News

Commission starts to sketch options for the way forward

published 9/22/2017
BERLIN, Germany – The Commission on a Way Forward has started sketching models to share with the Council of Bishops as options for finding a way forward for The United Methodist Church (UMC) regarding human sexuality.   During the meeting in Berlin, Germany (Sept. 18-20), members of the Commission expressed the need for the unity of the UMC, yet recognizing the different theological understandings and expressions on human sexuality.   From spirit-led devotions through heartfelt discussions to ...

Like a Mighty Army

published 9/21/2017
We are Alive Together in Christ … like a mighty army! For several weeks we have been inundated with disasters: Hurricane Harvey, wildfires in the west, a deadly landslide in Sierra Leone, Hurricane Irma, two major earthquakes in Mexico, and now Hurricane Maria. We remain in constant prayer that the God of all mercy will comfort, protect, and provide. Here in South Georgia many  – some of you, even – have suffered as a result of Hurricane Irma. Close to home I am thinking of farms and farmers ...



After Hurricane Irma: Early response teams now needed

published 9/18/2017
The Conference Disaster Response Team is currently assessing how we as South Georgia United Methodists can be of assistance, both in our own conference and the Florida Conference, following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. We were fortunate as we witnessed a significant downgrade in Irma before reaching South Georgia. We will be gathering damage assessments and mobilizing resources as needed throughout South Georgia in the days to come. Thank you for the many ways the connection continues to ...

Bishop Bryan reflects on one year in South Georgia, looks ahead to future

published 9/18/2017
Stay Calm, Stay Connected, and Stay the Course ADVOCATE: It’s hard to believe more than a year has passed since you were appointed and installed to the South Georgia Conference! How has being a bishop differed from being a local church pastor? BISHOP BRYAN: Some of the differences would include expanding my parish area from a local community to an annual conference covering 61 percent of the state of Georgia. Another difference would be the shift in focus from one local church to working with ...

Church presence brings help, hope to those affected by Hurricane Irma

published 9/18/2017
Rev. Andy Lamon, campus pastor of The Chapel Effingham, and several members of the congregation helped clean a Tybee Island home that was flooded by Hurricane Irma. By Kara Witherow, Editor Tricia Lewis carried sodden pillows to a growing pile of debris Friday afternoon, days after Hurricane Irma flooded her home with 18 inches of water. “It’s just stuff,” said Lewis, whose house on Lewis Street on Tybee Island was also flooded just 11 months ago during Hurricane Matthew. “We’re a lot better...

Congregations and communities come together to serve during, after hurricane

published 9/18/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Hurricane Irma, which was downgraded to Tropical Storm Irma before it struck South Georgia Monday, Sept. 11, downed power lines, felled trees, flooded neighborhoods, and taxed local utilities throughout the region. One week after the storm, hundreds are still without power and full restoration will take months, officials say. United Methodists across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are still assessing the damage and cleaning up after the deadly storm that left at...



Connecting Neighbors: UMCOR’s Disaster Response Leadership Training Program

published 9/18/2017
Over the past year - through Hurricane Matthew, the Albany tornadoes, and most recently Tropical Storm Irma - United Methodists across South Georgia have stepped up and shown what it means to be “Alive Together In Christ.” Local churches and individuals have been involved in their communities, offering feeding ministries and sheltering programs to providing comfort and early response teams and much more. Stories continue to bubble up of creative ways neighbors are helping neighbors and examples...

Methodist Home houses evacuees, shares Christ’s love

published 9/18/2017
By Brittany Grier, Marketing Coordinator, The Methodist Home The Methodist Home was blessed with the opportunity to serve others during Hurricane Irma. It was truly an incredible week of service! Roughly 120 kids and staff from The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, along with seven dogs, arrived at The Methodist Home in Macon on Thursday, September 7 as they evacuated from Enterprise, Fla. ahead of Hurricane Irma. The following day Bishop Lawson Bryan, along with his wife, Sherrill, ...

