - Please receive this as a special invitation to participate in an exciting new ministry called Fresh Expressions. Fresh Expressions is a missionary-minded movement of people who are creating new kinds of church alongside existing congregations. It is designed for Churches who desire to move into their mission fields and connect with the growing diverse and unchurched population. It is a movement of the Church that is about going where people are and creating relatively small new communities of faith which are often lay-led. Churches of varying sizes are engaging in this movement of creating new, fresh expressions of Church.

Bring a team from your congregation. The cost is $20 for members of the AWFC, $35 for non-members.

We are excited about the great potential of living more and more into our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world through Fresh Expressions of Church.  If you have questions or need additional information, contact Neil McDavid at or 251-510-3514.

Pensacola District Conference November 6
4 p.m. at Navarre United Methodist Church
The event page is here.
All Pensacola District Churches are asked to reserve this event on their calendars and suspend their regular activities during this time so that everyone can attend.

On the first Sunday in November, the Pensacola District Conference will meet at 4 p.m. at Navarre United Methodist Church. All ministers and congregations of the Pensacola District are invited to attend. This is a time of worship that includes a short business meeting in which the District Conference votes on district officers and committees for the upcoming year and District Administration Fund budget which is supported by local church apportionments.
Pensacola District Fused Youth Conference November 6
4 p.m. at Community Life UMC in Gulf Breeze
The event page is  here.
All Pensacola District Churches are asked to suspend their regular activities and gather together this evening with other youth and youth leaders across the district for food, fun, worship, and fellowship.

On the first Sunday in November, 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m., concurrent with the Pensacola District Conference meeting, youth and youth leaders from all over the Panhandle will gather at the Community Life United Methodist Church in Gulf Breeze for a worship celebration. The Fused Youth Conference is sponsored by the Pensacola District.
Pensacola District Clergy & Spouses Christmas Dinner December 6
6 p.m. at Pensacola First United Methodist Church (The Wright Place)
The event page is here.
All Pensacola District United Methodist clergy and their spouses (or a guest, if you do not have a spouse) are invited to this evening of dinner and fellowship. Gathering time is 6:00 p.m.  There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required and will be accepted November 1, 2016, through November 29, 2016. This is an adults-only event, no childcare provided.
Youth Meltdown January 27-29
at Boardwalk Beach Resort, Panama City Beach, FL
Speaker: Carlos Whittaker
Band: Calling Glory
Meltdown is an annual youth conference that brings together students from all over Northwest Florida and South Alabama for a weekend that will draw them closer to God and to each other. Organized by a team of youth pastors and church workers, Meltdown’s mission is to empower youth groups and their churches by offering a dynamic, inspiring, and challenging worship experience brought through an awesome worship team, speaker, and through a variety of breakout sessions. For details visit
Farewell & Welcome Receptions for AWFC Bishops
(AWFUMC Facebook) - We invite you to mark your calendars for several receptions honoring our Bishops. A farewell reception for Bishop and Mrs. Leeland will be held 4 p.m. Sunday, August 14 at Montgomery FUMC in the Epworth Room in Wesley Hall.  Bishop Graves will have a service of installation and welcome reception 4 p.m. Sunday, September 11 at Montgomery FUMC on and another welcome reception 4 p.m. Sunday, September 18 at Crosspoint UMC in Niceville, FL.    MORE here. >>
Here's the Local Church Packet Distributed at District Welcoming July 19:
  • printed copies of the 2016-2017 Pensacola District Directory (to receive a pdf of the latest edition, e-mail your request to the district office),
  • 2016 Charge Conference schedule (download here),
  • District Board of Missions charge conference form (download here),
  • a flyer about the September 2016 Lay Servant Training at Trinity UMC (download here),
  • a flyer about upcoming District Spiritual Formation events (view here) <-- Please note date change to August 13.
  • envelopes and bulletin inserts for Blue Lake Sunday (if you'd like to order these please contact Steve Lewandowksi - click here), and
  • a letter and packet of information to pastors (download set one here, set two here) from Dr. Donna Pruett, CORE Team representative for Older Adult Ministries. (Please pardon the lower quality resolution of the materials in these downloads. If you are a senior pastor and did not receive your full-color original packet, it is available at the district office.)    
Local Church Positions Available
Submit church listings at then send us the link after your ad is posted and we'll include yours here.
Youth Director Position Available - St. Paul UMC, Gulf Breeze (Posted 8/1/2016)
St Paul United Methodist Church in Gulf Breeze Florida is seeking a part-time youth director. The position would be approximately 10-15 hours a week. We are seeking a bright, high-energy Christian leader to help guide our youth on their walk with Christ. The position is available to start ASAP. Please email resume to
Youth Director Needed - Milton, FL (Posted 8/15/2016)
First United Methodist Church of Milton is hiring a part-time, year-round Youth Director.  They are looking for a dynamic person who will help teenagers (sixth through twelfth grades) grow in faith.  This position requires 15-20 hours of work per week.  Salary is commensurate with experience.

