What a year!
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN What? Has it really been a whole year since I received the good news of my assignment to serve in South Georgia? Yes, it has. Sherrill and I thank ...
Discipleship: One voice makes a difference
FOCUS ON THE VISION DENISE WALTON “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching ...
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5 ways congregations can serve schools

August 07, 2017
Photo courtesy of Rev. Kirk Hagan, pastor of Wrightsville First UMC By Kara Witherow, Editor School starts this week or has already started for many in South Georgia, and with the inevitable flurry of back-to-school activity comes the question: how can we serve our schools and students? Each act of service usually has a need associated with it, but at the heart of every action or program should be sharing hope and God’s love. Here are a few practical ways to step outside the walls of the ...

Annual Conference location update

August 07, 2017
In an effort to garner bids for future locations of the South Georgia Annual Conference Session, a subgroup of the Annual Conference Program Committee has developed an RFP (request for proposal). Prior to the 2017 Annual Conference Session, the RFP was sent to 12 different Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus in South Georgia cities which might have facilities and motels to accommodate our conference's needs. Cities include: Albany, Columbus, Dublin, Golden Isles, Macon, Perry, Savannah, Statesboro,...

Serving is a rewarding experience for Leesburg UMC couple

August 07, 2017
Linda and Jimmy Bence, members of Leesburg UMC, served at UMCOR's Sagar Brown depot By Kara Witherow, Editor Linda and Jimmy Bence have seen firsthand how the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) serves communities in times of need, alleviates human suffering, and advances hope and healing. The couple, members of Leesburg United Methodist Church, saw how the agency responded in the aftermath of the Flood of 1994. “We like what they do,” Jimmy Bence said. “UMCOR has really meant a lot...

Prepare for disasters now, respond when storms hit

July 24, 2017
In January 2017, devastating storms tore through the small community of Adel, causing death, destruction, and nearly insurmountable loss. The storms claimed seven lives in the town and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. In the aftermath of the disaster, Adel United Methodist Church, which was spared major damage and loss of life, offered relief to families in a nearby mobile home community by helping pay for funeral expenses. The church also set up a fund to receive donations to minister ...

Remodeled Lake Junaluska gazebo made possible by South Georgia family

July 24, 2017
Lake Junaluska has remodeled a gazebo along the Francis Asbury Trail, thanks to a generous gift from the family of Larry Roberts, a former  South Georgia minister, in memory of his wife, Myrna Roberts. For many years the Francis Asbury Trail Gazebo has been a much beloved meditation location along the Lake Junaluska Walking Trail. In recent years the gazebo has fallen into disrepair and improvements were needed. The family of Myrna Roberts saw this need and decided to honor Mrs. Roberts, who ...

Rev. Reese to serve as Northwest District liaison during Dr. Cooper’s recovery

July 24, 2017
As Dr. Buddy Cooper, superintendent of the Northwest District, recovers from quintuple bypass surgery, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and the South Georgia Cabinet are grateful to Rev. Dick Reese for stepping in to serve as the Northwest District’s liaison to the Cabinet. He will also serve as a liaison between the district office and the Northwest District churches. Rev. Reese, who retired in 2010 after serving 54 years in the South Georgia Conference, brings supervisory experience to this new role, ...

Bishop Bryan presents Vital Signs Assessment Tool to Conference

July 10, 2017
The “Alive Together in Worship” theme was woven throughout the 2017 Annual Conference session as Dr. Lovett Weems, Distinguished Professor of Christian Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary, taught three sessions based on his book, “Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance and Bear More Fruit.” Each of the sessions was geared toward helping the conference achieve its goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent. To accompany the teaching moments and help congregations and ...

Father and son serve downtown Brunswick church

Father and son serve downtown Brunswick church

July 10, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor In the late 1800s, Mary and Charles Shepard were faithful members of Brunswick First United Methodist Church. Their daughter Lillian married George Bright Culpepper, a Methodist minister. Today, more than 100 years later, the Shepard’s great-great grandson, Dr. Wright Culpepper, and great-great-great grandson, Rev. Bill Culpepper, are following in their footsteps, serving and worshiping in the same downtown Brunswick church. Dr. Culpepper, an ordained elder, was ...

UMC School of Congregational Development to be held in Atlanta

July 10, 2017
You're invited to “Join Us at The Lord’s Table,” and this year the table is close to home! The UMC School of Congregational Development will be held here in Georgia Aug. 17-20 at Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta. This is the premier event in The United Methodist Church for equipping clergy and laity to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year’s event is being hosted by the North Georgia Conference, Candler ...

Andrew College receives final approval to offer four-year business degree

June 26, 2017
Andrew College received word on Thursday, June 15 from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) that approval was given for the college to offer a baccalaureate degree in business, effective fall 2017. The approval by SACS was the final hurdle in the process of creating the program. The program is now included in the scope of the current Andrew College accreditation. Emphasizing the breadth of business systems and processes, with a special eye toward small ...

Columbus congregation gives car to teen

June 26, 2017
Epworth UMC youth minister Adam McNeil, Audrey, and Epworth UMC pastor Rev. Crosby stand in front of Audrey's new 2013 Ford Focus By Kara Witherow, Editor Epworth United Methodist Church in Columbus is a small church making a big impact. When church members learned that the transmission in 16-year-old Audrey’s* 2002 Jeep Liberty had blown and her family couldn’t afford to have it fixed they jumped in and offered to pay for the repairs. When it was determined that the repairs would cost more ...

Equip yourself for effective ministry at Pathways

June 26, 2017
Download the Pathways brochure here Register online here Churches looking for new ideas, networking opportunities and practical, quality training for their pastors, parishioners, staff and leaders need look no further than this year’s Pathways leadership training event. Scheduled for Saturday, August 26 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Warner Robins, the training event will offer participants more than 30 workshops to choose from, each designed to help congregations become healthier and...

No age limit on ministry

June 26, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dr. John McGowan loves people and loves to preach. The nonagenarian, who turns 92 in November, officially retired in 1990 after 40 years of service in the South Georgia Conference, but he’s been preaching and pastoring ever since. He’s served at least 14 interim appointments in the past 27 years, and says he’ll serve again if called upon. “I love to preach! Whenever someone would call me and ask me to preach I would go,” Dr. McGowan said. “I have enjoyed doing it in ...

2017 Annual Conference session is refreshing, rejuvenating, alive

June 09, 2017
Bishop James Swanson preaches at the Opening Worship Service of the 2017 Annual Conference Session. The Jekyll Island Convention Center was filled with red as the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated Pentecost and convened for its 151st session Sunday, June 4. Meeting under the theme “Alive Together in Christ,” this year’s Annual Conference session was held June 4 through June 7 at the new, oceanfront locale. With beautiful views, ocean breezes, and a new facility, the conference had a...

Bishop Bryan presides over first annual conference session in South Georgia

June 09, 2017
For the first time in 40 years, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan wasn’t in Montgomery, Ala. for the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference’s Annual Conference session. Not only was he not sitting in a pew in Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church’s sanctuary, he was sitting on stage, looking over a crowd of nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Presiding over his first annual conference session since becoming South Georgia’s resident bishop, Bishop Bryan...

Bishop Bryan sets 2017-2018 pastoral appointments

June 09, 2017
On Wednesday, June 7, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan fixed the 2017-2018 pastoral appointments for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Click here to download and view a list of appointments by district. 

Conference approves two resolutions

June 09, 2017
During the Tuesday, June 6 business session, the South Georgia Conference approved two resolutions. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It called on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate clergy and ...

New annual conference venue offers beautiful views, opportunities for outdoor fun

June 09, 2017
Alfredo Bocanegra, Faustino Peres, and Jaime Gallaga, members of Casa de Vida y Paz, part of the Bainbridge Hispanic Mission, enjoyed the oceanfront location of the 2017 Annual Conference session. Breathtaking ocean vistas greeted conference attendees as they arrived at the Jekyll Island Convention Center for the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference session. The only oceanfront convention center on the east coast south of New Jersey, the convention center’s remarkable views of the Atlantic ...

Remembering those who have gone before us

June 09, 2017
A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 6, at 2:00 p.m. as conference members gathered at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Bishop B. Michael Watson, South Georgia’s former episcopal leader and current Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops, gave a touching message titled, “The Strong Arms of Jesus,” as he remembered those who have gone before us. The message reminded listeners that God’s ...

Celebrating ministries, churches, and individuals who are Alive Together in Christ through mission, ministry and evangelism

June 08, 2017
Mission, ministry, and evangelism awards were highlighted during the 2017 Annual Conference session, a way to celebrate how ministries, churches, and individuals throughout the conference are alive together in Christ.   The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. A significant dimension of the disciple-making process is that of leading people to make a commitment to God through baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Reaching new persons with the gospel is at the ...

Celebrating Ministry Milestones and Achievements at Annual Conference

June 08, 2017
The 2017 Class of Retirees Annual Conference is a special time to celebrate ministry milestones and achievements, from those just entering the ministry to those taking the next step of their journey into retirement.   On Tuesday morning the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated with those clergy who have served in ministry for 50 years and those who are entering into a retired relationship with the Annual Conference.   Clergy recognized for having served 50 years in ministry include: Jack...

Andrew College receives final approval for registered nursing degree program

May 15, 2017
Andrew College passed the final hurdle in the process of creating an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. On Monday, May 3, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) approved the program and have included it in the scope of the current Andrew College accreditation. Dr. Linda R. Buchanan, president of Andrew College, expressed her profound thanks to donors, the Board of Trustees, clinical partners and others who have stood behind the College as it ...

Annual Conference to vote on five constitutional amendments

May 15, 2017
One of the major items of business during the 2017 Annual Conference session is the consideration of five constitutional amendments. Voters will consider changes that address matters of gender equality, inclusiveness in membership, delegate and bishop elections, as well as bishop accountability. For an in-depth story about the amendments, scroll down or click here. All five amendments were approved by a two-thirds vote of the 2016 General Conference and now must be ratified by a two-thirds ...

Cokesbury unveils new Ministry Resource Center at Annual Conferences

May 15, 2017
Cokesbury has announced that it is bringing a new consultative retail experience to Annual Conferences this year with the new Cokesbury Ministry Resource Center. Focused on equipping leaders to build disciples, the Ministry Resource Center will offer the opportunity for more personalized consultations with church leaders in order to match products with their specific ministry needs. Features of the Ministry Resource Center include: Showcases highlighting new and classic resources ranging from ...

Conference to consider, vote on three resolutions

May 15, 2017
Three resolutions have been presented for consideration and vote by the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It calls on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate ...

South Georgia Conference Chancellor serves on Judicial Council

May 15, 2017
South Georgia Conference Chancellor W. Warren Plowden, Jr., a member of Vineville United Methodist Church in Macon, is for the second quadrennium serving on The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest judicial body. He was first elected fifth lay alternate during the 2012 General Conference session, held in Tampa, Fla. and elected for a second consecutive term, this time as first lay alternate, during the 2016 General Conference session in Portland, Ore. In what ...

