Each year I look forward to the North Alabama Conference Gathering of the Orders and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members. The 2018 Gathering will begin Sunday afternoon, October 21, and conclude by noon on Tuesday, October 23. The Gathering and Annual Conference are the two times each year all North Alabama United Methodist clergy assemble for fellowship, worship, teaching and resources. I especially anticipate being together at this year’s Gathering in light of all that is going on in the denomination.
Have you heard of “The Penny Loafers” from Berea, Kentucky? This Christian quartet’s a cappella repertoire features beautiful and inspiring harmony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-jBZl5jpmY
Though the Penny Loafers won’t be present, the many North Alabama elders, deacons, local pastors and associate members who participate in The Gathering will focus on the theme of “Singing God’s Song in Harmony.” Located at beautiful Sumatanga Camp and Conference Center in Gallant, Alabama, the Gathering is a great opportunity for clergy to renew and develop friendships, worship God and experience quality teaching and preaching.
We will be blessed at this year’s Gathering by preaching and a workshop from Bishop L. Jonathan Holston who was our guest preacher at the 2013 Annual Conference. Bishop Holston comments, “You have to know the tune in order to harmonize with it. It helps to know the words, too.” Holston is the resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference. www.umcsc.org/home/offices-2/bishop-holston/
We will also enjoy plenary presentations and a workshop by Rev. Dr. Kevin Watson who led our teaching sessions at the 2018 Annual Conference. Dr. Watson will emphasize “Speaking the Gospel in a Wesleyan Accent,” including consideration of “What gives us harmony?” Watson is assistant Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Candler School of Theology. http://candler.emory.edu/faculty/profiles/watson-kevin.html
Please note that there are a limited number of retreat center rooms still available at Sumatanga. You can register at www.umcna.org/gathering.
The Penny Loafers sing beautiful harmonies in their concerts. So do the clergy of the North Alabama Conference in words and actions.
I anticipate with joy being with each of you at the Gathering of the Orders on October 21-23. As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference