FROM THE BISHOP
R. LAWSON BRYAN
There is no way I can even begin to list all those who contributed to the 151st
meeting of the South Georgia Annual Conference. But I must say thanks to the hundreds of individuals and groups whose combined efforts prepared the way for a spiritual jubilee experience on Jekyll Island. Thanks to the local arrangements committee, the annual conference planning committee, the worship team, the sound and light team, the communications team, the tellers, the journal editorial team, and the chancellor and vice-chancellor. Then there are the myriad boards, agencies, institutions, and ministries whose reports provided specific examples of our theme, Alive Together in Christ. And while all that was going on, dozens of children and youth were involved in our Camp Connect camping ministry right there on Jekyll Island.
Personally, annual conference was an energizing experience! Having the opening service on the very day of Pentecost was ideal. I saw evidence of the Holy Spirit: in the joyful faces of hundreds of delegates, in the combined voices lifted in rousing songs of praise, in the service of commissioning and ordination, and in the preaching of Bishops Swanson and Watson and the teaching of Lovett Weems. My heart is full of thanksgiving for the deep respect shown to one another in moments of discussion and debate around specific motions or issues. Over and over again I thought to myself, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in the place!”
For the next 12 months our theme and our focus will be: Alive Together in Worship. Our goal is a 10 percent increase in average worship attendance by the time we gather for annual conference in 2018. Lovett Weems provided the tools to help us reach our goal. Each delegate received a handout entitled, “Vital Signs for a Healthy Church,” containing specific steps to take for an increase in worship attendance. Our district superintendents will be referring to this document during the set-up meetings this month and throughout the year. The document can also be downloaded by visiting www.sgaumc.org/vitalsigns
Over the past 12 months, what were the 10 worship services of highest attendance in your local church? What new plans will you make for those same services in the coming 12 months? Personal experience has taught me that inspiration comes after we start planning, not before. Today is the best time to get started. I pray that throughout this year the churches of the South Georgia Conference will be Alive Together in Worship.