The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Here for You - Serving Jesus

                    

Around the Pensacola District

 

Quick Links:  (Scroll down the page for more)  
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Don't Miss This Important News about Annual Conference!
 
5th Sunday Sub-district Cluster Sing April 29
(Cottage Hill) - "Cottage Hill is hosting the next  Fifth Sunday Sub-District cluster sing for North Escambia County, Florida, on Sunday, April 29 @ 6:00 PM.  It will be a traditional sing followed by finger foods.  A traditional sing is congregational singing and any choir or group that would like to perform a couple of songs. Just because it is a Methodist Sub-District gathering does not mean only Methodists can come - everybody is welcome!"
 
Here are directions to Cottage Hill United Methodist Church:   From Interstate 10 and US 29 proceed north 8.3 miles past the paper mill in Cantonment, to the “Y” traffic light intersection, and veer to the right on north 95A. Proceed north 1.3 miles to Williams Ditch Road. Turn right or east. With CAUTION cross the railroad tracks and proceed 0.2 miles to Cottage Hill United Methodist Church. The church will be on the right side of the street.
 
We're Collecting Combs & Erasers As Well As Kits for Annual Conference!
(AWFUMC.org) - "At annual conference in June 2018, we are asking churches to bring UMCOR kits yet again. As an added variation from previous years' collections, we're asking each district to bring individual items for the hygiene and school kits.  Bring bulk supplies as listed in this document (click here) for your district. Supplies and all completed kits will be shipped to the UMCOR depot in Baldwin, Louisiana...." To continue click here:  https://www.awfumc.org/reliefkits.

Bulk items the Pensacola District will be collecting are erasers for school kits and combs for hygiene kits. The erasers must be 2 inches or larger in size. The combs must be sturdy and longer than 6 inches. No pocket combs or picks, please. Rattail combs and combs without handles are acceptable with a minimum of 6 inches of teeth.

For other updates about the 2018 AWF Annual Conference and to register visit https://www.awfumc.org/ac2018.
 
IMPORTANT: A Note from Your District Administrative Assistant
Senior Pastors, have the lay members of Annual Conference for your local church changed?  The list WE have is at http://umcpensacoladistrict.org/AC2018#Delegation. If yours is different, please contact the district office. Here is our Contact Us page.
         
NEW!!  Clergy File Information Form (PDF)
If you have a change in clergy appointment or personal information or you just want to make sure we have your most current information on record, please send the completed Clergy File Information Form to the district office. You can send it to the Pensacola District Office by e-mail attachment to admin@umcpensacoladistrict.org; by mail to UMC Pensacola District Office, P.O. Box 2727, Pensacola, FL 32513-2727; by fax to 850-434-0119; or by hand delivery. Thank you!
 
Here Are Upcoming Pensacola District Events for Your Calendar:
DATE TIME DESCRIPTION LOCATION
Nov. 4, 2018    4 p.m. Pensacola District Conference* Navarre UMC
Nov. 4, 2018 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m.    Pensacola District Fused Youth Conference* Community Life UMC, Gulf Breeze
Dec. 11, 2018 6 p.m. Pensacola District Clergy & Spouses Christmas Dinner** The Wright Place, Pensacola First UMC
 
* All Pensacola District churches are asked to suspend their regular activities the evening of Nov. 4 so that all may attend.
** Please complete the online RSVP form for the Christmas Dinner between Nov. 1 and Dec. 4, 2018.  Reservations close Dec. 4.  
   

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 http://umcpensacoladistrict.org/allstars.
  
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."
 
Keep the District Informed of Changes in Lay Members of Annual Conference
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 this doesn't match your church's list of lay members, notify the district office immediately.
 
View Your Church's Trends in Membership, Attendance, and Giving
If you're into statistics you might find this interesting.... 
Our district administrative assistant has prepared statistical spreadsheets based on information received from local churches' annual reports, and she has posted the data on the district's About Us page. These tables can be helpful in detecting trends. For instance, here, in pdf, is 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 no change (black).   A color-coded report on 2007-2017 connectional mission giving is also available. Click here for pdf format or here for Excel. If you're interested in statistical charts, there's more on our About Us page.
    
