The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Thursday, March 22, 2018
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Remembering Evelyn Laycock
September 23, 1926 - February 26, 2018
The United Methodist Church lost a giant recently. Evelyn Laycock passed away February 26, 2018. A celebration of her life service was conducted March 2, 2018, at Longs Chapel United Methodist Church in North Carolina, just outside Lake Junaluska.  She was a professor of religion at Hawassee college in north Georgia before becoming the director of lay ministries for the southeastern jurisdiction at Lake Junaluska . She was instrumental in helping form partnerships between lay and clergy throughout our connection and was a valuable member of the Jurisdiction Board of Laity She began a journey of love, hope, joy, and peace that touched the lives of thousands during her time with us. She never met a stranger, and a stranger was never the same after meeting her. She taught and preached Love every where she went and treated everyone as if they were special, and everyone was special in her eyes. Her obituary memorial page is here. - Duane Keck (edited)

Congratulations, 2017 All Star Churches!
We are pleased to recognize the following as the 2017 All Star Churches of the Pensacola District:
* Annie Jones (Lee Bateman, Pastor)
* Christ (Ronnie Bearden, Pastor)
* Clear Springs (Barry Carpenter, Jr., Pastor)
* Community Life (Scott Veroneau, Pastor)
* Destin (Barry Carpenter, Sr., Pastor)
* McDavid (Ted Johnson, Pastor)

All Stars is an annual recognition of Pensacola District United Methodist Churches who meet three requirements in the course of a year:  1) pay 100% total Connectional Mission Giving, 2) have more than 50% attendance by membership, and 3) have a net gain in membership.  To see previous years' honorees visit
Pensacola District Is a Constant Contact All Star!

We received this notification from Constant Contact:
"Last year, your outreach and engagement with your audience was exemplary. Stellar. Your customers noticed and responded positively. And we noticed, too. So we are thrilled to name you to our roster of 2017 All Stars!
"This annual designation is something that only 10% of Constant Contact customers receive for their excellence in building better customer relationships.
"Relationships matter to us at Constant Contact. Thanks for making yours count. Congratulations again, and we hope you have another great year in 2018."
Time Sensitive Invitation from District UMM President
E-mailed March 11, 2018, by Tim Wentworth
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
My name is Tim Wentworth and I am serving as the Pensacola District President of the UMM. I am trying to establish a quarterly meeting of the men of the Pensacola District to minister to and share with each other what Christ has called us to do in service. Please pass this email on to the UMM representative in your church. If you do not have a chapter of the UMM, then please forward this on to a representative of a men's Bible study or prayer group that meets in your church. My goal is to have anywhere from 1 to 3 representatives of the men serving in their church. The meeting will be held on March 24th from 9am to noon at Bellview United Methodist Church. I will be sending an agenda detailing the schedule for the day.
The men of Bellview United Methodist Church will be serving breakfast beginning at 9am. There will be no charge for this meeting. We will also have speakers, a devotional, and special music. The speakers will be Dr. Tim Trent our District Superintendent and Rev Robin Noble the leader of the community outreach ministry at Richards Memorial. The speakers will be talking about the outreach ministry and the importance of that ministry in Pensacola. We will be presenting some information about the ministry, its funding, and the Conference's decision to no longer fund this ministry. The Book of Matthew chapter 25 will be the theme for this meeting.
I would like a confirmation of those that will be attending this meeting as soon as possible. I cannot stress the value and importance of this ministry and our support of it as Men of Christ. If you will, please provide me with the number of men from your church that will be attending the meeting and the name and contact information for at least one of the men attending. Again I would like to see anywhere from 1 to 3 representatives from every church attend. We will be asking those that attend from each church to take information back to their individual churches. [You can leave me a message at the Bellview United Methodist Church office, 850-456-4828, or e-mail me,] I would like to let the men of Bellview know how many to prepare to feed. 
If you have any questions about the meeting and the purpose, you can also send your questions to me. Remember to pass this on to the Men's representative in your church as soon as possible.

When--- March 24, 2018, from 9am to 12pm
Why----- Carry out the mission of Christ 
Who---- 1 to 3 men from every UMC in the Pensacola District
What--- A quarterly meeting of the Men in Pensacola District
Thank you for all of your assistance. 
May God Bless You,
Timothy Wentworth
Keep the District Informed of Changes in Lay Members of Annual Conference
- and Here's How....
Here are local churches' members & alternates of the 2018 Annual Conference.  To the best of our knowledge, this matches information entered into the AWF Conference database.
If your lay member cannot attend and will be replaced:
(1) notify the district office that the alternate will attend instead OR
(2) if the person replacing the lay member was not elected at annual charge conference, send the district office a copy of the minutes of the meeting in which special election of the replacement was made.
(3) Give the district office the replacement's contact information. 
See Trends at a Glance with Color-Coded Comparative Reports
If you're into statistics you might find this interesting.... 
Here's a chart of Pensacola District churches' membership and average worship attendance figures for the years 2000 through 2017. This is also available here in Excel.  The color of the numbers denotes either growth (green), decrease (red) or staying the same (black).   This is from data entered by local churches on their annual statistical reports (Ezra).
To view a color-coded report for 2007-2017 connectional mission giving click here:  PDF / Excel.
"Theology, Culture and Technology: Intimacy and Disconnection"
- A Workshop for Clergy of the Community
The Baptist Hospital Department of Pastoral Services and Center for Clergy Care & Education will present a workshop for clergy of the community Tuesday, April 17, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 3200 North 12th Avenue, Pensacola, FL. Here is the brochure and registration form in pdf. The cost to attend is $30 (payable to Center for Clergy Care and Education).
From Wesley Haven Villa, Pensacola
March 13, 2018

They’ve arrived. In 2011 that first round of Baby Boomers - those Americans born between 1946 and 1964 - turned 65.  From now until 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers each day will hit retirement age. Millions will begin to officially retire, collect social security checks and go on Medicare.

