News

Bishop Bryan offers prayer for Judicial Council meeting

published 4/24/2017
Earlier this month Bishop Bryan shared a message to the people of the South Georgia Conference regarding this week's Judicial Council meeting. (Read Bishop Bryan’s message)  Bishop Bryan now invites you to join him in continued prayer for The United Methodist Church, the Council of Bishops, the Commission on the Way Forward, and the Judicial Council as we await the Judicial Council decision. God of resurrection and new life, we pray to you as Easter people: When we were dead, you made us Alive...

Bishop Bryan Announces Projected June Appointments

published 4/23/2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan has announced projected appointment changes as of April 23, 2017. The appointments will be set at the South Georgia Annual Conference and will be effective in June. The appointment list and a note about the projected appointments can be found at www.sgaumc.org/projectedappointments. 

April 19: An update on the appointment-making process

published 4/19/2017
To the South Georgia Conference: The appointive cabinet and I thank you for your prayers for God’s guidance in the appointment process. We have felt your prayers and have been constantly reminded that in the South Georgia Conference we are Alive Together in Christ.    I am pleased to announce that we are on track in terms of the previously announced times and process for the release of the appointments.     First, I remind PPR/SPR chairpersons that on Sunday, April 23, they are free to announce ...

A United Methodist understanding on immigration; an act of Christian compassion

published 4/17/2017
HISPANIC NEWS REV. DANIEL MEDINA The “Book of Resolutions” of The United Methodist Church states: “The Bible is full of stories of sojourners, strangers without homes, immigrants whom God called people to protect. God did not let the Israelites, after their exodus from Egypt, forget that they had been without a homeland for such a long time; the ethic of welcoming the sojourner was woven into the very fabric of the Israelite and early Christian culture, religion and law.” Jesus exemplified the...

Celebrating Small Church Leadership and Vitality

published 4/17/2017
FOCUS ON THE VISION DENISE WALTON Small churches play a vital role in the mission and ministry of the South Georgia Annual Conference. At the 2017 Annual Conference session, the South Georgia Annual Conference, Conference Board of Laity, and Connectional Ministries have partnered to provide a luncheon promoting ministry resources for small churches. Clergy and Laity are encouraged and invited to attend “Celebrating Small Church Leadership and Vitality,” the Small Church Leadership Luncheon at ...

Douglas pastor, dentist roast coffee, change lives

published 4/17/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor In the heart of Coffee County, Ga. a dentist and a part-time local pastor are helping make disciples and transform a small part of the world, one cup of coffee at a time. What began with a short-term mission trip to El Salvador nearly six years ago has grown into El Camino Coffee, an artisanal coffee company that specializes in single-origin brews. Rev. Chris Calhoun, pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Douglas, and Dr. Griff Lindsey, a dentist and member of...

Now accepting applications for Woods Home in Epworth Acres

published 4/17/2017
The South Georgia Conference Board of Trustees is now accepting applications for one of the Woods Homes in Epworth Acres on St. Simons Island. The estimated date of availability is June 1, 2017. Certain criteria must be met in order to live in the Woods Homes, as directed by the Trust which was originally established in 1957 when a gift was made to the South Georgia Annual Conference by Dr. and Mrs. James A. Wood. The Policy Statement can be viewed here in order for applicants to determine ...

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

published 4/17/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Lindsey Conroy, 15, loves seeing fellow believers as she walks through the halls of Columbus High School. She may not know all of their names and they don’t all attend the same church, but they are connected through a shared faith and, for many, through 3rd Night. A community-wide worship service for junior high, high school, and college students, 3rd Night was conceived by leaders from The Ridge and is led by five Columbus-area United Methodist church leaders. “It’s ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 4/23/17

published 4/17/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, April 23 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 ...

The Approval of God

published 4/17/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Oswald Chambers writes, “Paul is like a musician who does not need the approval of the audience if he can catch the look of approval from his Master.” That sentence brought a flood of memories into my spirit for until recently I was that one who needed the approval of the audience. I believe that’s why God called me to be a pastor in my latter years and why he couldn’t call me in my youth. Breathing “Will you like me?” in and out each day, I would have been a ...

An Easter Message from Bishop Bryan: When Easter Calls Your Name

published 4/10/2017
To the South Georgia Conference: The Resurrection Run. That is what I call the opening scene in the Easter story in the Gospel of John.  The Resurrection Run starts with Mary Magdalene who goes to the tomb, finds the stone rolled away, and then runs to find Peter and the other disciple (possibly John, the gospel writer himself). Those two men respond by joining the Resurrection Run, and we even get a news report as to who won the race: “The two were running together, but the other disciple ...