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 please continue here.
 
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 read 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 www.awfumc.org/courageousconversations.
 
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.
 
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 

 
Quick Links: (Scroll down the page for more!)  
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NEW!!  Clergy File Information Form (PDF)
If you have a change in personal information please send the completed Clergy File Information Form to the Pensacola District Office. Thank you!

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 TrentSee also:  https://www.awfumc.org/ClergyCareCounseling
 
 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 specifically for Staff-Parish/Pastor-Parish Relations Committees:  http://UMCPensacolaDistrict.org/SPR.
NOTE: If your church elects a new treasurer inform sharon@awfumc.org! The finance system is not connected with the database.
 
 
Continuing Education 
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.
 
 
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!)   
 
Annual Conference Registration Is Now LIVE!
(AWFC-UMC Facebook 4/16/2018) - "Our 2018 Annual Conference reservation system and other links are now live! A comprehensive email with complete information will be sent to all clergy and lay members to annual conference in the coming days. Be sure to check out the link below for new information." Registration will close at 2 p.m. on May 21, 2018.
https://www.awfumc.org/ac2018
 
Blue Lake Program Director House Dedication May 17
The Blue Lake Assembly Grounds Board would like to welcome you to the dedication of the Program Director house Thursday, May 17, at 1 p.m. For a closer view of the flyer please click on the graphic pictured here (right).
             
Required Boundary Training - Sexual Ethics Seminar in August
(AWFC 4/12/2018) - All clergy in the Alabama-West Florida Conference should mark their calendars for one of the below dates and locations for the Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Requirement, sponsored by the AWF Board of Ordained Ministry.  Dates and locations are as follows (choose one event to attend):
Saturday, August 25 at The Vision Center, Mobile
Monday, August 27 at St. James UMC, Montgomery
Tuesday, August 28 at FUMC Dothan
 
All times are 9am-3pm. Cost is $20. Registration is forthcoming.  There are two required reading pieces:
 
A limited amount of book scholarships will be available. More information is forthcoming.
 
In response to those readings, please bring your written response that addresses the following:
-Describe your ministry setting and role.  
-Discuss three takeaways from the required readings that would inform and enhance both your understanding and practice of healthy boundaries.
 
Your written response, turned in at the event, will serve as the attendance record. Be sure your name is on your work.
 
For questions or more information, contact Meghan Kelley at meghan@clantonfumc.org.
 
Letter to Churches about Mass Choir for Annual Conference
To all choir directors, singers, and pastors in the Alabama-West Florida Conference:
 
(Wayne Sigler 4/11/2018) -  Once again this year, Frazer will be hosting the Annual Conference. For our opening worship service on the evening of June 3 we have again been asked to have singers from all over the conference join the Frazer choir to make a mass chorus. It has been a real thrill at past conference services to see a great choir from all of our churches singing together.  This year the opening worship service will begin at 6 p.m. If you can bring a group from your church, we will need for you to do the following things....  To continue please click here for the letter (pdf).  
 
Mississippi Conference Requests Chainsaw/ERT Teams
April 17, 2018
 
The Mississippi Annual Conference has requested ERT and/or Chainsaw Teams to respond to the storms from last weekend. Teams are requested for the Meridian/Marion/Lauderdale County area. The work will include tree and debris removal and roof tarping. Team members must be currently badged and certified. Interested team leaders should contact Mississippi Annual Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Kenny McGill: ?(662) 416-1981? or ckmcgill70@gmail.com.
 
Rob Hayes
AWFC Disaster Response Coordinator
 
 
General Conference Delegation from AWFC
(AWF-UMC) - The Council of Bishops announced the call to a special General Conference on Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. The special meeting of The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking assembly will be limited to acting on a report by Council of Bishops, based on the proposals from the Commission on the Way Forward. The 32-member commission, appointed by the bishops, has the charge of finding ways for the denomination to stay together despite deep differences around homosexuality. General Conference, which usually meets every four years, is the only body that can speak for the denomination.
 
