OVERFLOW in worship
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Even before moving to the South Georgia Conference I heard of a most inspiring moment at last year’s annual conference session. The delegates ...
Lessons from small-membership congregations
FOCUS ON THE VISION DENISE WALTON How many of us have experience worshipping or attending a small church? Over the last few months, I have met and experienced church with some ...
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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, 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, ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Raise the Bar

September 19, 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...

Growing in Blessedness

September 18, 2016
UMW Annual Meeting 2016 South Georgia Conference United Methodist Women has been “Growing in Blessedness” in 2016. The conference Annual Meeting, being held on Saturday, Oct. 15 at White Bluff United Methodist Church in Savannah, will highlight the year’s work. “White Bluff UMC is hosting the meeting this year and we are really looking forward to a great day of celebration of the blessings God has bestowed on the work we have done all over South Georgia,” said Mary Exley, Conference UMW ...

Young Harris College recognized as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report

September 18, 2016
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College has been named a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. YHC is ranked 174 amongst the first tier of institutions. The College also received a ranking of 80 on the High School Counselor Rankings for Liberal Arts Colleges. The liberal arts colleges making the U.S. News list emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences, which include such disciplines as English, the biological...

Attention clergy: take the HealthQuotient by Sept. 30 for savings

September 12, 2016
Attention clergy and clergy spouses who are HealthFlex active plan participants: the HealthQuotient is here; take it today! Deadline for savings is September 30. The WebMD HealthQuotient (HQ) online health risk assessment is a great step toward preventing disease and managing health risks. This online tool is a fast and easy way to evaluate how personal health factors, lifestyle habits, and family medical history may raise your risk for serious conditions like heart disease or diabetes. The HQ ...

Bishop R. Lawson Bryan begins serving as South Georgia’s bishop

September 06, 2016
Bishop Robert Lawson Bryan began his role as South Georgia Conference’s episcopal leader Thursday, Sept. 1 and will serve as the conference’s bishop for the next four years. He succeeds Bishop James R. King, Jr., who retired after serving eight years as South Georgia’s episcopal leader. Bishop Bryan was elected bishop Wednesday, July 13 at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference’s quadrennial meeting at Lake Junaluska, N.C. On the tenth ballot, Bishop Bryan, 66, received 256 of 375 votes ...

Q & A with Bishop R. Lawson Bryan

September 06, 2016
Episcopal leader of the South Georgia Area “God’s prevenient grace has met me at every turn of the road …” As Bishop Bryan begins his service as the new episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, the Advocate asked him a series of questions to get to know him and his guiding principles. ADVOCATE: Welcome back to South Georgia! You spent part of your childhood in Bainbridge. What’s it like to return to South Georgia? BISHOP BRYAN: I am grateful to have spent the first 12 years of my ...

Rev. Jimmy Pennell Named 2016 Chief Junaluska

September 06, 2016
Lake Junaluska, NC – Rev. Jimmy Pennell was recognized as the 2016 Chief Junaluska recipient during Lake Junaluska Associates Weekend held on Aug. 6. “As we recognize our Chief Junaluska for 2016, Rev. Jimmy Pennell is one that fell in love with Lake Junaluska at a young age. He is being named Chief to recognize his multitude of contributions of time, energy, and financial support that makes the lake such a special place,” said Dr. Bob Bowling, the Lake Junaluska Associates President. The ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Using every tool in the toolbox

September 06, 2016
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 attendees 10 action steps for 10 ...

Wrightsville First UMC meets community need with preschool

September 06, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor For years, Janibeth Outlaw knew that Wrightsville needed a church-based preschool.  It became a pressing reality, though, when she had to drive to Sandersville to take her oldest son, Judson, now 4, to preschool.  Spending hours in the car wasn’t ideal for either of them, and they weren’t the only ones doing all that driving.  Residents of Wrightsville, a small community of about 2,200 people, had to drive nearly 30 miles to Dublin, Sandersville, or Swainsboro if ...

Liberty UMC cemetery remains a vital part of faith community

September 05, 2016
The GUMF’s “A Legacy of Faith” video, available at www.gumf.org/fm/media, features Liberty UMC’s Cemetery. Photo provided courtesy of Rev. David Wood of GNTV Media Ministry. Have you ever felt saddened by the site of a neglected cemetery? Preserving the final resting places of our loved ones can become difficult as family members move or pass away or when a church fails to make the proper financial provisions to do so. Fortunately this is not the case at Liberty UMC in Macon, Ga. where ...

Update on Commission on a Way Forward

August 31, 2016
Overwhelming response delays appointments Washington, D.C.: The Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee says that an overwhelming number of nominations for the Commission on a Way Forward has delayed the appointment of Commission members. More time is needed for all nominees to be given adequate consideration. Following their July meeting, the Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee asked all current residential and retired bishops to nominate up to five persons by Aug. 15. At that time, they ...