Bishop Bryan encourages Conference to read “Overflow”

May 01, 2017
During the 2016 Annual Conference session, delegates set a goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent by 2018. The 2017 Annual Conference session is being intentionally designed to help the South Georgia Annual Conference meet that goal, and when it gathers at the Jekyll Island Convention Center June 4-7, Dr. Lovett H. Weems, co-author of the book “OVERFLOW: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit,” will teach three sessions that will provide practical steps for planning, ...

S3 groups help clergy renew, recharge, refresh

May 01, 2017
Serving in full-time ministry is consuming. It’s hard to relax and “turn off” at the end of the day. Being a pastor or deacon is an always-on, always-in-demand role with sometimes unrealistically high expectations. The South Georgia Conference realizes the need to care for those in ministry, and has implemented S3, a program for sustaining excellence in ministry through small-group experiences focused on Sabbath, study, and service. Brought to South Georgia nearly 13 years ago, the S3 program ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: The Judicial Council Ruling

April 29, 2017
April 29, 2017 To the South Georgia Conference: The Judicial Council, the highest judicial body or “court” of The United Methodist Church, has ruled that the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the Western Jurisdiction, Bishop Karen Oliveto, violated church law. Specifically, the Council said: “…no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law,” the council ruled. “It is not lawful for the College of Bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a ...

UMC Bishops Call Special Session of General Conference for 2019

April 25, 2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the Special Session will be held in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph ¶14 of The Book of Discipline (2016). The purpose of the 2019 Special Session of the ...

Bishop Bryan Announces Projected June Appointments

April 23, 2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan has announced projected appointment changes as of April 23, 2017. The appointments will be set at the South Georgia Annual Conference and will be effective in June. The appointment list and a note about the projected appointments can be found at www.sgaumc.org/projectedappointments. 

Douglas pastor, dentist roast coffee, change lives

April 17, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor In the heart of Coffee County, Ga. a dentist and a part-time local pastor are helping make disciples and transform a small part of the world, one cup of coffee at a time. What began with a short-term mission trip to El Salvador nearly six years ago has grown into El Camino Coffee, an artisanal coffee company that specializes in single-origin brews. Rev. Chris Calhoun, pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Douglas, and Dr. Griff Lindsey, a dentist and member of...

Students worship, learn at community-wide 3rd Night services

April 17, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Lindsey Conroy, 15, loves seeing fellow believers as she walks through the halls of Columbus High School. She may not know all of their names and they don’t all attend the same church, but they are connected through a shared faith and, for many, through 3rd Night. A community-wide worship service for junior high, high school, and college students, 3rd Night was conceived by leaders from The Ridge and is led by five Columbus-area United Methodist church leaders. “It’s ...

Loads of Love laundry ministry reaches lots of places

April 03, 2017
John Patterson, Caroline Gowan, Debra Patterson, and Rev. Wesley Deverger, pastor of Arco United Methodist Church in Brunswick, gather for a photo during the launch of Brunswick's Loads of Love ministry. The free laundry service will be offered from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month at the Coin Laundry in Brunswick. By Kara Witherow, Editor When Bonaire United Methodist Church member Caroline Gowan began her Loads of Love laundry ministry it was as a short-term Girl ...

Southwest District hosts conference geared toward reaching Millennials, young adults

April 03, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Like many other denominations, United Methodist churches would love to experience their pews overflowing with young adults. Yet, many of these same churches would appreciate insight into how best to attract and reach Millennials – those who were born in or after 1980 – and learn how to share the gospel message with them. To aid churches in inviting and engaging young people, the Southwest District of the South Georgia Conference has partnered with Next Step Ministry to...

2017 Annual Conference Session: Overflow book, AC announcements & reminders

2017 Annual Conference Session: Overflow book, AC announcements & reminders

March 20, 2017
The following is an email sent out by Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and Dr. Jay Harris, Conference Secretary, with updated details about the 2017 Annual Conference Session set for June 4-7 on Jekyll Island. From the Bishop Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders, I am excited about my first Annual Conference Session in South Georgia and look forward to us coming together to share all the ways we are Alive Together in Christ. Even before moving to the ...

Centenary UMC’s Roving Listeners listen, learn, love

March 20, 2017
A Macon resident speaks with Roving Listeners Davida Poole, seated, with microphone; Laura Sugg, standing; and Samuel Closson, sitting, wearing hat. By Kara Witherow, Editor In the Internet age with smart phones and social media, we’re more connected now than ever. So why do we feel so disconnected? Since 2012, Centenary United Methodist Church has worked in its Macon neighborhood to connect neighbors to one another and to promote a greater sense of community through its Roving Listener ...

Court sets oral hearing on gay bishop issue

March 20, 2017
By Linda Bloom An oral hearing on a petition questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church will open the spring meeting of Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court. The hearing — set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Hotel at the Newark Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey — is the only portion of the council’s April 25-28 meeting that is open to the public. The petitioner and respondent in the case will have 60 minutes each to present ...

South Georgia pastors speak at Dominican Republic Methodist General Assembly

March 20, 2017
The United Methodist Church is a Church of connections, relationships, and partnerships. So when presented with the opportunity to attend the Dominican Republic Methodist Church’s General Assembly – their version of an Annual Conference session – South Georgia Conference representatives quickly agreed and set the wheels in motion for a visit. Rev. Henry Bass, superintendent of the South Central District; Rev. Christy Bandy, pastor of Springhill United Methodist Church and Whigham United ...

