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:
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)
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.