News

A Kinder America

published 1/23/2017
Dr. Hal Brady Does anybody doubt that we are living in an angry nation or culture? Consider the road rage, the multiple crimes, the unkind remarks or insults directed against political opponents, the media twists stressing conflict, the argumentative talk show hosts, the refusal to cooperate except on “my terms,” and the lists grows longer and longer. The Apostle Paul said to the Ephesians and to us, “Be angry but do not sin...” (Ephesians 4:26). Another way of saying this is, “Be angry but be...

Disaster Response: South Georgia Winter Storms

published 1/22/2017
So many communities in our area are deeply hurting following the severe weather which began Saturday evening and continued into Sunday. For those in the South Georgia Conference these storms follow on the heels of straight line winds and tornadoes that drove through the Albany area just three weeks ago. While many are still cleaning up from that storm, they have been faced with more rain, winds, and flooding. This particular string of storms is widespread across the conference. Allison Lindsey, ...



2017 Annual Conference Session Important Details

published 1/20/2017
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 ...

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

published 1/19/2017
A message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan As the attention of the nation and the world is focused on tomorrow’s inauguration ceremony, 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 Community,” for ...

2017 Lenten Resources

published 1/18/2017
Restored, Finding Redemption in Our Mess, Tom Berlin This Lent, Look at Your Mess Through the Eyes of Christ. Often we make a mess of our lives and wonder if there is any redemption. In this book, pastor and author Tom Berlin helps us see our mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. Using Scripture, devotional tools, and the writings of Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Evelyn Underhill, and others, Berlin encourages reflection and ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 1/22/17

published 1/17/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, January 22 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

Disaster Response Update: The United Methodist Church is at work

published 1/10/2017
January 10, 2017 To the South Georgia Conference: I had the opportunity to go to Albany yesterday to see firsthand the widespread damage caused by the storms that hit the Southwest District last week. Thanks to Nita Crump, Thad Haygood, Leigh Ann Raynor and Debbie Cone for taking me through the area. Hundreds of trees were blown down, often onto the rooftops of houses. Many streets were impassable last week, and many residents, churches, and businesses are still without power. But I also saw The...

Spiritual decluttering: A fresh start for a new year

published 1/9/2017
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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 1/15/17

published 1/9/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, January 15 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

United Methodists work to bring relief, hope to storm victims

published 1/9/2017
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

published 1/7/2017
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 ...

Disaster Response Update: Southwest Georgia Storms; clean-up teams needed

published 1/6/2017
Earlier this week severe storms left a path of destruction in the Southwest District producing tornadoes and straight line winds that left many without power in addition to significant damage to property and homes. Porterfield UMC and Albany First are spearheading local UMC efforts to provide for essential needs at this times - food, blankets, clean up teams, etc. Avalon UMC has opened up their doors as a Red Cross shelter. Other local and surrounding area churches in that district are pitching ...



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

published 1/5/2017
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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 1/8/17

published 1/3/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, January 8 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

A New Year's message from Bishop Bryan: What makes you come alive? Go do it.

published 1/2/2017
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   Those are the words of Howard Thurman, an influential African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. Thurman was devoted to prayer, and his personal practice of spiritual disciplines was the foundation of his fruitful life. In 1944 he was co-founder of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, the ...



Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 1/1/17

published 12/28/2016
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, January 1 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

A Christmas miracle in April

published 12/19/2016
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My lovely Christmas ball hangs on the back door of my kitchen, visible yet hidden away from the rest of our family gatherings. I keep the ball there to always remind me of the most influential woman in my life, the one who created the Christmas ball when I was a young girl. My sweet mama.  I remember watching her make this and other Christmas balls from a round piece of Styrofoam covered with cloth, ribbons and sequins. She kept a bowl of those balls on our ...

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

published 12/19/2016
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

published 12/19/2016
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 brings us together

published 12/19/2016
A Christmas message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan Throughout the South Georgia Conference I have been lifting up the vision found in Ephesians 1:9-10: “God has made known to us his hidden purpose … that the universe, all in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ.” What a huge insight! While there are many things we cannot know, we can know God’s purpose. God’s purpose is to unite all things in heaven and on earth in Jesus Christ.  Once we recognize God’s purpose we can ...

Christmas greetings from Bishop Bruce Ough and the Council of Bishops

published 12/19/2016
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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 12/25/16

published 12/19/2016
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, December 25 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

United Methodists give hope to foster children, families

published 12/19/2016
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...

From the Bishop: Directing our grief into acts of healing and hope

published 12/9/2016
Today we stand with all those who are grieving the deaths of police officers Nicholas Smarr, of the Americus Police Department, and Jody Smith, of the Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Public Safety. When I heard of the shootings in Americus my first thought was, “Oh no, not again.” I remembered the recent shooting deaths of two deputies in Peach County, Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood, and I was also reminded of other acts of violence around the country. My initial ...

Deacons: Bringing the Church to the world

published 12/5/2016
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 ...

Prepare the way of the Lord

published 12/5/2016
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN As we prepare for Christmas please don’t forget the central figure of the Advent season: John the Baptist. The Gospel according to Matthew says of John, This the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness; ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” John the Baptist and those who responded to his preaching remind us that in every time period God raises up Advent voices of hope and in every time ...