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox to Step Down in June

March 20, 2017
Young Harris College President Cathy Cox announced today that she will formally step down from the position in June 2017 to accept the role of dean of Mercer University’s School of Law, her alma mater.   During her 10-year tenure as president, Cox has led the College through an unparalleled period of growth, transitioning it from a two-year to a four-year college, more than doubling the size of the faculty and student body, and constructing $100 million in new facilities, while staying true to ...

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox to step down in June

March 20, 2017
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. –Young Harris College President Cathy Cox announced today that she will formally step down from the position in June 2017 to accept the role of dean of Mercer University’s School of Law, her alma mater. During her 10-year tenure as president, Cox has led the College through an unparalleled period of growth, transitioning it from a two-year to a four-year college, more than doubling the size of the faculty and student body, and constructing $100 million in new facilities, while...

Asbury Memorial UMC youth teach tech at “reverse mentoring” workshop

March 06, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor iPhones, iPods, and iPads. PCs and passwords. Facebook and Facetime. Internet and Instagram. Software, settings, and smartphones.   All of the digital technology that inundates our daily lives can be intimidating and downright confusing, especially for those who didn’t grow up in such a wired world. Some Savannah teens, though, are taking the time to help navigate neophytes through the digital landscape with their “reverse mentoring” technology workshops. Asbury ...

Bishop Bryan announces projected Conference-level appointments

March 06, 2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan has released projected appointments for seven Conference-level positions. All six current district superintendents will be reappointed to serve in their respective districts. Dr. Wayne Moseley will continue to serve as Coastal District Superintendent; Dr. Rick Lanford will continue as North Central Superintendent; Rev. Chris Ramsey will continue to serve as the Northeast District Superintendent; Dr. Buddy Cooper will continue serving as the Northwest District’s ...

Commission moves onward and forward

March 06, 2017
Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia this week, the Commission on a Way Forward continued to make progress towards completing the groundwork for their task, building relationships, engaging in learning, information gathering, working and worshiping together. On Wednesday, the Rev. Donna Pritchard led a morning Bible study of Galatians 2. Later, Commission members joined the staff of the General Board of Global Ministries in the stained-glass sanctuary of Grace United Methodist Church for an Ash ...

Commission on a Way Forward convenes in Atlanta

March 06, 2017
The second meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward got underway in Atlanta Feb. 27 as commission members spent time in reflection, discussion and work team meetings. Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball led the Commission in discussions of accountability and their covenant, the complexity of the work ahead, and building relationships of trust by going deeper in conversation and understanding. These three values – accountability, complexity, trust – are considered essential to taking the steps toward ...

Reinhardt University launches Bachelor of Science in Nursing; enrollment open now

March 06, 2017
Reinhardt University is launching the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to be offered in Cherokee County. Quality healthcare providers always are in demand, and according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, more than 79 percent of employers are requiring or expressing strong preference for nurses with a BSN. And, according to the 2014 edition of Medical Care, an increase of only 10 percent in the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses lowers the odds of mortality by 10.9 ...

Rev. Hanson presented Historic Preservation award

March 06, 2017
On Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, the Friends of Methodist Heritage presented the 2016 Arthur J. Moore Award for Historic Preservation to Rev. Dave Hanson for his work with the history of the South Georgia Conference. Since 2010, when Marynelle Waite was presented with the inaugural Arthur J. Moore Award for Historic Preservation, each year the Archives and History Committee has chosen someone who has shown the same unwavering devotion and hard work for the history of the of the South Georgia ...

2017 appointment-making season begins in the South Georgia Conference

February 20, 2017
It’s appointment-making season in The United Methodist Church, and on Feb. 20 Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet will meet for several days to pray, worship, and begin the decision-making process of appointments. The 2017-2018 appointment-making schedule is available here. “Our appointment system is really not so much about moving preachers from one place to the next, it’s about sending people, lay and clergy, into those places of service into the world so they can be a part of the gospel ...

5 constitutional amendments head to vote

February 20, 2017
By Heather Hahn, UMNS General Conference delegates had their say last year. Now, it’s up to annual conference voters to determine whether five amendments will become part of The United Methodist Church’s constitution. In the coming months, the voters will consider changes that address matters of gender equality, inclusiveness in membership, delegate and bishop elections, as well as bishop accountability. To be ratified, a constitutional amendment first requires at least a two-thirds vote at ...

Congregational Development publishes 40-day devotional

Congregational Development publishes 40-day devotional

February 20, 2017
South Georgia’s Office of Congregational Development has published a new devotional focused on prayer and evangelism called, “Praying for Five: Forging Eternal Friendships Through Daily Prayer.” Click here for a digital copy Perfect for use as a Lent devotion, “Praying for 5” is a 40-day daily devotional book written by South Georgia clergy and lay persons designed to inspire and equip 20,000 people to pray for 100,000 people in South Georgia. “Prayer changes lives,” said Rev. Jay Hanson, ...

Dr. Vivia Fowler to serve as Wesleyan College’s 25th president

February 20, 2017
Wesleyan College is proud to announce Dr. Vivia Lawton Fowler as the institution’s 25th president. Since 2007, Fowler has served Wesleyan as provost and vice president for academic affairs. In August 2016, President Ruth A. Knox announced her retirement effective June 30, 2017. Fowler will assume the responsibilities of president on July 1, 2017. Fowler brings to the position significant experience in higher education, particularly liberal arts higher education for women. An ordained United ...