  • Plan, coordinate, and implement Sunday School, Lifeline Bible Study and Wednesday Night Drama for Youth.
  • Plan and coordinate Youth ministry and fund-raising activities.
  • Promote a Christian role model and set an example for all.
  • Plan, coordinate, and implement a summer mission trip, as well as two seasonal retreats.
  • Maintain a good working relationship with Staff and church members.
  • Completed at least two years of college.
  • Successful experience working with Youth.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent verbal and communication skills.
  • Music background helpful, but not required.
  • Preference to a candidate with a United Methodist background or knowledge of the church.
  • Insurable driving record to drive the church bus.
  • Pass a Safe Sanctuaries Check.
 To apply send a resume to
Day Trip Volunteers Needed in Century, FL
There is an opportunity for a volunteer team to make a day trip to Century to install tarps on 4 tornado-impacted roofs that are leaking as a result of the recent summer thunderstorms.
  Who: Roof Tarping Team
  When: Any Monday - Saturday
  Where: Century, FL (1 hour north of Pensacola)
There are several properties that have leaking tarps that need replacement until new roofs can be installed. Tarps and related supplies are provided.
  Contact: Lynn Dobry, FL Recovery Team Coordinator, (850) 736-3306 or
Rurel Ausley Receives Annual Conference's Denman Evangelism Award
Congratulations to Rev. Rurel Ausley, senior pastor at Crosspoint United Methodist Church, for receiving the 2016 clergy Denman Evangelism Award at the 2016 Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference!  Crosspoint United Methodist Church is now up to #9 in Len Wilson's 2016 edition of "Top 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches."  The Church continues to grow and grow, with multiple campuses in the Niceville and Crestview, FL areas. In the 2015 edition, Crosspoint was # 12.  The 2016 list is at  The 2015 list is at 
Pensacola U.M. Community Ministries Celebrates New Saints
(Ministers pictured are Robin Noble and Joe Mullen)
Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries (PUMCM) is in need of items for the Ministry Shop.  Items may be dropped off 9-5 Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2600 West Strong Street, one block off Cervantes between "T" and "U" Streets. PUMCM is located at Richards Memorial United Methodist Church in the Brownsville area of Pensacola.  The website is

Administrative Announcements 
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Clarification about Lay Servant / Lay Speaking Positions and Forms:
For 2016 we'll be using the same Lay Servant / Lay Speaker forms we used in 2015. Here's some clarification about those positions and forms:
  • A Lay Servant is one who is not yet a Lay Speaker. So the reports are different.
  • Local Church Lay servant is one that can serve in the local congregation only. This person has only taken the Basic course. They must file an annual renewal report.
  • A Certified Lay Servant is one that has taken the Basic course and an advanced course and can serve on a limited basis outside the local congregation. They must file an annual report.
  • Both Local Church and Certified Lay Servant file the same renewal. 
  • A Lay Speaker is a Certified Lay Servant that has taken the 7 required courses and been approved by the district and conference committee. May supply pulpits. This person files the Lay Speaker Annual Report.
If you have questions about Lay Servant/Speaking Ministries, see also or  
Information for Local Church Officers
Have you been elected to a local church leadership or committee position and you're not sure what your responsibilities are?  Be sure to visit the Pensacola District's Church Leadership Roles page at
Have you visited the Pensacola District's SPR page?  We've posted a lot of helpful information for Staff-Parish at, including the booklet used by Pensacola District Superintendent Tim Trent at our Leadership Inspirational Training Event (LITE Day) January 10, 2016. 
Cokesbury Cares Program
The Cokesbury Cares Program is designed to help churches who've had a catastrophic event by offering FREE resources to help the get back on their feet.  Application requires signature by the church's district superintendent and can be emailed to or Here is a brochure, but please note that the address on the brochure has changed to 2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37228-0988.
For more information contact our area's Cokesbury Community Resource Consultant:
Ken Summerlin
Cokesbury Community Resource Consultant