Any United Methodist in the Alabama-West Florida Conference may reach out to any delegate listed [here]. If you wish to send a message to the entire delegation, click here to email Dr. Steve Furr and he will send the message through a Google group notification system. Please indicate in your email if your message is for him or the entire group. 
 
The general conference delegation will primarily be the voting members from our conference. Some jurisdictional delegates may attend in an alternate and support role.
 
Deadline for the Local Church Heritage Award Is May 3
The deadline for the Local Church Heritage Award is May 3!  This award will be presented to the local church that celebrated or preserved their heritage in the most outstanding way in 2017.  The award recipient will be named at the June 2018 session of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference.  For more information visit https://www.awfumc.org/heritageaward or contact Sharon Tucker at archives@huntingdon.edu or 334-833-4413.
 
The Fountain of Love Mother's Day Offering
It’s time to prepare for the Fountain of Love Mother’s Day Offering!
You can order FREE offering materials for your church at http://www.methodisthomes.org/FountainOfLovePortal.html.
 
Here's a word from Methodist Homes of Alabama and Northwest Florida:
(Sherri Easdon) - As we approach Mother’s Day, it is our hope that your church will celebrate mothers through the taking of a Mother’s Day Offering for the Fountain of Love. The Fountain of Love Fund provides financial assistance to older adults living in a Methodist Home retirement community who find that they can no longer pay for their entire care. Because of the support of the Alabama-West Florida Conference and its churches, no resident has ever been asked to leave a Methodist Home due to their inability to pay.

Free offering materials, including a flyer with a special support letter from Bishop David Graves, are available for ordering now at http://www.methodisthomes.org/FountainOfLovePortal.html. Though our emphasis is on Mother’s Day, offerings and speaker requests are honored throughout the year. It is through the Fountain of Love Fund that needy residents of a Methodist Homes are able to continue living in the place that they call “home.”

Last year the Fountain of Love awarded more than $411,000 to residents in need. A large part of this program’s success is because of the churches that faithfully participate in a Fountain of Love Offering. Thank you, in advance, for making the Fountain of Love Offering a priority in your church.

To order the FREE Fountain of Love Offering materials for your church visit www.methodisthomes.org/FountainOfLovePortal.html and complete the form.

For more information about the Fountain of Love or Methodist Homes, explore our website at www.methodisthomes.org or call 205-951-2442.
                     
 
Laity Banquet June 5 at AWF Annual Conference in Montgomery
(AWFC) - The annual laity banquet will be held Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The cost is $15 per person. A buffet dinner will be served. Musical entertainment will be provided by Pastor Gina and friends of Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Pensacola. To register visit awfumc.org/ac2018.
 
UMCOR Kit Collection, Drop-off at AWF Annual Conference
(AWFC) - At annual conference in June 2018 we will again collect UMCOR relief kits. UMCOR is especially requesting health kits and school kits. Relief Supply kits help provide care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis. UMCOR kits are distributed globally, and help sustain everyday life for people who lack ready access to essential supplies.  Bring your kits to annual conference to the truck in the parking lot at Frazer, and Coleman American will ship the kits and supplies on to the Sager Brown depot in Baldwin, Louisiana. Visit www.awfumc.org/reliefkits for more details. Click here to see kit instructions.
 
 
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.
 
Annual Meeting of SE Jurisdiction Association of Annual Conference
and District Directors of Lay Servant Ministries
Save the date for the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Annual Conference and District Directors of Lay Servant Ministries. Our annual meeting will be held July 12-14, 2018, at First United Methodist Church, Montgomery, Alabama. Registration and hotel details coming soon.  The event page is here.
 