Shoreline Church launches in Valdosta

February 20, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Popcorn and … Jesus? People usually associate popcorn with movies and Coca-Cola, not the Holy Spirt. But with the familiar smell of popcorn in the air, 144 people piled into the Valdosta Cinemas on Sunday, Feb. 5 not to watch a movie, but to worship. They were there for The Shoreline Church’s launch service, which was the fifth service the new congregation had hosted. After four preview services church leaders decided they were ready to start meeting weekly. South ...

ConneXion Church consecrated, dedicated

February 06, 2017
Savannah church is focused on connection, unity By Kara Witherow, Editor Sunday morning at 11 a.m. has been called “the most segregated hour in this nation.” More than 53 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke those words, and even today, decades later, many pastors grapple with that same issue and still say that churches are among the most divided institutions in American society. One new South Georgia United Methodist Church, however, is trying to break down those barriers and be an ...

Two South Georgia UM churches top growing church list

February 06, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Two South Georgia United Methodist congregations top a well-respected list of growing churches. Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Byron, and The Chapel, a United Methodist congregation in Brunswick, have been ranked number one and number two, respectively, on a list of top 10 United Methodist churches with the highest annual growth over a 10-year period. The Chapel was also recently ranked number 12 on a list of top 25 fastest growing large United ...

A prayer for our country - a message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan

January 23, 2017
A message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan The attention of the nation and the world was focused on our country during last week's inauguration ceremony, and I invite you to join me in reflecting on this event in three ways. First, consider the Social Principles found in the Book of Discipline. These principles represent a prayerful and thoughtful effort to speak to the issues of human life from a sound Biblical foundation expressed in Wesleyan theology and practice. With respect to “The Political ...

Clergy Compensation List now available online

January 23, 2017
The 2017 Clergy Compensation List is now available online to view: http://www.sgaumc.org/clergycompensationlist.  

Conference apportionment giving reaches 90 percent

January 23, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor For the second consecutive year, apportionment giving in the South Georgia Conference reached 90 percent. The total collected for 2016 was $9,377,572.65 on a 10,419,695 budget. Giving was almost level to 2015’s, down only about $400. “Flat” is the word Dr. Derek McAleer used to describe the Conference’s apportionment giving. “It had been increasing and I wish it had increased this year too,” he said. “This is still pretty good, though not quite as good (as last year,...

Connected through disaster

January 23, 2017
Albany-area congregations show the love of Christ as they serve  By Kara Witherow, Editor After the devastating early January storms three weeks ago, members of El Faro, a Hispanic United Methodist congregation in Albany, helped members of Albany First United Methodist Church, Porterfield Memorial United Methodist Church, and other Dougherty County churches clean up and recover. They worked tirelessly, washing, drying, and folding laundry and moving limbs and debris from yards and homes. They...

Deadly storm damages Zoar UMC

January 23, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor A line of deadly storms swept through the Southeast this weekend, killing at least 15 and injuring dozens more in South Georgia alone. The storm system damaged homes, toppled trees, and destroyed much in its path. Zoar United Methodist Church in Baxley sustained major damage to its sanctuary during Sunday morning’s storms. A large pine tree landed on a storage building, destroying it, and the church’s pump house was also crushed in the storm. Debris and wind tore ...

Disaster Response: South Georgia Winter Storms

Disaster Response: South Georgia Winter Storms

January 22, 2017
Devastating storms ripped through South Georgia this weekend, leaving death and destruction in their wake. The most affected areas of the South Georgia Conference were the South Central and Southwest Districts, where 15 people are confirmed dead and at least 43 injured. Just three weeks ago, the same areas were slammed by straight-line winds and tornados. While many are still cleaning up from that storm, they have been faced with more rain, winds, and flooding. “We grieve the loss of life, ...

2017 Annual Conference Session Important Details

January 20, 2017
The following is an email sent out by Dr. Jay Harris, Conference Secretary, with updated details about the 2017 Annual Conference Session set for June 4-7 on Jekyll Island. Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders,   Happy New Year!   Our 2017 Annual Conference Session, set for June 4-7 on Jekyll Island, will be here before you know it. The Conference Program Committee, the Local Arrangements Team, and the Coastal District are excited about welcoming ...

2016 Agency Reports

January 09, 2017
United Methodist Communications (UMNS) The denomination’s communications agency continued its focus on partnerships with other general agencies, conferences and local churches while maintaining its support of the denomination’s mission of making disciples. Read story Higher Education and Ministry (UMNS) The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry wants to make a seminary education more affordable for those called to ministry and increase availability of quality theological ...

Spiritual decluttering: A fresh start for a new year

January 09, 2017
A UMC.org feature by Joe Iovino One of the wonderful things about each new year is that it brings with it a sense of a new beginning, 365 days of promise and possibility. Some use this time to bring freshness to their lives. They may decide to declutter the junk drawer, attic, or garage. It may also mean removing many of the sugars, fats, and carbohydrates from our diets. As a United Methodist church member, parting with some things for a season, may help declutter your spiritual life. Doing ...

United Methodists work to bring relief, hope to storm victims

January 09, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor, and Kelly Roberson, Director of Communications The storm system that tore through Albany last Monday night and into Tuesday morning uprooted trees, destroyed homes, and left thousands without power, but it didn’t break the spirits of those who live, work, and worship there. In the midst of devastation and darkness, United Methodists are working together to shine the light of Christ in an uncertain and anxious time. Individuals and congregations in the Southwest ...