Around the Conference  


Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)   

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Summer Newsletter of the AWFUMC Historical Society
The summer newsletter of the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Church Historical Society is now posted at See also: or
Dear Alabama-West Florida Congregations:
Our hearts are broken with the news of severe flooding in Louisiana over the last several days. Thousands of people have been displaced and are in temporary shelters after over two feet of rain fell in a short span of time, flooding many homes. Our brothers and sisters there need our help.
First, please pray for all those who are affected by this disaster.
Second, please do not self-deploy to disaster areas until the people in Louisiana have issued an invitation. In the weeks and months to come there will be an appropriate time we can help in person, but that time is not yet. There is no place for volunteers to stay, and we would displace those residents needing shelter now.
Third, there are a few items they have requested:
  • UMCOR Cleaning Buckets (Formerly called Flood buckets; click here for assembly instructions)
  • Box fans (To help dry out homes)
  • 25' Extension Cords (So people can move the fans around in a home)
  • 2 gallon garden sprayers (To kill mildew and mold)
  • Flat billed shovels (To take out wet carpet, carpet pads, sheet rock, insulation, etc.)
  • Garden rakes with 3" tines (To gather limbs, leaves and trash that have floated into a home.)
  • 2-wheeled wheel barrows (To carry wet items and trash to the road/street)
  • Adult diapers, baby diapers and baby wipes.
UMCOR's Sager Brown depot, located in Baldwin, LA, is already shipping items they had on hand to places where roads are open. Now, they are asking us to help replenish their supplies and their feeder warehouse in Decatur, AL.
We will soon have several collection points throughout the conference where you can take your items and they will be transported to Decatur or Louisiana. Watch for a separate email with that information in the next day or two.
Please do not send items that are not requested.
Fourth, your financial contributions are always welcome. You can send donations directly to Louisiana Annual Conference, 527 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802, with "August 2016 Flood" in the memo field.
Or you can send contributions for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) to the conference fiscal office at AWFC, 4719 Woodmere Blvd, Montgomery, AL 36106. Write "US Disaster Response #901670 - Louisiana flooding" in the memo line.This is still an active disaster and our response will evolve as the full scope and needs are understood. As new information is available, we will pass it on.
Many thanks,
Amelia Fletcher, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator
Susan Hunt, Conference Director of Mission and Advocacy
Click here for an article describing the best and worst ways to help after a disaster. 
"Partners in Preaching" Program September 2016-May 2017
(AWFC) - Partners in Preaching is a monthly seminar-style coaching group for pastors and preachers to grow in the art and craft of preaching.  Dates are September 2016 through May 2017.  Lead Partner is Dr. Sam Persons Parkes.  Cost is $200 per person for seven sessions over nine months.  Each session will be held 9:30 am to 2:30 pm CT with lunch provided.  Sessions will be held in Dothan at Cloverdale UMC on the second Monday of each month, except in December and April and in Montgomery at Aldersgate UMC on second Thursday of each month, except in December and April.  This monthly seminar style coaching group is set up for only SIX TO EIGHT pastors and preachers at each location.  Registration deadline is September 1.  3 units of CEU will be granted.
Bishop Announces September 1st Appointments
Bishop Paul Leeland, in consultation with Bishop David Graves, is pleased to announce several appointments in the AWF Conference that are the result of Bishop Lawson Bryan’s episcopal election and assignment to the South Georgia Annual Conference - new appointments for Jeremy Pridgeon, Darren McClellan, June Jernigan, Jeff Wilson, and Robin Wilson.  Continue here for the article
Welcome Receptions for Bishop & Mrs. David Graves
Formal Installation Service and Welcome Reception for Bishop & Mrs. David Graves
September 11, 2016
4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, Montgomery, AL
The event page is here.
Welcome Service & Reception for Bishop & Mrs. David Graves
September 18, 206
4 p.m. at Crosspoint United Methodist Church, Niceville, FL
The event page is here.  
For more information please contact Mrs. Paulette Thompson, Chair, Episcopal Committee, at

