Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Gathering of the Orders

10/26/2015

Dear Friends,

The weather was perfect . . . the guest speaker was exceptional . . . the setting was great . . . and the fellowship was extraordinary. All of the above statements describe last week’s annual Gathering of the Orders which was attended by approximately 250 North Alabama Conference clergy at Camp Sumatanga.

The renewal, leadership development, networking/fellowship and spiritual formation that result from our Gatherings are important to our Conference’s movement forward. Indeed they all contribute to the ultimate purpose of the Gathering which is to move us toward our vision and mission.*

Highlights from this year’s Gathering included:

  • Powerful worship was coordinated by Rev. Dedric Cowser. In addition, Rev. Mike Stonbraker, Rev. Bruce Williams and Rev. Tori Hastings preached sermons that inspired us. Our days were book-ended by poignant morning and evening prayer services as well as a labyrinth coordinated by Rev. Roger Short and the spiritual formation team.
     
  • 4 insightful presentations about spiritual leadership were offered by Bishop Paul Leeland. His unique blend of humility and strength . . . encouraging and challenging words . . . humor and seriousness . . . and stories from his life /quotes from early church fathers/mothers resonated with us.
     
  • Lots of important catching up and sharing happened as persons sat by the fireplace . . . walked around the Lake . . . met in small groups . . . and enjoyed meals together.
     
  • Gift certificates were won by clergy who excel at John Wesley trivia. (Did you know that John Wesley’s remedy for baldness was rubbing an onion on the balding head?)
     
  • Outstanding food was enjoyed, including a special dinner for the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members and a tasty lunch for the Order of Deacons.
     

Many thanks to those who planned and implemented the event, including:

  • chairs of the Orders, Rev. Steve West, Rev. Donna Godwin and Rev. John Bailey as well as team members Rev. Sheri Ferguson, Rev. Mike Densmore, Rev. Roger Thompson, Rev. Brian Erickson and Rev. Dedric Cowser;
     
  • outgoing and incoming Executive Directors of the Board of Ministry, Rev. Don Neal and Rev. Ron Schultz;
     
  • and video tech Robert Lancaster.
     

Next Year: The 2016 Gathering will take place at Camp Sumatanga on October 16-18. It will feature Rev. Jorge Acevedo and a team from his church on the topic of fruitfulness.

Vision and Mission: Our intention is that everything we do in North Alabama will move us toward our vision and mission. As this happens with increased frequency we will experience renewal and transformation beyond what we can imagine.

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

Blessings,
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

*Vision: Spiritual Leaders Empowering Life-Giving Congregations to Transform the World
Mission: To discover, develop and deploy spiritual leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


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Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.