Clergy Birthdays - April
Happy birthday this month to (in the order of day) Ron Nunn, Kathryn Gatewood, Jeremy Smith,
Byrd Mapoles, Gerald Munday, Henry Roberts, Nancy Watson, Dick Wright, and Donna Coty!
Lenten Prayer Focus
As we have prayed for our sister churches throughout Lent, I invite us to remember these congregations and their pastors as we near the end of this 40-day season:
Monday: St. Luke UMC - Rev. Larry Anderson, pastor
Tuesday: St. Mark UMC, Pensacola - Rev. Nancy Watson, pastor
Wednesday: St. Paul UMC, Gulf Breeze - Rev. Lance Whorton, pastor
Thursday: St. Paul / Warrington Charge - Rev. Bob Bailey, pastor
Friday: Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton Beach - Rev. Sterling Boykin, pastor
Saturday: Wesley Memorial UMC, Pace - Rev. Mark Dees, pastor
Sunday: Woodbine UMC, Pace - Rev. Dr. Jimmy Allen, pastor.
AWF Annual Conference 2014
Click on the news item for the article. Scroll down the page for more!
Some Upcoming Events at a Glance:
April 21-28...Licensing School at Camp Chandler. No registrations after April 15!
May 10..........District "Moveable Feast" at Summit Campus <-Please advertise
June 7 & 21...Lay Servant Ministries Training at First UMC, Marianna, FL
July 18-19.....Beginning Pastors' Workshop (Required - all first-appointment pastors)
The July 23 Wesley Heritage Tour with Bishop Leeland has been CANCELED
Men's Softball Tournament Rescheduled to October 4
The 14th annual Men's Softball Tournament to benefit the United Methodist Children's Home has been rescheduled to Saturday, October 4, at the Trione Sports Complex in Daphne, AL. It is a USSSA men’s church tournament, guarantee 3 games, double elimination. All church denominations are welcome. For more details contact Tournament Director, Tony Caminiti (member of Fairhope UMC) at c# 251-591-8007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations, All-Stars Churches!
* Crestview First
* Mae Edwards
* Perdido Bay
"All-Stars" is an annual recognition of Pensacola District 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. The stats are in for 2013.... Congratulations to these Churches who were All-Stars in 2013: Bagdad, Baker, Crestview First, Mae Edwards, McDavid, Niceville, and Perdido Bay! Continue here to see All-Stars history. >>> Continue here for Pensacola District Statistics. >>>
Three Great Concerts This Month - and Learn More About "We Care"
We Care is excited to let you know about three upcoming concerts the last weekend of this month. Lynda Randle and John Schmid are going to be sharing their music helping to spread the word about We Care Program and our work in the Alabama prison system. Bring your friends and come join us!
We Care Program - Spring Concerts
April 25 at Canterbury UMC, Birmingham, 7 p.m.
April 26 at Grace Fellowship, Atmore, 7 p.m.
April 27 at Frazer UMC, Montgomery, 6 p.m.
Learn more about the artists here:
Lynda Randle - www.lyndarandle.com
John Schmid - www.johnschmid.com
For more information visit http://www.wecareprogram.org/Page-Spring_Concert.php.
Financial Secretary Needed - Pensacola, FL
Myrtle Grove United Methodist is looking to hire a full-time financial secretary.
Those interested should have an Associate's degree in accounting or business administration, or equivalent business experience, as well as knowledge of bookkeeping and generally accepted accounting principles. Preference will be given to candidates with a working knowledge of the Power Church Accounting software. Should be able to pass an aptitude test and be of high moral character.
Duties and responsibilities include:
* Record cash receipts and make bank deposits
* Conduct monthly reconciliation of every bank account.
* Conduct periodic reconciliations of all fund accounts to ensure their accuracy.
* Maintain petty cash fund.
* Work with the external accountant for financial statements reviews.
* Maintain an orderly accounting filing system.
* Maintain the annual budget.
* Process payroll in a timely manner.
* Provide clerical and administrative support to management as requested.
Please send resumes to Pastor Riley Richardson, email@example.com. You may fax your resume to Myrtle Grove UMC at (850)456-1897. If you have any questions please contact the church at (850) 456-7463. (Posted 4/1/2014)
The Century Men
Thursday, May 1, 2014
7 p.m. at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center
The public is cordially invited to this FREE Christian concert, sponsored by Shalimar United Methodist Church. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center is located on the campus of Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville, FL. A love offering will be collected. Click on the graphic (picture, right) for a better view of the flyer.
Text Message a Donation to Imagine No Malaria
In reminding your congregation about our Imagine No Malaria campaign throughout this Lenten season, here's an item you can mention: "If you text message MALARIA AWF8 to 27722, $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill and the Pensacola District will get credit toward our goal of saving 21,000 lives."
Needed: Part-time Worship Leader/Choir Director (Pensacola)
Bellview United Methodist Church, located at 4945 Saufley Field Road in Pensacola, needs someone to lead worship in a contemporary / traditional Christian worship service. The service starts at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Requires leading choir practice for one hour on Wednesdays and occasional special worship services. Compensation $6959.15 per year. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Janet Lee, an “Angel in Our Midst”
Rev. Janet Lee, pastor of Century United Methodist Church, will be recognized by WEAR channel 3 Monday night, February 24, as an “Angel in Our Midst.” She was nominated by Century Care Center for the countless hours of volunteer work and ministry she has performed there. If you are unable to watch tonight, these episodes are archived on the station’s website, http://www.weartv.com/.
Quarterly District Event: Moveable Feast
Please share this information with other members of your congregation.
Calendar for the Series:
Saturday, January 11, 2014
9 a.m.-noon at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Molino
"Wesleyan Spirituality and Means of Grace"
Saturday, May 10, 2014 <-- Please note this change in date and location!
9 a.m.-noon at Summit Campus (McClain Hall) of Cokesbury United Methodist Church, Pensacola
Sunday, July 20, 2014
3 p.m.-6 p.m. at Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, Jay
Saturday, November 8, 2014
9 a.m.-noon at Trinity United Methodist Church, Fort Walton
Contact for information:
Dr. Mary Ann Gantt, Pastor for Christian Education
Staff-Parish Relations Committee Training April 23 (Wednesday)
For: PPR/SPR chairpersons & committee members that can attend
What: Training for PPR/SPR anticipating a change in clergy appointment
When: April 23, 7 p.m. (Wednesday)
Where: Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 4701 School Lane, Pace, FL
Who: Led by Pensacola District Superintendent Jeremy Pridgeon
Pensacola District Superintendent Jeremy Pridgeon will conduct PPR/SPR Training April 23, 7 p.m., at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, Pace. This meeting is for all PPRC/SPRC anticipating a change in clergy appointment. Please have your church represented at the meeting. We do not need a head count.
Survey for Ezra Users
This is for those in local churches who submitted the year-end statistical report into the Ezra system: Ezra users, please take this survey. GCFA wants your input on the report system.
Pastors and Administrative Assistants, if you stop receiving our weekly e-mails, here are some suggestions: (1) See if our messages are going to your spam folder and add our e-mail address to your safe list. (2) Try our Subscribe page to restore your subscription. (3) Try subscribing with an alternative e-mail address. Some e-mail providers block/drop messages that are sent to multiple persons. In my experience, AOL seems to block messages the most, and Bellsouth has done this a lot, too. I haven't heard of any problems with Gmail. - M.H., District Administrative Assistant
A Reminder to Local Church Finance Persons to Make Provision for Annual Audit
Church finance persons, this is a reminder to have your annual financial audit done - charge conference season is just around the corner!
"The committee shall make provision for an annual audit of the financial statements of the local church and all its organizations and accounts. The committee shall make a full and complete report to the annual charge conference."
-- The 2012 Book of Discipline, par. 258.4d (See pages 198-199.) The free online edition is here.
If you are anticipating a new appointment or change in clergy appointment, see instructions at http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/RightStart. Here are important dates for you:
* All pastors moving to new appointments are required to attend "The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting." This will be held April 10, 2014, at Covenant United Methodist Church in Dothan. For more information contact the Department of Ministerial Services at (334) 356-8014 or toll-free (888) 873-3127.
* All pastors taking their first appointment in the Alabama-West Florida Conference are required to attend "The Beginning Pastors’ Workshop." This will be held July 18-19, 2014. (The location is TBA.) For more information contact the Department of Ministerial Services at (334) 356-8014 or toll-free (888) 873-3127.
* Click here for the pdf "Moving Guidelines and Expenses for 2014." The moving date for pastors in parsonages is June 24, 2014. The last Sunday at their current church would be June 22, 2014, and the first Sunday in the new church will be July 6, 2014. (The Moving Date event page is here.)
Please make note of district events on your calendar. You'll be meeting with your church, planning ministry and setting calendar dates, and you'll want to already have district events on the calendar. Please let your Lay Leader (and spouse) and Pastor-Parish/Staff-Parish Relations Chairperson (and spouse) know that they are invited to the Welcoming Event. Closer to June/July we'll have a reservations page at this website.
* 2014 District Welcoming Event July 22, 6 p.m., at Gonzalez UMC <-- Please put on your calendar
* 2014 District Clergy Christmas Dinner Dec. 2, 6 p.m., at Soundside <-- Please put on your calendar
* 2014 District Conference Nov. 2, 4 p.m., at Navarre UMC, concurrent with 2014 District Youth FUSED Conference Nov. 2, 4 p.m., at Soundside. Churches are requested to suspend other Nov. 2 afternoon activities so that all may attend.
Around the Conference
Coming on Staff in July: AWFC Director of Congregational Vitality
Rev. Dan Pezet will join the connectional ministries staff as Director of Congregational Vitality July 1. Dan currently serves as the pastor of the Rosinton United Methodist Church in the Baypines District. Dan is passionate about helping congregations become more vital and fruitful in ministry, and excited to serve on the conference staff. He and his wife, Cindy, have two children.
New on Staff in March: AWFC Accounting Clerk
Sharon Beasley was announced as the Accounting Clerk in the AWF Fiscal Office in late March. Beasley was born and raised in the Montgomery area and comes to us from a local landscape business as their full charge bookkeeper. She has over 22 years of experience in bookkeeping at two large real estate firms. She enjoys reading, shopping and babysitting her two nieces and a nephew, whom she adores!
New on Staff in February : Administrative Assistant at the Bishop's Office
(AWFUMC.org) - Amy Evans was announced as the Bishop's Administrative Assistant on Monday, February 10. Evans grew up in Millbrook, AL, and has recently lived in Williamsport, PA. She comes from the Elmore County Board of Education and is married to Nathan Evans. She enjoys spending time with family, hiking and volunteering. If you need to reach Amy you can contact her at email@example.com.
Status on the 2013 Pictorial Directories
Lifetouch is having to reprint the AWFC pictorial directories this week, but the plan is that when the books are all ready, they will be shipped to district offices for distribution. Because not all clergy had their picture taken at Annual Conference, not all clergy will receive a directory. The books will be distributed first to all those who had their picture taken, then if there are any left over, the extras will be available first - come - first - served. (Posted 4/15/2014)
Annual Conference Reservations
and Orders for AWFC Journal, AWFC Directory
The official Annual Conference Page is http://awfumc.org/AC2014.
Question: Do we need to register for annual conference?
Answer: You only need to register if you are making a purchase or reservation (meal reservations, journal/clergy directory purchase or nursery reservations) or would like to volunteer on the UPPER ROOM PRAYER LINE. Attendance is expected of all clergy and lay members. Click here for the article.
Asbury Club Luncheon June 2 - Please RSVP to Lisa Ausley
The Asbury Club Luncheon will be held on Monday, June 2, 2014, during annual conference immediately following the Memorial Service. The luncheon will be held in the North Gym of the John Ed Mathison Activity Center at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church. Please contact Lisa Ausley at firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know if you will be attending.
Candler Club Lunch June 3
The Alabama-West Florida Conference Candler Club will have lunch during Annual Conference this year on Tuesday, June 3, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church beginning at noon. You can either pre-purchase your meal or RSVP at awfcandlerclub.wordpress.com/. Reservations will close on May 27, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. so make your reservation today.
Grace and Peace,
Vice-President of the AWF Candler Club
Lay Servant Ministries Training
June 7 & 21, 2014, at First UMC, Marianna, FL
Click here for the registration flyer.
Word from the Appointive Cabinet March 28
Bishop Paul L. Leeland and the Appointive Cabinet express gratitude for those who have been praying for their work as they assign pastors to new appointments. The Cabinet will conclude their initial work on the 2014-2015 appointments today [March 28]. Clergy and Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committees, where new appointments have been made, will begin receiving notifications from their District Superintendents beginning Monday afternoon March 31, 2014. Please be respectful of every congregation and pastor receiving a change in appointment and do not share your new appointment information via phone call, text, or any social media until after your new SPR committee has contacted you.
We continue to invite all to pray for our congregations and pastors who will be experiencing changes in appointments of pastoral leadership.
Connectional Giving Update
AWF Conference Summary - Paid Per District through March 31, 2014:
Be The Difference! QuadW Missional Internship Positions Available for Summer 2014
This challenging experience is an opportunity to truly be the Church, making a difference in some of our most challenging inner city communities. Interns will live in Christian community, receive mentoring and leadership training, and support one another in the journey of faith. This is a deeply life-changing experience. A $2000 stipend plus room and board are included as well. More information and an online application process are available at www.quadwmi.org. Applicants need to have completed at least their freshman year of college and be no older than 25. Click here to see the brochure.
Seed Cast 2014: Growing a Culture of Generosity HAS BEEN POSTPONED
Local Church Heritage Award
The Local Church Heritage Award was established in 1988 to be given to the church most diligent in preserving its heritage during the year. The award recipient is named at the Annual Conference session. Click here for guidelines and application. For more information about the award please contact Sharon Tucker at email@example.com.
Jane Walker Scholarship Application
AWFC e-mailed this to pastors/churches Tuesday, February 25:
The Jane Walker Scholarship is awarded each year by the Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Each scholarship recipient is awarded $1000. The recipient is announced at the COSROW breakfast at Annual Conference and will be recognized during the COSROW report during the Annual Conference session. Here is an application.
Eligibility for Scholarship:
This scholarship is sponsored by the Commission on the Status and Role of Women of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.
(You can view this 1/13/14 AWFC article online here.)
The Alabama-West Florida Conference has launched an Imagine No Malaria initiative to save 100,000 lives by raising one million dollars by June 1. All clergy appointed to churches and lay leaders will be receiving more details in a mailed letter this week. That letter may also be found here. Please be in prayer for our conference as we embark on this challenge in the coming months.
You can text your donation! In reminding your congregation about our Imagine No Malaria campaign throughout this Lenten season, here's an item you can mention: "If you text message MALARIA AWF8 to 27722, $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill and the Pensacola District will get credit toward our goal of saving 21,000 lives."
Upcoming ERT Training: (Click on the link for info and/or to register)
Saturday, April 26, at Covenant UMC, Dothan, beginning at 8am - ERT Re-certification.
UMCOR Kits for Annual Conference
This year at Annual Conference we are again anticipating a great response to the request for UMCOR relief kits and supplies. Because we are placing such a high emphasis on Imagine No Malaria and saving lives through that initiative, we are not assigning districts a specific kit.
We are still encouraging local churches and groups to continue to assemble these kits or collect supplies to make up kits. A truck from Coleman American will accept donations like always in the parking lot at Frazer UMC. Those kits are then shipped to the Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, Louisiana, where they are distributed throughout the world to people in need. We appreciate any group that is willing to continue this ministry and will gladly accept these donations at Annual Conference. For more information visit http://www.awfumc.org/pages/detail/801.
AWFC Announces New UMVIM Coordinator
(Susan Hunt) - We welcome Rev. Alan Gantzhorn to the role of Conference United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Coordinator. The UMVIM Coordinator works with the Conference UMVIM Leadership Team to coordinate Volunteers in Mission ministries. The coordinator works to match volunteers with mission opportunities; to be responsive to volunteers' desire to serve; to train and mobilize volunteers for mission volunteer service; to disseminate information on what is happening in the area for a short-term VIM programs and to educate, equip and empower you to experience "Christian Love in Action.“
If you or your church has an interest is starting, expanding or improving your involvement in Mission through UMVIM, please contact Rev. Alan Gantzhorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 587-5294.