Responding to the storms: Alive Together in Christ as we bear one another's burdens

January 07, 2017
January 7, 2017 To the South Georgia Conference: Devastating straight-line winds and tornadoes have resulted in significant damage in parts of our Southwest District. The United Methodist Churches of that district have moved quickly to alleviate suffering and provide for the basic needs of storm victims. Porterfield Memorial UMC and Albany First UMC are spearheading local UMC efforts to provide for essential needs at this time, providing food and blankets, coordinating clean-up teams, washing ...

Cabinet Information Report now online for clergy to complete; deadline is Feb. 9

January 05, 2017
The Cabinet Information Report (CIR) is now online and available. The deadline to complete the form is Thursday, Feb. 9. During each year’s appointment season the cabinet utilizes the wealth of information reflected on the Cabinet Information Report. Clergy are asked to CAREFULLY review all fields and alert his/her district office of any errors or omissions. Your district office will know the proper way to assist you in correcting your CIR, should the need arise. This report is a snapshot of ...

Administrative Services update: Missional and apportionment giving deadline; RMD giving

December 19, 2016
The last day apportionment payments and mission giving can be applied for the 2016 year is Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. We know this date is early, due to an early deadline from GCFA.  Payments must be received in the conference office by 5 p.m. If you need to send the payments electronically, please contact the Treasurer’s office for information (1-800-535-4224).  Payments received after the deadline will be applied toward the 2017 apportionments. Many Americans 70½ years old and older have ...

Bishop Bryan gets to work immediately with on-boarding, Appreciative Inquiry sessions

December 19, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor Immediately. For Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, it’s not just a catchphrase or a slogan, it’s a way of life. The word immediately is found 40 times in the gospel of Mark, and it’s the way Bishop Bryan, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, has launched his ministry in South Georgia, beginning with several “on-boarding” sessions with Conference leaders and pastors. Bishop Bryan has embraced “on-boarding,” a corporate technique for getting a fast start in ...

Christmas greetings from Bishop Bruce Ough and the Council of Bishops

December 19, 2016
In a Christmas message to the people of The United Methodist Church on behalf of the Council of Bishops, Council president Bishop Bruce Ough reminds us that disruptions in our lives are sometimes God’s call for us to make room for Him in our hearts and our lives. Watch the video here. Bishop Ough’s message follows: “The Christmas story is at its core a story of interrupted and disrupted lives. The Christmas narrative has become so familiar to us that we can’t imagine what an unexpected ...

United Methodists give hope to foster children, families

December 19, 2016
Amanda Holt, left, and Meghan Davis, right, paint dove ornaments to sell to raise money for their organization, Foster Hope. Holt and Davis are United Methodists who are passionate about serving foster children and foster families.  By Kara Witherow, Editor Hope. Christ put on flesh and came to earth to offer hope to people who have no other way to be saved. The Heart Gallery of Georgia and Foster Hope are offering hope and healing to children who have no resources and no one to turn to for...

Council president addresses “Division and Discord”

December 05, 2016
In a pre-holiday, post-election letter to the people of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, called upon all Christians to “remember who we are” in this time of tension and anxiety and work to overcome hatred and discrimination. The letter follows: To the People Called United Methodist: Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ! On the eve of Advent and in the post-election climate in the United States, I write as President of the Council ...

Deacons: Bringing the Church to the world

December 05, 2016
Rev. Aimee Baxter, right, and her friend Kathryn, also an Adoption Recruiter, ate at Wendy's on Nov. 19, National Adoption Day, because the restaurant gave 15 percent of restaurant sales to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the United Methodist clergy deacon in full membership. By Kara Witherow, Editor On any given day, Rev. Aimee Baxter could be counseling teenagers who are waiting to be adopted, working with families hoping to ...

Savannah churches feed community on Christmas morning

December 05, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor This Christmas, Savannah’s oldest and newest congregations will join forces to feed hundreds of hungry residents a warm, hearty breakfast. In its sixth year, this tradition will get a new spin for 2016 as Trinity United Methodist Church – more than 200 years old – and ConneXion Church – birthed this year – band together.  Trinity UMC first hosted this breakfast in 2011 after member Joseph Smith came up with the idea as a way to give back to the community that has ...

St. Marys UMC Foundation approves grants for fall

December 05, 2016
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. approved grants for the Fall 2016 Grant Cycle. Grants totaling $603,020 will be made available to 14 tax-exempt organizations the week of December 5, 2016. The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. Adoption Share (www.adoption-share.com) A $25,000 grant to Adoption Share in Brunswick, Georgia to develop an assessment tool for Family Match, a program for children and ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Stop Expecting Uninvited Company

December 05, 2016
The Congregational Development Corner: 10 for 10 (10 steps for 10 percent growth) During the 2016 Annual Conference session, action steps for congregational growth were shared during a Fruitfulness in Evangelism panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Jay Hanson, director of Congregational Development. Five clergy – Rev. Antonie Walker, Rev. Leigh Ann Raynor, Rev. Hale Bishop, Rev. Matt Hearn, and Rev. Jim Cowart – each shared two key tools for evangelism and growth and together gave clergy and lay ...

Bishop Bryan: An update on the Commission on a Way Forward

November 29, 2016
To the South Georgia Conference: I want to personally give you an update on where we are as a denomination with the Commission on a Way Forward and the proposed called General Conference session. The Commission's mission is to "bring together persons deeply committed to the future(s) of The United Methodist Church, with an openness to developing new relationships with each other and exploring the potential future(s) of our denomination in light of General Conference and subsequent annual, ...

Lindsey elected to serve second quadrennium on Global Ministries’ board

November 21, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor Allison Lindsey, an associate director for Connectional Ministries, was elected to serve on the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). Nominated and elected at Global Ministries’ first board meeting held at their new home in Atlanta Oct. 19-22, this will be Lindsey’s second quadrennium to serve on the general church agency board. The global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations, Global...

