News

After violence, death in Charlottesville, United Methodists pray for peace, healing, unity

published 8/21/2017
Centenary Church's service attracted a diverse crowd and more than 30 clergy, including Episcopalian pastors, a Catholic priest, Methodist pastors, and Baptist ministers. Photo courtesy of Centenary Church. By Kara Witherow, Editor “Lord, what can I do?” That’s the question Rev. Precious Hawkins asked as she watched violence erupt in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend. “What can we do? It kept coming back to ‘pray,’” said Rev. Hawkins, pastor of Speedwell United Methodist Church in Savannah....

Bishop Bryan: The Eclipse of God

published 8/21/2017
On Monday, Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun. For a time the sun’s light will be blocked by the moon. This is the solar eclipse about which we have heard so much. I have found myself remembering the book by 20th century Jewish theologian Martin Buber entitled, “The Eclipse of God.” Buber makes the point that just as the sun is still there even though temporarily its light is obstructed, so also there are times in our lives when God may appear to be absent. What is ...



Conference updates mobile app

published 8/21/2017
The South Georgia UMC mobile app has gotten a facelift. The convenient app – available free of charge for iPhone and Android phones/tablets – recently underwent a redesign and was launched last week. Those who have already downloaded the app need only update it to get the latest version. “We are continuously looking for ways to enhance how we share news with the clergy and laity of our Annual Conference,” said Kelly Roberson, Director of Communications. “Moving to an updated platform for our ...



Q & A with Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries

published 8/21/2017
“The rich blessings we have experienced inspire us and require us to serve others.” Upon his retirement from the United States Army, Dr. Jerry Maddox (Matt) Woodbery, Jr. was appointed by Bishop Lawson Bryan to serve as Director of Connectional Ministries. His appointment began Aug. 1. A member in Full Connection and an Ordained Elder of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, Dr. Woodbery began his ordained ministry in 1985 as the associate minister at Americus First ...



Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 8/27/17

published 8/21/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, August 27 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 Methodist Home achieves Sanctuary Institute certification

published 8/21/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor After an “amazing” three-year journey, the Methodist Home for Children and Youth has become the first organization in Georgia to be certified by The Sanctuary Institute. An agency that serves families and children in crisis, the Methodist Home wants to be a place of restoration and of sanctuary. When they learned of the Sanctuary Model of care, Methodist Home leaders decided to implement the program throughout the agency. “When we began our Sanctuary journey, we ...

The next chapter

published 8/21/2017
FOCUS ON THE VISION MATT WOODBERY, JR. Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! Carol and I are excited to be back in Georgia and joining our brothers and sisters of South Georgia in the next chapter of our ministry! I want to thank everyone who has extended the warmest of welcomes and hospitality these past few months. Thanks to your prayers and care, our transition from nearly 30 years of extension ministry as an Army chaplain to working among you has been very smooth. In fact, I am writing ...

We need more than a moment of silence

published 8/21/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK I just watched one network’s morning show about the recent unrest in Barcelona, Spain. I listened intently for any message about turning to prayer. I didn’t hear one. One lady said of the attacks, “We just all huddled down and cried.” Am I naïve to wish that she had said, “We just all huddled down and prayed?” The horribly gruesome scenes focused on the hate that caused these attacks, on the training of Isis through their 400 page Playbook (how odd is that ...

SEJ College of Bishops grieves the violence in Charlottesville

published 8/18/2017
Witness and Invitation from the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, August 17, 2017   "The things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us grace to labor for." - Thomas More, UMH, 408 Serving with you in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, we grieve the violence in Charlottesville. We renew our baptismal covenant to trust and serve Christ, to resist evil, and to honor all in the human family. We share with you our resolve to name, resist and dismantle racism in ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 8/20/17

published 8/14/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, August 20 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 ...

Bishop Bryan: Moving beyond hatred and violence to build Casa de Vida y Paz

published 8/12/2017
I received the news of the violence that erupted this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, as I was attending the Southwest District United Methodist Men’s Rally. As followers of the Prince of Peace, who himself died at the hands of violent people, we United Methodists raise our voices in protest over this latest demonstration of inhumanity to one another. We pray for those on all sides of this conflict to come to the awareness that such actions are a denial of the values that bind us together ...



Bishop Bryan offers a back-to-school prayer

published 8/11/2017
As school begins this month, Bishop Lawson Bryan invites us to pause and pray, for it is only through grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that we grow and are transformed and renewed: At the beginning of a new school year, O God of wisdom, we offer thanks and praise for the gift of new beginnings and for the opportunity to learn and to wonder. We pray for teachers, administrators, and staff: may the love of learning and the joy of teaching be so alive in them that their students will be ...



5 ways congregations can serve schools

published 8/7/2017
Photo courtesy of Rev. Kirk Hagan, pastor of Wrightsville First UMC By Kara Witherow, Editor School starts this week or has already started for many in South Georgia, and with the inevitable flurry of back-to-school activity comes the question: how can we serve our schools and students? Each act of service usually has a need associated with it, but at the heart of every action or program should be sharing hope and God’s love. Here are a few practical ways to step outside the walls of the ...

John Wesley and predestination

published 8/7/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said that Methodist belief is a “hair’s breadth” from Calvinism (predestination). By that he meant it is God’s grace that saves us. We cannot save ourselves. You do not simply choose to become a Christian. You respond to the grace of God which reaches out to you! God seeks you. Then you respond. You can never respond until God knocks on your heart’s door. But you can say “yes” to God or “no.” Wesley says you can choose to be a Calvinist (believe in ...

Serving is a rewarding experience for Leesburg UMC couple

published 8/7/2017
Linda and Jimmy Bence, members of Leesburg UMC, served at UMCOR's Sagar Brown depot By Kara Witherow, Editor Linda and Jimmy Bence have seen firsthand how the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) serves communities in times of need, alleviates human suffering, and advances hope and healing. The couple, members of Leesburg United Methodist Church, saw how the agency responded in the aftermath of the Flood of 1994. “We like what they do,” Jimmy Bence said. “UMCOR has really meant a lot...

SHINE!

published 8/7/2017
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Ephesians 5: 8-9 (CEV), “You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful.” Have you ever been around someone who shined God’s character so brightly you felt as if you’ve seen a glimpse of the Father Himself? Have you ever been in a church where God’s presence was so thick you could ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 8/13/17

published 8/7/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, August 13 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 ...

What a year!

published 8/7/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN What? Has it really been a whole year since I received the good news of my assignment to serve in South Georgia? Yes, it has. Sherrill and I thank you for the radical hospitality we have received from the more than 600 churches and well over 100,000 members of our wonderful conference, laity and clergy. Thank you for going out of your way to make our first year together such a tremendous experience. Our quadrennial theme, Alive Together in Christ, is the best ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 8/6/17

published 7/31/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, August 6 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 ...

Getting through the night

published 7/24/2017
Dr. Hal Brady A student at Harvard came to see the great Boston preacher Phillips Brooks one day. The student shifted from one foot to the other and with some hesitation and said, “Dr. Brooks, I’d like to talk over some of my doubts with you, but I don’t want to upset your faith.” Phillips Brooks threw back his head and laughed. As a matter of fact, he laughed and laughed until the student laughed with him. And that laughter did more to answer that student’s questions than anything Phillips ...

Prepare for disasters now, respond when storms hit

published 7/24/2017
In January 2017, devastating storms tore through the small community of Adel, causing death, destruction, and nearly insurmountable loss. The storms claimed seven lives in the town and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. In the aftermath of the disaster, Adel United Methodist Church, which was spared major damage and loss of life, offered relief to families in a nearby mobile home community by helping pay for funeral expenses. The church also set up a fund to receive donations to minister ...

Rev. Reese to serve as Northwest District liaison during Dr. Cooper’s recovery

published 7/24/2017
As Dr. Buddy Cooper, superintendent of the Northwest District, recovers from quintuple bypass surgery, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and the South Georgia Cabinet are grateful to Rev. Dick Reese for stepping in to serve as the Northwest District’s liaison to the Cabinet. He will also serve as a liaison between the district office and the Northwest District churches. Rev. Reese, who retired in 2010 after serving 54 years in the South Georgia Conference, brings supervisory experience to this new role, ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 7/30/17

published 7/24/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, July 30 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...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 7/23/17

published 7/17/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, July 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 saved...

Alive Together in Worship

published 7/10/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Our annual conference theme, “Alive Together in Christ,” prepared us well for the theme that will guide us over the next 12 months, “Alive Together in Worship.” One of the primary ways of being alive together in Christ is through the experience of meaningful worship. These words from Alfred Tennyson’s poem, “Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,” always remind me of the reason worship is so important. Tennyson writes: Our little systems have their day;  They have ...