At Methodist Homes, we understand that finding the perfect retirement home for loved ones or yourself can be a demanding process. This is why we are proud to offer the highest quality of independent and assisted living at a surprisingly affordable rate.  Pensacola residents need not look further than the qualified staff and friendly community at Wesley Haven Villa.

Amenities--Full baths & kitchens in each apartment, enclosed courtyard, three meals daily, hair salon, library and other recreational areas, scheduled transportation. 

Services--Wellness programs, weekly housekeeping, medication management, assistance with activities of daily living. 

We at Wesley Haven Villa would like to make you as a church aware of the amenities and services we can provide for your congregation should they be in need of assisted living whether presently or in the near future.  We are a not-for-profit organization that has its focus on serving God’s older children. 

Most of our residents learned about us through word of mouth from a friend or family member.  We would like to ask that you help us get the word out by posting our information on your church bulletin board or in the common areas.  We are also available for tours. Drop-ins are welcomed or one may contact us for an appointment.  Our number is 850-434-1035, or visit our website at

Thank you for considering Wesley Haven Villa.

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Wesley Haven Villa
111 East Wright Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
Office (850) 434-1035
Fax (850) 434-6510
The Fountain of Love Fund
The Fountain of Love Fund was created to be an ever-flowing source of funds to help individuals in a Methodist Home whose own finances have been exhausted. This provides security and assurance to individuals who do not have sufficient income to pay for their care. No resident has ever been asked to leave a Methodist Home due to inability to pay. For more information visit
Please Share This With Those Planning to Attend Annual Conference:
(AWFC-UMC) - Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has asked all clergy and lay members to annual conference to prepare for the 2018 session by doing several things.  (1.) Please ready The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute and The Church Guide to Making Decisions Together by Thomas Corking and Julia Kuhn Wallace. (2.) Please attend a Courageous Conversation near your home. You can learn more by going to
The Courageous Conversations format is based on material and resources developed by Discipleship MinistriesClick here to download a copy of the booklet "How to Have a Courageous Conversation." You'll receive a paper copy of this booklet during the session you attend.  To see the list of goals and possible outcomes for these Courageous Conversations, click here.


Positions Available
Full-time Business Administrator Position - Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Trinity United Methodist Church of Ft. Walton Beach, FL has an opening for the position of Business Administrator.  Business Administrator is a full-time salaried position with health benefits, vacation, and retirement plan. The Business Administrator is responsible for operations and maintenance of the physical property as well as financial duties including payroll, accounts payable, remote deposit of checks, reconciliation of accounts, preparing financial reports for committees, and much more.  The position requires supervisory skills, a knowledge of accounting, computer skills, and being a team player. If interested you may request a copy of the job description and submit a resume to  Resumes need to be submitted by March 21, 2018. (Posted 3/14/2018)
Director of Youth Ministries Position Available - Pensacola, FL
Pine Forest United Methodist Church (PFUMC) in Pensacola, Florida has an immediate opening for a full time Director of Youth Ministries. PFUMC is a growing congregation with both contemporary and traditional worship experiences. The ideal candidate will have a vibrant and growing Christian faith and a desire to help young people connect to Jesus and to the church. Important skills include communications, team building with people of all ages, planning, organizing events and programs, volunteer recruitment and coordination, faith and leadership development. The applicant must fully embrace the mission of PFUMC to Create Disciples, Connect in Community and Commit to Serve. Please send resume’s to & or mail to 2800 Wilde Lake Blvd. Pensacola, FL 32526. (Posted 2/27/2018)
Destin & Crosspoint Land on Len Wilson's 2018 Edition of "Fastest Growing Churches"
(AWFC-UMC 2/8/2018) - "Three churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference are on LenWilson's 'Top 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches, 2018 Edition.' According to the Website, 'The purpose of the fastest growing churches list is to celebrate hearts, lives and communities being changed through the ministries of congregations across the United States.' The site also explains that the list is generated on attendance trends from the past five years and numbers that are reported to GCFA.  Crosspoint UMC, led by Rev. Rurel Ausley, is listed as number seven; Destin UMC led by Dr. Barry Carpenter is number seventeen; and number eighteen on the list is Covenant UMC, led by Dr. Hays McKay." Click here to see the 2018 edition.  To view previous  lists select the year: 2017 ...  2016 ... 2015 ... 2011.
Connectional Giving Trends of Pensacola District Churches 2007-2017 - PDF / Excel
Healthy Growing Church Conference Draws Hundreds from Around Conference
(AWFC News 2/26/2018) - With a heart to share best practices and encourage vitality and health in the local church, Crosspoint UMC hosted its 2nd “Becoming a Healthy Growing Church Conference" February 9-10 with almost 300 attendees from approximately thirty-eight churches in the AWF Conference. The conference opened with “Attitudes, Approaches, and Adjustments to Get a Church Growing” and ended with “Take Home Points for Church Health.”
Lead Pastor Rurel Ausley states, “Through trial and error, building an exceptional staff and a passion for excellence and Kingdom ministry, we’ve learned a few things that are transferable to any local church.  Our hope is to offer tangible and practical helps to pastors, staff and lay people so each one would have tools to take their ministry to the next level in this new day of ministry.” More here.
Update on Century United Methodist Church
(North Escambia News 1/22/2018) - A groundbreaking was held Sunday morning for the reconstruction of the historic Century United Methodist Church, which was damaged beyond repair in the February 15, 2016, EF-3 tornado in Century. Continue here for the article.
February 12, 2018 photo:  Construction is starting >>
March 11, 2018 photo:  One step closer.... >>  



