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Alive Together in Christ in 2018!

January 08, 2018

Happy New Year! I hope you are entering 2018 with a sense of refreshment. In one of his devotional books, Henri Nouwen offers this reading for January 1. It is entitled, “Expecting a Surprise.”
Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it
when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether
it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place
where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.

May God bless us with refreshing experiences, conversations, and collaborations so that we will be Alive Together in Christ in refreshing ways. 

Here are two specific sources of refreshment in which I invite you to join me: Clergy Day Apart and Winter Conference.

CLERGY DAY APART: February 12 at Harvest UMC, Warner Robins

I look forward to a special time of refreshment with all South Georgia clergy Monday, February 12, at Harvest UMC in Byron. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. and concludes at 2:30 p.m. Gathering time will begin at 9:30 a.m. 

Rev. Jerry Herships, a UMC pastor in the Denver, Colorado area, and Mrs. Claire Bowen, a corporate consultant and longtime member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, will be our guests for the day. 

Jerry’s story is intriguing: former bartender/stand-up comic/mall Santa hears God’s call to leave the bright lights of showbiz and dedicate his life to doing the Lord’s work. 

Jerry was born in Detroit and lived in both L.A. and Orlando, working in radio, television, and film. During Jerry’s stand-up career, he worked with Dick Clark and Jerry Seinfeld and was a contract writer for Jay Leno. He earned his Master's of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology and was ordained in The United Methodist Church in 2009. Twice while in seminary Jerry won the Best Preaching Award.

Jerry was appointed to plant a new church, AfterHours Denver, in the downtown metro area, focusing on the poor and spiritually independent. He is Chief Love Monger and Lead Spiritual Entrepreneur of that faith and action community. AfterHours Denver currently hands out food, water, and communion to 700+ people each week in Civic Center Park. In recent years, AfterHours has been written about in the Denver Post, Denver’s 5280 Magazine, and has been profiled on a number of network affiliates.

The topic for our day apart is, “That'll Preach! How to Make Your Message Stick.” Jerry will explore his innovative techniques to engage all personality types through your sermons. You will walk away with practical knowledge to further engage your congregations.

Claire will facilitate a 15-minute Communications Style Preference assessment at the beginning of our session that will allow us to better understand how we engage with differing personalities.

We ask that you bring a rough-draft sermon you are working on that is not Wifi dependent. Perhaps it is your Easter sermon or a Lenten sermon. We will break into small groups and have time to work on it together. Please bring your tablet, a laptop, or a printed copy—whatever you are most comfortable with to access your work in progress.

You can expect great laughter, lots of fun, and a sermon that will preach and stick! We will be breaking out into groups at tables, so I encourage you to come casual. 

Please register as soon as possible so that we can have an accurate head count for lunch. We will all eat together on campus at Harvest. Registration is $15 and includes lunch. 

Click here to register.

Questions? Contact Allison Lindsey at

Register, come casual, bring a sermon, and prepare to learn and have fun together! 

WINTER CONFERENCE: January 28-31 at Epworth By The Sea

Last year I attended Winter Conference for the first time and was inspired by the hundreds of laity and clergy who were Alive Together in Christ. This year’s theme is “Alive Together in Worship.”  

The music of Jarvis Wilson and Robert McMichael will lift us to the presence of God. The Biblical teaching of New Testament scholar Dr. Ben Witherington and the preaching of Bishop James Swanson will stimulate our minds and souls. Practical workshops include: “Managing Conflict” (Claire Bowen), “Pastor as Change Agent” (Jody Ray), and “Change Management” (Anne Bosarge). 

For me, Winter Conference is a chance to personally connect with the laity and clergy of our conference. Please join me. May the Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us as we experience the joy of being Alive Together in Worship.   

Register I Schedule I Leader biographies

I look forward to what the new year holds for the South Georgia Conference as we continue to be Alive Together in Christ in 2018.

Lawson Bryan

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