Andrew College announces final approval of Regenerative Agriculture degree program

August 15, 2016
Andrew College received official notification in July from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) that the agency has granted their request to begin an associate degree program in regenerative agriculture. Andrew College President Dr. Linda Buchanan said that the college is extremely pleased to receive the approval and is accepting students for fall enrollment. Dr. Drew Schiavone, Ph.D. heads up the new program which focuses on regenerative farming ...

Columbus congregation stocks school clinic

August 15, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor Thanks to generous children and a congregation that cares, Columbus’ Allen Elementary School is stocked with necessary clinic supplies for the entire school year. The creative mission project was part of Epworth United Methodist Church’s focus during Vacation Bible School this summer, but the response was so strong that it was extended into June and July.   Children and church members donated sandwich bags, adhesive bandages, tissues, cotton balls, hand sanitizer, and...

Conference leaders start new roles

August 15, 2016
Laity and clergy from across South Georgia have assumed new roles on the Conference level. These individuals were nominated and approved to serve with the South Georgia Conference during the 2016 Annual Conference session. Their terms officially began July 1, 2016. Dean of the Cabinet: Dr. Rick Lanford, superintendent of the North Central District Annual Conference Worship Chairs: Rev. Stephanie Smith, associate pastor of Pittman Park United Methodist Church in Statesboro, and Rev. Jonathan ...

Rhodes newly appointed United Methodist Men’s president

August 15, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor Donald Rhodes is the newly appointed president for the United Methodist Men of the South Georgia Conference. He has served in various capacities in the local UMM unit at Warner Robins First United Methodist Church, including two years as president. This is his first Conference level service with UMM. The native and lifelong resident of Warner Robins was introduced during the 2016 Annual Conference session and began his four-year term of service July 1. He and his ...

The Congregational Development Corner

August 15, 2016
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 attendees 10 action steps for 10 ...

Wesleyan President Ruth Knox announces retirement

August 15, 2016
Ruth Knox will retire from Wesleyan College effective June 30, 2017, after a 15-year tenure as president. Ruth Austin Knox announced Thursday, Aug. 11 that she will retire from Wesleyan College effective June 30, 2017, after a 15-year tenure as president. “This is a natural time for fresh leadership,” said Knox, citing the completion of the College’s current strategic plan. “I have never felt more confident in our mission, in the quality of the Wesleyan Experience, and in the people who are ...

Churches embrace Pokémon Go craze

August 01, 2016
Will Medders, left, and Mason Schneider, right, both members of The Chapel in Brunswick, play Pokémon Go and appreciate how churches have opened their doors to players. By Kara Witherow, Editor They come on bikes, in cars, and on foot. They are young and young at heart. And they’re usually looking down at their phones as they wander onto church property. Who are they and what, exactly, are they doing? They’re Pokémon Go players, out trying to capture Pokémon (which means pocket monsters in ...

New Wesley Foundation will launch this month in Brunswick

August 01, 2016
The Watering Hole, a summer worship service in Glynn County, will help launch the new Coastal Wesley Foundation. Photo by Sarah Spivey with The Darkroom Photography. By Kara Witherow, Editor What began 20 years ago when a few young adults gathered in a small room at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island has laid the groundwork for a campus ministry in Brunswick. The Watering Hole, a summer worship service for college age young adults in Glynn County, has been a popular ministry since its ...

South Georgia returns to East Africa, provides funding for eight projects

August 01, 2016
Rev. Denise Walton, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries in the South Georgia Conference, left, and Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Annual Conference, sign a Memorandum of Understanding. By Rev. Denise Walton, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries The South Georgia Annual Conference has a long history of partnership, mission, and ministry with the East Africa Annual Conference. Two of our primary points of focus have been Humble United Methodist School ...

The Congregational Development Corner

August 01, 2016
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 Anne 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 attendees 10 action steps for 10 ...

Council Executive Committee affirms unity, moves forward

July 25, 2016
Nashville, Tenn.: Meeting in Chicago July 19-20, the Council of Bishops' Executive Committee approved a framework for implementing the Commission on a Way Forward and took a step toward a called session of the General Conference in 2018. The Council acknowledged that the landscape of the church has changed dramatically since the General Conference approved the Council's proposal in May, but re-affirmed their commitment to lead the church forward. "The reported declarations of non-compliance from...

Bishop King preaches opening message of love, unity, fruitfulness

July 18, 2016
Photo by Matt Brodie, SCUMC Bishop James R. King, Jr., who will retire Sept. 1 after serving 16 years as an episcopal leader – eight in South Georgia and eight in Kentucky – preached the opening worship service of the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and greeted those gathered in Lake Junaluska, N.C. with his trademark, “Hello, beautiful people!” His sermon, “Focus on love,” emphasized unity and fruitfulness. Speaking to a Church that has been mired in rumors of schism for several...

Bishop R. Lawson Bryan assigned to South Georgia

July 18, 2016
Bishop Robert Lawson Bryan has been assigned to the South Georgia Conference and will serve as the conference’s bishop for the next four years. The assignment begins Sept. 1. He will succeed Bishop James R. King, Jr., who is retiring. Bishop Bryan was elected bishop Wednesday, July 13 at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference’s quadrennial meeting at Lake Junaluska, N.C. On the tenth ballot, Bishop Bryan, 66, received 256 of 375 votes cast. He is currently serving as senior pastor of ...