Blue Lake Announces New Program Director
(Andalusia, AL) - From Blue Lake: "Blue Lake Camp is excited about the arrival of our new Program Director, Eric Hindmon! Eric recently moved into camp with his lovely wife, Andrea, and son Liam. Already he is visioning exciting additions to the camp program and facility. Eric has lots of experience with recreational elements like challenge courses and archery, and his deep faith is helping him plan for meaningful programming for all ages. We are excited as this summer approaches and you all get to know Eric better. You can reach him at email@example.com or 334 222 5407. "
Blue Lake Summer Camps
Blue Lake Extreme Camp for the Visually Impaired
Blue Lake Seeks to Replace Oakwood Roof Area
Click here or on the "Raise the Roof" graphic (right) for details. Blue Lake Camp is looking for volunteers to help construct a new roof, which is critically needed in the kitchen, dining and conference room areas of Oakwood Lodge. Prep work will begin on April 14, and the major roof work will begin on April 21 and go through April 26. Also needed are people who can operate a boom truck crane, install plywood, and do general work on the ground.They also need people who can donate/deeply discount plywood and/or spray foam insulation. 420 sheets of 5/8" plywood and spray foam for 14,000 sq. ft. are needed. If you can volunteer, contact Jim Busby at 850-217-2560 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Blue Lake at 334-222-5407.
(Nashville, TN, press release here) - As World Malaria Day approaches on April 25, Imagine No Malaria is asking supporters to #CovertheNet to raise awareness across social media networks about this killer disease that claims the life of a child every 60 seconds.
Imagine No Malaria has created resources that make it easy for advocates to create social media buzz about this life-saving cause. Here’s how you can join the effort to help us #CovertheNet:
Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church that is dedicated to eliminating deaths from malaria in Africa through prevention, treatment, education and communication. Through generous support, this goal has never been closer in reach. Malaria’s death rate is half of what it was in 2006; however, there is more work to be done as this preventable disease still claims a life every 60 seconds. To learn more, follow Imagine No Malaria on Facebook, go to Twibbon, or join the conversation online using the hashtag #CoverTheNet.
Doing Community Ministry in the Small Church
(Lewis Center) - Sometimes I interact with small congregations that assume that any significant community ministry effort is beyond their reach. They often keenly feel their limitations as they work to keep internal church programs going with limited staff and volunteers. So how could they ever engage the community in any significant way? With the right approach, it is possible for a small group of people to make a big impact. It will take focus and clarity about what you are trying to accomplish, but the small church can make a big impact in the world through partnerships, creative use of resources, and a focus on relational ministry. Small congregations have unique strengths that can result in strong and effective community ministry. Full story here.
(Dothan District) - Dear Friends, Smart Prayer is a helpful guide for using technology to aid in prayer, find spiritual encouragement, and connect with online Christian community. Rev. Lynn Nesbitt of First United Methodist Church in Dothan developed this resource, and she has generously given permission to share this with our churches. Please click on the link to download. God bless you today, and may the peace of Jesus Christ be with you. - Dan Morris, Dothan District Superintendent
If You Happen to Find Any Broken Web Links....
At http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org 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 our sources improve and update their websites, this sometimes breaks links we've shared with you on our site. The information may still be there, but just might take a little personal digging on your part to find where it was moved.
- Mary H., Pensacola Administrative Assistant
The event page is here.
Single Impact Retreat is an interdenominational singles retreat that focuses on taking singles where they are, addressing and ministering to their needs, encouraging them to grow in Christ and challenging them to minister to others. This is a chance to sit under some great teaching, be led in some wonderful inspiring music, have your questions answered, develop some good relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ, deepen your personal relationship with Christ and have some fun in a beautiful and inspiring setting. We hope to see you there.
—Anita Dutton, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, PCA in Birmingham, Alabama.
Register before April 15, 2014, to receive a $10 discount on your event registration. (Enter promotion code earlybirdrate when registering.)
Imagine No Malaria
The 2-minute video below gives a good overview of Imagine No Malaria.
Is Your Church's Facebook Page Reaching Fewer People? Changes by Facebook....