Remembrance and Hope

published 9/18/2017
Dr. Hal Brady With most of our attention riveted on Hurricane Irma, the 16th anniversary of 9/11 quietly passed by. Oh, to be sure, there were some observances and rightly so. And it was also appropriate and necessary that we focused on the monstrous Hurricane Irma. However, Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, will live forever in our memories. That was the day of the unthinkable. Who will ever forget the terrorist attack on our nation – those planes crashing into the World Trade Center and ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 9/24/17

published 9/18/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, September 24 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 ...

Updates on Epworth By The Sea, Moore Methodist Museum

published 9/15/2017
After a week long evacuation due to Hurricane Irma, Glynn County residents were allowed to return on Thursday, September 14. Initial assessments have been made to the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum and Epworth By The Sea, both located on St. Simons Island. Mrs. Ann Packard, director of the museum, said that after an initial tour of the Museum & Archives there appeared to only be a bit of water that leaked under the doors. The staff is currently handling this to avoid any mold or mildew ...

Churches outside Florida feel effects of Irma

published 9/13/2017
While United Methodists across Florida began to take stock as Hurricane Irma left the state, church members in Georgia and South Carolina were dealing with flash flooding, downed trees and power outages as the storm headed north. Reports also began to emerge from Hispanic-Latino churches in the Caribbean, where Irma began its path of destruction on Sept. 5 in the Leeward Islands. The hurricane killed 36 people in the Caribbean before making landfall on the U.S. mainland. On Sept. 12, evacuees ...

Assessing Hurricane Irma: September 12 Update

published 9/12/2017
The Conference Disaster Response Team is currently assessing how we as South Georgia United Methodists can be of assistance, both in our own conference and the Florida Conference, following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. We were fortunate as we witnessed a significant downgrade in Irma before reaching South Georgia. We ask pastors who have been impacted to contact their District Superintendent to let he or she know the condition of their community, church, and any immediate needs. The District...

United Methodists prepare for Irma

published 9/8/2017
By Linda Bloom and Vicki Brown Sept. 8, 2017 | UMNS Experiences with last year’s U.S. hurricanes and coverage of the devastation wrought by Harvey in Texas and Louisiana have put United Methodists in the Southeast on high alert as Hurricane Irma approaches. Pam Garrison, disaster response coordinator for the Florida Conference, said the conference is still working on both coasts to repair damage from Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew. Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties, where Matthew ...

Preparing for Hurricane Irma: September 7 Update

published 9/7/2017
Based on the most recent forecasts from the National Weather Service, it looks like our conference will be heavily impacted. At 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in six coastal Georgia counties: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. Today he expanded his emergency declaration to include 24 additional counties, with a total of 30 counties now included in a state of emergency. Gov. Deal also issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas ...

Monitoring Hurricane Irma: September 6 Update

published 9/6/2017
Hurricane Irma Update: September 6 In the most recent projections, the path of Hurricane Irma has shifted slightly to the east putting South Georgia under alert for potential impact. At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in six coastal Georgia counties: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. This morning the South Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama West-Florida Conferences were brought together on a conference call with UMCOR (United ...

Churches paint, hide rocks to share hope, faith

published 9/5/2017
Lena Sumner, a fifth-grade student in Christy Yates' Park Avenue UMC Sunday school class, paints a scripture verse on a rock. By Kara Witherow, Editor A little acrylic paint and a few rocks are helping spread hope and love across South Georgia communities. From Bainbridge to Brunswick, individuals and groups are painting rocks and brightening people’s days, one rock at a time. At Park Avenue United Methodist Church, Christy Yates’ fifth-grade Sunday school class is learning about the Bible ...

COB President appeals for prayers and disaster relief support

published 9/5/2017
United Methodist Council of Bishops FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, September 1, 2017 WASHINGTON – Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough is urging all United Methodists to pray and offer support to the victims of the flooding in the Gulf Coast and the mudslides in Sierra Leone. In his letter, Bishop Ough said the heart-rending images from the floods in Texas and the mudslides in Sierra Leone should move all Christians into helping fellow brothers and sisters in the disaster areas. “...