This event is open to ALL Lay Servants, Lay Speakers, Lay Ministers, and those that want to start in the LSM program. We will also have a business meeting, and our worship will feature preaching by Bishop David Graves, resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Courses to be offered will be as follows:
 
Basic Course:
Taught by Beverly Maddox, Lay Leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference
Advanced Courses
Lay Servants Lead in Conflict Resolution
taught by Rev. June Jernigan, Director of Ministerial Services and Assistant to the Bishop
Conference and District Directors Training
taught by Mary Williams, President, Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Annual Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries, and Janet Sligar, Vice President, Association of Annual Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries and Conference Director of the North Georgia Conference
From Your Heart to Theirs: Delivering an Effective Sermon
taught by Rev. Steve Kopp, Senior Minister, Memorial UMC, Selma, Alabama
Leading Missional Small Groups
taught by Judy Reiter, former Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries, Alabama-West Florida Conference
Leading Worship
taught by Rev. Jackie Slaughter, Senior Minister, Metropolitan UMC, Montgomery, Alabama
           
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
 
Message from Bishop Graves RE: The Appointment Process Timeline
March 5, 2018

Friends,

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, pastor@stluke-umc.org. 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.
For facilitators visit https://www.awfumc.org/facilitators.
For the video from Rev. Allen Newton and Dr. Debora Bishop visit https://vimeo.com/256659991.
       
 
 
 
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 https://www.awfumc.org/clergypicturedirectory.
 
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 www.awfumc.org/courageousconversations.

January 30, 2018, Bishop Graves published a video which we encourage members of the Annual Conference to watch. The video and transcript are at https://www.awfumc.org/newsdetail/a-video-message-from-bishop-graves-10950439.
 
 
AWF Conference Calendar
and Clergy Appointment Process Timeline:
April 15:  Public announcements will be made in churches where a clergy move is to take place.
 

April 17:  Pensacola Clergy Community Workshop

April 20-22:  ARM-Cycle of Service

April 27-28:  Lay Servant Ministries Training at St. Andrew UMC, Panama City

April 29-May 1:  SECN Administrator's Conference

May 1-3:  Renovate Conference

May 2-5:  Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat

May 10: "The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting" 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at FUMC Enterprise (.5 CEU) - This workshop is required for all pastors rcvg new apptmt

May 18-20:  United Methodist Women Assembly 2018

May 19:  Means of Grace | Day Apart for Spiritual Formation (Fourth Session)

June 17: Last Sunday of Current Appointment for Moving Pastors (Variation from this schedule must be coordinated between the pastor, SPR/PPR chairperson, and the sending and receiving district superintendents.)
 
June 19: "Moving Day" for Moving Pastors (Variation from this schedule must be coordinated between the pastor, SPR/PPR chairperson, and the sending and receiving district superintendents.)
 
July 8: First Sunday of New Appointment for Moving Pastors (Variation from this schedule must be coordinated between the pastor, SPR/PPR chairperson, and the sending and receiving district superintendents.)
 
TBD: "Beginning Pastors' Workshop" at Frazer UMC, Housing at Auburn University, Montgomery - This workshop is mandatory for new pastors in the the AWF Conference
 
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 https://www.awfumc.org/newsdetail/renowned-therapist-real-leads-bishops-day-apart-11010509.
 
                        
 
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 https://www.awfumc.org/leadershipserieswebinars. 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 luke@awfumc.org.
 
 
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 Amazon.com. The pdf download can be found on www.awfumc.org under "Quick Links" or click here to find it on Amazon." 
   
Image goes here.
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 david.bowenjr@gmail.com. UPDATEAnnual Meeting of the SEJ Association of Annual Conference & District Directors of Lay Servant Ministries July 12-14, 2018.  This event is open to all Lay Servants, Lay Speakers, Lay Ministers, and those wishing to start LSM ministry.
 
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 www.alwfumf.org.   To get started on a new loan for your ministry contact Terri at 334-793-6820 or foundation@alwfumf.org."
 
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 http://alwfumf.org, 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 smile.amazon.com 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 http://AWFUMC.org/Newsletters.

