Annual Conference 2013

6/5/2013

Dear Friends,

I anticipated that Annual Conference would be a good experience. But, truly, it surpassed my expectations. I appreciate the way the lay and clergy members of the Annual Conference worked so diligently to make it an extraordinary 3 days.

We focused throughout the Conference on cultivation of new life in Jesus Christ. I encourage us to continue to cultivate at the personal, local church, extension ministry and annual conference levels throughout the coming year. This will lay the foundation for the planting, watering and harvesting that is ahead for us.

What will happen as a result of our cultivation? A God-sized vision is emerging in our Annual Conference. Picture us at the 2014 Annual Conference:

  • celebrating the fact that we are starting more new worship services and churches than we are closing;
     
  • hearing story after story of declining congregations experiencing new vitality;
     
  • rejoicing that 100,000 lives have been saved thanks to our response to the No More Malaria Initiative;
     
  • seeing increased ethnic diversity as an Annual Conference;
     
  • learning that growing numbers of students are participating in Wesley Foundation ministries around the Annual Conference;
     
  • reporting that United Methodist camper participation, giving and retreat usage have increased to such a point that our ministry at Camp Sumatanga is financially sustainable;
     
  • hearing that our college, Birmingham-Southern College, is on stable financial ground producing candidates for ministry and Christian leadership in the work force;
     
  • and so much more.

Thanks be to God for the cultivation and working of the North Alabama soil that has been and is. Thanks be to God for what will be in this coming year.

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Blessings,
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett


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