Each self-nominee has agreed to:
Each nominee was invited to share why he/she feels called to be a delegate to the 2020 General and Southeast Jurisdictional Conferences.
Additionally each nominee was invited to record a video so that lay members who are preparing to vote during the 2019 North Alabama Annual Conference could get to know them better.
I was born and baptized into Huffman Methodist Church in 1960, where my parents spent their entire adult lives. It was there I married my preacher’s daughter Lisa Hearin and where we baptized our daughter Blaire. Soon after that we moved to our church home at Highlands where we baptized our daughter Reese and where I am proud to serve as Lay Leader. I am also proud that in 2018 I had the privilege to preach at both of my churches on the subject that is tearing our denomination apart. I feel called to be a delegate because I am ashamed of the recent action of our larger church and if I don’t do more to reverse it I will not be able to explain - to my daughters, to their gay friends, to my own gay friends and to my entire church family - why I did not. The membership of our Annual Conference has declined by 20% over the last ten years, and the Traditional Plan will guarantee that the majority of young people will never consider being Methodist. We cannot survive if we do not stop excluding God’s children and start living by the pledge we recite at every baptism: “With God’s help, we will so order our lives after the example of Christ”.
As a lifelong United Methodist and the daughter of a UM pastor, the UMC is all I have known. It is still the Church I choose today. I love the UMC, and because of that love, I want our Church to faithfully live its promise of “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” It’s crucial, now more than ever, that we embrace those who have felt excluded or unwelcomed by the Church. We are all God’s beloved and called to serve Him. As a delegate to General Conference, I will work to ensure we fulfill this essential teaching of Jesus Christ.
After much thought, prayer and consideration, I feel called to self-nominate because the UMC has given much to me, and I feel called and obligated to use my perspective, experiences and gifts to give back. As an attorney, a young(ish) member of a growing church, a graduate of Birmingham-Southern and a lifelong Methodist, I represent important constituencies within our conference. With thse skills, perspectives and experiences, I have the ability to represent the conference well and make decisions affecting the church’s future with intellect, grace and a spirit of reconciliation and love and with an open mind and open heart.
My very first memory is being in church with my grandparents, listening to mammaw sing “Into the Garden” loudly and charmingly off-key. In that moment, I distinctly remember feeling all-encompassing safety, love and peace. I was two, and my parent’s home was scary, unpredictable and chaotic. But my grandparents and the Methodist church always provided an environment in which I thrived, growing strong in body, mind and soul. The church continues to foster my resilient and independent spirit. As your delegate, I will strive to cultivate the church I cherish: a safe place for unceasing love, safety and spiritual growth.
Being involved in a leadership role at any level besides my home church would have never occured to me even a year ago. But, as I watched the Conference I realized that the restlessness in my hands and heart was not nerves, it was passion. Passion that God was stirring. I watched and I thought, "Why doesn't someone change that?" "Why doesn't someone challenge that?" "Why doesn't someone say _____?" Then I felt words in my soul that simply said, “You’re someone.”
The lyrics of "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson express my heart in this matter perfectly: "I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself. I could choose not to move, but I refuse to stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help. I refuse to turn my back and try and act like all is well. I refuse to stay unchanged, to wait another day to die to myself. I refuse to make one more excuse."
General Conference of our United Methodist Church has been weighing on my spirit for several years now. I began to think about the work of the General Conference differently. I feel I am called to be a delegate because I take into account all views, not just my personal view. It is important to listen, understand and respect all sides of an issue. We are called to Love the Lord and Love one another. I would like to serve as a General Conference delegate in order to put Love into action by helping to work on the business of the church. I am a servant leader committed to help the United Methodist Church make disciples for Jesus Christ.
I was born and raised in the United Methodist Church and I feel that I can help keep the United in the United Methodist. It is a denomination that I love and respect. I feel called to help make decisions that need to be made at General Conference and any other meetings that may come up. I am able to commit the time needed to read and study issues, attend meetings and pray for God's guidance in decision making. I am dedicated to the United Methodist Church.
