December 15, 2010 / Volume 9, No. 21
Good news from heaven the angels bring, glad tidings to earth they sing;
to us this day a child is given, to crown us with the joy of heaven.
[NOTE: This is the final issue of The Link for 2010. The first issue of 2011 will be sent the first week in January.]
Click here to download a printable version of The Link.
The staff of the South Georgia Annual Conference wishes you
and yours a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
The Christmas Story
At last year's Birthday Party for Jesus at the Methodist Home for Children and Youth in Macon Bishop King shared with them the Christmas Story. Check out his blog to view: www.bishopking.com.
Disciple Covenant Conference - Make plans to attend!
Are you longing for love, joy, peace, or healing as well as a way to grow in your Christian walk as a disciple Jesus Christ? By combining Bible-based values and starting where you are, you can continue to improve on becoming the best person you can be. You also can work with others on your team to help your congregation grow more Christlike. The Disciple Covenant Conference (DCC) is an experience where clergy, staff and laity come together to develop or improve personal as well as congregational covenants based on timeless values of our faith. The DCC is set for February 11-12, 2011 at the Macon Centreplex (Coliseum) in Macon. Mark your calendar now! Begin to think who will be on your team. (Hopefully 3-10 persons.) The DCC is an experience you will not want to miss. Visit www.disciplecovenantconference.org for all of the details and to register. Click here to read a letter from Bishop King.
2011 Confirmation Retreat Dates
Please make note that the 2011 South Georgia Conference Confirmation Retreat dates are set for March 4-6 and March 18-20. Both retreats will be held at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, GA. More detailed information will be forthcoming.
Technology Workshop will explore church technology software
“Using All God’s Tools” is a workshop series that helps local churches with various aspects of technology. The next workshop is set for January 29, 2011, at Nashville UMC in Nashville, GA. This workshop will focus on selecting the best church presentation software for your worship service. If you are searching for new worship presentation software or you need some fresh ideas for your current software, join us for this day long training session. We will explore several of the most popular products on the market, how they compare to each other and how to best use them in your worship service. The workshop begins at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude by 3:00 p.m. Cost is $15 and 0.5 CEU’s are available. Download the flyer here. For more information contact Kelly Roberson at email@example.com.
2011 Special Sundays
Click here to view the list of the 2011 Special Sundays.
NEWS FROM THE SOUTH GEORGIA ADVOCATE
Take a look at the following news stories that appeared in the South Georgia Advocate. If you are not already a subscriber, make sure to subscribe today! Subscribe online here or mail your check, payable to "South Georgia Advocate," P.O. Box 660275 / Dallas, TX 75266-0275. Pay by credit card by calling 1.877.465.1685. A one year subscription is $25 (or $23 for subscribers 65 and older). Share your news by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Note from Bishop King
Can You Afford Christmas?
A different kind of Advent celebration in Brunswick
The Advent season, once a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, has, to many, become a season of stress, shopping and spending. Six churches in the Brunswick area are conspiring to change that, vowing to celebrate Advent differently this year. Their “Advent Celebration” is a local version of the international Advent Conspiracy movement, which has more than 1,000 churches in 17 countries participating as “co-conspirators” in justice projects around the world. Brunswick First, College Place, Emanuel, Lakeside, Taylors and The Chapel United Methodist Churches are joining together to make a big impact, both in their local community and in the world. More>>
Harvest Church launches satellite campus and fifth
Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Byron and one of the fastest-growing Protestant churches in the United States, has recently added a second campus and fifth weekend worship service. Located at the Houston Lakes Stadium Cinemas in Kathleen, about four miles away from Harvest Church’s main campus, the new Kathleen location is a throwback to Harvest’s early days – before moving to their current location on Highway 41 in Byron, Harvest Church met for five years in the Galleria movie theater at the Warner Robins mall. The congregation and staff are excited about being back in a movie theater, says pastor Rev. Jim Cowart, and hosting a worship service in a theater is familiar ground. The church, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in February, was recently told by a consultant that, if it continues to grow at its current pace, it would outgrow its current facilities and space in two years. More>>
Perry UMC's Snax Sax helps keep kids from going hungry
For less than the cost of a cup of premium coffee, a child won’t have to go through the weekend hungry.