Savannah churches feed community on Christmas morning

published 12/5/2016
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 ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Stop Expecting Uninvited Company

published 12/5/2016
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

published 11/29/2016
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, ...

A Thanksgiving Message from Bishop Bryan

published 11/22/2016
We invite you to hear a thanksgiving message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan. Click here to watch the video.  



#GivingTuesday starts Tuesday, Nov. 29

published 11/21/2016
United Methodists will once again come together on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. This year, consider supporting a project that is working in an area you care about, such as hunger and poverty, education or social justice. For a complete list of projects, visit The Advance. Should you have any questions about UMC #GivingTuesday, please contact advance@umcmission.org. Find UMC #GivingTuesday banners/ads, FAQs, impact ...



Celebrating Christ as King

published 11/21/2016
FOCUS ON THE VISION DENISE WALTON In honor of Christ the King Sunday, I invite you to reflect on Colossians 1:11-20 presented to us in the form of a hymn. There is a larger discussion which we will not engage related to the historical nature of the text and its implications for earthly and heavenly kingship. Instead, the focus is simply to consider this hymn of the early church as it speaks to the kingship of Christ. I have chosen to stay with this text over the next week as we embrace Advent....

Epworth By The Sea hosts annual Winter Conference Jan. 29-Feb. 1

published 11/21/2016
Witten and submitted by Ann T. Pierce, Epworth By The Sea An historic gathering of two Georgia United Methodist Bishops, along with leading Baptist, United Methodist and Community Church preachers and teachers, and one of the nation’s leading Bible scholars, will lead the second annual Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, Jan.29 – Feb. 1, 2017. The focus of the conference is on worship and spiritual formation, bridging barriers of separation to be a greater witness to the world. Throughout...

Lindsey elected to serve second quadrennium on Global Ministries’ board

published 11/21/2016
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...

Living Thankfully

published 11/21/2016
Dr. Hal Brady The real strength of Thanksgiving itself is not to be found in some kind of nostalgic look back at pre-colonial America. As important as that may seem, what are our needs for pilgrims tracking across the snow and Indians being included in a feast? Our need today is much more contemporary. Our urgent need in these days is for guidance or insight to know how to deal with the modern-day cynicism and despair that has gripped so many individual lives, communities, and our nation ...

Make thanksgiving an everyday habit

published 11/21/2016
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

published 11/21/2016
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, ...

Preparing our people

published 11/21/2016
HISPANIC NEWS ISAAC D. SALGADO On Saturday, Nov. 5, we conducted lay training for our brothers and sisters of the Hispanic ministries from our South Georgia Conference. We had two levels – intermediate and advanced. We had 12 women and 17 men. Here are the classes and the participants:   Level Intermediate Advanced Participants 20 9 Classes Doctrine I Preaching I Leadership Introduction to the Bible Doctrine II Preaching II Old Testament New Testament The course is an integral part ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Stop Communicating for Information

published 11/21/2016
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

published 11/21/2016
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 ...

Council president offers post-election congratulations and prayers

published 11/9/2016
A Word from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan:   One of the great traditions of The United Methodist Church is the presentation of a Bible to each newly elected president. This practice dates back to the very first president of the United States when Bishop Francis Asbury presented a Bible to President George Washington in 1789. The tradition has continued with each subsequent president. When the Council of Bishops met recently at Epworth By The Sea each bishop added his or her signature to a Bible that ...

South Georgia churches hold Election Day prayer services

published 11/8/2016
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

published 11/7/2016
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 ...

Encounter retreat will help youth break out of today’s culture and shine a light for Christ

published 11/7/2016
Encounter, the annual youth retreat sponsored by South Georgia’s Connectional Ministries, will “BREAK OUT” Nov. 18-20 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. The theme will delve deeper into teaching sixth through twelfth grade students how to break out of today’s culture and shine a light for Christ.  Rev. Jonathan Smith, Director of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia Southern University, will be the speaker for Encounter. Jonathan’s ability to reach so many different ages with the truth of ...

Gratitude and the interconnectedness of life

published 11/7/2016
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN By the time you read this column we will be about 36 hours away from the end of this presidential election cycle. And I’m sure I’m not the first (or only) one to say: thank God!  2016 has felt like a year filled with picking sides, waging wars of words on those with whom we don’t agree, and questioning the very things that hold us all together. Presidential election cycles have a magical way of sowing seeds of division. But for Methodists, General Conference 2016 ...

Jesup congregations join to serve community

published 11/7/2016
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 ...

John Wesley: Musician (continued …)

published 11/7/2016
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley strongly believed that music was a vital part of the evangelistic movement he was leading. His brother, Charles, was the hymn writer, but John was a strong advocate for singing the gospel message in worship. He is credited with introducing hymn singing into the English- speaking church. Here are some more of John Wesley’s directions for singing which were in his preface to Sacred Melody, 1761: “V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above ...

The Congregational Development Corner: Preparing for guests

published 11/7/2016
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...

Truly thankful

published 11/7/2016
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Thanksgiving came early for Sherrill and me this year. You are the reason for that.  Thank you for your compassionate response to Sherrill’s accident. Her recovery from a fractured pelvis is on track and should be complete in six to eight weeks. Your prayers and other forms of encouragement are playing an important role in her healing. That is why I want you to know that we are thanking God for you. We have learned that the South Georgia Conference has a ...

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference

published 11/2/2016
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 ...

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