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2014 North Alabama Annual Conference

June 1-4, 2014 at Birmingham-Southern College

Name of conference: North Alabama Conference

Dates of conference gathering: June 1-4, 2014

Location of conference gathering: Birmingham-Southern College

Officiating bishop: Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett

Guest speakers: Bishop Lindsey Davis

Memorable points or quotes by speakers:
“It is crucial to have a gospel strategy before you have a church plant strategy.”

Main actions enacted and resolutions adopted by the conference:

  • Adopted a Ministry Action Plan that sets the course for future as an annual conference.
    • Vision:
      Spiritual leaders empowering life-giving congregations to transform the world.

    • Mission:
      Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.

    • Conference Priorities
      • New Faith Communities, Worship Services, Ministries to reach new persons

      • Healthy Congregations

      • Ethnic Ministries

      • Ministry with the Poor
  • The Conference received a special offering totaling $251,129.22 for Imagine No Malaria. This is the largest annual conference special offering in conference history. It brings North Alabama to $911,035.96 toward it’s goal of $1 million

  • Heard a report from the New Church Team which noted that the conference’s new church starts comprise 4 percent of the worship attendance, 9 percent of the baptisms, and 12 percent of the professions of faith in North Alabama.

  • Conference Evangelism Team presented the Harry Denman Evangelism Award to the Rev. Shane Harris, pastor of Bethlehem Station United Methodist Church, and Bobby Jack Kerley, a member of Alexander City First United Methodist Church.

  • Passed a budget for 2015 of $10,155,717.

  • Adopted a Vulnerable Adult Safe Sanctuary Policy.

  • Introduced Jeanet Berruecos as the Ethnic Ministries Hispanic Resource Person

  • The Disability Ministries Team recognized 11 Bridge Builder congregations and presented the District Bridge Builder Award to the Southeast District.

  • Accepted a recommendation from the Board of Ordained Ministry and The Ministerial Integrity Committee that all clergy under appointment, including lay speakers, be required to allow BOOM to obtain a background check every four years as part of their refresher ministerial integrity training.

  • The Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women presented the Louise Branscomb Barrier Breaker Award to Cindy Castro, a member of Lineville First United Methodist Church, and Dr. M.L. Roberts, Jr., a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa. An honorary award was also presented to Belle Carlisle, a 31-year staff member of Urban Ministry.

  • Heard a powerful testimony from a campus minister in learning about the conference’s Campus Ministry missional approach.

  • The Conference Commission on Archives and History presented the Wheeler Award for Church History to John Mark “Bruno” Hughes for his work on the new pictorial memoir of Camp Sumatanga called “Rest and Vision.”

  • Heard from the Disaster Recovery Team noting the work that has been done since the April 2011 tornadoes.

Name (City) of delegates elected to 2016 General Conference and jurisdictional or central conferences (if applicable):

Lay delegates to General Conference

Steve Lyles (Alexander City)
Scott Selman (Vestavia Hills)
Zac Riddle (Birmingham)
Carol Toney (Huntsville)

Clergy delegates to General Conference:
Robin Scott (Gadsden)
Dale Cohen (Huntsville)
Mary Bendall (Helena)
Tiwirai Kufarimai (Anniston)

Lay delegates to jurisdictional conference:

Charlie Carlton (Birmingham)
Pat Meadows (McCalla)
Emily Chastain (Fultondale)
Judy Poole (Birmingham)

Clergy delegates to jurisdictional conference:

Glenn Conner (Huntsville)
Robert Sparkman (Hartselle)
Mark Parris (Gallant)
Julie Holly (Birmingham)

Lay reserve delegates:

Keith Russell (Decatur)
Donald Johnson (Birmingham)
Reid Turner (Alabaster)

Clergy reserve delegates:

Lori Carden (Helena)
Wade Griffith (Birmingham)
Richard Stryker (Birmingham)

Clergy statistics (number and average age for each group):

Provisional deacon: 1 (30 yrs)
Ordained deacon: 0

Provisional elder: 9 (35.7 yrs)
Ordained elder: 8 (36.4 yrs.)

Received into associate membership: 0

Licensed local pastors: 10

Retired: 21 (contributed approximately 490 years of ministry.)

Remembered at memorial service (may also include laity): 44

Conference statistics:

Membership stands at 134,008, down 1,468 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 66,136, down 1996.

Sunday school attendance stands at 31,191 down 1,703.

Professions of faith stand at 2,056, down 262.

Baptisms stand at 1,936, down 192.

Other Statistics:

People served by community ministries for outreach, justice and mercy stands at 763,254, up 94,940.

Total amount spent by local churches on local and connectional mission and ministry (beyond apportionments) stands at $9,099,075, up $606,119.

— Danette Clifton, director of communications, North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church