Make thanksgiving an everyday habit

November 21, 2016
Colquitt United Methodist Church's altar, designed by Peggy Chambers, is decorated for Thanksgiving.  By Kara Witherow, Editor Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, express gratitude, and reflect on God’s blessings. One day, though, doesn’t seem enough for all God has bestowed upon His creation. While Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, thanking God is a spiritual discipline that should not be limited to a single day. How, then, can believers ...

Preparations begin for Minneapolis General Conference in 2020

November 21, 2016
A new Commission on General Conference met Nov. 7-9, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla., to begin organization for the 2020 General Conference to be held in Minneapolis. The officers of the Commission on the General Conference for 2017-2020 are Duncan McMillan of the North Carolina Conference, chairperson; Marie-Jeanne Kashala Mujinga, vice-chairperson, South-West Katanga Conference; and Kim Simpson, Secretary, Central Texas Conference. The Commission voted that the Rev. Gary W. Graves, ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Stop Communicating for Information

November 21, 2016
The Congregational Development Corner: 10 for 10 (10 steps for 10 percent growth) During the 2016 Annual Conference session, action steps for congregational growth were shared during a Fruitfulness in Evangelism panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Jay Hanson, director of Congregational Development. Five clergy – Rev. Antonie Walker, Rev. Leigh Ann Raynor, Rev. Hale Bishop, Rev. Matt Hearn, and Rev. Jim Cowart – each shared two key tools for evangelism and growth and together gave clergy and lay...

UM congregations band together to reach young adults

November 21, 2016
Kara Witherow, Editor The headlines are alarming: “Millennials leaving church in droves, study says,” “Can We Stop the 70 Percent of Young Adults Who Drop Out of Church?,” and “5 Possible Reasons Young Americans Are Leaving Church and Christianity Behind.” If believed, one might think that young adults rarely step foot inside a church or want anything to do with organized religion. What statistics do show, however, is that about 70 percent of young adults ages 18 to 22 stop attending church ...

South Georgia churches hold Election Day prayer services

November 08, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor On a day when Americans are sharply divided, many South Georgia churches are trying to bridge that divide with prayer. Several churches are opening their sanctuaries to prayer, hosting Election Day prayer services, and using the day as an opportunity to bring unity to fractured communities. “There is such a sense of division, rancor, and anger within our nation and world,” said Rev. Cathy Green, pastor of Pinson Memorial United Methodist Church in Sylvester, which ...

Data can help congregations understand communities, shape programming

November 07, 2016
By Kara WItherow, Editor *This is the second of a two-part series on the ways data can help local churches. Who lives near your church? Single, working mothers? Baby Boomers? Young families?  Do you know?  Knowing your community – your target audience – is important to being successful in your outreach efforts. But it isn’t always easy to access the information you need to get to know your neighbors. Since 2009, the South Georgia Conference has partnered with MissionInsite to provide ...

Jesup congregations join to serve community

November 07, 2016
A sweet potato drop was the culmination of the Love Your Neighbor week’s events. More than 200 volunteers bagged and distributed more than 20,000 sweet potatoes. Photo courtesy of Rev. Melissa Traver By Kara Witherow, Editor In Matthew 28, Jesus issued the Great Commission to his disciples: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations …” Three congregations in Jesup acted on that command last month when they joined together to serve their community in a “Love Your Neighbor: A Week of ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Preparing for guests

November 07, 2016
The Congregational Development Corner: 10 for 10 (10 steps for 10 percent growth) During the 2016 Annual Conference session, action steps for congregational growth were shared during a Fruitfulness in Evangelism panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Jay Hanson, director of Congregational Development. Five clergy – Rev. Antonie Walker, Rev. Leigh Ann Raynor, Rev. Hale Bishop, Rev. Matt Hearn, and Rev. Jim Cowart – each shared two key tools for evangelism and growth and together gave clergy and lay...

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference

November 02, 2016
Sets forth actions to involve the whole church in prayer and conversation St. Simons Island, Ga.: Through an affirmative vote at their fall meeting this week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their intent to call for a special session of the General Conference in either February or March of 2019 and asked the business manager of  the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. The Constitution of The United Methodist Church provides that the ...

Annual Conference 2017: Dates, Venue, Hotels

October 17, 2016
The Annual Conference Planning Committee and the Local Arrangements Committee are preparing for the 2017 Annual Conference Session, set for Sunday, June 4, through Wednesday, June 7, at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island. We are excited about meeting in our new venue and being led by our new Episcopal leader, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan. God has placed upon Bishop Bryan’s heart and mind a scriptural touchstone for leading us as an annual conference over the next four years. That ...

South Georgia United Methodists respond swiftly to help during Hurricane Matthew

October 17, 2016
Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island was hit hard during Hurricane Matthew, but did not sustain any major damage. Photo courtesy of Brady Shierling By Kara Witherow, Editor Hurricane Matthew’s powerful winds and blinding rain struck Georgia’s coast during the late evening hours of Friday, Oct. 7 and lasted through the night into Saturday morning. Though the storm was not as powerful as first predicted and took a jog to the east before striking the coast, it brought torrential rain, ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Market It!

October 17, 2016
The Congregational Development Corner: 10 for 10 (10 steps for 10 percent growth) During the 2016 Annual Conference session, action steps for congregational growth were shared during a Fruitfulness in Evangelism panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Jay Hanson, director of Congregational Development. Five clergy – Rev. Antonie Walker, Rev. Leigh Ann Raynor, Rev. Hale Bishop, Rev. Matt Hearn, and Rev. Jim Cowart – each shared two key tools for evangelism and growth and together gave clergy and lay...