Many families in South Georgia and across the United States rely on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Free and Reduced Lunch program to feed their children breakfast and lunch during the school week. But what happens on the weekends? Some children, not having eaten enough food during the weekend, show up hungry at school Monday morning. Through their Brian Bowen’s Snax Sax program, Perry United Methodist Church is trying to change that. Linda Mason, Perry UMC’s missions committee chairwoman, said that the Snax Sax program is a way the church can provide a nutritious snack to those children who have little or nothing to eat during the weekend. More>>
Crocheting chains of love
Blessed be the tie that binds, but blessed also are the “chains” that connect one person to another. Nearly every Tuesday afternoon, a small group of women gather at Morgan's Chapel United Methodist Church in Townsend. For about three hours, the ladies knit, crochet, fellowship and create chains of love. The chain stitch, the foundation for all crochet stitches, is the beginning stitch in almost every crochet pattern. They are used over and over again as the women lovingly crochet and knit blankets every Tuesday. When complete, the blankets are given away to church members and their families who are sick or recovering from injuries or illnesses. Started this summer, the Morgan’s Chapel Blanket Ministry has already given away more than 10 handmade blankets. They are important outward expressions of people’s care, says Morgans Chapel UMC pastor Rev. Melissa Traver. More>>
NEWS FROM THE CONNECTION
RethinkChurch.org launches December 15
(UMCom) The United Methodist Church officially launched a newly redesigned website for young adult spiritual seekers, RethinkChurch.org, which invites visitors to question, discuss, get involved and make a difference.
Throughout December, advertising on cable networks (ABC Family, Comedy Central, Discovery and MTV) and multiple digital channels will direct viewers to the new site. The advertising messages are informed by research that says 18- to 34-year-olds desire to make a difference with their lives.
The initial advertising emphasizes the importance of giving of one’s self at Christmas, with the message "What does the world really need for Christmas this year? Hope, peace, joy and love. Find out how you can give of yourself. Rethink Church this Christmas." Beginning on December 26, new spots emphasize living more simply so that we may ultimately focus attention on the needs of others by asking the question, “Should we live more simply, so others can simply live?” More>>
Simple living not necessarily simple
(UMNS) John Wesley espoused three simple rules: Do no harm, do good and stay in love with God. Though these rules sound — and are — incredibly simple, actually practicing them is anything but easy. “I have a hunger for us to return to some of the original values and lifestyles of the early church and the early Methodist movement,” the Rev. Ryan Wieland, 28, said. He serves Ridley Park United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania. He cited Acts 2:45 (The Message). “They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.” Recently, United Methodist Communications asked 4,000 United Methodists how they felt about simple living, using the definition: “a lifestyle characterized by consuming only that which is required to sustain life.” More than 500 people, both laity and clergy, answered the survey. More>>
Anti-malaria campaign begins in Sierra Leone
While many Americans were watching Thanksgiving football games, United Methodists in this southern Sierra Leone city took to another kind of football field to save lives. On Nov. 25, United Methodists joined government officials at Bo Coronation Field to launch a nationwide campaign to fight the spread of mosquito-borne malaria. The United Methodist Church has joined with the Sierra Leone government and other international organizations to provide more than 3 million insecticide-treated bed nets to the people of Sierra Leone, where malaria is a leading cause of death. The campaign also is administering polio vaccinations, Vitamin A tablets and de-worming medicine to children under 5. More>>
Give fair-trade holiday campaign, web site has special offers, gift pledge, stories
Both the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have been long-time advocates for buying fair trade items through programs like Reverse Trick-or-Treating. Now GBCS and UMCOR are supporting a new resource that makes it even easier to shop fair trade. Imagine if every gift you purchased this holiday season helped communities around the world. Imagine if every gift you purchased this holiday season helped communities around the world by:
--empowering families to send their children to school, or
--building clean water wells that saved dozens of children from dying in infancy, or
--using recycled or sustainably harvested materials.
These are possible through joining the “Give Fair Trade Campaign” and blog. Fair-trade gifts give you an opportunity to put your faith into practice. Through fair trade, you can change the way our world consumes material and values the work of people. From now until Dec. 20, check out the Give Fair Trade blog at givefairtrade.wordpress.com to see daily featured fair-trade gift and special offers. More>>
Imagine No Malaria joins new social network
(UMNS) A new social network for changing the world has just launched, and The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign has wasted no time in taking advantage of it. Jumo, created by Facebook founder Chris Hughes, has plenty of potential, said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications. The Nashville-based agency coordinates the campaign. “Jumo will be important because it (offers) another channel for providing information to people interested in preventing deaths caused by malaria,” Hollon said. More>>
Save the Date: Exploration 2011
Exploration 2011, an event for young adults who feel God’s call to ordained ministry as a deacon or elder in The United Methodist Church, will take place Nov. 11-13 in St. Louis, Mo.