South Georgians elected to serve on general church boards

July 18, 2016
Two South Georgia United Methodists, Dr. Brad Brady and Kelly Roberson, have been nominated and elected to serve on general church agency boards by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Dr. Brady, senior pastor at Perry United Methodist Church, has for a second quadrennium been elected to serve on the Connectional Table. Established by the 2004 General Conference, the Connectional Table oversees the coordination of mission, ministries, and resources across the denomination. The purpose of...

Southeastern Jurisdiction plans missional initiative

July 18, 2016
Bishops in the Southeastern Jurisdiction are launching a missional initiative that will focus on the following: new forms of church beyond the walls; children and poverty, unity and human sexuality; making disciples; and finally structure, finance and the future church. The hope is that this work will help guide the human-sexuality commission that the Council of Bishops is forming. Southeastern Jurisdiction delegates, by voice vote, affirmed the initiative late July 14. A Missional Initiative ...

What a day! SEJ elects five new bishops, makes history

July 18, 2016
Photo by Matt Brodie, SCUMC There is no place in Methodism that has seen more episcopal elections than Stuart Auditorium on the campus of Lake Junaluska. By the close of the afternoon session July 13, five new bishops had been elected in the historic building that has been the site of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference since 1956. Among the five new bishops is the first African-American female bishop elected by the Southeastern Jurisdiction, the Rev. Sharma Lewis. In addition to ...

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop James R. King, Jr. - July 16, 2016

July 16, 2016
A Pastoral Letter from Bishop James R. King, Jr. July 16, 2016 Dear Beautiful People of the South Georgia Conference, We are in a season where it is difficult to find people who are not anxious about the future, angry about the status quo, or generally find it difficult to have a deep sense of peace and joy about life. There is confusion, pain, and grief all around us. I know many of you have questions about the action taken by the Western Jurisdiction in electing an openly gay bishop. Indeed, ...

SEJ budget reduces by sixty percent

July 13, 2016
By Sybil Davidson, SEJ Daily Christian Advocate   The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference approved a budget of $1,774,000 for the 2017–2020 quadrennium. The budget passed as recommended by the SEJ Committee on Finance and Administration and reflects a 60 percent reduction over the previous budget.  Starting the report with song, Jim Allen sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain" before sharing good news from CFA.   "This report reflects a faithful commitment to the ministries of the Jurisdiction ...

2016 Jurisdictional Conference is July 13-15

July 05, 2016
The 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will meet July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, NC. The 2016 Conference theme is Hope and Unity in Christ, based on Hebrews 6:18-19a. Like the worldwide legislative meeting known as General Conference, jurisdictional conferences meet once every four years. However, while General Conference handles denominational matters across the globe, each jurisdictional gathering covers business related to one of the ...

Applications being accepted for S3 clergy groups

July 05, 2016
Looking for a group of men or women clergy with whom you can be completely honest? Looking for a group where you can laugh, cry, pray, study, and eat well together? What if somebody paid your way to do this for two years, with no strings attached except for some minor reporting? What if the group was self-selected … that nobody mandated who was in your group, when and where you had to meet or what you had to study or do or how to serve?  You can form just such a group, joining 12 other S-3 ...

Higher Education and Ministry to celebrate six milestones this year

July 05, 2016
This year, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) will celebrate several milestones: the 250 year anniversary of Methodism in the Americas; the 200 year anniversary of the Course of Study; the 150 year anniversary of the Methodist Board of Education; the 60 year anniversary of full clergy rights for women; the 25 year anniversary of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU); and the 20 year anniversary of the establishment of the ...

The Congregational Development Corner

July 05, 2016
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 attendees 10 action steps for 10 ...

VSU Wesley Foundation supports, nurtures young author, illustrator

July 05, 2016
By Kara Witherow, Editor As a 6-year-old girl, Alison Stephen wrote and illustrated her own stories and dreamed of the day when one would be published. But as she grew older, insecurity set in and she began to doubt her talent and abilities. She also wondered whether she could succeed and make art her career. Stephen gave up on her dream. God, though, didn’t give up on her. A Nashville, Ga. native, after graduating from Berrien High School Stephen enrolled in Valdosta State University and...

2016 Annual Conference full of celebration and commemoration

June 13, 2016
Bishop James King preaches during his eighth and final South Georgia Annual Conference session. By Kara Witherow, Editor Each year, Annual Conference is a time to worship, fellowship, and conduct the business of the conference. This year, South Georgia United Methodists also celebrated Bishop James King’s eight years of ministry as episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference and the conference’s 150th anniversary. It was a session full of celebration and commemoration, with an Evening ...

2016-2017 Appointments

June 13, 2016
On Saturday, June 11, Bishop James King fixed the 2016-2017 pastoral appointments for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Click here to view the clergy appointments for 2016-2017. Please note: if you find a discrepancy in the appointment list, please contact your district office.

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Our Contact Information

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

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