The Harbor, "A New Place For New People"

published 7/25/2012

(Rev. Neil McDavid) - One of the ten new places for new people highlighted at our recent annual conference was The Harbor, a new church plant in Dothan, AL. This new congregation is being planted in the area where Love In Action ministries is located. Love In Action ministries serves the homeless, the marginalized, the poor, those often on the edge of or outside the mainstream of society. Efforts have been made to transport people in this area to Dothan United Methodist Churches, but The Harbor is a church being planted right where these persons live, right in their zip code. Worship space is being rented in the Love In Action facility and this “church for all people,” this new body of Christ will be officially launched August 11 under the leadership of Rev. Dwight and Vicky Deal. The vision of The Harbor is to reach out to all in the name of Christ seeking to serve and love the poor and homeless both physically and spiritually. The ministry of The Harbor includes the building of a worshiping, serving, community of faith around the mission “changing the heart of Dothan through the heart of Jesus.”

To learn more about this new church plant, contact Rev. Dwight Deal ( or find The Harbor church on Facebook


Q and A with Amanda Moore: A Mobile 3.0 Missional Intern

published 7/12/2012

The 3.0 Missional Internship program is currently in its fourth summer of work in Mobile's inner city communities. The interns are an incredible blessing to those they serve. For many interns themselves, it has been a truly life-changing experience. And for the churches and agencies involved, it has brought new life and helped reestablish and deepen relationships with the community. As a project of the Mobile District, 3.0 has been an opportunity to see our connectional system at its very best. Amanda Moore is one of this year's 3.0 interns and shares with us her experience this summer. 

Name: Amanda Moore

Age: 20

Hometown/Church Affiliation: Foley United Methodist Church, Foley, AL

School Attending and Major: Auburn University, Social Work

What inspired you to apply to be a 3.0 missional intern?
My first summer, I knew that I wanted to spend my time focusing on others and serving the Lord. I heard about the internship from a friend who described her experience as life changing and challenging. She was right, but after my first summer, I fell in love with the community I had worked in and knew I had to come back.

What is the single most important thing you've learned during this experience?
During my first summer, the Lord opened my eyes to the filth of my own heart. That now serves as an essential reminder that I am not good and it is only through Christ in me that I am able to do good.

Has the program matched your expectations?
The program certainly exceeded my expectations. I expected to come in and work with kids but I learned so much about myself from being with them. I also didn't know I would build such lasting relationships with fellow interns. This summer I'm still constantly changing and growing with each day. The program never ceases to amaze me with its challenges, and as a result, I come out with more understanding and capability.

Where have you seen Christ in your internship?
There are 28 interns this year. I live with 15 of them. It can be easy to focus on other's shortcomings when you're living in such close quarters, yet I have seen Christ in our interactions. I can think of many times that I've seen Christ embodied in a fellow intern by the way they reached out to comfort or encourage another, or did something sacrificially for another.

Tell me a little bit about your favorite interaction with the community thus far?
My team visits a nursing home once a week. This can be a challenging time because many of the residents don't remember us, aren't completely aware of their surroundings, or are unresponsive. Nevertheless it's the best feeling to receive a genuine smile or to see the comfort given by just giving their hand a squeeze. It's almost as awesome as when you get a huge squeeze with a giant smile from one of our camp kids.

What has been the most eye-opening experience about 3.0?
At our kids camp, we noticed that a couple of our girls needed a new pair of shoes and some swimsuits. After a church member heard, her granddaughter quickly provided us with bags of her old clothes to go along with what we'd already bought them. We drove to their house thinking we were making a quick drop off. Instead, all of us ended up out of the car meeting the parents and some of their other kids. The mom and dad said that their girls talk about us and their time at camp. They kept thanking us for what we were doing with them. Their one-story, maybe three-bedroom house currently holds 12+ people. The father, who is the only one with a job, walks to work. It's moments like these that you feel disgusted with yourself and society for the way that you live. But it's also in these moments that you find purpose and strength to work for something better.

Tell me about your experiences with the Mobile United Methodist Churches?
I serve at the Whistler United Methodist Church. It's a very small church with a rich history. Its congregation is a loving family that quickly engulfs you into that family. They are striving to serve their neighbors and absolutely love 3.0's part in that, as well as us interns. They have been so supportive to the team and our camp this year.

