Annual Conference Day Three, June 4, 2019

June 04, 2019

In the News

Morning Worship: Day three of annual conference began with morning worship and Holy Communion. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz of Port St. Joe UMC gave the moving sermon entitled, "Washed by the Water" and based on Matthew 3:13-17. Perhaps one of the most powerful moments of conference, thus far, was the conclusion of the sermon where Lentz sang the chorus of, "Washed by the Water" and then the collective singing of, "It Is Well." Ontonio Christie of St. Andrew UMC gave the Call to Worship and Invitation to Communion. Rev. Paula Roane of Trinity UMC (Ft. Walton Beach, FL) prepared the elements for communion and Rev. John Blount of St. Andrew UMC presided over communion. Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, recognized those working on Hurricane Michael and Lee County recoveries. Those working on these recoveries were given a standing ovation. Rev. Chris Ackerman, AWF Disaster Recovery Director, walked through several ways to help. Bishop Graves affirmed their ministry and expressed that, "In five years, everyone will come to us to know how to do disaster ministry." 

Standing Rules: Dr. Shirley Woodie of Ozark FUMC presented two standing rules changes. One was related to the addition of adding the annual conference coordinator to the planning committee and that amendments must be presented to the conference secretary in writing prior to debate. They may be found on pages 16-29 of the 2019 Book of Reports. The committee recommended to adopt both changes. Both were approved. 

Resolutions: Two resolutions were presented to the annual conference voting body at today's session by Dr. Bill Richardson of Montgomery FUMC. A Resolution Concerning Predatory Lending in Alabama was presented and recommended by the committee. It was approved. Evaluation for Continuing Formation for Full Members and Local Pastors was recommended by the committee. A clarification amendment was made but not passed. The original resolution was approved. Approved resolutions may be found here.

Delegate Voting: Most of the voting occured Monday so the conference members concluded their work by electing the following delegates and reserves to Jurisdictional Conference. A complete delegate list may be found here

Ballot Five, laity only
Invalid

Ballot Six, clergy
Misty Barrett, 134
Matt Mobley, 134

Ballot Six, laity
John Moneyham, 234

Ballot Seven, laity
Robert Brooks, 228

Ballot Eight, laity
Tripp Gulledge, 232

Ballot Nine, laity
no election

Ballet Ten, laity
Antonius Barnes, 237

Board of Pension and Health Benefits: Rev. Steve Reneau of Elba FUMC and Ham Chapel UMC updated the conference on their committee's work and recognized its members. Report 12 in the 2019 Book of Reports, which was related to rental/housing allowances for retired or disabled clergypersons, was passed. It allows up to 100% of retirement benefits as housing. The 2020 Pre-82 past service rate was proposed and given to the voting body. The proposed rate for clergy was $789 and $552 for surviving spouses, which was a 2% increase from 2019 to 2020. The rate was approved. The articles of incorporation regarding membership were brought into alignment with the 2016 Book of Discipline. It was approved as was the full report. 

Equitable CompensationRev. Michael Cobb of Moundville UMC, Stewart UMC and China Grove UMC recommended on behalf of the Committee for Equitable Compensation that minimum salary be $38,000, a 2.27% decrease from the previous year. It was approved.   

Approved Budget: The conference established a $9,606,334 million budget for mission and ministry for 2020, a 10% decrease from 2019. The 2020 budget is the lowest in 20 years and ten percent lower, as previously indicated, than 2019. The recommended district superintendent salary for 2019 is $122,764,a 1.9% increase from the previous year to be in alignment with Conference Average Compensation. The unqualified audit report will appear in the 2019 Journal. In 2018, 377 churches paid 100% of their apportionments. Thank you for your faithful giving! 

Statistician's Report: Ms. Suzanne Krejcar, AWF Treasurer, reported that membership stands at 130,250 and worship attendance stands at 57,963. Native American, Multiracial, Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino attendance all showed areas of increase over the past year. Children and Youth in Christian Formation also showed an increase. Direct giving to United Methodist causes slightly decreased but showed a 274% increase since 2009. 

2020 Annual Conference: The 2020 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 7-10, 2019, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination. We express our sincere appreciation to both of these staffs for hosting us this past year.

Business session: The afternoon business session was opened with a prayer from President Daniel Coleman of Birmingham-Southern College. Mr. Alan Livingston was recognized for his 27 years of faithful service as conference chancellor. The crowd showed their thanks by rising to their feet with a thunderous applause. Mr. Bob Northcutt was introduced as the incoming conference chancellor and was approved by the voting body. Mr. George Parker was introduced and approved as the associate chancellor.  A video celebrating the United Methodist Women's 150th anniversary was shown. 

Report of the Cabinet: Rev. June Jernigan, AWF Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Ministerial Services, gave the report of the cabinet to include change in charge lines and property resolutions. It was included in member packets. 