I am a Christian who strongly believes in the Wesleyan practices and beliefs of the United Methodist Church and wish them to remain true to God in all ways. I have been actively involved in United Methodist Women for 20 years and strongly believe that active mission and seeking justice is as important as evangelism in the church, in fact they can not be separated and must be done concurrently to be successful. I am willing to commit my time and energy to represent the North Alabama Conference in 2020 as guided by the Holy Spirit.
I have served in my local church as the Chair of Church Council, Finance, member of SPRC and as both lay leader and lay member to Annual Conference. I participate in and lead various Bible studies weekly. In my professional life I am a CPA and Controller. I have a deep love for the connectional nature of the UMC. I would appreciate the opportunity to experience that connection at the Global level. I believe I have the analytical skills, the desire to do the hard work and the spiritual development needed to serve North Alabama as an effective delegate.
As a lifelong Methodist, alumna of a Methodist college and full-time Children’s Ministry Director in a Methodist congregation, I do not take lightly my responsibility to my United Methodist tradition. When making decisions, whether in our local churches or within the hierarchy of our denomination, we should be asking if what we are doing builds up a strong legacy for our children to carry with them into their future. As someone who ministers to our youngest members, I see that more clearly than most. I am a United Methodist. I come from a long line of United Methodists and I want to see us pass this tradition on for many generations to come. I would be incredibly grateful to be chosen to represent the North Alabama conference as a Lay Delegate to the 2020 UMC General Conference.
I am a lifelong Methodist. I was baptized and raised in the UMC. Our church faces some challenging times as we seek to continue to remain faithful in an ever changing cultural environment. I feel called to play an active role in the future of my local church as well as our denomination. It is for this reason I am willing to serve as a delegate. My hope and vision is for a UMC that is both grace-filled and faithful to scripture.
As a believer in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior for over 60 years I have concerns for our church. I strongly believe in the authority of scripture as God’s inspired word to guide, direct and provide assurance/ hope for life eternal. As mortal beings, yet created in God’s own image, we often find ourselves trying to make God fit our personal desires, not withstanding His divine guidance. As sinners we all fall short of the glory of God, it is not for us to judge others. God is love - that’s his very nature and character; He loves everyone the same. He is just and merciful and provides definitive guidance on how to live in obedience to His will. It is my prayer that the United Methodist Church be obedient to God’s word.
As a member of this Annual Conference, I’ve been blessed to participate in the life of the church on many levels. The vision statement at my local church speaks to being a witness for Jesus Christ in the world, and I see this opportunity as a way to live into that statement. I understand that experience speaks volume, but I believe it’s time for new voices to be heard. With that in mind, I prayerfully nominate myself as one who speaks with a new voice to be a part of the North Alabama Conference Delegation to the 2020 General Conference.
I am a lifelong United Methodist who cares deeply about the future of our Church’s mission to make disciples for the redemption of all things. As someone who grew up in a pastor’s family, studied the health of our denomination in graduate school, and served in multiple capacities as a layperson at the local church and conference level, I believe I have a broad and deep understanding of the challenges we currently face and I want to help meet them as best as can.
General Conference has become an exercise where we talk AT each other instead of talking TO each other. I want to help change that. I recognize the pain that many of us are going through, when the same arguments seem to make no progress other than to further divide us. I love our United Methodist Church and its history. At 37, I am a younger voice, but I promise to be a voice that is prayerful, constructive, and respectful of what this Church means to so many people in so many places.
I love the United Methodist Church. In my childhood, it provided me a home and all my needs as a child of a United Methodist minister. In the years following, the United Methodist church has challenged me to study the words of Jesus and to find my place in following them. My years as an elementary public school principal allowed me to welcome children and their families into a place to learn not only academics but also right living. It taught me to hold the hands of those who live and think differently from me, while being grace-fully bold in my faith journey. I hope to do the same for the church I love.
