Statement from North Alabama Cabinet: Hold Steady

July 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

It is a tumultuous time in our denomination.  Indeed, we are in the midst of a storm that threatens the very unity of our church.

A mantra has emerged in our hearts and minds that we find ourselves repeating regularly during this season in our denomination’s history.  It expresses the perspectives of each one of us, without exception.  We are committed to continuing to “hold steady!”

This mantra focuses on our response to the storm as opposed to the storm itself.  It is a reminder that though we do not control the storm, with the help of God we can regulate our own actions.  It is rooted in confidence that Jesus Christ, the head of the church, has the power to see us through any storm.

We are committed to “hold steady” in:

  • developing daily as Christ-followers;
  • loving God and others;
  • fulfilling our membership, ordination and consecration vows, including administering processes for handling complaints about violations that occur within the North Alabama Conference of our Book of Discipline;
  • recognizing that the only body that speaks for the United Methodist Church about social issues and matters of polity is the General Conference, which in May 2016 retained current language in our Book of Discipline related to human sexuality, marriage and ordination standards;
  • providing non-anxious and consistent leadership as we guide the North Alabama Conference through the storm;
  • staying focused on our North Alabama vision of spiritual leaders empowering life-giving congregations to transform the world;
  • and keeping front and center the church’s mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

In turn, we encourage you to “hold steady” in:

  • growing in your relationship with Jesus Christ;
  • loving God and others;
  • fulfilling your membership vows of prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness;  
  • remembering that the General Conference, not individuals, Boards of Ministry, Annual Conferences or Jurisdictions speak for the church;
  • working towards the vision and mission of the church;
  • making disciples of Jesus Christ;
  • and being a part of God’s transforming work in the world.

Yes, the United Methodist Church is sailing through stormy seas.  We need not be afraid though, because the head of the church, Jesus Christ, has navigated greater storms than these.  Indeed he once said to stormy waters that threatened the boat in which he and his disciples were sailing, ‘Peace! Be still!’  And they were!

Back to the phrase that has become a mantra for us.  Hold steady.  After all, the same One who has the power to calm storms is also the head of the church.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett and the North Alabama Cabinet
Rev. Bob Alford, Executive Director of Church Health
Dr. Lewis Archer, Superintendent of the Southeast District / Executive Director of Ministry with the Poor
Rev. Kelly Clem, Superintendent of the Northwest District
Mrs. Linda Holland, Director of Connectional Ministries / Director of Leadership Development
Dr. Clinton Hubbard Jr., Superintendent of the Cheaha District / Executive Director of Ethnic Ministries
Dr. Richard Hunter, Executive Director of New Church Development
Mr. Steve Lyles, Conference Lay Leader
Dr. Bill Morgan, Superintendent of the South Central District
Dr. Rick Owen, Superintendent of the Central District
Rev. Tom Parrish, Superintendent of the Northeast District
Dr. Ron Schultz, Executive Director of the Board of Ordained Ministry
Dr. Robin Scott, Superintendent of the Mountain Lakes District
Mr. Scott Selman, Chief Financial Officer / Conference Treasurer / Director of Administrative Services and Benefits Officer
Rev. Roger Thompson, Superintendent of the Southwest District
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, Presiding Bishop of the Birmingham Area

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