Have you noticed a decrease in your church's Facebook reach? Here's an interesting article from UMCom.... Facebook is now "filtering out posts from pages with which the user engages the least. Most likely, these are organizations and brands. The algorithm is now set to show content from the profiles with which users engage the most and to omit pages from the feed unless they are sponsored. This will make it very difficult for brands and organizations to get their posts to appear organically in the feed.... Without advertising, Facebook’s algorithm might edge you out...." In their article UMCom offers some tips. >>
AWF Candler Club Lunch June 3
Hey, AWF Candler Club! We will be having our lunch during Annual Conference this year on Tuesday, June 3rd at noon at Frazer United Methodist Church. You can either pre-purchase your meal and RSVP or simply RSVP by clicking this link! - Rev. Steve Reneau
UM Connectional FCU Offers New Loan Promotion for Small Church Projects
United Methodist Connectional FCU wants you to know that a special loan rate is now available for our member churches who may need money for small projects such as remodeling, office equipment and furniture, repairs, etc. We have set aside $500,000 in loan money for small projects that your church may need to finance. Each church can borrow up to $49,999 for those needed projects. Three year terms are available for 3.5% APR, and five year terms for 4.25% APR. This special promotion will be withdrawn once the maximum of $500,000 in small church loans has been exhausted. Details can be found here or contact Jonathan Curtis, Business Development Director, at email@example.com.
Fountain of Love Offering
The Fountain of Love Offering is used to provide financial assistance to residents living in a Methodist Homes retirement community who have exhausted their own resources. In fiscal year 2012-2013, the Fountain of Love awarded more than $437,000 in financial assistance to Methodist Homes residents. Special offerings play a huge role in the success of the Fountain of Love. Please take the time to order materials. Contact Sherri at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.methodisthomes.org/FountainOfLove.aspx.
UM Clergywomen Leadership Seminar
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry is excited to invite you to the United Methodist Clergywomen Leadership Seminar, which will be held May 5-7, 2014, at the Double Tree by Hilton in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. All UMC clergywomen are welcome! We will gather around the theme "Where Grace Meets Power: Standing for Each Other's Greatness." This seminar is a response to one of the recommendations for GBHEM to provide a clergywomen's gathering around leadership development; the other was to develop resources to help women's leadership. More here.
Have You Browsed the Archives & History Website? It's Very Interesting!
Here are sample pages you'll find:
The July 2014 Wesley Heritage Tour of England with Bishop Leeland Has Been CANCELED
Alabama-West Florida Conference in the Top Ten
(Facebook.com/AWFUMC on 2/3/2014) - From our Bishop, "Just finished talking to Lovett Weems at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., who shared the good news: Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church is in the Top 10 Conferences for receiving clergy age 35 and younger! I'm celebrating the great work of this great conference!"
Administrative Assistants, Please Check Your Messages
Did you know that the Pensacola District website has a message page for local church administrative assistants? Be sure to check the Secretaries Page at the Pensacola District website to see if we left you a note! Messages are archived so you can view past posts.
VBS Curriculum and Mission Supplement Materials from the Society of Saint Andrew
Pastoral Transitions in the Age of Social Media
Should pastors "friend" on Facebook? Should they "unfriend" when they leave a church?
(Alban, article by Adam Walker Cleveland) - "I still remember sitting in classroom discussions in seminary, talking about how pastors really shouldn’t become friends with parishioners. We talked about the power and boundary issues, and about how it just made things too difficult when you were called to another church; what happened to those friendships? Could you still stay in touch? What could you talk about? .... So, what happens when you leave a church? .... Do you just unfriend everyone on Facebook? Unfollow everyone on Twitter?" Full article here.
"Breaking the Chains of Clipart for Free"
from United Methodist Communications
(The entire article is here.) Finding images can be difficult, and Google is not your friend here. Sure, image results come up in your favorite search engine when you do sermon research. In most cases, though, those images are illegal for you to use.
It is tricky because sites need not provide a copyright notice, and authors need not register them with the U.S. Copyright Office. Unless someone gives you explicit permission to use an image, it is illegal to use it and you could be fined up to $150,000 for using it if it is copyrighted officially.
