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2007 North Alabama Annual Conference

June 1-2, 2007, Argo, Ala.

The North Alabama Annual Conference gathered for its business sessions at ClearBranchUnitedMethodistChurch on June 1-2. Although the theme was "New," the conference reclaimed some older traditions such as meeting in local church settings and intentionally scheduling annual conference activities with the lifestyles and schedules of lay members in mind.

The annual conference also used a "new" and creative scheduling tactic of holding conference events and worship services at different locations and times throughout the session. This included holding the annual memorial service on May 31 at HuffmanUnitedMethodistChurch where 40 clergy and clergy spouses were remembered. Members then gathered for the business sessions and ordination service at ClearBranchUnitedMethodistChurch on June 1-2. The conference will hold its commissioning service on June 24 at TrinityUnitedMethodistChurch in Huntsville, Ala.

Bishop William H. Willimon presided over the conference session and said he was excited by the "innovative vision" of the annual conference planning team led by Dale Cohen, director of connectional ministries, regarding the creative scheduling and holding the business sessions at ClearBranch United Methodist Church, "one of our most dynamic churches."

During the business sessions, the cabinet presented new conference priorities developed during the last year:

  • New communities of faith
  • Natural Church Development (Healthy Congregations)
  • Effective Leadership for the 21st Century
  • Empowering a new generation of Christians.

The rest of the conference business was organized around those four priorities. During the sessions, the conference:

  • Announced it is starting nine new communities of faith during the 2007-08 conference take a "heads up" approach to ordained ministry as opposed to a "heads down" approach, meaning to keep their big picture calling to a "vocation to help people know Jesus Christ" in mind as opposed to focusing on their specific jobs in ministry.

    Throughout the two days, each business session began and ended with a mission moment during which the annual conference heard stories from some of its mission agencies and missionaries about their ministries of growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

    Prior to the conference meeting, some questioned if all the business could be done "in just two days." In the end, the Christian conferencing that happened in North Alabama was upbeat, priority-focused and completed on schedule.

    Membership stands at 151,792, down 1,864 from the previous year.Worship attendance stands at 72,865, up 2,359. Christian formation participation (such as Sunday School) stands at 115,115, up 10,500.

    Danette Clifton