The event provides a chance to explore the call to ordained ministry through worship, prayer, workshops, networking, and small groups.
Sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Exploration 2011 is open to young adults age 18 to 26. The registration fee will cover a two-night stay at the Millennium Hotel, meals, and program fees. Updates and registration information will be posted on the event web site at www.gbhem.org/exploration.
UMNS publishes rural church series
(UMCom) United Methodist News Service will publish a multimedia series on the struggles and triumphs of the denomination's rural churches in the U.S. The package will be posted to www.umc.org during the week of Dec. 13-17. It will include multiple articles, videos, photos and a slide show. The United Methodist Church has an estimated 20,000 rural churches today, representing more than six in 10 of the denomination's U.S. congregations. This series will show how the decline of rural America is affecting some of the denomination's most faithful members.
General Board of Discipleship holds online training for SPR/PPR and Finance committees
(GBOD) The General Board of discipleship will be holding two wo one-hour, live job training with follow up resources online. The following are the two trainings currently scheduled. For more information or to sign up contact Betsey Heavner at email@example.com.
--For local church SPR/Pastor Parish Relations Committees on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
--For local church Finance Chairs, Treasurers and Financial Secretaries on Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Human Relations Day - January 16, 2011
(UMCom) They say that our children are our future, but for families where a parent has been incarcerated that child's future means having to overcome massive social and emotional struggles. At the four Redemption UM churches in Oklahoma City, OK, the congregations live up to its own name by providing welcoming environments for inmates, and families to stay together and seek rehabilitation. The Redemption Kids Program provides attention, care, and training for the children of inmates. Watch this inspiring video to hear and see what some of the children at Redemption Kids have to say and how you can support programs like the Redemption Church kids ministry through the Human Relations Day Offering. Your gifts to the Human Relations Day offering provide support for the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program, Community Developers, and United Methodist Voluntary Service advocacy programs.
Help a young student entering college apply for a scholarship.
Young People’s Ministries offers three scholarship opportunities each year to United Methodist students who are beginning their freshman year of college. The criteria are different for each award. Deadline for all scholarships is June 1. Applications are available online at http://globalyoungpeople.org.
7 practical elements of welcoming
The ministry of welcoming is the responsibility of the entire church family, not of a committee or a few volunteers. Remember these seven elements.
Top 10 best practices for web ministry
If your church wants to maintain a dynamic, interactive and user-friendly Web ministry, use these Top 10 best practices.
Rockin’ church sound system...or rip-off?
These tips will help you find the best possible sound system for your church's needs without getting hosed by greedy sales representatives.
Teaching the who, what and why of the UMC?
If someone were to ask a member of your congregation, “What is a United Methodist,” what would you want them to say? Or not say? Continue>>
Brain meet storm: Quick tips to think outside the box
Stuck in a creative rut? Get your creative juices flowing with these brainstorming tips. Start thinking of new ideas for the New Year now!
Adjust your marketing plan for each generation
Six generations of consumers exist today. Make sure your marketing efforts reach each generation effectively.
Grants Available to Support UM Caregiving Ministries with Older Adults
(GBOD) Applications for grants to support caregiving ministries for older adults are now being accepted by the Center on Aging & Older Adult Ministries at the General Board of Discipleship. Richard H. Gentzler Jr., the center’s director, says submissions from local UM congregations, districts, annual conferences, central conferences and UM-related institutions may be submitted until the deadline on Jan. 15. Funding for the grants is provided by The UM Committee on Older Adult Ministries, which is administratively related to GBOD. For the current grant-making process, the program or project submitted for grant consideration must provide a caregiving ministry or address an issue of
caregiving ministry with older adults. The ministry must be consistent with the doctrine and social principles of The UMC. Grant applications are available online at www.aging-umc.org. For more information, contact project coordinator Teri Kline at the Center for Aging & Older Adult Ministries (toll free at 877-899-2780, Ext. 7177; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope for Christmas
(UMCOR) Bring the hope of Christ this Christmas to someone you love and help meet the needs of others around the world. Choose a project from Hope for Christmas as an alternative to a traditional gift this season. Help vulnerable populations with their needs and support vital mission projects all around the world. One hundred percent of every gift will go to the Advance project you select. Download the Hope for Christmas flyer now to promote alternative giving this Christmas. Please note: the file is large so it may take a while to download.