We are told by officials in Louisiana that some of the people will NOT be able to get back in to their homes for four months. All the water up north has to drain down the Mississippi River.
Due to Hurricane Isaac and the Flooding in and around Selma, AL, the United Methodist Disaster Warehouse in Decatur is running low on
Please come help!
United Methodist Disaster Warehouse
Let’s consider this our First 90 Days Prayer Plan as a Conference as we welcome Bishop Debbie Wallace-Padgett. I know many of you are given to prayer, and I covet your joining me in this effort.
It is the typical summer pastime of every church-going kid in the southeast: Vacation Bible School. My own children attended as many as possible and we have a t-shirt collection to prove it! But I am inclined to wonder… has VBS outgrown its intentions? How did it even get started? What was the original purpose of what has become a week-long adrenaline rush for kids and a two week-long recuperation period for adults? Is it time to toss VBS and move on?
After Annual Conference and the “fixing” of appointments, our NCD Conference office began to get a flurry of calls from pastors who moved to new appointments. These pastors had all had experience with NCD in their former church(es) and want to continue the process in their new appointment. When pastors move to a new appointment, they must complete a “First Ninety-Days Plan.” I am excited to see that many of these pastors are including NCD as part of their plan.
Over the past year and a half, I've had a recurring conversation with pastors and youth pastors over how much or how little churches with thriving youth ministries should be involved in conference youth ministry events. Often they lament they wish they were more involved, but for whatever reason they can't be.
My reply is this: Conference Youth Ministry should exist to serve the local church, not the other way around.
“The North Alabama Conference is a model of how to respond to a natural disaster and how to keep responding over the long haul.” That’s what a fellow bishop said to me the other day.
I agree. I couldn’t be more proud of our sustained, active response to the spring storms. We have been hosts to hundreds of UM work teams every week since the storms. We have purchased and equipped staging areas and housing for these volunteers, and we continue to handle hundreds of cases. I asked Nancy Cole, who has been responsible for designing an excellent system of response.
The Reverend Mary Bendall has been leading a remarkable ministry at Tuscaloosa First. She and Ken Dunivant are working a remarkable transfromation of this historic, beloved congregation, leading it into the future. Having visited "The Bridge" on a number of ocassions, having met with the worship leaders of this dynamic, contemporary service, I asked Mary to relate what she has been doing, how she has been leading, and the things that worked. Here is Mary's response.
Paula Calhoun is leading an amazing congregational relocation, a virtual new church start at Stepping Stone UMC. A beginning to Paula's ministry has been her work in Scouting. I got to help the Boy Scouts of America celebrate their one hundredth anniversary. (I was a scout during their fiftieth). Paula shows how scouting can be a means of evangelizing a new generation.
I had the privilege (Just six years ago.) of receiving Sherry Harris into our Conference after her great seminary run at Vanderbilt. She had a great ministry at Vestavia, UMC, then in June was appointed to our dynamic Wesley Memorial in Decatur. I’ve watched Sherry utilize the Transition Teams approach to her First Ninety Days, a program of pastoral beginnings that has been pioneered in the Northwest District. In less than three months, Sherry has been able to give dynamic leadership to Wesley Memorial, in great part because of her careful, energetic strategies as a new pastor. I asked her to give a brief narrative of her work. - Will Willimon
We’ve had a lively debate around our Conference related to the Alabama Immigration Law. My objections to the law are based upon biblical convictions and are shared by many of our leaders, particularly those who have an evangelical passion to reach the world in the name of Jesus. One of these leaders is John Bailey, who leads missions at our Asbury UMC in Madison. I thought John had a thoughtful meditation on the theme of our “illegal” status before God, a status that has been rectified by the cross of Jesus.
Ben Padgett is working with me and the Cabinet to improve our ability to motivate and equip our pastors and congregations. One of the things Ben has done is to develop the leadership potential of the North Alabama Conference Dashboard. I asked Ben to share his thoughts in this message. - Will Willimon
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was "Thank You" that would be enough.
Maybell Welch, Bethlehem UMC, Southeast District
Listen when God speaks to you.
David Freese, Hazel Green UMC, Northeast District
Set aside time to seek God regarding how we may lay down our lives by giving personal time to help others.
Rob Williams, Northeast District
Keep praying for God hears and answers prayers.
Bill Glover, Holmes Street UMC, Northeast District
Submit yourself to God's pruning shears and allow God to create the person you are meant to be.
Ellen H. Harris, Conference Lay Leader, Crumly Chapel UMC, Central District
We find comfort and a sense of belonging in our deeply held church traditions.
Heather Hamilton Cason, Smokerise UMC, Central District
See what love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.
Carol Y. Toney, St. Paul-Triana UMC, Northeast District
May we use our connectional strength and witness to live the Great Commission
Van Morgan, Florence First UMC, Northwest District