One solution is to learn to take excellent photos with your smartphone. Here are several tips on taking inviting photos of your church. Another answer is to use stock art. Different artists and companies offer these images with the explicit permission you need to stay in the clear. If you have money to spend, you can always go to places like Shutterstock, Pond5 and iStockPhoto to get quality images quickly. However, if you spend a little extra time and employ a more critical eye, you can get the same (or close to the same) quality for free. Here are six great sites to get you started.... >>
» Web design trends for 2014
» 5 ways to use Facebook Insights to improve your page
» Taking inviting photos of your church
» Connecting with the "unplugged" in your church
» When to redeem or replace church volunteers
» 6 quick tips to make Sunday’s sermon even better
» 8 ways to connect young adults to the church
» 8 tips to re-energize inactive members
» Free church downloads: sermons, media and more!
Mission Opportunities - Alabama Rural Ministry
(ARM) - Are you looking for a meaningful summer opportunity where you can experience and share Christ’s love in service to others? Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM) is seeking young adult Christians with a heart to serve the “least of these” and to work with youth groups coming to do home repair or work with our summer day camps. Be forewarned, the work is demanding. The hours are long. Time off is rare. Where’s the reward? God will move in your life like never before! You will meet incredible people who are ON FIRE for Christ and youth who are really excited to hear the news you have to share. You’ll experience diversity and love by joining a new community of peers, youth, families and children. God will test you and sustain you as you learn to see and serve others through the eyes and love of Christ! If this sparks a desire for you serve in this way, to be a missionary in Alabama for two months, then we ask you to prayerfully consider joining our team. Each staff member receives a $1700.00 base scholarship, and is given the opportunity to raise their salary to $4000.00 through individual fundraising. Compensation also includes a $20/week stipend, housing, travel reimbursements and most meals. Check out ARM’s website at www.arm-al.org. Here you will find Summer Staff Applications, pictures and more details about our ministry. We are currently accepting the applications and conducting interviews for these positions. Please contact Kim Dixon if you have any questions, Kim@arm-al.org.
Alabama Rural Ministry’s (ARM) mission camps are filling up FAST!!! Don’t miss your chance to serve with our home repair and day camp ministries. ARM offers camps and opportunities for groups to do missions in rural communities of Alabama. We host junior high, high school, college, and adult groups from all over the United States for week long, extended weekend trips, and weekend retreats. ARM has three objectives: 1) Extending Christ’s love to underserved families through home repair. We feel all homes should be safe, warm, and dry. 2) Building relationships that cross cultural, racial, and age barriers. We work closely with the homeowners to learn their stories and build relationships. 3) Providing Christian education, academic education, and a Christian witness to children at our day camp. ARM can only meet these objectives with the help of groups, like yours, that are willing to show Christ’s love with their actions. If you are interested in serving with us please check out our website www.arm-al.org. Here you will find information, registration forms and a breakdown of our costs. If you have any questions contact Kim Dixon at Kim@arm-al.org or at 334-501-4ARM.
Pensacola District Hosts SEJ Bishops
The Pensacola District, along with Bishop Paul L. Leeland, hosted the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops last week in Pensacola, FL. Their focus was to build alignment for effective clergy and fruitful congregations throughout the Church. The Pensacola District, under the leadership of Dr. Jeremy K. Pridgeon, raised 100% of the funds to host this group and their spouses. In addition to regularly scheduled meetings for the Bishops, the spouses enjoyed visiting the Naval Aviation Museum and Historic Pensacola Village, as well as enjoying several local eateries. Thanks be to God for the leadership and commitment this groups brings to our connection. [You can view this 1/13/2014 AWFC article online here.]
Church Vitality: Professions of Faith Rise
(UMNS) - Here is some encouraging news to start the year. For the first time in 11 years, United Methodist annual (regional) conferences in the United States reported an increase in total professions of faith in 2012. Preliminary figures for professions of faith show a gain from 123,986 in 2011 to 124,635 in 2012 - less than 1 percent, but still an upward trajectory. Many of the leaders at this fall's Council of Bishops meeting in Lake Junaluska, N.C., applauded the news as a welcome development after decades of declining U.S. membership and worship attendance. Full article is here.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has published its annual issue of the most popular Leading Ideas articles of the year. Leading Ideas, the Center’s free e-newsletter, offers information, resources, and strategies for forward-thinking church leaders and is read by more than 14,000 subscribers around the world. Here are the most popular Leading Ideas articles of 2013 as measured by webpage views and social media shares:
The articles and subscription information are available at http://www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas/issues/2013issues/131218.html. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary is a resource for clergy, lay, and denominational leaders. Through resources, research, and teaching, the Center supports visionary spiritual leaders in addressing issues crucial to the church’s faithful and fruitful witness.
