When elected as a bishop in 2012, the possibility did not occur to me of a 2020 and 2021 global pandemic that would result in virtual Annual Conference sessions. Yet, that is exactly what happened!
Though the length of time, amount of debate and sidebar conversations are different in a virtual than an in-person Annual Conference, a lot was accomplished! Some highlights from the 2021 virtual North Alabama Conference are listed below.
Many thanks to Bishop Michael Watson, Dr. Bill Brunson, Rev. Ron Schultz and several Board of Ordained Ministry members for their contributions to the opening credentialing service. (See photos here and a list of newly credentialed leaders here.)
A special word of appreciation to Director of Communication Danette Clifton, Director of Information Technology Pete Banish and GNTV Media Ministry for their guidance and expertise in facilitating the technological aspects of our 2021 virtual Annual Conference. Also, many thanks to Associate Director of Connectional Ministries Rev. John Fleischauer and Director of Connectional Ministries Dr. Adlene Kufarimai as well as a host of volunteers for investing countless hours in planning and implementing our 2021 Annual Conference. The 2021 Annual Conference Planning Team consists of Nancy Beard, Dr. Nathan Carden, Danette Clifton, Rev. Toby Chastain, Rev. Sherill Clontz, Dr. Dedric Cowser, Rev. Andy Curtis, Rev. John Fleischauer, Dr. Randy Kelley, Dr. Adlene Kufarimai, Doris McCullers, Terry McElheny, Rev. Ron Schultz, Rev. Sarah Smoot and Tyler Smoot. Finally, thank you to Dr. Kip Laxson and the staff and volunteers at Asbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham for hosting the ordination service and serving as the broadcasting site.
The 2022 Annual Conference is scheduled to be at The Von Braun Center in Huntsville on June 19-21. It will be great to see each other in-person again. In the meantime, join me in offering thanks to God for the technological means, gifted staff and planning and event production teams that made it possible for the North Alabama Annual Conference to meet virtually in the midst of a pandemic.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference