To see pictures of Tuesday at Annual Conference go to www.northalabamaumc.org/galleries/detail/74
Tuesday morning of the 2013 Annual Conference began with a time of worship led by John Elliott and a time of Bible study led by Bishop Jonathan Holston.
As Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett opened the morning business session, she read a letter of thanks from the President of Birmingham-Southern College Gen. Charles Krulak. He thanked the Conference for its gift of $1 million to BSC and affirmed the importance of a strong relationship between BSC and The United Methodist Church.
The Board of Ordained Ministry then presented its report. Rev. Rick Owen recognized those clergy retiring at the 2013 Annual Conference. They include
Rev. Larry Wright then spoke on behalf of the retiring class and offered encouragement to the incoming class of ordinands and licensees. Rev. Henry Prater, a newly ordained Elder, then addressed the Conference.
Matt Jones then presented the report of the New Church Development Team. He introduced the clergy being appointed into new church situations. These include
Jones also introduce Marcus Singleton pastor of Living Faith Community UMC. This new congregation was planted last year and will be the sole recipient of New Church Builders Funds for 2013. The New Church Builders Fund is the only money given to new churches to help with capital expenses. For information on how to make a donation to the New Church Builders Fund contact the Office of New Church Development at (256) 489-3951.
Following the introductions Bishop Wallace-Padgett said a prayer for these church planters.
The Convenor of the Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) Eula Thompson then present the Louise Branscomb Barrier Break Award. This annual award recognize a United Methodist willing to risk and stand up for the rights of women and ethnic minority persons. The 2013 recipient is Rev. Susanne Katschke, co- senior pastor of Crosswinds UMC. In her acceptance speech, Rev. Katschke noted that in order to be a barrier breaker you have to have your heart broken by someone’s circumstances. She then shared about working with the hard-hit community of Harvest following the deadly April 2011 tornadoes. She has helped get a grant to build a storm shelter for the community to provide a safe place during future storms.
The Conference then paused to the Memorial Service during which it remembers those clergy and clergy spouses who have died since the last Annual Conference. Dr. Bill Morgan preached a sermon entitled “Second Race.” Bishop Wallace-Padgett read the names of the people being remembered as the choir sang a response. Those remembered include
The afternoon business session was opened by the winner of this year’s youth Battle of the Bands. The Gardendale-Mt Vernon youth band will also lead worship at the Encounter youth retreat next February.
The children participating in Annual Conference Kid’s Camp then present Bishop Wallace-Padgett a “welcome” banner and sang for the Conference. Several of the children assisted Conference Children’s Coordinator Liz Bowlin in presenting the children’s ministry report noting upcoming events for children and training events for children’s workers. Bowlin then also presented about the Conference’s Safe Sanctuary policy. The Conference earlier voted to make some changes to the policy. She also noted that the Conference is working on a similar policy addressing the needs of vulnerable adults.
The Conference then heard from the Chair of the Board of Higher Education Rev. Brian Erickson. He presented a strong message of why the Conference should support its campus ministries noting that the Methodist movement began with college students. He also noted the Conference is developing a Dashboard for its campus ministries.
Rev. Peter von Herrmann then presented the report of the Adult Discipleship Team. He announced the team will be working on a curriculum review portion of the Conference website to allow teachers and small group leaders to review and share insights on curriculum.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett then took a moment to recognize the 125th anniversary of United Methodist Deaconesses and Home Missioners. She then recognized those serving within North Alabama. They include
Deaconess Judy Poole then presented the winners of Sunday night’s 5k run / 1 mile walk for Human Need which raise approximately $5000 for the Mission2Gather ministries.
Director of Communication Danette Clifton then presented the Disability Ministries Team report for Convenor Deb Wade, who was ill. The team reminded local churches of the importance of Disability Ministries and recognized the 7 churches who have qualified as Bridge Builder Churches this year. They also recognized the Northwest District with the District Bridge Builder Award
Rev. Robin Scott, District Superintendent of the Mountain Lakes District then presented the report for Sumatanga. He noted that simply managing itself efficiently was not enough for Sumatanga to be financially sound. He said it would take support of the Annual Conference, its local churches and individuals for the success of Sumatanga. He said the Cabinet and Conference has taken the first step in appointing Rev. Mark Paris as Director of Development for Sumatanga. Rev. Paris' whose sole appointment is to help tell the story of the camp and to raise funds for the camp. Scott noted that in the last year less than 20% of local congregations in North Alabama used the camp facilities or sent campers to events at Sumatanga. He made a plea for the Conference to “vote with its actions” that it wants Sumatanga to have a future. These actions include local churches using the camp facilities for retreats; congregations sending campers to events; including Sumatanga in local church mission budgets; and individuals making financial donations to the camp. He introduced Sumatanga Interim Executive Director Director Jan Thomas and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Gilpin to the Conference.
Quint Harris then spoke about the Fellowship of United Methodists in Worship Arts and invited participation in the group.
Rev. Adlene Kufarimai then presented about Imagine no Malaria. Imagine No Malaria is a $75 million effort of The United Methodist Church to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. The comprehensive approach includes prevention, education, outreach and treatment. She introduced the North Conference Imagine No Malaria Team and announced the Conference goal of raising money to save 100,000 lives in the next year.
The Conference then thanked Rev. Sherill Clontz for her dedicated work as Conference Secretary and elected Rev. Clauzell Williams to serve as Conference Secretary through 2015.
The Conference then voted to hold the 2014 Annual Conference, which will be June 1-3, on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College.
Annual Conference then closed with a Service of Prayer and Sending Forth. Rev. Wade Langer led the Conference through worship and times of prayer. Bishop Wallace-Padgett announced the clergy appointments fixed then read the appointment changes. Each District lay leader prayed for the clergy, laity and ministry of the local churches in their District.