A local congregation was host to their denomination’s annual conference last week.
Gaines Chapel AME Church Pastor Rev. Amos Smith and Hospitality Director Melinda Robinson anticipated as many as 400 attendees for the Ninth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s 8th Session of the Southwest Alabama Annual Conference Monday, October 9, through Saturday, October 14.
Bishop Harry L. Seaworth is Presiding Prelate, Ninth District.
Some assemblies were held in the former A.C. Moore Elementary School auditorium, while some meetings were held at Gaines Chapel AME Church.
Conferences were held in Prattville, Birmingham, Eufaula, Phenix City, and Atmore. The same agenda and schedule were followed at each conference. Urla Boggan with Gaines Chapel said one of the highlights of each conference is a Town Hall Meeting with conference attendees and state, county, and local officials. The Atmore meeting was held Thursday, October 12, at Gaines Chapel.
Among the invited guests were Alabama Senator Vivian Davis Figures (District 33), Wilcox County Commissioner John Moton (Camden), Atmore Mayor Jim Staff, Atmore City Councilman Jerome Webster, Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks, Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles, Escambia County Commissioner David Quarker, Escambia County Board of Education Chairman W.J. Grissett, and Department of Corrections Captain Kevin Bishop (Fountain Correctional Center).
Each was given a few minutes to talk about their job or position, then answered questions from the audience. As the Bishop said, the purpose of the meeting was to talk about issues and have open dialogue.
“We have to do what we can to be a partner,” Bishop Seaworth said. “What can we do to help facilitate your work?”