AC 2006 - Called January Session

 

Conference Votes to Realign Districts
Jan. 28, 2006

During a historic vote the United Methodists of North Alabama voted to realign the number of districts within the bounds of the conference from the current 12 to eight new districts.

Bishop William H. Willimon presided over the special session of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church which was held on Saturday, January 28, 2006, from 10 am to Noon at ClearBranch United Methodist Church in Trussville, Alabama. The sole purpose of the meeting was to vote on a proposal from the District Study Team, which made the proposal to reduce the number of districts.

As the meeting was called to order, Bishop Willimon shared a devotion. He told the almost 1700 people gathered, We are called to follow Jesus. He is ever on the move. It takes courage to walk with him.

Following the devotion Barbara Harper, chair of the District Study Team, formally presented the team's proposal and encouraged the Conference to consider the proposal saying she personally felt this move will help us move away from Administration to Ministry.

When the floor was opened for discussion most of the comments were questions for clarification about the implementation of this new district structure.

Following the discussion a vote was taken by a show of hands. The proposal passed by a large majority. The conference then voted on a transition team, which will include representatives from each of the current districts. The Transition Team's role will be to assist the Bishop and the District Superintendents in their role of drawing the new lines of the districts.

According to United Methodist procedure, it is the responsibility of the annual conference membership to determine the number of districts and it is the bishop's duty as the presiding officer of the annual conference, after consultation with the district superintendents (the Cabinet), to form the districts according to the number established by the annual conference.[Paragraph 415 in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2004 (the book of law and procedure of the church)].

The following people were elected to the Transition Team:

Transition Team
Elected January 28, 2006

Albertville - Dwain Elder (L)
Anniston - Brenda Stedham (L)
Birmingham-East - Anne Wheeler (L)
Birmingham-West - Eric Owens (L)
Decatur - Scott Stone (L)
Florence - Alan Beasley (C)
Gadsden - Chris Denson (C)
Huntsville - Paul Hillard (C)
Jasper - Mac Buttram (C)
Roanoke - Jimmy Yates (L)
Sylacauga - Jerry Fielding (L)
Tuscaloosa - Ricky Mayers (L)

At-Large Members
Ken Dunivant (C)
Robert Mount (C)
Guy Perry (L)
Mike Stonbraker (C)
Sheryl Thornton (C)
Farrell Turner (L)
Larry Young (L)

Nominated from the Floor
Sam Harton (Local Pastor)
Jesse Bynum (C)
Alan Richardson (Part-Time Local Pastor)
Fernando del Castillo
Mary Katherine McAnally (youth)

Ex Officio (Recommended with Vote)
Zollie Holt (Conference Trustees)
Terry McElheny (Conference Chancellor)
Scott Selman (Conference Treasurer)
Ben Williams (Communication Office)
 

The next step in the process will be meetings in each district for the Transition Team to hear comments and thoughts from members of local churches.These sessions are listed in the column to the left.
 


Bishop Calls for Special Session of the Annual Conference

Bishop William H. Willimon, presiding bishop of the Birmingham Area, has called for a special session of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church to be held on Saturday, January 28, 2006 from 10 am to Noon at ClearBranch United Methodist Church in Trussville, Alabama, for the purpose of determining the number of districts within the bounds of the annual conference.

At present, a proposal from the District Study Team, chaired by Reverend Barbara Harper, is anticipated that will recommend 8 districts instead of the current 12 districts. Per Paragraph 415 in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2004, it is the responsibility of the annual conference to determine the number of districts and it is the bishops duty as the presiding officer of the annual conference, after consultation with the district superintendents, to form the districts according to the number established by the annual conference.

Throughout December the North Alabama Annual Conference will be publishing and distributing specific information about this proposed change. Meetings will also be held in each district to receive comments and suggestions as well as to address any questions you may have in preparation for the final proposal to be presented on January 28.

Those who were seated as members at the 2005 session of the annual conference are to be seated at the special session, unless those persons are deceased or have moved their membership from the church, in which case, the charge conference may elect a new member to the annual conference (see The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church 2004, Paragraph 602.5)
 


Report Of The District Study Team To The Called Session Of The North Alabama Annual Conference
January 28, 2006

The District Study Team, authorized by the 2004 Session of the North Alabama Annual Conference, has met to study the district structure and makes the following recommendations:

We recommend that the number of districts within the bounds of the North Alabama Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church be reduced to eight districts by the 2007 regular session of the North Alabama Annual Conference.

We recommend, in accordance with The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church 2004, 415.4, that the bishop, in consultation with the district superintendents:

  • Establish the district lines of these eight districts in an expedient manner
  • Determine the best possible timeline for implementing these new boundaries no later than the 2007 regular session of the North Alabama Annual Conference
  • Report these new boundaries to the annual conference as soon as possible via the North Alabama Annual Conference website.

We recommend that the District Study team remain organized to consult with the bishop and cabinet for the next five years in making adjustments to the district lines as needed.

We further recommend that a transition team be nominated and elected at the special session to assist with all the legal, financial, and property matters related to reducing the number of districts.

 

Respectfully submitted, North Alabama District Study Team
Reverend Barbara E. Harper, Chairperson
Jarvis Brewer
William Brunson
Oliver Clark
Dale Cohen
Carol Toney
Ted Leach
Ann Neighbors
Ellen Harris
Marvin Shackelford
William Bostick, Ex Officio
Joe Acker, Ex Officio
Gloria Holt, Ex Officio
Hal Noble, Ex Officio  


Special Session Information

Download the District Study Team's Report 
Download a printable PDF of the District Study Team's recommendation to the North Alabama Conference.

Informational Mailing
The informational pamphlet mailed in response to the questions and comments heard at the December District Meetings.

Rationale Document
"Rationale for Redistricting/Restructuring/Refocusing Ministry in the North Alabama Conference"

Desired Values and Outcomes Document
This is a supporting document to the Rationale Document above.

Connectional Ministries with 8 Districts
...Building on the success of these [current] models, we envision that the Connectional Ministries staff will be positioned to offer even better training and consulting services with the new district alignments being proposed...

The discussion of realigning districts in North Alabama is not a new one. Here is a PDF copy of a 1970 study on the topic "A Plan for Redistricting in North Alabama Annual Conference"

A Brief History of Districts in the North Alabama Conference
This two page document gives an overview of the Districts of the North Alabama Conference throughout its history.

Transition Team Description (PDF)

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.