Missional Offering Update: The 2019 Missional Offering for Wesley College/Teaming with Tanzania has received over $38,000 thus far. $1,654.10 was collected for the Ministerial Education Fund at last night's Service of Commissioning & Ordination. Thank you for your generosity! 

Local Church Heritage Award: Tanner Williams UMC is the recipient of this award. The award is presented by the AWF Historical Society for churches who perform outstanding work in preserving and celebrating their history. The church just celebrated 100 years in 2018. 

One Matters Award: Haleburg UMC is this year's winner of this award given by the AWF Town and Country Commission. Rev. Lance Eiland of Church Street UMC presented this award. In the fall of 2015, there were three people worshipping at the church. They now are worshipping about 60 with approximately 15 children. The church will also receive a $1,000 award to assist in their discipleship efforts.  

Francis Asbury Award: Lee Thomas of Millbrook FUMC received the Francis Asbury Award today, presented by Rev. Jenni Hendrix of Bethel UMC. Mr. Thomas received this award for his work with the Tuskegee University Wesley Foundation. 

Mary Mildred Sullivan Award: President Cam West was in attendance to present Bishop Graves with the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. He stated, "In this time of denominational turbulence, Bishop Graves has calmly embodied the ministry of hospitality, respectfully listening to all under his pastoral care and welcoming them into a prayerful journey to discern the mission of the United Methodist Church and the ways their gifts may be apportioned by the Spirit for the upbuilding of the Church. His faithful episcopal commitment to the unity of the Body of Christ–while recognizing and honoring the diversity of gifts within the Body–and his focus on the importance of the episcopal teaching office in discerning the shape of that unity moving forward are windows into the spiritual mission of Huntingdon College."

Denman Evangelism Award: There were three winners of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The clergy winner is Rev. Dunford Cole of Campground UMC and Rutledge UMC. The Youth recipient is Amber Gay of Robinson Springs UMC and the Lay recipient is Matt Hull, youth director at Trinity UMC, Ft. Walton

Alice Lee Award: This award goes to someone who was inspired by Alice's service and has chosen a path of service of their own. This year's recipient is Geraldine Stiffler of Foley UMC

Guardian of the Bell Award: Blake Horne with the United Methodist Children's Home was in attendance to present this year's Guardian of the Bell Award to Montgomery FUMC

UMC Federal Credit Union Scholarship: Rebekah Antonelli was presented a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of the United Methodist Federal Credit Union. She is a current seminary student at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY. Jonathan Curtis presented the award from the credit union. 

Susanna Wesley Award: Allen Dunham, AWF United Methodist Men's President, presented the fifth annual Susanna Wesley Award for Excellence. The recipient of this annual award is Judy Reiter of Enterprise FUMC. He also updated the conference on the work of the UMM. 

Complete bios from today's award winners may be found online here.

Laity Report: Beverly Maddox, AWF Conference Lay Leader, updated the conference on the work of the laity and emphasized the partnership of clergy and laity. She also took time to recognize the district lay leaders and conference associate lay leader, Mr. Frank Jenkins. 

Conference Board of Trustees: Christy Crow with the AWF Trustees presented the GCFA disaffiliation plan which was a result of petition 90022 from the 2019 special-called General Conference session. Each conference Board of Trustees could propose amendments for this petition. In summary, the Alabama-West Florida amendments are as follows:

  • An amount equal to the Local Church’s pro rata share, as determined by Annual Conference, of Annual Conference’s unfunded Post Retirement Medical (PRM) obligation as calculated by a third-party actuary, valuation date as of 1/1/2019
  • Local Church cemetery property must be included with the Local Church assets that transfer at disaffiliation date
  • Filing for tax exempt status is the responsibility of the disaffiliating Local Church as the Local Church’s group ruling status will be revoked at disaffiliation date
  • Other requirements established by the Annual Conference Board of Trustees with the advice of the Cabinet, Treasurer, Benefits Officer, Director of Connectional Ministries and Chancellor and ratified by the Annual Conference prior to disaffiliation

Click here to see the proposed document. It was approved. 

Laity Banquet: Under the leadership of Beverly Maddox, the laity celebrated their work at the annual banquet. Sean Dietrich, also known as Sean of the South, was the entertainer and guest speaker for the evening. He also entertained the clergy spouses earlier in the day at their luncheon. He began his time with the laity with several crowd favorites such as, "Do Lord" and "This Little Light of Mine." He told old church stories through word and song, which were the well-known songs many people knew from growing up in the United Methodist Church. 

UMCOR Relief Kits: Tomorrow is the last day to bring your UMCOR relief kits and supplies to the truck in the parking lot. All assembled and unassembled kits and supplies are welcome. The truck will be open to receive the kits and supplies Wednesday from 7:30am-11:00am.

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Wednesday, June 5
-Morning Worship, 8:30am
-Conference Business Session, 9:30am
-Sending Forth Service (following the morning business session)

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