How do you think you will apply what you've learned in your future ministry?
Through experiences with my team, I've learned the importance of communication and teamwork. Through being a returnee, I've strengthened my ability to lead. Through the book we're reading this summer, The Forgotten Ways Handbook, I've gained a lot of insight on focus and application. I've gained a lot of confidence for the ministry I want to do in my neighborhood alongside my friends in the Fall. I hope to be able to bring ideas and vision, as well as be a team player.

What would you tell someone interested in applying for the program next year?
Pray about it, and if the Lord calls you, GO! If you allow Him to, the Lord will change your heart and use you for the work of the His kingdom. It will be tough and you will be challenged, but you will learn and grow and be drawn closer to the Lord as he shows you His ways.

If you had to sum up your experience in one word, what would it be?
Oh goodness, that's ridiculously hard. The internship has so many different aspects to it. It's challenging but fun, you serve but are also poured into by others, and you learn and grow a ton. So in that case, “growth.” You leave changed because the Lord has been working on you. There are so many experiences and different kinds of people you interact with that affect what you know and why you do the things you do. You also are an instigator of growth. You impact those you come into contact with and the community you worked in. 


 A community garden is planted with area children. 

AWF Conference Secretary Named

published 7/9/2012

Mrs. Betty West has been named as Conference Secretary for our Alabama-West Florida Conference effective December 1, 2012. Mrs. West is currently the Executive Assistant to the Director of Ministerial Services and will remain in that position while adding this responsibility to her duties.

Mrs. West and Dr. Shirley Woodie are currently in conversation regarding the transfer of responsibility beginning in December.

Betty has been an executive assistant for over 35 years. She has worked with top executives in the real estate, insurance, and accounting fields. She has experience in all aspects of supporting her executive in normal daily activities in addition to keeping their calendars, making travel arrangements; organizing large award dinners; organizing family outings for the firms, and handling all aspects of the office when her executive is out of the office on business.

To Betty, her position has always been a “career” rather than a “job.” She has taken whatever steps necessary to stay on top of the latest trends in office support. She has been a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and has served three terms as president of her local IAAP chapter. She has served as the treasurer for the Alabama Division of IAAP and was elected Secretary of the Year in 2002-2003.

Betty and her husband, Robert, live in Prattville. When in town they attend Prattville First United Methodist Church, but most of their weekends are spent in Birmingham helping Betty’s 95-year-old father. They attend church there with her father at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, where she was an active member while growing up.

In The United Methodist Church, Betty has been a Sunday School teacher for children and adults, co-taught an adult class with her husband, was Sunday School Superintendent, served on the PPR Committee, was an active member of The United Methodist Women, Secretary of the Official Board at Pleasant Grove UMC while attending college, and has been asked to speak on how prayer has impacted her life. In the youth group as a teenager she was very active in her MYF and Sub-District while holding many leadership roles in addition to representing Pleasant Grove UMC at Camp Sumatanga on several occasions.

Please join me in welcoming Mrs. West to our Annual Conference leadership!

With Gratitude,
Bishop Paul L. Leeland



Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Information

published 7/9/2012

The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference is just days away. Below you will find helpful notes and links whether you are attending or following from within the conference. E-mail updates will be sent during the conference to those who have subscribed to the list. Should you wish to subscribe, click here and select the first check box and complete the relevant information. 

A Word from Dr. Steve Furr

(Dr. Steve Furr) - The five jurisdictional conferences in the United States will meet at the same time July 18-20, 2012. Jurisdictional conferences are held once every four years in the same year as the general conference. Equal numbers of laity and clergy, elected by the annual conferences, will be delegates. The principal business during jurisdictional conference is the election of bishops. This year the Southeastern Jurisdiction will elect five new bishops from 15 candidates. Candidates are generally nominated by an annual conference or endorsed by jurisdictional conference delegates. Any United Methodist ordained elder may be elected bishop by any jurisdictional conference. Each jurisdiction establishes the percentage of votes needed for election. Voting by ballot continues until someone receives the required number of votes. Full commentary here

Updated Agenda

The agenda to the 2012 SEJ Jurisdictional Conference has been updated. Click here to view

Delegation Notes

The AWF delegation round robins will be held in Shackford Hall, room number 13 on the first floor. To see the complete schedule, click here

Seating for delegates will be in section 4, rows A-D. Please contact Dr. Steve Furr if you did not receive your seat assignment. 

Thursday evening, July 20th at 9pm (depending on duration of elections), all delegates, staff and friends are invited to welcome our Bishop in Lambuth 106. 

SEJ Conference Registration and Check In

See this document for helpful information about this year's conference registration and check-in process.