Conference Disability Ministries Committee seeks passionate volunteers

published 9/5/2017
By Christy Odum, member of the Advocacy Team and chair of the Ministry with People with Disabilities subcommittee Hello, South Georgia, I had the privilege of traveling to Atlanta Sunday, Aug. 13 to attend a worship service and meeting for the Disability Ministries Committee. The worship service was filled with God’s presence and grace. My friend Mark Crenshaw of the North Georgia Conference brought the message and others with disabilities were involved with every aspect of the service. I ...

Disaster Response: Responding to Hurricane Harvey

published 9/5/2017
September 1, 2017 To the South Georgia Conference: I have said before that it is times like these that we see just how very "Alive Together in Christ" we are! Thank you for the outpouring of prayer and support for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We are seeing a tremendous response across South Georgia in very tangible ways. The Bishop has encouraged local churches to take up a special offering, which will be sent to the Texas conferences experiencing this devastation. The following inserts ...

John Wesley’s two-day experiment

published 9/5/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley tried a two-day experiment in sharing his faith. He decided that for two days he would only speak to others about godly things if the Holy Spirit directly prompted him to do so. At the end of this two-day experiment he concluded: 1) That he spoke to none at all, even when he rode many miles with them in a coach except for a few words when setting out. 2) That he had no cross to bear and soon went to sleep. 3) That he had much respect shown to him and...

North Georgia UM churches partnering in new ways with new campus ministries

published 9/5/2017
By Sybil Davidson As college students begin a new school year, United Methodist churches are partnering in new ways with the Georgia UMCommission to launch and champion new campus ministries. Three notable new ministries are in the works thanks to our United Methodist connection: Georgia Gwinnett Wesley, West Georgia Wesley, and Augusta Wesley.   Georgia Gwinnett Wesley Most people don't think of Lawrenceville as a "college town," but when Lawrenceville First UMC went through a ...

St. Simons UMC father helps organize $6,500 student debt payoff

published 9/5/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor A note sent home in his son’s folder before the end of school last May spurred one St. Simons Island man into action to organize a community effort to pay off the lunch debt at every school in Glynn County. The note reminded parents to pay their children’s cafeteria debts. Instead of reading it and immediately tossing the note in the trash, Dan Meyers, a member of St. Simons United Methodist Church, wondered what he could do to help those who couldn’t afford to pay ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 9/10/17

published 9/5/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, September 10 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 human chain

published 9/5/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN The beginning of my second year in the South Georgia Conference coincides with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. That is interesting because during my first year we experienced three disasters of our own: Hurricane Matthew, the storms in Albany, and the tornadoes in the South Central and Southwest Districts. We are grateful for those who reached out to us in the past year and our conference is already at work to support relief efforts for ...

Why I am committed to being UNITED in the Methodist Church

published 9/5/2017
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN There’s a cute Disney movie that came out about 15 years ago called “Lilo and Stitch.” It’s the story of an alien that crash lands on earth and befriends a curious and fiesty young girl named Lilo. The movie follows their hijinks as they learn the value of family bonds. There’s a great line in the movie where Lilo teaches Stitch one of her native Hawaiian sayings: “Ohana means family…and family means no one gets left behind.” I remember a conversation I had with a ...

September 1 marks one year anniversary for Bishop Bryan in South Georgia

published 9/1/2017
We want to wish Bishop Lawson Bryan a happy One Year Anniversary! September 1 marks one year he has served as the episcopal leader in the South Georgia Conference. Recently, Bishop Bryan and Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, episcopal leader of the North Georgia Conference, sat down to reflect on their first year of ministry here in Georgia. We are so thankful for their spiritual leadership and guidance and can’t wait to see what this next year holds! Click here to watch video.  

Responding to Hurricane Harvey

published 8/28/2017
Bulletin Inserts Disaster Response Bulletin Insert Special Sunday Bulletin Insert Update on September 1: To the South Georgia Conference: I have said before that it is times like these that we see just how very "Alive Together in Christ" we are! Thank you for the outpouring of prayer and support for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We are seeing a tremendous response across South Georgia in very tangible ways.  As we move into this Labor Day weekend, I want to provide an update and new ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 9/3/17

published 8/28/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, September 3 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 ...

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 ...

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