Administrative Announcements 

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Continuing Education Chair
If you are planning a clergy continuing education event and need credit authorization or have questions about continuing education, the contact person is Reverend Dr. Jeff Spicer. Dr. Spicer is the AWF Conference Chairperson of Continuing Education. Here is his contact information.
Coaching Resources for Ministers
Here is a list from the AWFC Cabinet of coaches available for ministers. This is not a requirement, but if you can sign on with a coach (of course, their services require payment), you will find this can be very helpful. If you have any questions about this, you can contact our district superintendent, Tim Trent.
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?
Here's a page for Staff-Parish/Pastor-Parish Relations Committees:
If your church elects a new treasurer inform! The finance system is not connected with the database.
Finance and Administration Resources from Around the Web
For more items related to Finance and Administration see our "Around the Web" section below.


Around the Conference 

Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)   
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Video Message From Bishop Graves
(AWFC-UMC 3/20/18) - We invite you to watch a video message from Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Click here to view. Click here to read the written transcriptYou may also listen to this message as an audio-only podcast by clicking here, by searching for "AWFUMC Podcasts" on iTunes or in your preferred podcast player. We invite you to subscribe to these podcasts.            
Bishop Announces New Cabinet and Staff Appointments
(AWFC News 3/6/2018) - Bishop David W. Graves is pleased to announce two projected district appointments and two projected staff appointments.
Rev. John Brooks, current Montgomery-Prattville District Superintendent, will be Director of Multicultural Ministries in the AWFC office.
Rev. Allen Newton, current Demopolis District Superintendent (D.S.), will become the new Montgomery-Prattville D.S.
Rev. Alan Gantzhorn, current pastor at Jackson FUMC, will be appointed as the Demopolis District Superintendent.
Rev. Bill Kierce, current pastor at Trinity UMC-Opelika, will be on AWFC staff as Director of Congregational Development and Vitality.
Brooks and Kierce will join the Bishop’s extended cabinet in these new leadership positions. Also joining the extended cabinet are:
Celeste Eubanks, AWF Director of Leadership Strategies;
Susan Hunt, AWF Director of Mission & Advocacy;
Martha Rovira, AWF Director of Hispanic Ministries. 
Graves continued by saying, “The more leadership voices and diversity we have at the table, the better we can serve our local churches. By expanding our extended cabinet, we have more representation for the numerous ministry areas in this conference, therefore, more people are heard.” 
All appointment changes are effective July 1, 2018, and other local church appointments will be announced at annual conference on June 6, 2018, at the sending forth service. Click here to see yesterday's announcement about the appointment process
 AWFC Disaster Response News
Upcoming ERT Training
Eufaula First UMC will host an ERT (early response team) training session on Saturday, March 17. Click here to read more details and register.  Other churches are in the process of scheduling training sessions soon. Watch this page - - for updates. That page is updated when new training sessions are scheduled, including any for re-certifications. If you would like to schedule an ERT training at your own church, contact Rev. Rob Haynes at 251-270-2932 or, or Susan Hunt at
Disaster Response Opportunities in Puerto Rico
Rev. Rob Haynes, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, is putting together a conference mission team to go to Puerto Rico in Fall 2018 for disaster response work. If you are interested, contact Rob at 251-270-2932 or The dates are not yet set; however, you do not have to wait for this conference team to go to Puerto Rico. If you would like to go sooner or at a different time, click here to find out more information. Potential volunteers, please note that it is imperative that all individuals and teams go through the channels described at that link before making plans of any kind to deploy to Puerto Rico. ERT Badges and ERT training are not required to serve.
Texas, Florida Still Need Volunteers

Florida and Texas are still recovering from their summer storms and will be for years to come. Mission teams are welcomed and encouraged to serve in either state. ERT Badges and ERT training are not required to serve. Click on the links below for more information.

Oklahoma Is Requesting Volunteers
Oklahoma is still responding to storms from Spring 2015. They have over 80 home repair projects remaining and are requesting volunteers. Click here for more information.
UMCOR Sunday Is March 11
Supporting UMCOR paves the way for humanitarian relief when war, conflict or natural disaster disrupts life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own. Teams were in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and partnered with local churches to distribute supplies, hope and love to people facing a slow recovery process. Participate in UMCOR Sunday on March 11 to ensure that everyone can receive help when it’s needed most.  Click here to donate.  Click here for resources for your local church.