Attendees Invited to an Ice Cream Social 

Dr. Larry Bryars and his wife, Vicki, would like to invite all Alabama-West Florida attendees to the SEJ Conference to join them for an “Ice Cream Social” on Wednesday night, July 18th at 9pm, Lambuth Hall, Room 106. This is their way of saying “thanks” to all our AWF friends for the support and prayers they have received this year.

From the United Methodist News Service

The attention of the denomination will be focused beginning July 18 on the jurisdictional conferences, where 11 new U.S. bishops are expected to be elected in three jurisdictions. Like General Conference, the worldwide legislative gathering that met April 24 to May 4 in Tampa, Fla., jurisdictional conferences meet once every four years. Half the delegates will be lay people, and half will be clergy. The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s lawbook, stipulates that each annual conference is entitled to send twice the number of delegates to jurisdictional conferences that it sent to General Conference. There were 606 delegates from U.S. annual conferences at the 2012 General Conference. Full story here.  

There are now 44 candidates for the episcopacy. Learn who they are. Click here for list.  

Stay Connected During SEJ

The live streaming schedule can be found here. To view the live stream, go to

The SEJ Facebook page can be found here or by going to

To follow the Twitter conversation, use the hash tag #SEJUMC or go to

To access the SEJ Web site, go to

 A UMNS Photo by Bill Norton.


Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Approaching

published 6/21/2012

(Dr. Steve Furr) - The five jurisdictional conferences in the United States will meet at the same time July 18-20, 2012. Jurisdictional conferences are held once every four years in the same year as the general conference. Equal numbers of laity and clergy, elected by the annual conferences, will be delegates. The principal business during jurisdictional conference is the election of bishops. This year the Southeastern Jurisdiction will elect five new bishops from 15 candidates. Candidates are generally nominated by an annual conference or endorsed by jurisdictional conference delegates. Any United Methodist ordained elder may be elected bishop by any jurisdictional conference. Each jurisdiction establishes the percentage of votes needed for election. Voting by ballot continues until someone receives the required number of votes. This year the balloting will be electronic, which should speed up the process.

The six clergy and lay delegates to general conference as well as six additional lay and clergy jurisdictional delegates from our conference will be representing you at Lake Junaluska. On Tuesday afternoon July 17, each of the Episcopal candidates will give a five-minute address to all of the delegates. Later in the afternoon each candidate will appear before each annual conference delegation for a statement and a time for questions.

The last elder from the Alabama-West Florida Conference elected to the episcopacy was Mike Watson. He is now the only living bishop from our conference. Our conference has a strong history of only putting forward leaders who we are confident will make outstanding bishops in the United Methodist Church. Our track record speaks for itself. We seek and search for individuals who would continue the legacy of Bishop Duffey and Bishop Watson. We look for someone who we are not only proud that they are a bishop of the whole church, but that we would also be honored to serve as our bishop. We do not offer anyone up in service to the church that we would not be willing to take back into our own conference as our Episcopal leader. In Rev. Dr. Larry Bryars we have found such an individual. He has distinguished himself by his leadership and growth in the churches he has served as well as his leadership in the Board of Ordained Ministry. The fact that he was elected the first clergy delegate to general conference tells you what the clergy think of his leadership ability. The laity have found a person who truly seeks to be in partnership with the laity in deed as well as word. He has a servant heart as well as a humble yet strong personality. We believe that he has much to offer to our church for years to come. Most importantly, he continually seeks the Lord direction for his path.

The first elected lay and clergy delegate to general conference from each annual conference serve on the Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy. This committee is responsible for reviewing the performance of the bishops within the jurisdiction as well as making their assignments. Dr. John Ed Mathison is the current chair of the SEJ Episcopal committee. No bishop can be assigned by the committee for the upcoming four-year term until all new bishops have been elected. Once the balloting is complete for the new five bishops, the committee will meet and make assignments for all of the bishops within the jurisdiction. This will be reported to the jurisdictional conference. The jurisdictional conference may affirm or reject the assignments. Newly elected bishops are consecrated in worship services at the end of each jurisdictional conference. All assignments for active U.S. bishops begin on Sept. 1 following the jurisdictional conference.

There is an Inter-jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy, elected by general conference delegates, that can transfer bishops across jurisdictional lines if the bishops and the jurisdictions consent.

Please remain in prayer for our delegation as well as all the delegations as we go about this very important process. Especially remember all the Episcopal candidates as this is a very demanding time for them.

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