District News



Courageous Conversations



Bishop David Graves is inviting all to come together for Christ-honoring conversation regarding human sexuality and the United Methodist Church. We will utilize the "Courageous Conversations" project to hold these conversations. 

The Courageous Conversations project is aimed to help us move from skepticism to curiosity and even openness to encounter God’s grace. Courageous Conversations is a toolbox that local churches can use to inspire and encourage the church and individuals to stay at the table when the anxiety and emotional turmoil is painful. Learn more about the project. 

We believe Courageous Conversations provides a faithful way to listen and learn more about one another in an appreciative style and in a safe space. All are welcome, and in particular every clergy and lay member to the 2018 session of annual conference is strongly encouraged to attend an upcoming session.   

Click here to see where the sessions will be held. Click here to register.



 UMCOR Christmas Shoebox

St. Andrew UMC and UMW invite you to participate in the Christmas shoebox ministry of UMCOR-Decatur, Alabama.  St. Andrew will serve as the hub church in the Florida panhandle for receiving the shoeboxes and sending them to UMCOR.  This ministry is similar to Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse, however, the UMCOR boxes are sent to our United Methodist missionaries who request them.  UMCOR supplies the shoeboxes.  Individuals or groups fill the boxes with gifts and donate $5 for postage. The $5 will help the boxes travel from UMCOR-Decatur, Alabama to the missionaries around the world.  Each box will also include a coloring book telling the story of the Birth of Jesus.  St. Andrew UMC will be open the first Saturday in August to receive the boxes.
If you are interested in participating in this project please contact Peggy Kundo 850-819-4332  peggykundo@knology.net to request more information and boxes.  Peggy will request  empty boxes from UMCOR and distribute them to the interested churches.  Let's support our United Methodist missionaries and the children they serve.

Renowned therapist, Real, leads Bishop's Day Apart


Over 225 clergy gathered from around the conference for the annual Bishop’s Day Apart held Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at St. James UMC. This year’s day apart addressed a necessary topic: clergy mental health. Mr. Terry Real of REAL Relational Solutions from Boston, MA, was the guest speaker. Claire Bowen, who has worked closely with our conference since the assignment of Bishop David Graves, identified Real and after hearing him in person, felt he would be a relevant choice for this year’s gathering. 

Bishop Graves welcomed Real and those in attendance and thanked St. James UMC for their hospitality. He touched on his personal experiences of trying to stay in ministry when he was not mentally at his best and attributed his success to therapy and covenant groups. Claire Bowen also welcomed Real and explained her personal journey with a child and finding how to best help her daughter through help from Real. 

To begin the session, Real had the clergy take the Relational Life Institute evaluation that would help a person identify signs of depression. He noted that depression is on par with heart disease and tends to be labeled as a shame disease.  Real pointed out that strength is knowing what your vulnerabilities are and working with them and said, "You take on the characteristics of the population you serve.”  

He showed a clip of a counseling session where he was able to counsel a man, struggling in relationships, identify childhood traumatic experiences and how he helped him move forward. Real cited, “The biggest gift you can give your children is your recovery.” 

Real also explained how to make a good apology through accountability, vulnerability and empathy and said, "Tone trumps content."

In the afternoon session Real walked the clergy group through the relationship grid to help identify how they handle their worst behaviors. It addresses how one takes sides, emphasizing grandiosity and shame, and how to listen to better impact those around you. The grid is a diagnostic tool the group can use with their laity, staff and their own personal relationships. 


One of the most important points emphasized at the day apart was the need for clergy to help one another look for warning signs of trouble and the importance of covenant groups. 

“Our day together certainly looked different than previous days apart,” said Bishop Graves. "As difficult and uncomfortable as the conversation about clergy mental health can be, it is a necessary discussion that must continue to happen. As a Bishop my heart breaks when I hear about a clergy person considering taking their life because they feel like there is no way to heal. Yesterday was just the beginning of doing everything I can do ensure clergy have training, resources and the help they need to be healthy and affective in their professional and personal lives.” 

Click on the below links for archived video sessions. Click here to see photos from the eventAll photos by Luke Lucas.

Lay Servant Ministries Training

When Friday, April 27, 2018 at 5:30 PM to Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 4:30 PM
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St. Andrew UMC
2001 W. 11th Street
Panama City, FL 32401

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St. Andrew UMC in Panama City, FL will host a Lay Servant Ministries Training on Friday, April 27, from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 28, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Participants are responsible for their own lunch on Saturday. Sponsored by the Marianna/Panama City District, four courses will be offered: Basic, United Methodist Heritage, Leading Worship, and Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. There is a $10 registration fee. Deadline to register is April 6. After registering, participants will receive information to purchase their own textbook. 

Please fill out and submit the attached form to register along with your registration fee. 

Contact Linda Hornsby (850) 276-5019 or Rhonda Pridgeon (850) 639-5429 for more information. 

Annual Conference 2018

When Sunday, June 3, 2018 to Wednesday, June 6, 2018
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Frazer UMC
6000 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL 36106

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The 2018 session of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference will be held June 3 - 6, 2018, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL. Montgomery First United Methodist Church will host the Service of Commissioning & Ordination.

More details are forthcoming.