Message from Bishop Graves RE: The Appointment Process
March 5, 2018


The AWF District Superintendents, Rev. June Jernigan and I have been working on the appointment process since December and will continue to do so leading up to this year’s annual conference, which will be held June 3-6. Consultations and seminary visits have taken place over the past three months, staff-parish relations committee forms have been submitted, and senior pastors with associate pastor(s) on staff have submitted their requests for the coming year. The District Committees on Ordained Ministry, along with the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, have been hard at work. There have been many, many conversations.

Here is a timeline of the work that has been accomplished and the work to come:
February 21-23
The cabinet met and projected several appointments. The projected appointments related to our conference leadership align with our strategic mission around diversity, new church starts, and congregational vitality. Those changes will be announced soon.

March 11-14
The cabinet will meet to continue its work.

April 3-4
The cabinet will convene again to confirm the majority of the appointments.

April 9-10
Pastors affected by a move this year will meet with their District Superintendents. In churches affected by a move, the chairperson of the staff-parish relations committee will be contacted.

April 11-13
The cabinet will gather to make any adjustments to the projected appointments.

April 15
Public announcements will be made in churches where a move is to take place.
As I said, we will continue this vital and prayerful work leading up to annual conference. The comprehensive list of appointments will be published following the fixing of the appointments at the sending forth service before we adjourn. Please remember that all appointments are projected until annual conference.

We covet your prayers in this process. It is the most important work a Bishop and cabinet do each year. This year, the process is complex for numerous reasons: we have few retirements, we have many pastors who have moved to new appointments during the past three years, we have important family needs to consider, and we have several churches that are lowering their salaries as they have a pastoral change. These salary decreases have been trending since 2008 in our denomination across the United States. To be transparent with you, it is hard work, but not too hard! For we have witnessed the presence of the Holy Spirit in our work thus far. Please join us in prayer as we continue this journey.

I am thankful for you and know the best is yet to come!

Bishop David Graves
Alabama-West Florida Conference
The Denman Evangelism Award
The Conference Board of Discipleship, Division of Evangelism, is now accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Awards for clergy, lay, and youth.  Nominations should be submitted directly to Rev. Larry Anderson, The deadline is April 5. The intent is to select recipients who are "exceptional people who possess a passion to help bring others into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."  
A brochure and nomination forms are here: 
Information about other annual conference awards are here: 
Courageous Conversations throughout the AWF Conference
Courageous Conversations are being held in 27 locations throughout the bounds of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. One session will be offered in Spanish. Bishop David Graves is inviting all to come together for Christ-honoring time together regarding human sexuality and The United Methodist Church. The "Courageous Conversations" project will be used to hold these conversations. The Courageous Conversations format is based on material and resources developed by Discipleship Ministries
For the list of goals and possible outcomes for these Courageous Conversations click here.
Here are remaining locations within the Pensacola District:
Tues., Apr. 17, 5:30 to 8:30 - Crosspoint UMC - South Crestview Campus
For facilitators visit
For the video from Rev. Allen Newton and Dr. Debora Bishop visit
Online Clergy Pictorial Directory
There's a new Quick Link on the AWF Conference's home page: "Clergy Pictorial Directory."  You can now view the AWF Conference's quadrennial directory by clicking on the Quick Link or going to
Clergy & Lay Member Preparation for 2018 AWF Annual Conference
(AWFC-UMC) - Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has asked all clergy and lay members to annual conference to prepare for the 2018 session by doing several things.  (1) Please ready The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute and The Church Guide to Making Decisions Together by Thomas Corking and Julia Kuhn Wallace. (2) Please attend a Courageous Conversation near your home. You can learn more by going to

January 30, 2018, Bishop Graves published a video which we encourage members of the Annual Conference to watch. The video and transcript are at
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Will You Support of Fountain of Love?
The Fountain of Love Fund was created to be an ever-flowing source of funds to help individuals in a Methodist Home whose own finances have been exhausted. This provides security and assurance to individuals who do not have sufficient income to pay for their care. No resident has ever been asked to leave a Methodist Home due to inability to pay. 
Will you help us spread the word to your congregation?  Fountain of Love bulletin inserts (download here), offering envelopes, printable info sheet, video, and more information are available at
Archived Video Sessions, Photos, and Wrap-up Summary of Bishop's Day Apart
Over 225 clergy attended the Bishop's Day Apart Tuesday, February 20. Wrap-up summary, photos, and archived video sessions are available at
2018 Training Videos for Local Church Committees
Here are videos and transcripts that will help local churches train new and current Staff-Parish/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members, Finance Committee members, and Trustees.  For audio-only podcast click here.  See also If your church doesn't have internet or it is slow, you can contact Luke Lucas at the AWF Conference Communications office and he can send downloadable files. You will need internet to access the files but you can play the files without internet. Luke can be reached at
2018 Health & Wellness Initiative, Clergy Requirements
(AWF-UMC 1/3/2018) - "The AWF Conference Board of Pension & Health Benefits will continue the Health and Wellness Initiative Program as a goal of encouraging our pastors and their dependents to live healthier lifestyles; providing them with personal health information, screening and coaching thus helping the Conference to reduce and control the cost of health insurance claims. 
"The Health & Wellness Initiative will continue beginning January 1, 2018. Clergy members on the Conference's active health insurance plan are required to complete the online Health Quotient (HQ) and the Biometric Screening by August 31, 2018. Dependents, retired clergy over age 65 and lay employees who are on the annual conference health plan are not required to complete the HQ and Biometric Screening but are encouraged to participate.

