News

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.” 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, Director of South Georgia’s Office...

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 ...

Disaster Response Update: January 27, 2017

published 1/27/2017
Disaster Response Update: January 27, 2017 Nearly a week after devastating storms ripped through South Georgia, leaving death and destruction in their wake, United Methodists in the affected areas are working on plans for immediate relief and long-term recovery. On Wednesday, conference officials, including Bishop Lawson Bryan, Dr. Nita Crump, and other Cabinet members, met with several Albany United Methodist pastors to tour the area and talk through next steps of our disaster response. UMCOR ...

A letter to the President

published 1/23/2017
Dr. Hal Brady Dear President Trump, Congratulations on becoming the 45th President of the United States. Though, in all honesty, I was not always pleased with some of your pre-election rhetoric, you won the election and I, along with countless Americans, are hoping for your best and the best for our nation as well. Party labels to me are not critically important, but political parties working together really are. For me, we have had enough squabbling among politicians and their parties and ...

Clergy Compensation List now available online

published 1/23/2017
The 2017 Clergy Compensation List is now available online to view: http://www.sgaumc.org/clergycompensationlist.  

Conference apportionment giving reaches 90 percent

published 1/23/2017
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

published 1/23/2017
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

published 1/23/2017
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 ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 1/29/17

published 1/23/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, January 29 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: South Georgia Winter Storms

published 1/22/2017
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

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, ...

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