The Appointive Cabinet and I have hosted annual District Days since I became your episcopal leader in 2012. This past year was no exception, thanks to Zoom technology!
Thank you to each participant who took part in the District Days. Also, kudos to the District Superintendents for organizing and facilitating the Days.
It was great to connect with a variety of people and groups across the Annual Conference through the District Days. In addition, the insights District Superintendents and I gained from these conversations are informing us in our plans and strategies in 2021.
I asked four questions of each of the groups with whom I met. Common themes emerged from the responses.
Question 1: How is it with your soul? Many of our clergy and laity are drawing great strength from Christ as they respond to the difficulties of the pandemic, racism, national divisions and denominational challenges. Numerous persons shared how increasing their prayer time, Bible reading, journaling, acts of service and other holy habits during the pandemic has helped them to grow in their relationship with Christ.
Question 2: What did Conference and District leadership offer during 2020 that was particularly helpful to you and your congregation? Participants expressed appreciation for the Do No Harm document, EVOLVE training, “care calls” and communication from District Superintendents, the Bishop’s blogs and Saturday morning videos, online worship and ministry helps, resources offered by our Multicultural Team for Dismantling Racism and the virtual 2020 Annual Conference.
Question 3: What will be helpful from the Conference and District as you continue to lead your churches through the pandemic and in dismantling racism? Participants asked that we continue to provide Do No Harm updates, online worship and ministry training and EVOLVE opportunities. Also it was requested that we offer increased information about the upcoming General Conference and provide anti-racism training.
Question 4: What is a sign of hope that you recently experienced? The responses to this question were inspiring as North Alabama clergy and laity shared signs of hope in their personal lives, churches and communities. United Methodists in North Alabama are a hope-filled people!
Again, thanks to the many persons who participated in the recent District Days. Your insights and stories will impact the North Alabama Conference Leadership Team’s direction and ministry in 2021 and beyond.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference