News

St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation announces spring grant recipients

published 5/22/2017
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. has approved grants for the spring 2017 Grant Cycle. Grants totaling $589,761 will be made to 12 local and statewide organizations the week of June 5, 2017. The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. Andrew College (www.andrewcollege.edu ) A $10,000 grant to Andrew College to support the joint chaplain position for the campus. This grant represents the third year of a ...

A note to graduates

published 5/15/2017
Dr. Hal Brady Congratulations to all 2017 high school graduates! Graduation from high school is a notable milestone, and you are to be congratulated upon reaching this very significant moment in your life and in the life of your family. In your transition from student to graduate, our nation is once again blessed with renewed creativity and the blessing of youthful idealism. With two of our own grandchildren graduating this year, I am particularly mindful of the significance of this moment. ...

Andrew College receives final approval for registered nursing degree program

published 5/15/2017
Andrew College passed the final hurdle in the process of creating an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. On Monday, May 3, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) approved the program and have included it in the scope of the current Andrew College accreditation. Dr. Linda R. Buchanan, president of Andrew College, expressed her profound thanks to donors, the Board of Trustees, clinical partners and others who have stood behind the College as it ...

Annual Conference to vote on five constitutional amendments

published 5/15/2017
One of the major items of business during the 2017 Annual Conference session is the consideration of five constitutional amendments. Voters will consider changes that address matters of gender equality, inclusiveness in membership, delegate and bishop elections, as well as bishop accountability. For an in-depth story about the amendments, scroll down or click here. All five amendments were approved by a two-thirds vote of the 2016 General Conference and now must be ratified by a two-thirds ...

Cokesbury unveils new Ministry Resource Center at Annual Conferences

published 5/15/2017
Cokesbury has announced that it is bringing a new consultative retail experience to Annual Conferences this year with the new Cokesbury Ministry Resource Center. Focused on equipping leaders to build disciples, the Ministry Resource Center will offer the opportunity for more personalized consultations with church leaders in order to match products with their specific ministry needs. Features of the Ministry Resource Center include: Showcases highlighting new and classic resources ranging from ...

Conference to consider, vote on three resolutions

published 5/15/2017
Three resolutions have been presented for consideration and vote by the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It calls on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate ...

South Georgia Conference Chancellor serves on Judicial Council

published 5/15/2017
South Georgia Conference Chancellor W. Warren Plowden, Jr., a member of Vineville United Methodist Church in Macon, is for the second quadrennium serving on The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest judicial body. He was first elected fifth lay alternate during the 2012 General Conference session, held in Tampa, Fla. and elected for a second consecutive term, this time as first lay alternate, during the 2016 General Conference session in Portland, Ore. In what ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 5/21/17

published 5/15/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, May 21 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 ...

The Immigrant’s Creed

published 5/15/2017
HISPANIC NEWS REV. DANIEL MEDINA Rev. Daniel Medina, pastor of Nueva Vida United Methodist Church in Macon and associate director of Connectional Ministries for Hispanic Ministries, presents the text below as a Christian reflection and statement in the midst of the political conversation in which we live. This creed has been part of the Hispanic liturgy in the recent years and expresses hope in a future where we all live in reconciliation and peace, “as it is in heaven.” Rev. Medina prays that ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 5/14/17

published 5/8/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, May 14 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 ...

Bishop Bryan encourages Conference to read “Overflow”

published 5/1/2017
During the 2016 Annual Conference session, delegates set a goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent by 2018. The 2017 Annual Conference session is being intentionally designed to help the South Georgia Annual Conference meet that goal, and when it gathers at the Jekyll Island Convention Center June 4-7, Dr. Lovett H. Weems, co-author of the book “OVERFLOW: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit,” will teach three sessions that will provide practical steps for planning, ...

God is at work in our community of faith

published 5/1/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN A fresh perspective on the possibilities of Annual Conference can be found in the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. The first five chapters are filled with one moving experience after another: the Ascension; the Holy Spirit on Pentecost; 3,000 people are saved; and the early Christians meet daily to worship, break bread in their homes, and share their possessions to meet the needs of fellow Christians. But then in chapter six a problem arises: “Now ...

S3 groups help clergy renew, recharge, refresh

published 5/1/2017
Serving in full-time ministry is consuming. It’s hard to relax and “turn off” at the end of the day. Being a pastor or deacon is an always-on, always-in-demand role with sometimes unrealistically high expectations. The South Georgia Conference realizes the need to care for those in ministry, and has implemented S3, a program for sustaining excellence in ministry through small-group experiences focused on Sabbath, study, and service. Brought to South Georgia nearly 13 years ago, the S3 program ...

S3: The smartest decision I’ve made in ministry

published 5/1/2017
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN I want to tell you about the smartest decision I’ve made in ministry. The decision has nothing to do with a finance committee meeting. It has nothing to do with a perfect children’s minister I’ve hired. And it has nothing to do with a five-step evangelism plan. The smartest decision I’ve made in ministry was almost two years ago when I decided to form an S3 Group. What is S3, you ask? From the information on our conference website: S3 is a program for sustaining ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: The Judicial Council Ruling

published 4/29/2017
April 29, 2017 To the South Georgia Conference: The Judicial Council, the highest judicial body or “court” of The United Methodist Church, has ruled that the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the Western Jurisdiction, Bishop Karen Oliveto, violated church law. Specifically, the Council said: “…no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law,” the council ruled. “It is not lawful for the College of Bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a ...

Book of Recommendations & Reports for the 2017 Annual Conference Session now available

published 4/28/2017
Business items for the 2017 Annual Conference session are contained in the Book of Recommendations and Reports (BOR). One of the purposes of the BOR is to encourage delegates to read the recommendations and reports prior to arriving at conference. A good delegate is a prepared delegate. The 2015 Annual Conference session voted that all Annual Conference materials, including the Book of Recommendations and Reports, be made available online on the conference website and through other electronic ...

UMC Bishops Call Special Session of General Conference for 2019

published 4/25/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the Special Session will be held in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph ¶14 of The Book of Discipline (2016). The purpose of the 2019 Special Session of the ...

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 ...

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