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 stuartworth@gmail.com.   
 
Safe Sanctuaries
                                 

 

Around the Web 

 

 
UMC Bishops to Act on Three Major Issues at Chicago Meeting
(AWFC-UMC 4/25/2018) -  "WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bishops of The United Methodist Church will meet in Chicago from April 29-May 4 to celebrate leadership through the passing of the gavel, certify constitutional amendments and finalize their recommendations to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference.  The April/May meeting of the Council of Bishops will also hear leadership reports regarding immigration, ecumenical relations, racism, disaster relief and other mission and ministry work around the global denomination." The three issues are (1) new Council of Bishops officers, (2) constitutional amendments, and (3) recommendations for the 2019 General Conference. For the complete article please continue here. >>
 
 
What Is Your Online Story?
(UM Communications) - When people search for nearby United Methodist churches on Find-A-Church, what do they learn about your congregation? What story are you telling, and how are you communicating the identity of your church?
 
Your Find-A-Church profile is already posted, it just needs some updating so that virtual visitors can better understand your mission and ministry, learn about your worship services and events, and find out how to connect with you on social media.  To view or edit your church's UMC.org profile click here.
 
New GCFA Website
The United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has a new website!  Have you visited it?  Click here to go to the new GCFA.org. >>
 
64th Annual Administrators' Conference April 29-May 1 
The Southeast Church Network's 64th annual Administrators Conference will be April 29-May 1, 2018, at the Terrace Hotel, Lake Junaluska, NC. It will be a time of spiritual growth, job knowledge growth, and fellowship that you won't want to miss. This conference is open to all churches of the Southeast.  Here is the brochure.

This conference will be about "Church Administration:  Tax and Human Resources Issues Confronting the Church Today." Topics will include:
* General Tax and HR Update
* Payroll
* Preventing Sexual Misconduct
* Sexual Harassment
* Unrelated Business Income - The Stealth Tax
* Social Media - Managing and Utilizing the Powerful Tool
* Hiring & Firing - Best Practices
* Contribution - Hot Spots and Pit Falls 
 
Church administration can be a mine field and it often requires careful navigation of the traps to be successful. Whether dealing with routine matters or the unusual, administrators need to be able to recognize potential traps and pit falls of every area of administration. This year's sessions explore various areas of operations to assist in identifying administration practices that can create smoother administration and avoid the traps that cost the church time, money and energy.

For more information:
Contact Peggy Willard at (850) 234-3196 or peggy@woodlawnpcb.org
or Janice Stevens at (601) 914-7103 or janice.stevens@christunitedjxn.org

Visit www.secn.biz for more information.
You can sign up at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/southeast-church-network-2018-conference-tickets-42185755731.
This event (and the brochure in pdf) is on the AWF Conference calendar here.
 
Website Development Grants
(UMCOM.org) - Website Development Grants are available for local United Methodist churches and church entities who do not currently have a website or who wish to replace their current website with a WordPress site. You can transfer your present URL, but please understand that you will have to rebuild your entire website on WordPress. Transferring a URL does not mean that the content transfers with it. All pages and functions will have to be rebuilt. Please consider this carefully before you apply.  If your church is a current UMCom webhosting customer, you will only be eligible for the free online training portion of the grant.  Basic computer skills and some understanding of uploading content to website templates will be needed to complete the course and build your website. Make sure those taking the course and/or acting as your church website coordinator(s) have these skills before you apply. More information here. >>  
 
"Bursts of Knowledge" Available Online Anytime - Free
(UMCom.org) - United Methodist Communications is now offering a suite of micro‑training courses online. Each learning experience is designed to deliver effective content in less than 20 minutes. Continue here for more.
 