Bishop Bryan presents Vital Signs Assessment Tool to Conference

published 7/10/2017
The “Alive Together in Worship” theme was woven throughout the 2017 Annual Conference session as Dr. Lovett Weems, Distinguished Professor of Christian Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary, taught three sessions based on his book, “Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance and Bear More Fruit.” Each of the sessions was geared toward helping the conference achieve its goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent. To accompany the teaching moments and help congregations and ...

Father and son serve downtown Brunswick church

published 7/10/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor In the late 1800s, Mary and Charles Shepard were faithful members of Brunswick First United Methodist Church. Their daughter Lillian married George Bright Culpepper, a Methodist minister. Today, more than 100 years later, the Shepard’s great-great grandson, Dr. Wright Culpepper, and great-great-great grandson, Rev. Bill Culpepper, are following in their footsteps, serving and worshiping in the same downtown Brunswick church. Dr. Culpepper, an ordained elder, was ...



John Wesley found some alive churches and some dead ones

published 7/10/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley liked to preach in congregations that were alive together in Christ. But he often found congregations that were dead. In his journal he would comment about such congregations, saying such things as, “That poor, dumb congregation didn’t understand as much as the benches upon which they sat.” Or, “The mules which brought them to church understood more than they.” He told one church they were “the stupidest, most stubborn congregation he ever saw.” ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 7/16/17

published 7/10/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, July 16 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...

UMC School of Congregational Development to be held in Atlanta

published 7/10/2017
You're invited to “Join Us at The Lord’s Table,” and this year the table is close to home! The UMC School of Congregational Development will be held here in Georgia Aug. 17-20 at Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta. This is the premier event in The United Methodist Church for equipping clergy and laity to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year’s event is being hosted by the North Georgia Conference, Candler ...

Columbus congregation gives car to teen

published 6/26/2017
Epworth UMC youth minister Adam McNeil, Audrey, and Epworth UMC pastor Rev. Crosby stand in front of Audrey's new 2013 Ford Focus By Kara Witherow, Editor Epworth United Methodist Church in Columbus is a small church making a big impact. When church members learned that the transmission in 16-year-old Audrey’s* 2002 Jeep Liberty had blown and her family couldn’t afford to have it fixed they jumped in and offered to pay for the repairs. When it was determined that the repairs would cost more ...

Discipleship: One voice makes a difference

published 6/26/2017
FOCUS ON THE VISION DENISE WALTON “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Truly it has been a joy to serve the South Georgia Annual Conference during the past four years as Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries and previously in a number of clergy and ...

God of the Little Things

published 6/26/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK I like God’s words to Elijah, taken from 1 Kings 17: 2-4. I like them because these words show how personal God is when it comes to our care. He told Elijah to tell the evil King Ahab that there would be no rain for three years. Then God told Elijah His plan for taking care of him during those next three years of drought. “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to...

New UMC Handbook now available

published 6/26/2017
The new United Methodist Church Handbook for this quadrennium is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination’s beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about The United Methodist Church and is helpful for leaders and new members. “The United Methodist Church Handbook is one of the most appreciated resources generated in the church, and rightly so,” said Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and ...

No age limit on ministry

published 6/26/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dr. John McGowan loves people and loves to preach. The nonagenarian, who turns 92 in November, officially retired in 1990 after 40 years of service in the South Georgia Conference, but he’s been preaching and pastoring ever since. He’s served at least 14 interim appointments in the past 27 years, and says he’ll serve again if called upon. “I love to preach! Whenever someone would call me and ask me to preach I would go,” Dr. McGowan said. “I have enjoyed doing it in ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 7/2/17

published 6/26/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, July 2 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 ...

Why the “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors” is important

published 6/26/2017
HISPANIC NEWS REV. DANIEL MEDINA The Hispanic caucus and its friends of the South Georgia Conference presented a document called “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors” to the 2017 Annual Conference session gathered at Jekyll Island. Such document considers that the social reality, the scriptures, our Wesleyan theology, and our historic practice of taking care of our neighbors calls us today to intentional and meaningful actions for the wellbeing of ...

A Word From Bishop Bryan: The Shoulders Upon Which We Stand

published 6/16/2017
Generations of laity and clergy have used William Barclay’s commentary on the Bible known as “Daily Bible Studies.” Several years ago I read Barclay’s autobiography and was struck by these words: “If I have been privileged to go farther in life than others and if I have been able to gain a greater vision of life than others it is because I am standing on the shoulders of my parents.”    Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is a good time to reflect on the shoulders upon which we are standing. From ...

