The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference is just days away. Below you will find helpful notes and links whether you are attending or following from within the conference. E-mail updates will be sent during the conference to those who have subscribed to the list. Should you wish to subscribe, click here and select the first check box and complete the relevant information.
A Word from Dr. Steve Furr
(Dr. Steve Furr) - The five jurisdictional conferences in the United States will meet at the same time July 18-20, 2012. Jurisdictional conferences are held once every four years in the same year as the general conference. Equal numbers of laity and clergy, elected by the annual conferences, will be delegates. The principal business during jurisdictional conference is the election of bishops. This year the Southeastern Jurisdiction will elect five new bishops from 15 candidates. Candidates are generally nominated by an annual conference or endorsed by jurisdictional conference delegates. Any United Methodist ordained elder may be elected bishop by any jurisdictional conference. Each jurisdiction establishes the percentage of votes needed for election. Voting by ballot continues until someone receives the required number of votes. Full commentary here.
The agenda to the 2012 SEJ Jurisdictional Conference has been updated. Click here to view.
The AWF delegation round robins will be held in Shackford Hall, room number 13 on the first floor. To see the complete schedule, click here.
Seating for delegates will be in section 4, rows A-D. Please contact Dr. Steve Furr if you did not receive your seat assignment.
Thursday evening, July 20th at 9pm (depending on duration of elections), all delegates, staff and friends are invited to welcome our Bishop in Lambuth 106.
SEJ Conference Registration and Check In
See this document for helpful information about this year's conference registration and check-in process.
Attendees Invited to an Ice Cream Social
Dr. Larry Bryars and his wife, Vicki, would like to invite all Alabama-West Florida attendees to the SEJ Conference to join them for an “Ice Cream Social” on Wednesday night, July 18th at 9pm, Lambuth Hall, Room 106. This is their way of saying “thanks” to all our AWF friends for the support and prayers they have received this year.
From the United Methodist News Service
The attention of the denomination will be focused beginning July 18 on the jurisdictional conferences, where 11 new U.S. bishops are expected to be elected in three jurisdictions. Like General Conference, the worldwide legislative gathering that met April 24 to May 4 in Tampa, Fla., jurisdictional conferences meet once every four years. Half the delegates will be lay people, and half will be clergy. The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s lawbook, stipulates that each annual conference is entitled to send twice the number of delegates to jurisdictional conferences that it sent to General Conference. There were 606 delegates from U.S. annual conferences at the 2012 General Conference. Full story here.
There are now 44 candidates for the episcopacy. Learn who they are. Click here for list.
Stay Connected During SEJ
To follow the Twitter conversation, use the hash tag #SEJUMC or go to https://twitter.com/sejumc.
To access the SEJ Web site, go to http://www.sejumc.org.
A UMNS Photo by Bill Norton.
(Dr. Steve Furr) - The five jurisdictional conferences in the United States will meet at the same time July 18-20, 2012. Jurisdictional conferences are held once every four years in the same year as the general conference. Equal numbers of laity and clergy, elected by the annual conferences, will be delegates. The principal business during jurisdictional conference is the election of bishops. This year the Southeastern Jurisdiction will elect five new bishops from 15 candidates. Candidates are generally nominated by an annual conference or endorsed by jurisdictional conference delegates. Any United Methodist ordained elder may be elected bishop by any jurisdictional conference. Each jurisdiction establishes the percentage of votes needed for election. Voting by ballot continues until someone receives the required number of votes. This year the balloting will be electronic, which should speed up the process.
The six clergy and lay delegates to general conference as well as six additional lay and clergy jurisdictional delegates from our conference will be representing you at Lake Junaluska. On Tuesday afternoon July 17, each of the Episcopal candidates will give a five-minute address to all of the delegates. Later in the afternoon each candidate will appear before each annual conference delegation for a statement and a time for questions.
The last elder from the Alabama-West Florida Conference elected to the episcopacy was Mike Watson. He is now the only living bishop from our conference. Our conference has a strong history of only putting forward leaders who we are confident will make outstanding bishops in the United Methodist Church. Our track record speaks for itself. We seek and search for individuals who would continue the legacy of Bishop Duffey and Bishop Watson. We look for someone who we are not only proud that they are a bishop of the whole church, but that we would also be honored to serve as our bishop. We do not offer anyone up in service to the church that we would not be willing to take back into our own conference as our Episcopal leader. In Rev. Dr. Larry Bryars we have found such an individual. He has distinguished himself by his leadership and growth in the churches he has served as well as his leadership in the Board of Ordained Ministry. The fact that he was elected the first clergy delegate to general conference tells you what the clergy think of his leadership ability. The laity have found a person who truly seeks to be in partnership with the laity in deed as well as word. He has a servant heart as well as a humble yet strong personality. We believe that he has much to offer to our church for years to come. Most importantly, he continually seeks the Lord direction for his path.
The first elected lay and clergy delegate to general conference from each annual conference serve on the Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy. This committee is responsible for reviewing the performance of the bishops within the jurisdiction as well as making their assignments. Dr. John Ed Mathison is the current chair of the SEJ Episcopal committee. No bishop can be assigned by the committee for the upcoming four-year term until all new bishops have been elected. Once the balloting is complete for the new five bishops, the committee will meet and make assignments for all of the bishops within the jurisdiction. This will be reported to the jurisdictional conference. The jurisdictional conference may affirm or reject the assignments. Newly elected bishops are consecrated in worship services at the end of each jurisdictional conference. All assignments for active U.S. bishops begin on Sept. 1 following the jurisdictional conference.
