News And Blogs By Topic


Conference-wide virtual VBS reaches thousands in North Alabama and beyond


When local churches began to close their buildings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading throughout North Alabama, children’s ministry leaders throughout the Conference met together via Zoom and started discussing the potential effects on summer programming. The idea of a virtual Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) began to emerge, but many leaders worried about the additional cost of purchasing the needed technology when their budgets had already been stretched in planning for traditional ...

Conference to offer free, virtual VBS created by a coalition of children’s ministry leaders


Health concerns and in-person meeting restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have left many North Alabama congregations pondering how to best continue ministry with their children.  One of the biggest questions has been if any type of summer programming would be a safe option. Over the last eight weeks, many congregations’ big plans for Vacation Bible School (VBS) have become unattainable. During this time of uncertainty, a group of 25 – 30 children’s ministry leaders from churches throughout...

STEP Conference to equip those in ministry with young people

by: Emily Nelms Chastain


The North Alabama Conference Connectional Ministries announces a new event for those working with young people. STEP Conference: Creating Pathways of Long-Term Discipleship will take place on April 24-25, 2020, at Trinity UMC in Homewood. STEP Conference will be an opportunity for all those who focus on the discipleship of young people to gather and learn how to best sustain ministry across age-levels. This training event will be open to children and youth leaders, as well as offering segments ...

New training opportunity for Children’s, Youth and Family Ministries leaders to be held in April 2020


Every ministry leader needs access to training that will help develop them into better leaders, and also allow them to nourish their soul and have a communal experience.   One of the most valuable tools offered by the Conference to youth and children’s ministry leaders throughout the last fifty years is mentorship and training. Whether it was through camping or being a chaperone or traveling to the National Youth Workers Convention, the Conference Connectional Ministries Office has provided ...

Exit 456 sets attendance record and encourages tweens to seek their identity in Christ


EXIT 456, the North Alabama Conference’s annual retreat for “tweens” (4th-6th graders), was March 9-10, 2018, at Camp Sumatanga. This year’s retreat involved a record number of participants — 471 from 33 different churches in North Alabama and one church from the Alabama-West Florida Conference. The Exit 456 retreat is designed to aid local churches in ministry to tweens. It can serve as a retreat for confirmands or simply as a tween retreat. The worship and teaching times are designed so that ...

Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty Blog: Staring down the numbers


Jesus said to let the children come to him, and Jesus gives us a command to show love and justice to his most vulnerable little ones. In North Alabama, our work is more than overwhelming when staring down these numbers. Each number represents one child and their family struggling in poverty. If you add up all the numbers district-by-district, and take into account those districts that don't cover an entire county on the southern end, the numbers of children in poverty are staggering. We've ...

Conference proposes changes to Safe Sanctuaries policy


Since the mandate in 1996 by the General Conference for all annual conferences and local churches to adopt child protection policies, the United Methodist Church has been a leader in ensuring that the children, youth, and vulnerable adults entrusted to us are cared for in safe and loving environments. In 2003, the North Alabama Conference adopted its first Safe Sanctuaries policy, which has continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of the Annual Conference and churches across North Alabama....

Exit 456 retreat encourages tweens to DO more, LOVE more, SERVE more, SHARE more and GIVE more


This year’s Exit 456 was a record-breaking event as more than 370 tweens and adult volunteers gathered at Sumatanga on March 17-18 for the sixth year of this Conference sponsored retreat designed to aid local churches in their ministry to tweens (3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students). Groups from 28 churches in North Alabama plus one church in the Alabama-West Florida Conference participated in the 24 hour high energy event. Highlights of the weekend included worship led by the band "In Like Ben" ...

Retreat for 4th, 5th and 6th graders to be March 17-18, 2017


Exit 456, an overnight retreat for 4th, 5th and 6th graders, will be March 17-18, 2017, at Sumatanga. This annual retreat sponsored by the North Alabama Conference is designed to aid local churches in their ministry to tweens. It can serve as a retreat for a confirmation class or simply as a tween retreat. The event features dynamic speakers, worship experiences and games. The worship and teaching times are designed so that 4th-6th graders can attend for three years and enjoy a new, exciting ...

Sumatanga taking applications for 2017 Summer Camp Team


Sumatanga is now taking applications for the Summer Camp Team for 2017. The deadline for applications and references is February 11, 2017. Potential team members also will go through an interview process that begins in February.  Specific 2017 Summer Camp staff positions include Lifeguards, Craft Facilitators, Recreation Facilitators, Advanced Challenge Facilitators (oversee Alpine Tower, Giant Swing, rock climbing and zip-line), Music/Media and Counselors. Team members must be at least 18 ...

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