September 22, 2016
Seminar for United Methodist Lawyers at Birmingham, AL about church-related legal matters. Here is the registration link:  Here's the article about it in the July 25, 2016, AWF Conference NewsCONNECTION:
United Methodist Lawyers Seminar
(Bishop Paul Leeland) - The Chancellors for the North Alabama Conference and the Alabama-West Florida Conference are developing a seminar for lawyers which will be focused on church-related legal matters. I believe that this is a very important seminar and that it will benefit the lawyers who help our churches in various situations. I am contacting each of you to ask you to develop a list of lawyers who are members of the church you serve so that they will know about this upcoming opportunity. The Chancellors have worked hard on putting this seminar together. Click here to see full letter.
Upcoming Events on the AWFC Calendar:
Quick Links:
Reflections by Dr. Robbins Sims of Jurisdictional Conferences
July 19, 2016
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
I greet you in the name of Christ.  I pray that you and your family are well and that your church is prospering.
My purpose in writing is to share my reflections on the meetings of Jurisdictional Conferences across our connection.  I begin by giving thanks for the opportunity to be present as a guest at the meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference last week.  How thrilling it was to witness the election of The Reverend Sharma Lewis as the first African American female bishop in the Jurisdiction.

Likewise, it was so exciting to be there for the election of The Reverend Dr. Lawson Bryan as a bishop.  On Thursday evening, we learned that newly-elected Bishop David Graves will be our episcopal leader for the next four years and that Bishop and Mrs. Leeland will serve in the Western North Carolina Conference.  In good Methodist fashion, we embraced itineracy, saddened by the loss of the Leelands and eagerly welcoming Bishop Graves and his wife Nancy.  Nell and I appreciated the opportunity to attend this history-making Conference.
Upon our return, we learned about the Western Jurisdiction’s election of Karen Oliveto as the first openly gay bishop in The United Methodist Church.   Her election was one of several recent departures from the covenant agreed upon at the General Conference and articulated in The United Methodist Book of Discipline.  Questions now abound because of these actions.
While none of us have answers at this point, I share information about responses and plans that have already been put in place by our leaders regarding these matters.   The first is A Pastoral Letter from the Southeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops to the United Methodists in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.  This letter was presented at the meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference last week and may be found at  The second is a letter from the Council of Bishops president Bruce R. Ough in response to the actions of the Western Jurisdiction.  It can be found at   This week The Council of Bishops is meeting in Chicago to work on A Way Forward.  Their doing so is in keeping with the proposal adopted at the 2016 General Conference calling for the Council of Bishops to review all portions of The Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality and to seek God’s preferred will for The United Methodist Church. 
The work of the bishops obviously will be made more complicated by recent events.  Nevertheless, our elected representatives have entrusted this work to The Council of Bishops.  Knowing this, we need to pray that grace and guidance will be given them in abundance.   In the meantime, I urge that we stay confidently focused on the work that is before us and on things over which we have influence.  I invite you to do as I am trying to do---remain prayerfully centered in Christ, resist the temptation to become consumed by these distractions, be steadfastly committed to the Gospel of Christ and the unity of the Church, listen respectfully to the concerns of our people without exacerbating their fears, and truly trust God with the future of our Church and its ministries.  Rather than reacting anxiously to events beyond our control, I believe that our energy is expended best by seeking Christ’s peace and reconciliation within our own families, churches, and communities.  The way forward will be made clearer in due season.  For now, we need to be good stewards of those relationships entrusted to us. 
Please know how much I value your service and leadership.  It is a joy and privilege to work with you.  I pledge to pray for you and for our whole Conference during these days of change and
Grace and Peace,
Robbins Sims
AWF Delegates Elected to General Agencies and Jurisdictional Committees
At the 2o16 SE Jurisdictional Conference, three AWF delegates have been elected to serve on General Agencies:
Robert (Tripp) Gulledge III to the General Board of Discipleship
Pat Luna to the General Board of Church & Society
June Jernigan to UM Publishing House
Two AWF Delegates have been elected to serve on Jurisdictional Committees:
Jeremy Pridgeon to the SEJ Committee on Coordination and Accountability  
Frank Dunnewind to the SEJ Council on Finance and Administration 
AWF Historical Society Annual Meeting
The AWF Historical Society's annual meeting will be September 15, 2016, at Saint Stephens United Methodist Church. Activities begin at 9:30 a.m. Please encourage your older adult groups to make this a planned trip to visit a very important historic location for Alabama Methodist History.  Anyone is welcome to attend. You don’t have to be a member of the AWF Historical Society. Pre-registration is required ($20) and a catered lunch is included. Please register by September 8. A brochure available at Saint Stephens United Methodist Church is located at 31 Saint Stephens Fork Road, Saint Stephens, Alabama 36569.
A Request from UMCH
Dear United Methodist Clergy,
Thank you for taking just a few minutes to assist our strategic planning efforts at the United Methodist Children's Home with this survey:
The information you provide is essential to making sure that UMCH's leadership makes decisions in our planning that are consistent with the values and ideals of our United Methodist constituents. UMCH finds itself in a rapidly changing child welfare environment that forces us to think creatively about how we fulfill our mission to provide safe and secure homes for children.  The wisdom and discernment of our United Methodist clergy is essential for us to successfully navigate this process.
Thanks again for your support and participation!
K. Blake Horne, Ph.D.
Word from Bishop Paul Leeland
about General Conference 2016
(AWFC June 1, 2016) - "Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, [the] General Conference of The United Methodist Church always creates great expectations and hopes for our denomination. This hope was certainly embraced by the 2016 General Conference held in Portland, Oregon, as it became evident that delegates, volunteers, bishops, clergy, and church leaders clearly and consistently expressed a desire for our United Methodist Church to remain cohesive in our witness and mission.  The words of Christ, spoken to the church of Philadelphia in the book of Revelation contributes to this hope saying, 'I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut … you have kept my word and have not denied my name' (Rev. 3:8).  These words remind us the Church is of God...."  The article is continued here. 