Commission on a Way Forward optimistic of future, delves into tough task

published 4/10/2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of the Commission on a Way Forward have expressed optimism at reaching consensus on a plan or plans to guide the Council of Bishops in leading The United Methodist Church into the future. During the three-day meeting, April 6-8, at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., the Commission members began discussing possible outcomes and timelines on accomplishing their task of examining paragraphs in the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and ...

Bishop Bryan shares a word about this month's Judicial Council decision

published 4/6/2017
To the South Georgia Conference: The Judicial Council is the highest judicial body or “court” of The United Methodist Church. The Judicial Council determines the constitutionality of acts or proposed acts of the General, Jurisdictional, Central, and Annual Conferences. Its nine members are elected by the General Conference. At the end of April the Judicial Council will consider a request for a declaratory decision regarding the validity of the election of a bishop in the Western Jurisdiction. ...

A cold night in Georgia

published 4/3/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley only stayed in Georgia for 23 months. Most of that time was spent in Savannah, but he made five trips to St. Simons Island. After his return to England he often mentioned how hot it had been in Georgia. Not only was it hot in Georgia, it was also cold. On his last tip to St. Simons Island in January, 1737, he wrote in his journal that he spent the coldest day in his life on the island. He wrote that it was so cold the ink in his inkwell froze on a ...

Invite younger person to experience the joy of Annual Conference

published 4/3/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN As we prepare for the 2017 Annual Conference session I encourage each local church to identify a younger person in their congregation and invite that person to attend Annual Conference on either Monday, June 5 or Tuesday, June 6. This simple act will introduce others to the joy and energy that we will experience when we gather at Jekyll Island. It’s hard to describe until you see it for yourself. In addition to sending your official lay and clergy ...

Loads of Love laundry ministry reaches lots of places

published 4/3/2017
John Patterson, Caroline Gowan, Debra Patterson, and Rev. Wesley Deverger, pastor of Arco United Methodist Church in Brunswick, gather for a photo during the launch of Brunswick's Loads of Love ministry. The free laundry service will be offered from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month at the Coin Laundry in Brunswick. By Kara Witherow, Editor When Bonaire United Methodist Church member Caroline Gowan began her Loads of Love laundry ministry it was as a short-term Girl ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 4/9/17

published 4/3/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, April 9 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 saved...

After God’s Own Heart

published 3/20/2017
Dr. Hal Brady People give and receive numerous compliments. He’s a great person. She’s a beautiful lady. He’s quite an athlete. She’s a class act. In the world of sports we often hear the expression, “He has color.” While I cannot exactly define it, I think you understand what it is. The athlete with “color” makes his easy plays look spectacular and his mistakes are readily forgotten. We like him just the way he is, rough edges or not. He has “color,” we say. But perhaps the greatest ...

Centenary UMC’s Roving Listeners listen, learn, love

published 3/20/2017
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 ...

South Georgia pastors speak at Dominican Republic Methodist General Assembly

published 3/20/2017
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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 3/26/17

published 3/20/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, March 26 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 ...

We have hope!

published 3/20/2017
HISPANIC NEWS REV. DANIEL MEDINA Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Jehovah. (Psalm 130:1) When I was young, I really liked to hike mountains. It was not the extreme sport where you use all the special equipment to climb, it was about walking trails and climbing hills. I also enjoyed going into caves and caverns to explore, to admire God’s creation and … maybe to impress others. There is, in the proximities of the city of Chihuahua (Mexico), a system of caves and rocky formations ...

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox to Step Down in June

published 3/20/2017
Young Harris College President Cathy Cox announced today that she will formally step down from the position in June 2017 to accept the role of dean of Mercer University’s School of Law, her alma mater.   During her 10-year tenure as president, Cox has led the College through an unparalleled period of growth, transitioning it from a two-year to a four-year college, more than doubling the size of the faculty and student body, and constructing $100 million in new facilities, while staying true to ...

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

published 3/15/2017
The following is an email sent out on March 15, 2017, by Dr. Jay Harris, Conference Secretary, with updated details about the 2017 Annual Conference Session set for June 4-7 on Jekyll Island.   2017 Annual Conference Session: Overflow book, AC announcements & reminders 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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 3/19/17

published 3/13/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, March 19 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 ...

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

published 3/6/2017
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

published 3/6/2017
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

published 3/6/2017
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

published 3/6/2017
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 ...