Valdosta First UMC opens doors to hurricane evacuees and their pets

October 17, 2016
Jill and Bill Todd evacuated their St. Augustine, Fla. home with their dog, Max, and found shelter at Valdosta First United Methodist Church. By Kara Witherow, Editor At one point during their evacuation from deadly Hurricane Matthew, Jill and Bill Todd thought they were going to have to spend a night in a 24-hour McDonald’s.  The couple, along with Max, their small mix-breed dog, evacuated their St. Augustine, Fla. home at noon on Thursday, Oct. 6. After finding that their hotel reservation...

United Methodist Church ads offer hope after hurricane

October 13, 2016
Beginning this week, The United Methodist Church will run 30 second television ads in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina markets.  "Church happens as we respond in Haiti, The Bahamas, and the southeastern US to Hurricane Matthew's devastation," says a narrator. The ad explains that The United Methodist Church will go beyond helping neighbors rebuild and will stay until recovery is complete.  "The power of love can overcome the forces of nature," the message concludes. The ...

2016 Conference Journal ready for orders and download

October 03, 2016
Journal includes conference business, directories, reports, appointments, and statistical tables The 2016 Journal of the South Georgia Annual Conference is now available for purchase. As was the process in 2015, those wishing to purchase a Conference Journal will order their copy(ies) online directly from the printer. The cost of the Journal is $20 each plus tax and shipping. Click here to order your copy of the 2016 Journal of the South Georgia Annual Conference.*  The Journal is also ...

Downloadable statistical tables help local churches use data

October 03, 2016
*This is the first of a two-part story on the ways statistical data can help local churches. In an effort to help local churches more effectively use the data they’ve compiled and submitted through the Statistical Tables that they complete in February of each year, the Administrative Services Office has created and made available for download an Excel file with all 616 churches’ statistics in one large table, for sorting and analysis. The file also includes separate tabs for each district so ...

Harvest Church helps give written language, Bible to unreached people groups

October 03, 2016
Millions of people around the world don’t have access to the Bible in their own language. In fact, more than 50 percent of world languages are still in need of completed Bible translations. A recent State of the Bible survey, which polled 2,000 Americans and was conducted by the Barna Group, found that 72 percent of Americans believe the Bible is available in all of the world’s languages. However, the report states that only 43 percent of languages actually have Bible translations available. ...

Small-town church, big-time heart

October 03, 2016
Written and submitted by Rev. Tom Dent, pastor of Woodbine UMC There’s a small town in Southeast Georgia that is like many towns in the South Georgia Conference. People driving on U.S. 17 probably don’t even notice it. There’s one traffic light and, if you’re lucky, there could be two restaurants open. (But only if you’re driving through Tuesday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.!) That small town is Woodbine. It’s off Interstate 95, only 14 miles from the Florida border. Like many ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Plan for Success

October 03, 2016
The Congregational Development Corner: 10 for 10 (10 steps for 10 percent growth) During the 2016 Annual Conference session, action steps for congregational growth were shared during a Fruitfulness in Evangelism panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Jay Hanson, director of Congregational Development. Five clergy – Rev. Antonie Walker, Rev. Leigh Ann Raynor, Rev. Hale Bishop, Rev. Matt Hearn, and Rev. Jim Cowart – each shared two key tools for evangelism and growth and together gave clergy and lay...

Tips for including church members in your service

October 03, 2016
Laity Sunday is Oct. 16 By Darby Jones, United Methodist Communications The word laity is from the Greek word, laos, meaning “people of God.” It is used to describe members of a congregation or parish who are not a part of the clergy. By letting laity plan services and offer ideas for worship, the pastor and worship team members can get a little respite, and participating members may find a deeper connection within the church. Laity Sunday is a specific day to include church members in the ...

Bryan installed as bishop of South Georgia

September 19, 2016
Photos Click here to view photos from the service taken by Cameron Bishop. Video of the Service By Kara Witherow, Editor In the oldest Methodist church in Georgia, on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and his wife, Sherrill, were officially welcomed to the South Georgia Conference and Bishop Bryan was installed as resident bishop. Mulberry Street United Methodist Church’s historic sanctuary was filled with clergy and laity from around the conference who came to welcome the ...

It’s time for a strategy of investment

September 19, 2016
The United Methodist Church is divided over the issue of human sexuality and the denomination seems to be at a crossroads. There is considerable disagreement among laity, clergy, and even bishops, so The South Georgia Advocate asked Bishop Lawson Bryan to address the concerns many have about the issue and to share where he thinks The UMC is headed and how the South Georgia Conference should respond or lead. By Bishop R. Lawson Bryan As I said in my statement on the SEJ website as part of the ...

Statesboro United Methodists serve, heal in Haiti

September 19, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor Living in the United States it’s hard to imagine not seeing a medical professional in five or more years. Not a nurse, a doctor, a dentist, an optometrist, a pharmacist – no one. And it’s even harder to imagine walking three miles, barefoot, to see a medical provider when you do need one. That’s what life is like for many in Haiti, a country that was devastated by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in January 2010 and then hit by Hurricane Isaac in August 2012. There, ...

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Our Contact Information

Episcopal Office: P.O. Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209 478-475-9286

Administrative Office: P.O. Box 13145 - Macon, GA 31208 800-535-4224

Connectional Ministries: P.O. Box 20408 - St. Simons Island, GA 31522 888-266-7642

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.