In the spirit of this year's Annual Conference theme of "Singing God's Song in New Places with New Faces," the 2019 Annual Conference Special Offering will be designated for new faith communities of faith both here in North Alabama and abroad.
On Sunday evening, during the Opening Celebration worship service, the Special Offering will be received to benefit Celebrate Recovery here in North Alabama and planting new congregations and revitalizing faith communities in the Nordic and Baltic region of Europe. Local congregations are invited to send their contribution to this ministry with their Annual Conference member.
Over the last five plus years the North Alabama Conference has assisted numerous local congregations in starting Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind. Congregations of all sizes have found Celebrate Recovery as an effective way to welcome people in their community who do not feel comfortable coming to church on Sundays, but eventually may start after attending Celebrate Recovery for a while. Participants find that Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to find community and freedom from the issues that are controlling their lives. The program includes a large group worship experience including prayer, praise and worship, and open share small groups which are a safe place where participants can be in gender-specific groups and issue-specific groups. There are thriving Celebrate Recovery programs meeting at United Methodist churches throughout the conference. This special offering will allow the Conference to assist more congregations in starting this ministry.
For several decades, North Alabama congregations have partnered with the United Methodist Church in Eastern Europe through connections with missionaries and programs such as Baltic Chrysalis and the Friends of Lithuania network. Today, planting new congregations and revitalizing faith communities in every kind of setting is a focus area of ministry for the United Methodists in the Nordic and Baltic region of Europe. They are seeking to re-evangelize the world so that they can reach more people, especially the young and those from diverse backgrounds. By being relevant and vital, United Methodists there are seeking to touch more lives and draw more people to Christ. Currently, they are starting six new faith communities/church plants. Additionally, they are exploring starting new faith communities using different ways to reach new people such as migrant churches; creating “Peace of mind worship” and building community with people recovering from addictions; gospel-music churches; house churches; established churches planting new churches; established churches becoming multicultural as they reach out to and/or receive people from other cultures and established churches adding a new worship service.