I strongly feel that the church was meant to follow Jesus's actions and teachings. While none of us, people or organizations, can be perfect (including the church), we can always strive to be more like Jesus. I believe the church needs people to keep that at the forefront of their prayer and decision making. I would strive to do that as a lay delegate to general conference.
Decisions concerning our church's governing policies must be made with God's will and the Holy Spirit. This is the discerning lever used to go beyond the human element inherent in legislative bodies. The Church is at a critical junction; it is important that we continue to share the gospel to the ends of the earth, making disciples and loving everyone. Christ welcomes us where we are and who we are. No better, no worse than anyone else. We must strive to be a place where people come, grow and become the identity Christ wants us to be.
My name is Gail Hiett and I am a member of Geraldine First United Methodist Church in Geraldine, Alabama. I am the lay leader of my church, as well as the Mountain Lakes District. I lead the choir at my church and serve in the Emmaus community. I come from a long history of Methodists in my family and my heart is in our beloved Methodist denomination! If elected, I will be a conservative voice from our North Alabama Conference. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and all of our tomorrows. Praise God from whom ALL Blessings flow!
My God-given spiritual gifts will support and provide direction for me as a Delegate. I have the gifts of Leadership and Administration and the gifts of Intercession and Faith. I believe that these gifts together address two required components of a good delegate; that of being an organized leader who reads and studies in advance, pays attention to the discussion, and moves forward with conviction; and being a faithful Christian who will seek and trust God’s direction and will urgently pray for delegates. Each of my gifts is of equal importance and work together to make me a faithful delegate.
As a young, African American woman, I feel called to be a delegate to represent the diversity in the Methodist church. More importantly, I feel like I represent a group of women who have been largely marginalized and overlooked throughout American history. As a child whose parents moved from Zimbabwe to America, I have a unique perspective for not only Methodists from the South, but also for our international community. Furthermore, the younger generation needs a voice. Our voice represents the future of the church, nationally and internationally. We, as a church, should desire truth, honesty and accountability from our leaders.
My desire to be a Lay Delegate to General Conference continues my life-long commitment to the UMC. From active involvement and leadership at the local and conference levels, I embrace our mission to transform the world. Experience leads me to understand history, organization and principles of the church. I believe God’s unconditional love and grace are the foundation of Creation. That belief plus worship, education, justice-seeking and outreach shape my calling to serve God through the UMC. Committed to work for healing and reconciliation in our church, I feel called to serve as a Lay Delegate in 2020.
After much prayer, the urging of others, and a personal fire and passion for God and His Word I believe that God is calling me to place my name in nomination as a delegate to General Conference 2020. I have been a member of Guntersville First United Methodist Church for 36 years and served on staff for 28 years, currently serving as the Director of Discipleship. My theology is Orthodox, Conservative and Evangelical with an understanding that Truth and Grace go hand in hand. The vision and prayer I have for the UMC is for a Great Movement of God to descend.
I feel called to run for Delegate to General Conference in 2020 as there is much work to be done to heal the church. I have served as a Delegate at three other General Conferences and have the experience.
It’s unfortunate that we have to have politics entering into the work of the church, but in human organizations this is inevitable. In these days there is little tolerance for opinions that differ. While I stand strong with the recently voted on Traditional View, I feel we must speak boldly, with empathy, discretion and sensitively, with the Word of God as our authority, not how I feel, or how culture has shifted. I feel I can speak using not only biblical theology as my source, but systematic theology (patterns, types, and themes) supporting my stance.
In light of the recent General Conference, I have felt an overwhelming sense of duty to help the United Methodist Church be the best version of itself. I think if our denomination is intent on pursuing this goal, we should involve more young people earlier in this process of running our church. We are often so quick to describe how the youth are the future of the church, yet still hold them at an arm's length and stifle their enthusiasm. I think I would be an asset as a delegate to General/Jurisdictional Conference as a college student trying to discern God's call on my life. This experience would help me discern said call as well as help the UMC start to bridge that gap between the current church body and its future generations.
