2020 Annual Conference Pre-conference Information

published 9/21/2020

As previously announced, Annual Conference 2020 will be held virtually through Zoom webinar. The half-day annual conference session will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1:00pm. A non-voting live stream option will be available for guests. Click here for live stream. No persons will be permitted on site except essential conference staff.

working agenda for the 1/2 day annual conference is available by clicking here

It is imperative that each clergy and lay member carefully review the 2020 Book of Reports, which contains the proposed agenda, procedural guidelines, and report of our boards and committees, as well as items to be acted on during the 2020 annual conference. Click here to access the Book of Reports

There are several reports that will be presented at annual conference on September 26th. Members of the annual conference will vote on these items. Please review these prior to our time together. 
Nominations report, presented by Rev. Ashley Davis
Board of pension and health benefits report, presented by Tara Sanders
Equitable Compensation report, presented by Rev. Michael Cobb
Council on Finance and Administration and the Proposed 2021 budget, presented by George Mingledorff. 
Report of the Cabinet, presented by Rev. June Jernigan

Should you have a question about any of the reports, please complete this brief form and the appropriate person will respond to you. These submitted questions will be given priority in the limited online time we have together. 

If you have not registered, please do so soon. Registration will be through Zoom. Only those participating in an official capacity (clergy, board of ordained ministry, voting lay members) need to register. Only lay members elected at charge conference and entered into the dashboard for their church will be approved. If you know there has been a change to your lay member since charge conference or that you are to attend for your church as an alternate lay member, please contact sarah@awfumc.orgClick here to register for the 1/2 day session for clergy and lay members. Please note that registration will close one hour before the event. You will not be able to obtain a link to participate once registration has closed. We will be present on the Zoom webinar one hour before the session to work through any technical issues that may arise as participants log on. A technical helpline will be live one hour prior to the beginning of each session. Should you have problems logging on, call 850-708-1614. 

If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, please consult this brief instructional sheet.

We look forward to our virtual time together. 

Hurricane Sally Update, September 17

published 9/17/2020

Hurricane Sally has moved out of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Below is the latest disaster response information. 

Assessment & Needs
Flooding and roof damage are significant issues in the southern parts of our conference. Cleaning buckets are still needed. Because of the need from Hurricane Laura, warehouses are low on inventory but requests are being made from multiple resources. The first delivery of 800 buckets was made to Orange Beach, AL, today. More will be delivered tomorrow to Pensacola FUMC. If your church has the capability to make more or has them on hand, please reach out to your district disaster response coordinator (ddrc). 

Roof repair items are also in need due to local inventory being low. Tarps, nails and furring strips are all needed. Please consider collecting these in your district or community. If you are collecting, please deploy these by noon on Monday so that they can be used immediately in the areas with damage. 

Gas and generators are also in high demand. If you have access to these items, please contact your ddrc

Click here for a list of collection locations around the Alabama-West Florida Conference. 

As with any storm, monetary donations are the quickest way you and your church can make a positive impact. Click here to donate

Please do not send any clothing items of any sort to any location. 

Response Teams
Teams are already scheduled from the Great Plains Conference, the Mississippi Conference, the North Georgia Conference and the South Georgia Conference. South Georgia is also sending a shower trailer. We are so grateful for our United Methodist Connection.

More teams are needed immediately to help mitigate potential mold from flooding and are invited to come into our conference. If you can arrange to send a team, only the team leader needs to be UMCOR trained and badged. Other volunteers may work under their leadership. Please contact for more information on location and lodging.

COVID procedures will be in place at volunteer housing sites and multiple locations have been identified to space out volunteers. Site coordinators will be in place to direct teams to specific cleanup areas.

Please note that sections of I-10 and Highway 85 around Crestview, FL, are closed. Travel will be interrupted. Please consult mapping apps before making travel plans. Most areas have curfews to ensure safety of residents and volunteers. 

Survivor Information
If you have damage to your church or personal property, please keep receipts for expenses related to Hurricane Sally (hotels, food, supplies, services, etc). There is potential FEMA reimbursement available. You may take photos with your camera phone for records. The FEMA number for this disaster is 3546

AWF Connectional Response
Several churches in the AWF Conference are housing outside response groups. Thank you to the following churches who are opening their doors to meet needs:
Christ UMC: hosting Civil Air Patrol; responsible for aerial coverage of damage;
Gadsden Street UMC: hosting state troopers;
Rosinton UMC: hosting Team Rubicon.

As we have learned, information can quickly change after a disaster. Please do not self deploy or collect items that are not needed. We will continue to send updates as we have new information so that we can best respond to those in need. 