Clergy Pension Changes January 1, 2014
(AWFC Pension & Benefits Office) - Currently, clergy under episcopal appointment to local churches and conferences receive benefits in the Clergy Retirement Security Plan (CRSP). Effective January 1, 2014, only full-time or clergy with episcopal appointment at 75% are eligible for coverage in CRSP. Clergy serving at 50% and less are no longer eligible for continued participation in CRSP.
Each church is encouraged to become a sponsor of the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) so that clergy members are able to make personal contributions into their account. While it is not required for the church to make a contribution into UMPIP for the clergy person to participate, the church may choose to make a contribution into the clergy member's account. For the clergy person to participate, the church must complete the UMPIP adoption agreement. For an adoption agreement please contact BeLinda Carnegie (Belinda@awfumc.org) at the Conference Pension and Benefits office.
Beginning January 1, 2014, full-time and 75% clergy will be required to contribute at least 1% of their plan compensation to UMPIP to benefit from the 1% contribution to their CRSP Defined Benefit Account. (Posted 12/2/2013)
The November 25, 2013, AWFC article about this is here.
What to Include in Writing Congregational Policies
The General Board of Discipleship offers direction on what to include in writing congregational policies on sexual abuse / harassment / misconduct / prevention. The page to visit is http://www.gbod.org/
Share If You "Like"
What would happen if we all shared the Gospel through Facebook? I mean, on a personal level, through these myriad branched connections, tell the world what Jesus has done for us? How long would it take the words of thousands of witnesses on Facebook to reach all ends of the earth about our Savior?
Free Video Resources from the Lewis Center
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has prepared an 8-minuted video titled "Why Giving Matters and Clues for Improving It." Feel free to use this video to encourage the spiritual gift of giving in your congregation. You may view and download it at http://www.churchleadership.com/funding. Last fall’s video on “Why Worship Attendance Matters and Clues for Improving It” is still available at http://www.churchleadership.com/attendance. If you'd like to receive the Lewis Center’s free biweekly online newsletter, Leading Ideas, you can subscribe at www.churchleadership.com.
According to the 2013 Brochure of Reports, page 124, the recommended minimum salary for 2014 for all full-time appointed clergy is $33,800.
Address for AWF Conference Office
In 2013 the address for the Alabama-West Florida Conference Office changed to 4719 Woodmere Blvd., Montgomery, AL 36106. The AWFC offices are situated among other professional office buildings, convenient to I-85, the Eastern Bypass, and Perry Hill Road. In addition to Conference staff and the Episcopal Office, the two Montgomery District offices are at this location.
MEF Scholarship Allocation Policy
(Shared by the AWFC Office of Ministerial Services) - A new Ministerial Education Fund scholarship allocation policy, effective March 1, 2013, is as follows: Seminary Scholarships - $2000 per semester for full time student (9 hours is considered full time), prorated at $222 per hour for less than full time. Course of Study Scholarships - full tuition paid for COS coursework (does not include registration fee paid by student), $100 for books per year. Click here for the scholarship application page at GBHEM.org. Click here for more about the Ministerial Education Fund.
Free Appraisal of Church Insurance Coverage
(AWFC Board of Trustees 9/7/2012) - "We all know it is important to have comprehensive insurance that covers all the needs of the local church.... Contact Bill Bullock (251-621-2041, BBullock@cpg.org) about insurance coverage. He is able to provide an appraisal of church property from United Methodist Insurance (UMI) without a sales pitch to the church. He does this at no charge. Local churches are then able to compare UMI coverage and cost to their current insurance provider. This comparison will provide churches an opportunity to look at insurance coverage and make sure their coverage meets the standards required by the Annual Conference.
Is Your Church's Listing at UMC.org Up to Date?
Did you know that each United Methodist local church has its own page at UMC.org in the international Find-a-Church directory? Click here to find and update your church's Find-A-Church page.
United Methodist Men - News & Chartering
Click here for UMM news and information about annual chartering re-certification.
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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