"The following two steps are required:
*  To complete your online HQ assessment, login or register (if you do not have an account setup) at www.mybluewellness.  The online HQ can also be completed at Annual Conference during the health screening process (June 2018).  
* A Biometric Health Screening is required. You may choose from one of the following options to complete the screening: 
Option 1: An on-site Biometric Health Screening will be available at Annual Conference.  Biometric Screening will be held from 7:30 am until 12:30 pm on Monday and Tuesday.  It is a fasting screening.

Option 2:  You may choose to go to your personal physician for the biometric health screening.  Co-pays are applicable to this doctor's visit. Please download and print the physician's form from the Conference‘s website and take with you.

"Failure to complete the 2 requirements will result in a monthly wellness charge of $50 beginning January 2019."
2017 AWF  Conference Journal Available
(AWFC-UMC on FB 12/13/2017) - "The 2017 Journal is now available. You may download the free pdf or order hard copies for $25 each through The pdf download can be found on under "Quick Links" or click here to find it on Amazon." 
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Interim Treasurer Named for Alabama-West Florida Conference
(AWFC-UMC 1/03/2018) - The Alabama-West Florida Conference is pleased to announce that Mr. Mickey Wilson has been named Interim Treasurer in the conference office. Wilson begins his service January 3, 2018. Prior to coming to the Alabama-West Florida Conference, he served as Treasurer of the Florida Annual Conference for ten years. He also worked at the General Commission on Finance and Administration as their CFO and was president of a leasing company that partnered with Nashville area’s largest bank. Wilson is a current general conference delegate in the Florida Annual Conference and has been one since 2008.  “I hope you will join me in welcoming Mickey Wilson to our conference on this interim basis,” said Bishop David Graves. "The conference CFA committee and I feel he will be an asset in helping our conference and fiscal office move ahead in this new year. His expertise and knowledge will allow us to effectively serve our local churches and continue to align the fiscal office with the mission of the United Methodist Church.” For more of the article continue here. >>  See Also: Two Staff Changes at Montgomery Office 
Resources Prompted by Church Tragedies
(AWFC-UMC 11/16/2017) - "After the terrible tragedy in Texas, many churches are considering how they can best prepare for an emergency in their community or congregation and how United Methodists can take a stand against gun violence. Click here for some of the resources available to clergy, trustees committees, church leaders, and others on this topic." 
Lay Servant Training 2018
(AWFC-UMC 12/02/2017) -  There will be no Conference Blue Lake Training in 2018. We will hold a large training event at First United Methodist Church, Montgomery from Thursday, July 12, 2018, through Saturday, July 14, 2018, as we host the Southeastern Jurisdiction Annual Conference and District Directors meeting. There will be four or five Advanced Courses available as well as the Basic Course. Registration will be available in the spring of 2018. You may attend courses in any district. You are never limited to courses in your own particular district. For questions about Lay Servant Ministries in the Alabama-West Florida Conference contact David Bowen at
Event Promotion Guidelines (PDF)
(AWF-UMC 10/16/2017) - The Alabama-West Florida Conference cabinet and CORE team have approved new guidelines for promoting events in the conference. This will streamline how information is submitted, where events are promoted and also provides suggestions on how groups can help promote their events.  Click here for the pdf document.  
How We Can Partner With You?
(AWF United Methodist Foundation) - "The Development Fund would like to help your church build, expand, or renovate. We loan money to churches at rates that are significantly lower than typical commercial rates and we offer loan terms of up to 15 years. In addition, the Development Fund charges no points or closing costs.  Because we are a non-profit that serves our conference, the Development Fund Board is made up of United Methodists with financial backgrounds and also has experience complying to the Book of Discipline guidelines for building and loan projects. The reward received from helping churches ... is "why we do what we do," says Terri Turner, Executive Director of the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Foundation.  When considering finance options for your next project we invite you to fill out a loan application at   To get started on a new loan for your ministry contact Terri at 334-793-6820 or"
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 Facebook page. 
A Shift to Digital in the Ordained Ministry Residency Program
(AWF-UMC 10/4/2017) - A shift toward digital resources in the Alabama-West Florida Conference is making it easier for newly commissioned ministers to navigate the challenging path to ordination.  Conference officials say the decision to make its Residency in Ordained Ministry program accessible through an online portal has resulted in more efficiency and greater connections among the candidates. For more continue here.   
Bishop Forms New Team to Help Congregations in Crisis
(Kari Barlow for the AWF Conference) - A new 19-member Bishop’s Response Team now stands ready to support congregations across the Alabama-West Florida Conference in times of crisis. Bishop David Graves, along with his cabinet and the Board of Ordained Ministry, began forming the team in May, after recognizing the need to provide more tangible support to churches dealing with a wide range of disruptive and life-altering events. “His vision is to deploy a response team of trained persons into a church and community whenever there is a traumatic event,” said Rev. June Jernigan, Assistant to Graves and Director of Ministerial Services. “He wants the congregation, complainant, clergy and clergy family to find support, encouragement and healing.” Full story here.
Information about Lay Servant Ministries
You Can Use Amazon to Support UMCH!
Making purchases online? If you use when shopping, the United Methodist Children's Home will receive 0.5% of your purchase. More here. >>
Alabama-West Florida Conference News
You can subscribe to the AWFC NewsCONNECTION here.
For the AWFC NewsCONNECTION archives visit