A Prayer for Moving Day

published 6/14/2017
June 14 is Moving Day in the South Georgia Annual Conference. As clergy and their families across the Annual Conference are preparing to serve a new church and churches are preparing to welcome their new pastoral family, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan offers the following prayer. A Prayer for Moving Day Proverbs 3:5-6 God of Love, You are with us in every transition and change. As we enter into this new day with excitement and even some anxiety, we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding ...

2017 Annual Conference session is refreshing, rejuvenating, alive

published 6/9/2017
Bishop James Swanson preaches at the Opening Worship Service of the 2017 Annual Conference Session. The Jekyll Island Convention Center was filled with red as the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated Pentecost and convened for its 151st session Sunday, June 4. Meeting under the theme “Alive Together in Christ,” this year’s Annual Conference session was held June 4 through June 7 at the new, oceanfront locale. With beautiful views, ocean breezes, and a new facility, the conference had a...

2017 Denman Evangelism Awards presented

published 6/9/2017
From L to R: Mrs. Teri Nave, Rev. Matt Hearn, Mrs. Karen Forrester Two South Georgia United Methodists have been awarded UM’s highest evangelism honor, the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award program honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism – expressed in Word (what), Sign (why), and Deed (how) – brings people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Each year Annual Conferences and the Foundation ...

Bishop Bryan presides over first annual conference session in South Georgia

published 6/9/2017
For the first time in 40 years, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan wasn’t in Montgomery, Ala. for the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference’s Annual Conference session. Not only was he not sitting in a pew in Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church’s sanctuary, he was sitting on stage, looking over a crowd of nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Presiding over his first annual conference session since becoming South Georgia’s resident bishop, Bishop Bryan...

Bishop Bryan sets 2017-2018 pastoral appointments

published 6/9/2017
On Wednesday, June 7, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan fixed the 2017-2018 pastoral appointments for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Click here to download and view a list of appointments by district. 

Conference approves two resolutions

published 6/9/2017
During the Tuesday, June 6 business session, the South Georgia Conference approved two resolutions. 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 called on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate clergy and ...

Created for Connection

published 6/9/2017
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I (Anne) am a baker. Bread, biscuits, cupcakes, muffins, pastries, scones, cookies… pretty much anything made with flour or sugar! I love the thrill of combining individual ordinary ingredients to create something amazing and delicious that brings others joy. Interestingly enough, when someone comments on something I’ve made they never remark on the tastiness of the baking powder, the texture of the eggs, or the deliciousness of the flour. ...

John Wesley helps a young man learn how to preach

published 6/9/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley and a young Methodist preacher were walking along the street near the docks. Two fishermen’s wives got into an argument with each other. The two women began to shout, scream, and curse each other. The young preacher said, “Let’s get away from this; I can’t stand it!” Wesley said, “No, stay and learn how to preach…”  

New annual conference venue offers beautiful views, opportunities for outdoor fun

published 6/9/2017
Alfredo Bocanegra, Faustino Peres, and Jaime Gallaga, members of Casa de Vida y Paz, part of the Bainbridge Hispanic Mission, enjoyed the oceanfront location of the 2017 Annual Conference session. Breathtaking ocean vistas greeted conference attendees as they arrived at the Jekyll Island Convention Center for the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference session. The only oceanfront convention center on the east coast south of New Jersey, the convention center’s remarkable views of the Atlantic ...

Remembering those who have gone before us

published 6/9/2017
A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 6, at 2:00 p.m. as conference members gathered at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Bishop B. Michael Watson, South Georgia’s former episcopal leader and current Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops, gave a touching message titled, “The Strong Arms of Jesus,” as he remembered those who have gone before us. The message reminded listeners that God’s ...

Vital Signs moments highlight ways Conference is alive

published 6/9/2017
From L to R: Rev. Earnestine Campbell, Rev. Stacey Harwell-Dye and Rev. Carrie Myers share a Vital Sign moment about the ministry foci of the Conference Advocacy Team. A highlight of this year’s Annual Conference session were the Vital Signs moments. These brief, interactive snapshots of ministries showed the various ways we are Alive Together in Christ in the South Georgia Conference through our various agencies, ministries, and people. Rev. Jonathan Smith, Campus Minister at the Georgia ...

Celebrating ministries, churches, and individuals who are Alive Together in Christ through mission, ministry and evangelism

published 6/8/2017
Mission, ministry, and evangelism awards were highlighted during the 2017 Annual Conference session, a way to celebrate how ministries, churches, and individuals throughout the conference are alive together in Christ.   The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. A significant dimension of the disciple-making process is that of leading people to make a commitment to God through baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Reaching new persons with the gospel is at the ...

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