Miracle-themed ads and resources will extend Easter invitation to seekers

published 3/6/2017
Miracles, and what children have to say about them, will be the focus of The United Methodist Church’s national Easter advertising campaign and accompanying local church resources this spring. Running late March through mid-April, the ads are the second phase of the 2017 campaign, “Our Beliefs. Their Words,” which features children sharing about their faith. “A miracle is an everyday extraordinary. It’s when you find the strength that you didn’t think you had, when you find hope when you thought...

OVERFLOW in worship

published 3/6/2017
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 enthusiastically set a goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent by 2018. How grateful I am to be part of an annual conference that can set such a goal! Much help toward achieving that goal is already being provided by leaders in our conference. For example, the “Praying For 5” booklets outline a way that...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 3/12/17

published 3/6/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, March 12 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...

Turn the tables over — 5 ways to be more innovative in ministry

published 3/6/2017
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Are you tired of church as usual? I know I am. Pew Research says we’ve seen roughly a 7 percent increase among those who claim no religious affiliation over the last 10 plus years. We know this already. Church attendance is down across the board. As an annual conference we’ve challenged ourselves to a 10 percent increase in average worship attendance in order to grease the wheels of growth. But what, if anything, will make the difference? I believe now, more than ...

Cabinet Level Appointments Announced

published 2/27/2017
To the South Georgia Conference: Thank you for your prayers for me and for the Cabinet as we fulfill our responsibilities in the appointment making process. As I said in the recent appointment process video, our goal is to seek appointments that best enable our local churches and our clergy to be Alive Together in Christ. While consultation has been going on with churches and pastors, I have also been in consultation with the members of the cabinet regarding their appointments. In recent months ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 3/5/17

published 2/27/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, March 5 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 saved...

5 constitutional amendments head to vote

published 2/20/2017
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

published 2/20/2017
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, ...



Letting it go

published 2/20/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK The first time I did it was before I was 30. I waited a long time before doing it again, not because I didn’t want to, but because it’s simply not the kind of thing I enter into lightly. Both times I was at a difficult place in my life, a crossroads where my strong desire for answers crossed my equally strong desire to please God. Something had to give. I was barren, and the heartache of not conceiving rested on my shoulders with pain that felt like a giant ...

Service modeled after the ministry of Jesus

published 2/20/2017
HISPANIC NEWS REV. FELIPE RICARDO “He rose from supper, laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” (John 13: 4-5) During Jesus’ time, washing guests’ feet was the duty of the servant of the house. Jesus, when He washed the feet of His disciples, wrapped the towel around His waist. This was an action that the most humble of all ...

Shoreline Church launches in Valdosta

published 2/20/2017
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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 2/26/17

published 2/20/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, February 26 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 ...

2017 appointment-making season begins in the South Georgia Conference

published 2/13/2017
{Click to watch video} 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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 2/19/17

published 2/13/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, February 19 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 ...

Be agents of unity and healing

published 2/6/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN To the South Georgia Conference: Thanks to all who have given so graciously – financially, prayerfully, and in service – in response to the tornadoes that struck parts of our conference Jan. 2 and Jan. 21-22. The need continues; to contribute to this special appeal please send to the conference fiscal office and designate for Advance Special #6796. To read about how our Conference has responded to these winter storms, click here. As we continue to address the ...

ConneXion Church consecrated, dedicated

published 2/6/2017
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 ...

Praying for Five: Forging Eternal Friendships Through Daily Prayer

published 2/6/2017
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON There are certain times when something happens that words are inadequate to describe. We know it was special … in fact, everyone in the room senses it, but none can fully articulate what happened. We say things like: “The magic happened,” “The room lifted and the Spirit fell,” or “It was palatable.” “You could feel the energy shift and the momentum build,” we might say. When you have experienced it and try to describe it, you begin to more...



Some strange characters John Wesley met

published 2/6/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON A man confronted John Wesley and urged him not to leave the Church of England. John assured him that he had no intention of leaving the Church of England. The man replied, “Then you should always read prayers because praying extempore is the same thing as leaving the Church!” The man went on to explain, “You cannot do two things at the same time. Therefore; if you think and pray you are doing two things at the same time. And that cannot be done!” Wesley ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 2/12/17

published 2/6/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, February 12 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 ...

Two South Georgia UM churches top growing church list

published 2/6/2017
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 ...

Commission on a Way Forward holds organizational meeting

published 1/30/2017
The Commission on a Way Forward held its first meeting in Atlanta, Georgia January 23-26, 2017, with 32 members from nine countries in attendance. Led by commission moderators Bishop David Yemba, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball and Bishop Ken Carter, members worked and worshipped together and began the foundational work integral to their charge of developing consensus about how to move forward amid different theological understandings of LGBTQ identity. “We need to diagnose what is happening in our ...

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