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Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan:
Looking for Churches to Partner & Help

I am sure that you all know about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, that began in April of 2014.  After Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River, its drinking water had a series of problems.  The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal. Children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and have experienced a range of serious health problems. The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county. 
The Alabama-West Florida Conference is reaching out to this community and looking for possible churches in each district to partner with one of the eight United Methodist congregations in the Flint area.  These churches are still distributing water, water pitchers, filters, filter replacements, all of which are quite expensive. In the last few months, the filters and pitchers have cost from $130K to $150K and that is at the bulk and discounted rate. Filters that are designed to last three months for normal water usage are only lasting one month with the water there.
A clear plan has not been determined about the exact details of the partnership (beyond the obvious financial support) but some needs to be considered are:
  • Teaching community members about nutrition, diet, community gardens, etc.  There are certain foods that one can eat to help mitigate the issues related to lead poisoning.  Good nutrition can go a long way toward helping everyone, lessening the long-term effects of the lead and other issues they face.
  • Early childhood education and literacy.  Children who have been poisoned by lead can have learning disabilities and need extra help in school.
  • Need for community health clinics, including nutrition and prenatal care.
  • Helping to rebuild trust in the community.
  • Overcoming the felt lack of care from the outside.
  • Helping them to sensitively respond to their members and neighbors. (One mother told her pastor that she felt guilty for poisoning her child.)
  • Other needs might include leadership training, curriculum/resource sharing.
Above all of these listed considerations, the partnership will primarily begin with prayer and listening, then may morph into something way beyond what one could imagine.
If you feel that your church has a desire to reach out and form a long term relationship with one of these churches or help with the financial burden of this crisis, please contact Susan Hunt at or 888-873-3127.  

Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation - Spring 2016 Brochure
The Stegall Seminary Foundation's Spring 2016 brochure is hot off the press!  You can download it here. Thank you for your continued support of seminary students from the Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Your prayers and gifts make a real difference in the lives of our future clergy leaders!
2016 Clergy Health & Wellness Initiative Requirements
(Details here) - All clergy on the AWF Conference health insurance plan must complete the Healthy & Wellness Initiative by August 31, 2016. Please carefully review this information.  Beginning January 1, 2016, the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference Board of Pension & Health Benefits launched the Health and Wellness Initiative Program. The goal of the program is to encourage our pastors and their dependents to live healthier lifestyles by providing them with personal health information, screening and coaching, thus helping the Conference to reduce and control the cost of health insurance claims. Clergy members on the conference active health insurance plan are required to complete the HealthQuotient and Biometric Screening by August 31, 2016. Dependents, retired clergy and their dependents and employees who are on the annual conference health plan are not required to complete the HQ and Biometric Screening but are welcome and encouraged to participate. Complete information here.    
Mid-Career Retirement Seminar
October 6, 2016
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at Covenant United Methodist Church, Dothan, AL
You must register in advance (the deadline is September 19, 2016) to receive lunch and be provided with a current, up-to-date copy of your United Methodist pension projection. The cost to attend this seminar is $5/individual and $10/couple. Click here for a brochure. The event page is here.
Let Us Pray! Daily Prayer Unites Conference
(Dr. Cory Smith) - It is a joy to announce a new venture in prayer for the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Hopefully by now you have seen the daily prayer requests that have come from the Office of Connectional Ministries. These updates will also include prayers for individual churches and appointed pastors. Through the year we will prayer for every appointed pastor and for every church! The churches for which we are praying are the same listed on the printed wall calendars and also available here. In addition to the prayer email, a prayer page is available for details of prayer needs from the throughout the conference. What better way for us to connect with God and one another than prayer! As John Wesley stated years ago, “I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God's creational intentions.” May we join together in daily prayer for the mission of the church and for the community of people who are part of the Alabama-West Florida Conference! If you are not receiving the daily prayer newsletter and would like to, click here and check the "Let us Pray" box.  Update:  The Pensacola District archives the daily prayer concerns on their website's Ministers Page. Click here to view
2016 Optional Standard Mileage Rates
(IRS) - The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be as follows. >>
Do You Have The AWF Conference App? 
Navigate the conference Website easier by downloading the free AWF app! Scan the QR code (pictured right) to download. Available for iPhones, iPads and Droid mobile devices.
AWF Conference News
You can subscribe to the AWFC NewsCONNECTION here.
For the AWFC NewsCONNECTION archives visit  
Continuing Education Chair
Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz is overseeing continuing education credit.  If your local church offers an event  and wants CEUs awarded, please reach out to Dr. Lentz. (Posted 10/30/2014)
Do You Have Students Attending UWF or PSC?
The Wesley Foundation would like to contact students from your church if they are attending The University of West Florida or Pensacola State College.  If you have students currently attending, or heading that way in the fall, they would love to have their contact information so that they may welcome and invite them to be a part of our Wesley Foundation family.  Please e-mail this information to
Safe Sanctuaries
The AWF Conference Safe Sanctuaries contact person is Frank Dunnewind.  You can reach Frank toll-free at (888) 873-3127.  The Pensacola District contact person is Rev. Paula Roane, who can be reached at 850-862-4169 (Trinity United Methodist Church, Fort Walton Beach). 

Around the Web 
United Methodists in the News
Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~              
Bishops Approve Plan for Sexuality Panel
(UMNS 7/25/2016) - Amid growing concerns for the denomination’s future, United Methodist bishops approved a plan for establishing a commission dealing with church teachings on homosexuality. The bishops’ executive committee also took a step toward a special session of General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, in early 2018. The Council of Bishops executive committee met July 19-20 in Chicago behind closed doors to discuss creating the Commission on a Way Forward, which General Conference authorized in May. The full council has charged its 17-member executive committee with developing a framework for the new commission. More here.
Mental Illness and Churches - "Breaking the Taboo"
(UMCOM) - "Mental illness is better understood today, but some of the abuse from the past has been replaced with silence in the present. It is time for the church to step up and move beyond the taboo.... Churches are places of refuge. Church members are spiritual families. Still, it is more difficult than it seems.... The United Methodist Church’s statement of beliefs regarding ministries in mental illness encourages churches to love, welcome and pray for all individuals, especially those who are suffering. The church can be an agent of change through education and encouragement."  MORE here >>
SE Jurisdictional Conference News
General Conference May 10-20, 2016
( - The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body met at the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, May 10-20, 2016. MORE here >>
GC2016 Wrap Up Bulletin Insert
(AWFC) - The AWF Communications Team has prepared a bulletin insert for you to use in your upcoming worship services. The insert features the highlights from General Conference and our Alabama-West Florida delegate news. Should you need a black and white version, simply adjust your printer settings. The layout of the file is for 8.5 x 11 paper, two sided. Click here to download insert. [The insert is also pictured below.]
"General Conference Votes of Note"
(AWFC) - General Conference delegates acted on hundreds of pieces of legislation, taking part in debates, prayerfully discerning options, and voting on consent calendars items. Some of the notable legislation from GC2016 is in this article.
General Conference Newsletter Archive
(AWFC) - If you were unable to catch the action of General Conference, click on the daily archive below for Alabama-West Florida Conference daily updates. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Friday, May 13, 2016
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Friday, May 20, 2016