There is an Inter-jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy, elected by general conference delegates, that can transfer bishops across jurisdictional lines if the bishops and the jurisdictions consent.
Please remain in prayer for our delegation as well as all the delegations as we go about this very important process. Especially remember all the Episcopal candidates as this is a very demanding time for them.
(Rev. Neil McDavid) - Ten “new places for new people” and three new ministries were highlighted at our recent Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. New church starts, new second campuses, off-site services, new services, new ministry models and a church re-start are among the ways new people are being reached in small, mid-size, and large churches across the conference.
Over the next several weeks, these “new places for new people” will be highlighted in our NewsCONNECTION as a hopeful encouragement to all churches to consider new ways and means to reach out to new people. To discern the way forward for your church in this regard, you are encouraged to join the Alabama-West Florida Conference Prayer Initiative (to see full plan click here). Essentially, every church is being asked to form a prayer team to pray through what it means to “make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” in their particular context. The prayer team would consist of three to five people, including the pastor, who would meet weekly for 90 days beginning September 1, 2012 and pray through four questions (click here and scroll down). Out of this time of prayer and discernment, the church is asked to respond in one of three ways: (1) step up and sharpen the existing focus on making disciples through worship, Sunday school, small groups, men’s/women’s ministries, youth, children and present ministry; (2) step out in making disciples by starting a new community of faith, a new service, establishing a new mission outreach; (3) express a renewed readiness to follow God’s leading for the vision God is placing before your church. The challenge for the church today is to essentially reclaim our missional DNA and recommit to be missionaries in our own communities.
As you join the Alabama-West Florida Conference Prayer Initiative consider the seven R’s of revitalization and renewal.
• Remember your purpose
• Reconnect with your community
• Renew your commitment to your mission
• Revision the future
• Rediscover your missionary spirit
• Reflect, adjust, do
• Resource for ministry www.awfumc.org
Led by United Methodist Children’s Home Chaplain Rev. Lonna Lynn Higgs, spiritually vibrant and mature volunteers from among United Methodist clergy and lay ministry professionals will now serve as spiritual caregivers in each of UMCH’s program locations throughout Alabama and northwest Florida. The Spiritual Care Ministry’s mission to be “sowers of seeds of love, hope, and faith” is based on Matthew 13: 3-9(NRSV):
“And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’”
In the fall of 2012, prospective members of UMCH’s Spiritual Care Team will participate in a multi-day retreat to explore the nature of caregiving in the context of suffering children, youth, and families. Among others, the retreat will include the following sessions and workshops:
• UMCH: Its History, Organization, Leadership, Staff, and Programs
• Love and Logic as a Tool for Spiritual Support
• Pastoral Care in the Context of Suffering, Brokenness, and Abuse
• Coaching Skills for Spiritual Caregivers
• Keeping the Boundaries: Establishing and Maintaining Healthy Relationships with Staff and Residents
• How Spiritual Caregiving Is Different from Social Work, Therapy, Counseling, and Coaching
• Spiritual Care and the Parable of the Sower: Generously Giving and Giving and Giving. . .with Mixed Results
• One Child, One Family At a Time: The Longing for Caregivers’ Undivided Attention
At the conclusion of the retreat, participants will be invited to make a two-year covenant with UMCH to serve as a member of the spiritual care team. Upon assignment to one of UMCH’s programs, spiritual caregivers will spend ten to twenty hours a week with the staff and the children, youth, and families in care. They will receive ongoing support through individual coaching, group coaching, and continuing education. Caregivers who serve effectively may be invited renew the covenant every two years.
For more information contact Rev. Higgins at Rev. Lonna Lynn Higgs 205.919.8298.
The 2012 Alabama–West Florida Annual Conference was held June 3-6 in Mobile, AL with the theme, “Partnership in the Gospel....Serving the World.” Bishop Paul L. Leeland, presiding over his fourth annual conference session since becoming the resident bishop, welcomed clergy and lay members to Christ UMC in Mobile.
The clergy appointments for 2012-2013 may be found online here.
A compelling addition to this year's conference was the showing of eight district videos at the beginning of various sessions that informed the conference about fruitful activities going on within each district. Each district superintendent presented this information about their respective district.
The conference also participated in an UMCOR relief kit drive yielding more than 1.275 relief kits.
The 2013 budget was established at $11.131 million for mission and ministry, down 2.61% from 2012.
Membership stands at 146,782, down less than 1% from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 66,145, down 2%. Church school attendance stands at 28,131, down 2%. Small groups showed an increase: there was a 38% increase in persons in covenant discipleship groups, 6% increase in short-term classes for learning of all ages and mission teams showed increases in all categories.
The 2013 session of the AWF Annual Conference will be held June 2-5, 2013, at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL. We express our sincere appreciation to the Christ United Methodist Church Leadership Team and Rev. Jeff Spiller for their hospitality during this year's annual conference.