Video for Training Your Church Leaders about Safe Sanctuaries
(AWFC 6/22/2017) - If your church has already adopted and put into practice a Safe Sanctuaries policy, wonderful! Now we ask you to assist your fellow members in becoming knowledgeable about the requirements, including the essential requirement of ongoing training and reporting. If your church has not established a local Safe Sanctuaries policy, we sincerely recommend that you place this important topic on the agenda of your next Administrative Board meeting and take an active role in complying with the Annual Conference directives regarding this matter.
A training video has been prepared and a link to it is attached here. Accessing the video is easier now as there is a link to it on the home page of our conference website. We hope that you will ensure that it will be viewed by every member of your staff and every person who volunteers in Sunday School, youth ministry and any other church-related activity which involves children and vulnerable adults. The Trustees would also like to encourage you to invite all of your Adult Sunday School classes to use it for a class lesson. 

Yours in Christ,
Sue Bell Cobb
Chair, AWF Conference Trustees Safe Sanctuaries Committee
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


Around the Web 


New Tax Law Not "Moving Friendly"
( 03/17/2018) - As United Methodist churches and clergy go through the 2018 moving season, the reality is the IRS will be treating moving expenses differently.
From the GCFA Legal Team:  "The end result of this [suspension of Sections 217 and132(g)] is that (1) moving expenses incurred during that time period will not be a deductible expense (except for certain members of the Armed Forces) and (2) any reimbursement by, or payment of, these expenses by an employer during the same time period will need to be reported as taxable income to the employee..." Continue here for the article. >>
With new tax law in effect, the AWF Conference Clergy Compensation Report Form was revised March 21, 2018, to include appointment change moving expense. You can download the form here. The preliminary format is nonfillable pdf.
"Tax Changes and Local Church Giving"
This will be a live webinar March 22, 2018, and afterward will be available in UMC Discipleship's online webinar archives. For more information visit Here the description on the web page: "Few of us have seen changes to the tax system as sweeping as those approved at the end of 2017 (to go into effect this year and beyond). One area of great interest, impact and anxiety for leaders in the church is the increase of the standard deduction with fewer taxpayers being able to itemize deductions, including charitable giving. Some say the impact will be minimal, others day it could be catastrophic for churches and other non-profit that rely on smaller gift donors. How can we face the future with faith not fear?"
Bishop Urges Biblical Faithfulness in Sexuality Debate
( 3/2/2018) - Speaking at the Africa Extended Cabinet meeting, Bishop John K. Yambasu of the Sierra Leone Conference encouraged his African brothers and sisters to “hold firmly to the truth of the Gospel.” Yambasu, the president of the Africa College of Bishops, devoted part of his keynote address to the debate over how the church ministers with LGBTQ people.  He expressed hope “for a revived and transformed United Methodist Church … built on the strong foundations of biblical authenticity.” To continue the article click here.
Bishops Receive Updated Report from the Commission on a Way Forward
(AWFC News 3/1/2018) - During their February meeting, the Council of Bishops received an updated report from the Commission on a Way Forward. The bishops offered feedback but did not vote on the two revised sketches, instead asking the Commission to continue working to prepare a final report to be presented to the bishops at their April/May meeting. “The two sketches provide avenues for unity, contextualization and mission,” said Bishop Ken Carter, one of the moderators of the Commission.
Council President Bishop Bruce Ough noted that the process of seeking a way forward was grounded in three major values:
  1. A renewed attention to our public mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, especially with those who are not yet a part of our churches.
  2. A focus on contextuality in a global church, and our continuing call to learn from each other, listen to each other.
  3. Continuing to work with traditional, contextual and progressive values that are present in two models, one that is more aligned with a contextual church with the removed language about human sexuality, a second which differentiates between these values as different branches of one church.
See also:
2/28/2018 United Methodist News Service article "Bishops See Progress in Unity Effort, Focus on 2 Plans." >>
Bishops Uphold Values of Mission, Unity, Space, and Contextuality
( News 11/09/2017) - LAKE JUNALUSKA, NC - Placing emphasis on the values of unity, space and contextuality - all for the sake of mission – the Council of Bishops (COB) is exploring sketches of three models as possible directions for a way forward for The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion. With the mission of God through the risen Christ at the core, the bishops this week received an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward that offered three sketches of models that would help ease the impasse in the church, noting that the power of the Holy Spirit trumps and guides all the church’s activities. The Commission serves the COB, helping prepare the COB to fulfill its mandate to make a recommendation for a way forward to the General Conference. The complete article is here
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Facebook Newsfeed Changes
( - In January 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a refocused vision for the social media giant, writing, "One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent."  The practical changes Facebook is implementing to work toward this vision will have a big impact on those of us who do ministry on the platform, so in this episode of the MyCom Church Marketing Podcast, we will walk you through what's changing and offer some ideas about how to adapt. Continue here for more.