We promise through our membership vows to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. In keeping with these promises I have been honored to serve North Alabama as a delegate or reserve delegate to the past seven General Conferences. It is especially important now for the church we love to elect delegates who have experience and mature judgment, who will not get caught up in the noise and confusion. The UMC was created to be a vital and vibrant denomination, based on prayer and scriptural faithfulness. These purposes haven't changed. I will uphold our traditions and standards.
I feel called to say “yes”to this incredible opportunity. As a female supporting our legacy of women representing The United Methodist denomination - To honor future generations who will learn from us and live in our legacy - In response to God faithfully answering my prayer of “what do we do now?” We serve as the Hands and Feet of Christ. We have a responsibility to say “yes”to listening, discerning and honoring God’s work in the world. I would be honored to represent our conference and I am committed to preparing to serve as a delegate.
As a lifelong Methodist I have served in leadership on finance, nominations, trustee and outreach committees, as a Sunday school teacher, choir director, in UMW and as SPRC chair in a small, rural church. I fear we have lost clear sight of the teachings of Jesus in the fog of political and emotional struggles. We are called to love God with all our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I feel the Spirit calling me to serve beyond the bounds of my local church and to help lead the church to unity of spirit and inclusion of all.
My heart was warmed during Holy Communion with my late father at Birmingham Grace UMC. In 46 years of pain and questioning since, I’ve never lost my love of Christ or His United Methodist Church. I am convinced - by miracles seen in Confirmation, UMYF, scouting, mission trips, at Camp Sumatanga and Lake Junaluska, and leading Disciple Bible Studies, Emmaus Walks and United Methodist Men - that Christ still calls and will use the UMC. I would be humbled to serve as your delegate to General Conference 2020 as the UMC seeks to live out that call.
I am a lifelong Methodist who loves the UMC, my church’s Lay Delegate to Annual Conference for many years, but most importantly, a believer that sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people will ensure the future of our church. Though not a young person, I believe young people are vital to our mission, so I fervently hope to serve alongside them in our delegation. As an educator, I am also a lifelong learner, so I would look forward to studying the issues before General/Jurisdictional Conference, listening to and discussing respectfully with others, and voting from my faith perspective.
Right now is a critical time in the life of God's Church and, especially, the United Methodist Church. In a "post-Christian society", we in God's Church are told we must find ways to become (as opposed to remain) relevant to a society that sees God as not unapproachable, but irrelevant. St. Paul said that "I preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” We must speak God's truth to the world, but making the world see the Truth is way above our pay grade. If we all do what Jesus asked us to do in the Great Commission, and what the Holy Spirit moves us to do for the Kingdom, that is all we can do, and if we are with God, that will be enough. I feel a call that I cannot now ignore to stand up for God through being a delegate to the next General Conference. Please consider me; I ask to be made a delegate.
Our United Methodist family is at a critical time when we must stand for Scriptural holiness. I want to continue the stance of our Discipline to lovingly ministry to all people, while affirming what the Bible says is true. As an African-American woman, mother, wife and Board Member of my church, I have seen the life-giving power of following God's Word.
I have been a Methodist my entire life and have always felt at home in the church. I feel God leading me to take up a leadership role. I feel that there have not been enough younger delegates in the past to give a voice to the perspectives of younger members of this denomination. I hope to be an advocate for these younger members who make up a large portion of our denomination, and who are the future leaders of this denomination. I want to work to see a church that is open for all people.
The United Methodist Church is at an unprecedented, critical time in its theology and ministry. Many of God's children are hurting deeply, and yet grace is God's beautiful gift to everyone. I believe we are strongest when we are one family. I have served as a delegate to the last five General Conferences and as the Conference's CFO, Treasurer and Benefits Officer since 1993. I served on the Board of Directors of Wespath Benefits and Investments for many years. I am an advocate for local churches. I offer my experience, financial knowledge and compassion for others as we serve together.
