News from the Tennessee Valley Religion
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2007
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United Methodists gather June 1-2

Delegates to the United Methodist North Alabama Conference this year will meet at a new location for fewer days.

Meetings will be at ClearBranch United Methodist Church in Trussville, a move from Birmingham Southern College. The meeting will be two days instead of four so that lay delegates will need less time off from work, planners said. The conference starts Friday at 9 a.m. and ends June 3 with appointments announced in the afternoon. An ordination service will be Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Among speakers will be Bishop Janice Huie of the Texas Annual Conference. Delegates will be elected to general and jurisdictional conferences.

Two services that have been part of the conference are being moved. A memorial service will be at Huffman United Methodist Church on Thursday at 7 p.m. A commissioning service for probationary clergy will be at Trinity United Methodist Church, Huntsville, on June 24 at 4 p.m.

Medal of Honor recipient to speak

Gary Beikirch, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner from Rochester, N.Y., will speak at Decatur Baptist Church for a commemorative worship service Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Beikirch was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions April 1, 1970, in the defense of Camp Dak Seang in Vietnam. A Special Forces field medic, he moved through enemy fire to treat his comrades and continued offering aid despite being wounded. He is now a school counselor and an ordained United Baptist minister. The service will honor those currently serving in the military and will remember those who died defending the country. A color guard, special music and an honor tribute will be part of the service.

Beikirch also will speak at the Alabama Jubilee at Point Mallard on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Church celebrates building renovation

Blue Springs Baptist Church in Florette will hold a Renovation Celebration on June 3 at 11 a.m. The Rev. Donnell Brown, director of missions for Morgan Baptist Association, will speak.

The church has finished a $225,000 renovation of its sanctuary, said the Rev. Ralph McCollum, pastor. The project included adding a vestibule and restrooms, he said. Open house with refreshments will be 2 to 4 p.m.

Writers conference set for Tuscaloosa

Singer and writer Claire Cloninger and Gilbert Morris, author of about 250 novels, will be keynote speakers for the 2007 Southern Christian Writers Conference. The event will be June 15, 2 to 10 p.m., and June 16, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Tuscaloosa First Baptist Church. Other speakers will include Kay Cornelius, a fiction writer from Huntsville; David Sloan, a journalism professor at The University of Alabama; and literary agent Etta Wilson of March Media Inc.

Topics include “Secrets to Being a Prolific Writer,” “Writing for Magazines” and “How to Self-Publish Your Book Successfully.”

The cost is $90 for both days or $55 for either day if registered by June 2. Fees afterward are $100 or $60. Call (205) 333-8603.

- Compiled by Melanie Smith

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