Lenten Devotions
Lenten Devotions by daily e-mail or pdf booklet are available from the Society of St. Andrew at
"Clergy Taxes: Don't Live in Fear"
You can view a recorded webinar on this topic at
Description:  "Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like social security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. Your corner tax preparer may not understand the unique situation of clergy, and finding one who does can save you substantially in money and aggravation. Join us as the Rev. Don Joiner, a certified financial planner and clergy tax preparer, helps us navigate the preparation of taxes and planning for a sound financial future. " 
"New Tax Laws and What You Need to Know"
You can view a recorded webinar and presentation slides (in pdf) on this topic at
"Financial Tips for Clergy: Take the Bite Out of Taxes"    
You can view a recorded webinar on this topic here.
Description:  "Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like social security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. It is important to know the rules, but also the way to minimize the impact of your tax liability. Not every tax preparer understands the unique situation of clergy, and finding one who does can save you substantially in money and aggravation...."  
Finance Resources for Clergy
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership and Wesley Theological Seminary have gathered free resources to help pastors better understand and manage their personal finances. The resources are available at (Posted 11/10/2016)  
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    
Spring Loan Application Available from GBHEM
GBHEM offers United Methodist students the lowest interest rates for student loans in the U.S. to help minimize debt levels. Students may borrow up to $5,000 per calendar year. Spring loan applications are available now through May 2, 2018. For more information continue here.
The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship Fund
(GBHEM 1/9/2018) - The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is honored to announce the latest addition to its more than 70 scholarship funds. The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance to individuals attending one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries and pursuing ordination as a deacon.
The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship will provide an initial endowment of $20,000 for United Methodist students on a deacon track.  For the complete article announcing this new scholarship continue here.
Financial Planning Services for Certified Candidates
( 6/27/2017) - The Candidacy Office of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has partnered with Wespath and EY (formerly Ernst & Young) to offer financial planning services to certified candidates for licensed and ordained ministry. The services will be offered at no cost to candidates upon certification by their district committees on ordained ministry. For more information visit
Toolbox for the Annual Campaign
Will your church be planning an annual campaign this year?  If you missed July's live webinar on the topic, you can still view it online at your leisure. To view click here. After you complete the registration form the recording will begin.  

Assess Your Church's Financial Health
(UMC-org) - Click here for the website summary of the article, here for the full 3-page article in pdf.
Finance and Stewardship Webinar for Local Churches
Are you looking for new ways to financially support your church’s ministry? United Methodist Communications offered a webinar September 7 on the topic of finance and stewardship. If you missed the live Webinar, look for the archived recording here. Resources such as this are available because of the generous contributions of Churches to the World Service Fund.

GCFA Partners with Church Software Company 
(GCFA) - Responding to inquiries from local churches about the need for church software to help manage church administrative functions, Church Windows, a leading provider of church management software, is the latest organization to partner with GCFA to support local church ministries. Details here
How to Care for the Children in Your Congregation
( - We can easily overlook or ignore children. That should not be the case in church. Does your church reach out to families? If so, make every effort to affirm the children in your congregation. How can you minister to the needs of the youngest members of your congregation? Acknowledge them. Include them. Protect them. Continue here for the article.
Free Special Sunday Resources
"How We Give" page at
What Are "Special Sundays?"
Six times throughout the year United Methodist congregations celebrate church-wide Special Sundays with offerings. United Methodists contribute to a variety of educational, community development, health and social welfare programs, many of which are administrated fully or in part through the General Board of Global Ministries. General Conference created six unique Special Sundays to help congregations work with communities, rebuild shattered lives, strengthen self-sufficiency, encourage partnerships, nurture Native American ministries, model peace and justice, provide scholarships and loans for United Methodist students, and much more. Special Sundays include Human Relations Day, One Great Hour of Sharing, Native American Ministries Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday, World Communion Sunday, and United Methodist Student Day. 
Prison Ministry
(AWFC-UMC Focus on Mission 6/28/2017) - Is your church already involved in some form of ministry to prisoners, released offenders, or their family members? Please be in touch with us because we would like to know more and how we can support you in your efforts.  We would also like to form a ministry team that will help churches become more involved in prison ministry. If you are interested in being part of this team, or just learning more, or will share what your church is already doing, contact Frank Clem (pictured right) at or Susan Hunt at 334-356-8014 or Visit to read Frank's powerful testimony about his own prison experience and the redemption and healing he found. Frank is a member at Millbrook First UMC.  
UMC Federal Credit Union
(UMC-FCU) - "The United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union (UMC FCU) was established to financially serve you, a member of the United Methodist Church. Ministers, lay members, employees, church staff and employees of organizations and ministries affiliated with the United Methodist Church of the Alabama West Florida Conference are eligible to join. Immediate family members of our members are also eligible to join.  Banking with the UMC FCU is a smart choice, as we are owned and operated by the people who use us. That’s why we’re dedicated to the things that really matter to you specifically positioned to offer you better rates, services, and products that often out match traditional or conventional financial institutions while also supporting the UMC mission.  We’ve taken great strides to provide you services the way you like. Online and mobile banking and new technology that will make your experience with us easy.  To learn how to become a valued member of the UMC FCU, visit our new website at Be sure to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Twitter!"
2017 Clergy Age Trends Report
The latest edition of the Lewis Center’s annual "Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church" is now available at  If you do not currently receive Leading Ideas, the Center’s free online newsletter, you can subscribe at
UMC Handbook
(UMCOM 6/22/2017) - The new United Methodist Church Handbook for this quadrennium is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination’s beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about The United Methodist Church and is helpful for leaders and new members. “The United Methodist Church Handbook is one of the most appreciated resources generated in the church, and rightly so,” said Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Connectional Ministries at Discipleship Ministries. “Whether it’s a question about our theology of grace, new annual conference boundaries, or how money from the Ministerial Education Fund is spent, you will look here first.” Details here.            