After General Conference
(AWFC) - For analysis, news stories, follow up, and looking back: 
Live Stream Archives: Find on-demand and downloadable versions of the daily General Conference plenary sessions, worship, and addresses.
Legislation Tracking: Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter for information regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation.
General Conference Website: Continue to read news from General Conference 2016 at the General Conference website. 
Social Media: Follow the hashtags #UMCGC and #GC2016
General Conference News - Other
AWFC:  Highlights of General Conference
Complete coverage on General Conference can be found on our Website at and through United Methodist News Service. Photos above by Luke Lucas, AWF, and UMNS.
SEJ Episcopal Nominee Videos Available Online
Fourteen Episcopal candidates from the Southeastern Jurisdiction presented to delegates and guests on Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18, 2016, during lunch breaks at General Conference. All candidates were asked to answer two questions within a six-minute time frame. The first question asked nominees to name two of the most important accomplishments in their ministry, while the next question allowed this group to inform SEJ delegates where their passion lies and how they would bring it to life, if elected. Elections for Bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference will be held July 12-15, 2016, at Lake Junaluska, NC. Click here to see nominee videos.
How to Apply for a Loan with the AWF United Methodist Foundation
Crestview First United Methodist Church was featured on page 3 of the AWF United Methodist Foundation's winter 2016 newsletter, GENEROSITY MATTERS. The article is about how to apply for a church loan.  For more information click here for the newsletter, visit, or click here for the AWFUMF Facebook page.
Free Clergy Tax Video Available
Clergy face some distinctive tax regulations and often need guidance from tax professionals with experience working with clergy. The Lewis Center has prepared an informational video to help seminary students and clergy understand better the issues to which they and their tax preparers need to give attention. We use it as part of our seminary class on Personal Finances for Religious Professionals. If you feel this 12-minute video, Clergy Compensation and Taxes, may be useful to clergy with whom you work, feel free to share it.
Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Professor of Church Leadership
Director, Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Wesley Theological Seminary        
Free Online Audio Bible 
At the link below you can hear a dramatic reading of the Bible. You can set it to the Bible translation you prefer, start at a particular passage, run or not run continuously, and pause it and restart at any time.
Test Your Knowledge of United Methodist History
(Article here) - The United Methodist Church has existed in various forms for more than 200 years. Test your knowledge of its history with these questions. Pass on this quiz to others to encourage them to test their knowledge as well. This quiz is a partnership between United Methodist Communications and the General Commission on Archives and History
Explore Methodist History
At the History section of there are features where you can learn about many of the pioneers of the Methodist Movement and their faith stories. Look under the Who We Are section and enjoy discovering more about the denomination's roots. Perfect to share with new and longtime members! For more continue here.
Resources for Clergy and Congregations
(From The Lewis Center) - Includes the topics "Concluding Ministry in One Setting" and "Beginning Ministry in a New Setting."
Five Ways to Support Your Pastor's Family
(Ministry Matters) - It’s no secret that the life of a pastor’s family is filled with unique challenges. There are few roles that mix work and family life as closely as pastoral ministry, which creates for clergy families a constant battle to maintain healthy boundaries. The pressure from the church and the surrounding community will inevitably take a toll on families unless adequate support is provided. For the complete article, posted November 3, 2014, please click here 

Free E-Newsletter from the Lewis Center
Leading Ideas is a weekly online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. Each week subscribers receive information, resources, and strategies to help advance God’s mission in ministry. To check it out and subscribe go to
Articles about Burn-out
Online Training Courses
12 Ways to Stay Connected with College Students
United Methodist Communications has an article on this topic at  Tips include things you can do before the students leave, while they are at college, and when they come home.  
Safe Sanctuary Policies
5 Things Small Churches Can Uniquely Offer
(Rev. Ben Gosden) - "Church leadership has long held a bent toward the 'bigger is better'....  Instead of trying to mimmick [sic] what the large churches in your area are doing (only to come up short of their quality because you don’t have the money or resources to duplicate it), here are 5 things I believe small churches can uniquely offer the world right where they are...."   More here
Church Newsletters
United Methodist Men - Chartering
Click here for UMM news and information about chartering.  

