Report to UMNS
By Kara Witherow, Kelly Roberson
South Georgia Annual Conference
Columbus Convention and Trade Center, Columbus, GA
June 2-5, 2019
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, presiding
As the Chattahoochee River flowed outside, the Holy Spirit flowed inside as nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists gathered in Columbus, Ga. for the 2019 South Georgia Annual Conference session.
Held June 2 through June 5 at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center, clergy and lay members from across South Georgia gathered to conference in the Wesleyan tradition and elect delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Presiding over his third Annual Conference session in South Georgia, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan in his episcopal address spoke about the vitality and fruitfulness he sees in South Georgia. “God is faithful and God continues to send the Holy Spirit upon us,” he said. “But the other part of that is: we are open to God. We hold out our hands willing to receive all that Christ our Lord wants to give us. We stretch out our hands to reach into God’s future. God is faithful. Our people are willing. The result is vitality.”
He then asked attendees to:
Voting for lay and clergy delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences commenced Tuesday, June 4.
After a full day of voting, four clergy and four laity were elected to attend General Conference, the highest legislative body of the denomination, which will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. In addition, the conference elected another four clergy and four laity to attend the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, along with the General Conference delegates. Jurisdictional Conference will be held July 15-18, 2020, when bishops will be elected.
The following persons will serve on the South Georgia delegation:
Richard Shinhoster (alternate to General Conference)
Brenda Adams (alternate to General Conference)
Robert Greene (alternate to General Conference)
Scott Hagan (alternate to General Conference)
In other action, members:
Five persons were ordained into the Order of Elder, and six persons were commissioned as provisional elders.
Twenty pastors retired, and six were recognized for achieving their 50th anniversary in ministry. Twenty-seven clergy and clergy spouses who died in the past year were remembered during the memorial service.
Annual Conference 2019 ended with a Service of Sending Forth.
“Let us all draw on each other as resources,” said Bishop Bryan as he highlighted various groups in our conference and their effective, fruitful ministry. “We all have something to contribute.”
Membership stands at 107,624, down 3,302 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 41,900, down 3,962. Church school attendance stands at 20,246, up 407 from 2017.
The 2020 Annual Conference session will be held in Columbus, Ga. beginning June 7.