UMCom Bi-weekly E-newsletter
(UMCOM 4/11/2017) - United Methodist Communications has launched a new bi-weekly e-newsletter that is "the first publication to carry the voice of the denomination directly to members by delivering inspirational and informational content specifically designed for them." A reflection of, the newsletter is called UNITED Methodist NOW.  Members can subscribe to the free e-newsletter and view the most recent articles at Members who would like to share inspiring stories in the e-newsletters can send ideas to for consideration.  For the article continue here.
Booklet Offers Resources "Way Forward" Has Used
( Daily Digest 12/12/2017) - The United Methodist Council of Bishops offers an 88-page booklet that contains some of the resources the Commission on a Way Forward has used so far in its work. The booklet contains information on three proposals the bishops will discuss in their respective areas. The bishop-appointed commission has the task of trying to move the denomination past its impasse around homosexuality. See booklet here, United Methodist News Service (UMNS) story on three models under consideration here.
Bishops Set the Date for the Special Session
of General Conference: February 23-26, 2019
(AWFC-UMC 4/25/2017) - (WASHINGTON, D.C.) "The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.... The purpose ... will be 'limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.' 
For the entire article at please continue here.
For the original article at continue here
Click here for a pdf of the full letter sent to the heads of delegations to the 2016 General Conference (or successors), Secretary of the General Conference, and the Chairperson of the Commission on the General Conference.
See also:
Evangelical Group Plans for What’s Next   
(UMNS 5/01/2017) - "The United Methodist Church could be on the verge of a Paul and Barnabas moment — where Christian leaders decide to go their separate ways.  'Paul and Barnabas don’t allow their personal disagreement to derail the mission because the mission’s more important,' the Rev. Jeff Greenway said, citing Acts 15: 36-41. 'So Paul takes Silas and he goes off to missionary fame, and Barnabas takes John Mark, and we never hear from him again.'  Greenway was speaking to the second public gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a newly formed unofficial United Methodist group that holds church prohibitions against the practice of homosexuality to be part of Christian orthodoxy. Greenway is the chair of the association’s leadership council as well as lead pastor of Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church near Columbus, Ohio...." To read the rest of the article, please continue here. ###   
Website Development Grants
( - "United Methodist Communications is now offering a Website Development Grant to local United Methodist churches and church entities who do not currently have a website or who want to replace their current website with a new WordPress site. " For more information continue here
"Rethinking Your New Front Door"
Topic: Church Website Training

Cost: $39.99
Course Start Date: Open enrollment, start any time.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:

* Navigate & build a website on the WordPress platform.
* Identify your website’s target audience.
* Craft the goal of your website and your overall message.
* Create and design content for a church website.
* Develop menus and proper page structure.
* Access resources, training and support through United Methodist Communications and its web and internet technology sites, forums and events.

Click here for more information about this and other training opportunities offered at
50 Ways to Reach Your Community
(The Lewis Center 11/24/2014) -  Here's an old but good article.... "These 50 Ways provide tips on reaching beyond the walls of your church with worship, community events, ministries, and service."  Continue here for the article.  Here's the information as a pdf you can share with others.
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!
Disabilities Ministry Manual Available Online      
A new, comprehensive manual that covers disability ministries in the local church is available at the website of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. The resource will connect United Methodists with answers about this essential ministry area. Visit
Free Resources to Equip Church Leaders
(Discipleship Ministries-UMC) - Guidebooks from Discipleship Resources are available for quality leadership team training for your church’s key staff, laity in leadership positions and pastor. Topics of the four TeamWorks Guidebooks are Spiritual Life of the Leaders, Connecting with Your Community, Creating a Discipleship System and Futurecasting. Each contains seminars, personal devotions, tools and articles, and downloadable presentation slides and webinars are available at the TeamWorks website. For more information go to or contact Craig Kennet Miller at
United Methodist Webinars
Webinars offered by UMC Discipleship are posted at
"How to Break Bad News to a Congregation and Community"
( - "Whether the boiler just failed in the middle of winter, there’s been a break-in, or a staff member was unexpectedly let go, bad news travels fast and can create chaos in your church. The actions and words of the pastor and church leaders can shape the perception of how the congregation and community feel and may have broad ramifications that last well beyond the moment and must be handled with extreme care...." Continue here for the article >> 
Name Change for PAUMCS - But Acronym Still "PAUMCS"
(VAUMC) - The Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries' (PAUMCS) 35th annual conference was hosted by the Northern Illinois Annual Conference PAUMCS Chapter in Chicago, Illinois May 3-6, 2017.  At the meeting, the association membership voted to change the name of and adopt a new logo for the organization.  Beginning immediately, the organization is known as the Professional Administrators of the United Methodist Connectional Structure. The acronym, PAUMCS, remains the same.
"Easy Exercises You Can Do in Your Chair" 
(AWFC-UMC 4/5/2017) - Here's an item with office staff in mind.... Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama suggests some easy exercises you can do at your desk.  For the pdf click here.
How to Write Your Way to Better Bible Study
( - Combining note-taking and journaling can enhance your Bible study, prayer time, and sermon preparation. United Methodist Communications has an article about this here.
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.
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  

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