Your prayers are most appreciated and will sustain many in the coming days. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ, yet again. It is in times like these that we see the best of the United Methodist connection. 

Photo courtesy of Rev. Christina Shaver

Hurricane Sally Update, September 16

published 9/16/2020

As Hurricane Sally moves through our conference, we continue to assess the damage and communicate with our disaster recovery leadership team and clergy. 

-We give thanks that we have not heard of any injuries or deaths related to the storm in our AWF connection. 

-It appears many of our churches were spared significant damage. There are several cases of roof damage; water entry; and downed trees/fences on church property and at clergy homes. 

-We are compiling a comprehensive list of assessments as they are available. If your church or parsonage has damage, please be sure to report it to your district disaster response coordinator (ddrc). Those contacts may be found here

-We give thanks to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for assisting our conference with a $10,000 solidarity grant. 

-Rev. Chris Ackerman, AWF disaster response director, has ordered a delivery of 800 cleaning buckets to be delivered to the Loxley area tomorrow. Another 800 buckets will be sent to Pensacola. 

-There will likely be several volunteer centers setup in our conference so that we can assist as many communities as possible. Those will be announced when logistics are arranged. 

-Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) will be needed in the coming days. Each team needs one UMCOR trained and badged leader. Other volunteers may work under the leadership of the trained leader. Orange Beach UMC is preparing to receive these teams soon. 

-Curfews will be in place in most communities with extensive damage. Please do not self deploy. We will announce when communities are ready to receive teams, which will be soon. 

-Monetary donations are always welcome and needed. All donations will stay within our conference and will be used to directly assist families in need. Click here to donate

-Please pray for the communities in our conference who are facing difficult days ahead. Our conference is home to resilient disciples who will lean on one another during these trying times. May God's peace fill our hearts and guide our actions in the days to come. 

Hurricane Sally Conference Response: September 15, 2020

published 9/15/2020

Hurricane Sally is slated to make landfall at some point tomorrow. It is a remarkably slow-moving storm and causes concern for historic flooding and storm surge. The Alabama-West Florida Conference is already staging relief support prior to the storm’s arrival in the following ways: 

-Our Director of Disaster Response, Rev. Chris Ackerman, continues his outstanding work and has gained a tremendous amount of experience from Hurricane Michael. He has worked with the Disaster Response Warehouse in Decatur, AL, to obtain 500-700 cleaning buckets. As soon as trucks are allowed to enter areas in need, they will be distributed. 

-Several conference disaster response trailers have been cleaned, inspected and are ready for immediate deployment. 

-The district disaster response coordinators have been working closely with our conference emergency response teams to be on alert for damage assessments. If needed, this team will stay in close contact with conference leadership. 

-If you are in the path of the storm, please remember communication can be limited. Please find a way to reach out to your district superintendent within 48 hours of the storm passing. After Hurricane Michael, many clergy families evacuated and we were unable to reach them for days. 

-It is impossible to have a comprehensive response plan until we know the damage but please be aware that the conference will respond in immediate ways. That usually means walking alongside city leaders and other response organizations. As traumatic as Hurricane Michael was, we have trained a lot of people and have a lot more expertise that will enable us to best respond.

-Finally, please do not deploy unless directed by conference leadership. Now is a great time to be in touch with team members to ensure you have updated contact information and badges. 

Further updates will be posted to this site as needed. 

Hurricane Sally Preparations

published 9/14/2020


Yet again, we call on our conference for prayer in preparation for Hurricane Sally making landfall. At this time, most accurate models have it hitting from New Orleans to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This puts parts of our conference on the east side of the storm where most flooding occurs. Storm surge and significant rain totals can be expected. 

As a reminder, please review this resource page on the conference Website so that your church is prepared should it receive damage. It includes the damage reporting protocol in addition to emergency plans. 

After Hurricane Laura, our UMCOR flood bucket inventory is depleted. We are encouraging our churches to make flood buckets or donate towards flood bucket materials. Please let your District Disaster Response Coordinator know if you have flood buckets already made or are planning to assemble more. We have some extra buckets available for filling. Contact Clark Ratcliff if you are interested in some of these buckets. Click here for the current list of items needed to assemble flood buckets.
If you would like to donate to the purchase of materials for buckets, you may send a check to:
Alabama-West Florida Conference
4719 Woodmere Boulevard
Montgomery, AL 36106
(memo line: Hurricane Sally)

You may also donate through this PayPal link.

Thank you for your tireless connectional efforts in an unprecedented year. Please join me in praying for those in the path of the storm. 

Bishop David Graves
Resident Bishop
Alabama-West Florida Conference 

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