 
How to Make Church Memes and Why They Matter
(UMCOM.org) - This article at UMC.org gives ways you can take advantage of memes' popularity to promote the ministries of your church. Here are highlights of the article:
(1) Important facts about memes and ways to create them. (Be prepared to switch them out frequently - they have a short shelf life!)
(2) Memes are meant to solicit an immediate reaction. Here are ways to create memes. (Be careful - what might be funny to you might hit a wrong nerve with someone else!)
(3) Important rules for designing memes. (Aim for a quick laugh and make it simple, easy to read, relatable, shareable, and fit your brand and church's marketing plan.)
 
 
Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life 
Retirement.... Do you feel drawn to engage in a journey of discovery for the next stage in your life? A pastor and a lay leader teamed up to write a book of resources to guide people to consider their Christian calling in retirement. The book is At the Crossroads: Leadership Lessons for the Second Half of Life. This is a six-week Bible-based study offering comprehensive, practical help for Christians who are approaching, entering, or already in retirement. Readers can work through the book on their own or as part of a group. Here you can view the Table of Contents and sample pages from the book or order the book .
 

https://www.cokesbury.com/product/9781501810503

 
New Tax Law Not "Moving Friendly"
(UMDiscipleship.org 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. >>
 
New AWFC Clergy Compensation Report Form
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.
 
Lake Junaluska to Invest More Than $400,000
into Youth and Young Adult Facilities
(Lake Junaluska 3/19/2018) - Lake Junaluska has recently received more than $400,000 in charitable donations to renovate youth and young adult facilities. Upgrades will begin in late spring. Rev. Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska, said she is excited to see the transformation of the buildings and the effect it will have on the thousands of youth who stay at Lake Junaluska each year. “I'm thrilled by this resounding affirmation that Lake Junaluska cares deeply about youth and their spiritual growth,” said Johnson. “We're thankful that God has called us to nurture young people, strengthen their relationships with adult mentors and one other, and provide them space to gain confidence in navigating our increasingly complex world that they will one day lead.” More here.
 
Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind, and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska programs and events visit www.lakejunaluska.com.
 
 
Tax Changes and Local Church Giving"
If you missed this live webinar March 22, 2018, you can still view it online!  It will be available in UMC Discipleship's online webinar archives. For more information visit https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/tax-changes-local-church-giving. 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
(UMC.org 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
(UMC.org 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.
 
Image goes here.
Facebook Newsfeed Changes
(UMC.org) - 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.
 
"Clergy Taxes: Don't Live in Fear"
You can view a recorded webinar on this topic at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/clergy-taxes-dont-live-in-fear.
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 http://www.gcfa.org/taxreformwebinar.
 
"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 https://www.churchleadership.com/clergyfinances. (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
(GBHEM.org 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 https://www.gbhem.org/article/gbhem-candidacy-office-offers-financial-planning-services-certified-candidates.
 
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
(UMC.org) - 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 UMCgiving.org
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 frankaclem@gmail.com or Susan Hunt at 334-356-8014 or susan@awfumc.org. Visit http://www.awfumc.org/prisonministry 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 UMCfcu.com. 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 https://www.churchleadership.com/clergyage.  If you do not currently receive Leading Ideas, the Center’s free online newsletter, you can subscribe at www.churchleadership.com
    
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 UMC.org, the newsletter is called UNITED Methodist NOW.  Members can subscribe to the free e-newsletter and view the most recent articles at UMC.org/newsletter. Members who would like to share inspiring stories in the e-newsletters can send ideas to UMNow@UMC.org for consideration.  For the article continue here.
 
 
Booklet Offers Resources "Way Forward" Has Used
(UMC.org 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 awfumc.org please continue here.
For the original article at UMC.org 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
(UMC.org) - "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 UMC.org.
                  
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 http://www.bwcumc.org/ministries/disability-ministries/.
 
 
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 www.TeamWorksUMC.org or contact Craig Kennet Miller at cmiller@umcdiscipleship.org.
 
United Methodist Webinars
Webinars offered by UMC Discipleship are posted at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars.
 
"How to Break Bad News to a Congregation and Community"
(UMCOM.org) - "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
(UMCom.org) - 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.  https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/
 
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 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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