Bishop Willimon announces new developments in the North Alabama Conference


The North Alabama Conference continues to change and innovate in order to accomplish our Conference Priorities.  Bishop Willimon has announced that the Reverend Tommy Gray will move from his post as Superintendent of Cheaha District and become the new Director of Congregational Development, a new Cabinet level position that will continue and expand the work of the Office of Congregational Development.  Dick Freeman is to retire later this year after 15 years of service to the North Alabama Conference.

 “Dick Freeman has catapulted our Conference into national prominence as an incubator of new churches.  Dick has pioneered new practices that have given birth to dozens of new congregations,” Willimon says. “Now Tommy Gray, one of Dick’s most gifted students in new church development, will continue and expand this work.  We have long felt that, if this ministry is to be a true priority, then this ought to be something in which the whole Cabinet is involved.” 


Tommy Gray, who has headed the New Church Development Committee and was the founding pastor of ClearBranch UMC will take an active part in the selection and training of new church pastors and their deployment throughout the Conference.



The Rev. Bob Alford will become District Superintendent of the Cheaha District. 

“Bob has had a distinguished ministry in North Alabama.  He is widely respected for his excellent administration and pastoral care of churches” says Bishop Willimon. “His work at Cullmann First is exemplary.  He really understands what it takes to turn around and to grow a church, particularly churches in small town and in rural settings.  Bob also has a great reputation as a fine mentor and supervisor of young pastors.” 

Alford currently serves as Chair of the Board of the United Methodist Foundation. 

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