The silence from Christians
about abortion is deafening.
"If this moment does not
bring you  to outrage
and to tears,
there is something wrong.”
- Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today

The United Methodist Church and "World Debate"
5 Reasons the Church Should Talk About Abortion
(Seedbed, July 30, 2015) - "Last week, a YouTube video surfaced showing Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, discussing how she procures intact organs while performing abortions.... While the video has sparked renewed outrage over abortion, it has arguably prompted even more silence -  even among Christians. The silence has been so deafening that it prompted Ed Stetzer at Christianity Today to write an article headlined, “Where are the Mainline and Progressive Evangelical Voices Speaking Up after that Planned Parenthood Tragedy?” “If this moment does not bring you to outrage and to tears,” Stetzer writes, “there is something wrong.” Continue here for the entire article. >>
What Does The United Methodist Church Believe About Abortion?
With Planned Parenthood in the news a lot lately, the question is asked, "What does the The United Methodist Church believe about abortion?" For this visit In relation to this comes the question, "What does the Church believe about being a nurturing community?" For this visit The Book of Resolutions 2012 (more here) says that we "care enough about people's lives to risk interpreting God's love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response." While being a nurturing community reaching out to the world to share the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, "We mourn and are committed to promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates." (See complete article here.) To learn more about life inside the womb and what happens during an abortion, presentations are available at this link.
Update:  AWF Petition to Withdraw from RCRC Passes GC2016
Petition number 60837, entitled “Withdraw from Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” was passed by the 2016 General Conference voting body with a vote of in favor of 425 to 268. This petition was co-sponsored by the AWF Conference, along with the Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana and Western Pennsylvania Conferences. The petition reads, “RCRC is a one-sided political lobby that opposes all disapproval or limitation of abortion.  RCRC’s advocacy often directly contradicts our Social Principles on abortion but it still uses our Church’s name. Several annual conferences and many United Methodist leaders have urged the Church to end all association with RCRC.” Petition 60838 was also approved that requires The General Board of Church & Society to withdraw their membership from RCRC.
What Does The United Methodist Church Say About  Same-sex Marriage?
( - "Our commitment to biblical truth does not depend upon judicial affirmation by the Supreme Court of this or any other nation," said the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, according to an article posted by Friday, June 26. Rev. Lambrecht is vice president and general manager of "Good News," an unofficial United Methodist advocacy group that supports the denomination's teachings on homosexuality. The article quotes him as saying, “Most of the delegates who would favor retaining the church’s current position on marriage do so out of deep conviction and understand that the church is at different times and various points at odds with the culture in which it lives." Church law bans clergy from performing same-sex marriages and forbids churches from hosting such ceremonies.  Rev. Sky McCracken, a district superintendent in western Kentucky, noted that both capital punishment and abortion are legal but United Methodists challenge both.  United Methodists have varied reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that establishes same-sex civil marriage as a constitutional right, but many United Methodists agree on one thing: The decision likely will escalate a longtime denominational debate on the church's position on homosexuality. To read the entire article continue here. >>
Other Articles:
If You Happen to Find Any Broken Web Links....
At we try to keep the Web links updated, but if you come across one that gives you a message like "page no longer exists" or "file not found," try going to the source's home page (first part of the link URL) and doing a word search on the topic at the site. As resources improve and update their websites, this sometimes breaks links we've shared with you on our site. It's all good, all a part of progress! The information may still be there, but just might take a little personal digging on your part to find where it was moved - or please contact the district office. We'll be glad to help!  - Mary, Pensacola District Administrative Assistant   
Update Your Find-A-Church Listing
Provided by United Methodist Communications and the local church, Find-A-Church allows you to introduce your church family to the community. By updating your church profile, you will help seekers find your church. Your profile serves as a powerful online tool for evangelism. Find-A-Church has almost 35,000 United Methodist Church profiles gaining more than 12,000 page views daily. Take advantage of this tool and get started now!  Update your church's profile by searching here.  By updating your church profile, you can:
  • Welcome visitors personally to your congregation.
  • Display your church's ministries and activities.
  • Add details about your worship schedule.
  • Link to your church's Web site for a closer look.
New Worship Service Times?
Pastors/Secretaries, if your church's worship and Sunday School times have changed, please log-in and update the Local Church information. Your District Superintendent is visiting churches, and your Church Locator Page will need to show the correct information.  Thank you! 
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