My call is to advocate for youth and young adults, and particularly those who are called to full time vocation in service and in the church, as laity and ordained. Through programs for ministry at BSC, retreats and summer camps, serving on writing/equipping teams through GBHEM and United Methodist Foundation, serving on boards/teams in leadership development and ministry, I experience great hope in the church, in her breadth and depth, in her diversity and traditions. I have hope, as well, that a diverse, steadfast delegation can contribute to the sacred work of both conferences and to North Alabama.
The United Methodist Church is a part of me. It has melted and molded me through summers at Camp Sumatanga and visiting Hueytown UMC with my great grandmother. It has filled me as I attended Altoona First with my grandparents and found my home at Highlands and Birmingham-Southern College. Even when living in North Georgia, the United Methodist Church has been constant in my life. I am willing now for the Spirit of the Living God that has melted me, molded me and filled me to use me. I would be honored to serve as a delegate in 2020.
I have been an active, involved United Methodist all my life, as were my parents and maternal grandparents. I love our Methodist traditions and my home church and the way we as a domination are welcoming and loving, seeking to be the hands and feet of Christ. I believe my professional background as an experienced litigation and courtroom attorney, combined with my abilities at oral and written communication, bring a needed set of skills to bear on the duties of a Lay Delegate.
My breed is rare. I am a life-long United Methodist. I’m the daughter of a Methodist minister who served the North Alabama Conference for 43 years. I learned what it means to follow Jesus during the summers I spent at Camp Sumatanga. I attended Birmingham-Southern College and all my professional career has taken place at BSC. The UMC has formed me and I would be honored to serve this conference by helping our Church in this time of uncertainty continue to form, love and grow the next generation of disciples just as it has always done for me.
As a layperson who has served in leadership at annual, jurisdictional, and general church levels I am equipped to navigate our complex polity to help pass significant legislation for spreading scriptural holiness. Having served as a lay delegate from Florida to two General Conferences before moving to Alabama, I would bring a wealth of experience to the North Alabama delegation to legislate on matters that impact the mission, finances and witness in our local churches whereby disciple-making occurs in the name of Jesus Christ. Consider voting for an effective legislator Disney Alan Weaver.
When God called me into full time ministry in the United Methodist Church, I knew it was beyond just the local church level. After time in prayer with God and the council of numerous Godly UMC mentors, I feel God is calling me to place my name in nomination for lay delegate to General Conference 2020. As a millennial, my generation would have you believe that God has changed, and His word is no longer valid. I would like to be a voice to the contrary at General Conference 2020; to be a millennial who takes a stand for conservative, traditional, Orthodox, Biblical principles.
The Methodist Church is my foundation. Statistics say young people are fleeing organized religion; I believe we are capable of reversing the trend. John Wesley's admonition to do all the good we can for all the people we can as long as we can is our starting point. Whether feeding hungry children, serving homebound communion or leading a stewardship team I've known God's love to be welcoming. I treasure Paul's words to the Corinthians, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit."
As a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, I believe in the power that the local church can have on its congregation in encouraging, challenging and shaping one’s faith journey. As a deeply loyal and reflective young female with a passion for serving the church, I believe it is time for the voice of my generation to be heard in the “capital C” Church. By allowing younger members to be part of the decision processes, we can create significant and necessary changes in the future of the Methodist Church. I want to be part of that impact.
During the run-up toward the Special Session of the General Conference I was burdened for our denomination. Last fall, when our Bishop was in the Mountain Lakes District, there was an encouragement for anyone interested to self-nominated for 2020, at that point my burden became a call. Now that the Special Session is over, it is time for us to focus our passions, with equal or greater intensity, toward Kingdom business. We have dealt with what divides us, we must now deal with what unites us‚ -- reflecting the love of God and His Son to the world!