Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Annual Conference 2020 Follow-up

October 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

We did it!  We accomplished a meaningful virtual Annual Conference.  This virtual alternative to an in-person meeting allowed us to safely Conference together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your response to our first virtual Annual Conference was heartening.

  • Our 944 unique log-ins to the Zoom webinar and 109 unique viewers on YouTube indicate that participation was higher than at the 2019 in-person Conference. While we do not have an exact headcount, we know these log-in numbers include people who participated solo at home, those who logged in as a small group at their local church and the 30 individuals who took part in-person from one of our two satellite sites. (Many thanks to the staff and laity of Florence First UMC and Alexander City First UMC for hosting the satellite options. These churches made it possible for persons to participate who did not have the necessary technology or Wi-Fi accessibility to connect from home).
  • 85% of the persons who completed evaluations noted that they participated in the technology training offered by GNTV during the days prior to Annual Conference. (We know that approximately 900 people participated in these training Zoom sessions.)
  • Financial gifts continue to be received for the Annual Conference offering.  These monies will be used for QuadW Internships in North Alabama. Congregations and individuals can still contribute to this year's offering by making checks payable to North Alabama AC Offering. Checks are to be mailed to Lynette Hancock North Alabama Conference 898 Arkadelphia Road Birmingham, AL  35204. 
  • We received online evaluations from about 30% of our lay and clergy members who participated in the Annual Conference.  (This is within the anticipated range).

The evaluations were positive about accessing the Zoom system, ease of voting and worship, with 81% rating the overall Annual Conference experience as good or excellent. In addition, several of the persons who had a less than satisfactory experience made constructive recommendations that will help us improve our process in the future.

Yes, we did it.  Many thanks to Director of Connectional Ministries Linda Holland and the planning team she assembled for their adaptive and excellent work in making a virtual Annual Conference possible. The 2020 Annual Conference planning team included Rev. John Fleischauer, Danette Clifton, Rev. Andy Curtis, Rev. Lonna Lynn Higgs, Nancy Beard, Rev. Nathan Carden, Rev. Sarah Smoot, Rev. Toby Chastain, Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain, Steve Lyles, Rev. Christy Noren-Hentz, Camilla Pruitt and Anthony Powell. Also, thank you to our Director of Information Technology Pete Banish and GNTV staff for their technological expertise.  Most of all, thanks to each of you for your part in making the 2020 virtual Annual Conference a success.

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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