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Dear Friends of the South Georgia Conference, Earlier this week, I wrote an article reminding you about our process and timeline around disaffiliation and departures. The decisions...
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When Disagreements Come

January 19, 2023
By Hal Brady Whenever I do pre-marital counseling, I usually include the following: role expectation, a good theology of marriage, what the psychologists say about the experience, the importance of communication, the necessity of commitment, and how to deal with conflict or disagreements.  Unless one of the marriage partners is a non-thinking robot every marriage has disagreements. The only question is how we handle those disagreements. Whether it’s in marriage, business, sports, politics, ...

Drawing Near to God

January 18, 2023
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD    As the South Georgia Conference begins 2023, Bishop Graves is focusing our energies to be prayerful people, and the Ministry of Memory will honor this mighty request for the New Year by showcasing how prayer has supported the Methodist movement for hundreds of years.    Prayer…what’s old is new again!   To begin a year of prayer, we must begin at the beginning and move forward in a methodical way if Susanna Wesley is to support our work. Therefore, we ...

A Challenge for 2023: Look for the Good

January 07, 2023
By Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed   When God looks at us, I think He looks for a reflection of Himself in our character, choices, as well as our overall lifestyle. But what do we look for when we interact with people? Too often we focus on what's wrong with someone more than we spotlight what they do right. When a person is good, it means that he or she is morally excellent or a person of integrity, kind, friendly, refined, cheerful, and righteous.   This world we live in has a tendency to be very ...

Hetty’s Tragic Story

January 07, 2023
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON   Samuel and Susanna Wesley named their fifth surviving child “Mehetabel” but everybody called her “Hetty.” She was born in 1697 and was six years older than John Wesley. She probably took care of him and changed his diapers.   If it was said that all the Wesley girls were beautiful, Hetty was gorgeous! Hetty was exceptional in every way. She was so smart that Samuel gave her special instructions in Latin, Greek, and the classics. Because she had such beautiful ...

In Name and Spirit

December 16, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD  On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown versus Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the states from denying equal protection of the laws to any person within their jurisdictions. The decision declared that separate educational facilities for white and African American students were inherently unequal. This ruling overturned the...

Reading Together in 2023: four books & four conversations on prayer

December 16, 2022
How do you feel about books? Some people love them, others would rather watch the movie.  No matter how you feel about reading, the evidence is clear: reading stimulates your thinking, provides stress reduction, improves your memory, strengthens your problem-solving skills, improves focus and concentration along with so much more!    Here are some quotes from book-lovers throughout the years:  Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. – Frederick Douglass We read to know we are not ...

And then some: gratitude, humility and excellence

December 15, 2022
By Hal Brady    How do you spell success? How do I spell it? A retired business executive was once asked the secret of his success. He replied that it could be summed up in these words: “and then some.”     “I discovered at an early age,” he said, “that most of the difference between average people and top people could be explained in three words. The top people did what was expected of them – and then some. They were thoughtful of others – and then some. They met their obligations and ...

Wesley’s Thoughts on Preaching

December 04, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley would remind us that there are four purposes for preaching: to invite…to convince…to offer Christ…and to build up! These should be done in every sermon!  Some other suggestions: Never disappoint a congregation. By this he means “show up”! Begin and end on time!     Be sincere, weighty, and solemn! Suit your subject to your audience!   Do not ramble!    Choose as plain a text as you can!    Keep to your text!    Be sparing of ...

Young adult Global Mission Fellow befriends, listens, and offers words of hope

December 04, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Have you ever heard someone in church ask the question, “Where are our young adults?” Many are in the world quietly, if not apprehensively, serving. This generation of young adults is one that grew up doing things. They did not learn to wait their turn to rise up for their chance. They took it.  One of the ways young adults in The United Methodist Church are serving is through a program called Global Mission Fellows. Young ...

150 Years demonstrating the Love of God with Actions and in Truth

150 Years demonstrating the Love of God with Actions and in Truth

November 14, 2022
By Alison Evans   If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  ~ 1 John 3:17-18 (NIV)    As I reflect on 15 decades of healing and hope at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth, I am amazed by the many, many instances where you have loved our children with actions and in truth.      Over the years, your giving ...

Handling Dejection

November 14, 2022
By Hal Brady   All of us have felt defeated and dejected. More than once we’ve spread our wings only to have them clipped and disaster happen. Welcome to the human race! Nobody succeeds every time.    Most of us are aware that the great baseball player Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs. But how many of us are aware that he struck out 1,330 times? And most of us are familiar with the success of the biblical character Joshua. He took over from Moses and led the children of Israel successfully into the ...

Hush

November 14, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD  As the South Georgia Conference prepares for the birth of the Messiah, may we remember the wonder and magic of that night, calm our minds and open our hearts in preparation for the miracle.   Luke 2:1-20:  The Birth of Jesus 2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to ...

'Give something away every day'

October 31, 2022
By Creede Hinshaw   It’s the season in the United Methodist Church when many pastors preach a stewardship sermon. United Methodists have traditionally raised the upcoming year’s budget by seeking pledges in a fall campaign. At least one sermon usually comes into prominent play.   That sermon was delivered last Sunday at the church I attend; it was very well-crafted and biblically solid, leaving the listener personally challenged as to whether he/she is laying a foundation for generosity. The ...

UMCOR is there

October 31, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries   While it did not directly affect us, Hurricane Ian did have an indirect effect on people in my church. Thankfully their loved ones in Ft. Myers are safe. We wondered what can we do to help those who lost everything? What did we do before? We gave – and can give - to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)!    Where do the funds go? Just a few examples: In 2006 Katrina caused extensive damage along the Gulf Coast. ...

Wesley and Card Playing

October 31, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS By Dave Hanson   As a serious bridge player, I rejoiced to learn that John Wesley enjoyed playing cards while he was a student and teacher at Oxford University. Later he sought to guide Methodists into Christian holiness and urged them to follow courses which seemed to him like worthy self-denial. Wesley sought to make abstinence from all games a sign of righteousness, though he did except card-playing on the frankly affirmed reason that his mother played cards! It is ...

Fussin’ Over You!

October 16, 2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK   She never stood a chance.  Her dysfunctional home life claimed her soul at the crib, and by the time she was twelve, the lure of drugs added its own addictive claim. At fourteen, she entered a life of prostitution, following in the footsteps of her mother.     One weekend, doped and crazy, she and her boyfriend killed two people. Her weapon, a pickaxe, brought a conviction of murder. She was sentenced in l984 and put to death fourteen years later. She gained ...

True Faith

October 16, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD    The following excerpts were written by Rev. Geo. G.N. MacDowell for the Wesleyan Christian Advocate dated September 3, 1881. Rev. MacDowell chronicled his journey while working with Rev. W.D. McGregor in the newly created Cobbtown Mission, which was formed in Emanuel, Tattnall, and Bulloch counties by the South Georgia Conference in 1879. This ministerial work reminds me that we are a people of true faith who went gratefully into the wilderness with ...

A United Methodist Presence in Japan

October 03, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries   The United Methodist Church continues to reach around the world. While we do not have any official churches in Japan, there is a presence. The Rev. Claudia Genung-Yamamoto is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church (GBGM) and serves as the lead pastor of Kobe Union Church in Kobe, Japan. Rev. Claudia has been a missionary for 27 years. She became a GBGM missionary associate in...

The Methodist Rule of Life

October 03, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON   The Methodist Rule of Life   “Do you know our rule?  Will You keep it?” The Methodist Rule as defined in our Discipline is: “1- Do no harm… 2- Do good… 3- Observe our Ordinances (Worship, Bible Study, Prayer, Fasting, and Holy Communion.” Every Methodist pastor at their ordination answered this question. Every Methodist should also answer this question.   John Wesley believed this rule was the very foundation of the world’s religion. He encouraged us all to ...

Things That Don't Need to Change

October 03, 2022
By Hal Brady   A well-known minister in one of our largest United Methodist Churches said that when he was in seminary over 15 or so years ago the watchword was “Change the world.”    “Today,” he said, “the question is ‘What do we do when the world changes?’”    Yes, time does change things, sometimes dramatically. Professions change, styles change, expectations change, communication systems change, how we relate to people changes, education changes, and on and on it goes.   But some things have...

Kindness Makes the Coffee

September 18, 2022
By Hal Brady   If anybody had a case not to be kind, it was the biblical character, Joseph. His brothers treated him like dirt and sold him into slavery. This action by his brothers resulted in practically everything going wrong in his life for the next 30 years. What happened next? He was falsely accused of commuting adultery and thrown in prison. But, later, as you recall, Joseph’s fortune reversed, and he became second in command over all of Egypt. Then came the day that Joseph’s father, ...

The Importance of the Work

September 18, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD    In other parts of this wonderful country, the approaching season is called autumn. In South Georgia, the approaching season is called football, and in many of our coastal communities the approaching yearly cycle is known as hurricane season. Whatever else it may be called, it heralds the beginning of school, and in the Methodist movement the beginning of Sunday School. What’s old is new again.   According to the Sunday School Board’s report in the 1908 ...

Being Thankful Makes Everything Better

September 04, 2022
By Dr. Hal Brady   Perhaps the single most famous speech given by a baseball player was given by New York Yankee first baseman, Lou Gehrig. Gehrig is remembered for playing in 2,130 consecutive games in 14 seasons with the New York Yankees. He compiled a lifetime batting average of .340 and batted in 150 runs or more in seven different seasons. In addition, he contracted a horrible disease – ALS – that forced his retirement in 1939 and shortly thereafter took his life. On this occasion, ...

Global Ministries’ US-2 program sends missionaries into United States communities

September 04, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries   There have been Methodist missionaries in North America sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ before there was even a United States. After John Wesley returned to England, he sent numerous young adults to ride across the colonies to share the Gospel. It was not a role for the faint of heart. Until 1847, almost half of the young men died before the age of 30. Thank God for their willingness to share the message in spite of ...

John Wesley Mellows

September 04, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON   John Wesley Mellows   John Wesley was once criticized because he thought he was always right.  His reply was, “Of course I believe that I am right. If I didn’t think I was right I would change my opinion.” Many thought he was stubborn and autocratic.   Later in life he began to mellow. In 1765, at the age of 62, he wrote, “When I was young I was sure of everything. In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half as sure of most things as I ...

History Made Every Day

August 15, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD  The historical societies of the Southeastern Jurisdiction and The United Methodist Church met at the Moore Methodist Museum this summer to trace the footsteps of John and Charles Wesley while they ministered to the colonists in Georgia. Highlights of the week’s events included a stop at Peeper’s Island, a walking tour of historical Savannah, and time on the grounds of Christ Episcopal Church and Fort Frederica. While walking in these sacred places, the ...

Christian Perfection

July 31, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON “Nobody is perfect.” We have heard it all our lives and often said it ourselves to justify some mistake we have made. The Bible even affirms it when it says, “There is none righteous. No, not one, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It also cautions us by saying, “He who says he is without sin is liar and the truth is not in them.” However, we are also urged to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. John Wesley believed and taught ...

Undo, Redo, or Reset?

July 31, 2022
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources I love icebreaker questions. They are such a great way to begin to get to know people you’ve never met or to get a feel for where people are when you’re leading a group. One of my favorite icebreakers is this simple question, “Would you like to undo, redo, or reset something in your life right now?” Here’s how I define those terms: Undo: One thing you would like to completely erase Redo: One thing you wish you could ...

What happens when God sends people to share the Gospel

July 31, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Many of us remember Rev H. Eddie Fox. He served for 25 years as the executive director of the World Methodist Evangelism. He came from Sevierville, Tenn. near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. He told the world he was from Appalachia and never saw an ocean until the age of 21. Eddie traveled the world, sharing the Gospel wherever he went. One of the places was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a country many of us did not ...

Do you want to get well?

July 17, 2022
By Dr. Hal Brady Since my wife and I have recently tested positive for covid, I have been thinking more about health and healing than normal. I am pleased to report that both of us are steadily improving. However, my hat is off to the multitudes of others who have suffered or are suffering the same or similar plight. My best to all of you. At any rate, I am reminded of an incident in scripture where a man suffered with an infirmity for 38 long years. One day Jesus comes to him and asked a very...

Methodically human

July 17, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Only a few days after arriving in Savannah in 1736, John Wesley met Sophia Christiana Hopkey, the 18-year-old niece of Mrs. Thomas Causton. Wesley, being determined “to have no intimacy with any woman in America,” understood the temptation Sophia presented and worked diligently to only meet with her in public spaces or when other people were present. However, in early summer, he arranged to tutor Sophia and another young woman in the parsonage after early ...

God is at work using The UMC on a global scale

July 05, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Did you know there were Methodists behind the Iron Curtain? In what was once the Russian Empire under Czar Nicholas II, the church was quietly formed by Swedish immigrants. It was allowed to become a church in 1905 when the czar signed the Edict of Toleration that made it okay for churches other than the Russian Orthodox Church to operate in Russia. From 1905 to 1917, the Methodists built churches, clinics, schools and ...

John Wesley and disaffiliation

July 05, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley disaffiliates John Wesley was a part of the Fetter Lane Society in London. The group was made up of Peter Bohler and about 40 Moravian Christians. It was as a part of this group that John went to a prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street and had his “heart-warming” experience. The group was very important to him. However, the society became involved in a movement called “Quietism” which taught that we should wait quietly for the Lord to move in our ...

They will know we are Methodists by our love

July 05, 2022
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN The great separation has now begun. 2020 was supposed to be the pivotal year we finally settled the division over inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of our denomination. After almost 50 years of fighting, we were finally set to end the division and go our separate ways to serve the Lord as we felt God called us. And then a global pandemic caused General Conference to be postponed for four full years, making it five full years between gatherings. Nonetheless, ...

A royal priesthood of 12-year-olds

June 12, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year again. There is no snow. Instead, it is 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity and a 20 percent chance of afternoon showers. There are no gifts to buy or presents to wrap. Instead, we are loading up on boxes of ...

But Grace said

June 12, 2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My car broke down and I needed a loaner while it was being repaired. You’ve gotten a loaner before, right? How much gas did it have in it? I thought so. Almost on empty. Mine too. I think they learn that in car school. So, I went to the gas station right away and moved the line way above empty. After a few days, I learned that my car was in worse shape than I thought. I needed a new engine. That would take a while. Meanwhile, I had places to go. A sign ...

Methodist missionaries in India

May 31, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries There are many worthy projects for mission in our world. We cannot do them all. The best way to decide which project to undertake or fund is to listen to the calling of God. God will reveal to us which mission works best for us. My wonderful role is to highlight the many projects we have in the world. Thus far I have talked of Afghanistan; Korea; Hawaii; Africa; North Katanga; Yemen; Washington, D.C.; North Carolina; ...

Reflect, don’t repeat

May 31, 2022
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources Have you ever looked at someone’s life and been confused about why they keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Or maybe, if you’re like me, you realize that person is you! Why do we get stuck in a cycle of doing the same failing things over and over again? Why do we keep repeating our missteps and failures? One of the main reasons is we aren’t taking the time to reflect on our experiences. See if you can ...

Choosing the color

May 15, 2022
By Dr. Hal Brady There’s a story of a student at Iowa State University who took to selling magazine subscriptions for additional income. He decided that a likely customer might be the president of the university. The student was greeted at the door by the president’s wife who was able to resist his sales pitch by saying that her husband already received more magazines than he could read. Before turning to leave, the student assured her that he understood. It was then that the president’s wife ...

Great is thy faithfulness

May 15, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD The Methodist Church has laid upon my shoulders many responsibilities, but it has also given to me a great many honors. Perhaps no man ever stood seeking admission at the bar of an Annual Conference with so little to offer as credentials of his worthiness for the work of the Ministry. But in great kindness, the South Georgia Conference received me “on trial” in 1909. From that humble circuit to which I was sent in that year, I have traveled a worldwide ...

Old time religion

May 01, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley came to Georgia in 1736 with one over-arching goal in mind. He wanted to establish a religious community like the early church. He wanted some “Old Time Religion.” He thought the ideal place for this experiment in Old Time Religion would be the frontier of Georgia. To that end, Wesley announced on his first Sunday in Savannah that while he was the pastor things would be done the “Old Fashioned Way!” This included the way babies were to be baptized – ...

Seek to make life better for those in need

May 01, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries We often think of missions as something done overseas or in a distant part of our country. There are multiple missions that happen in places we think would be immune to the effects of poverty. If we lived in Washington, D.C., the seat of our government, we would find Christ House Medical Services Advance #381215. They provide comprehensive and compassionate care for people with acute medical needs who are experiencing ...

Surely Not I

April 17, 2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK I was around nine when one of our neighbors physically abused me. A couple of years older than me, she had already become a “bully.” I felt safe, however, when my sister was around. My older sister, my only sibling, always looked out for me. I had never been more grateful for her protective nature than when this neighbor tied me to a chair and left me inside her humid playhouse. I could not escape. Not only did she tie me in the chair, but she turned the chair...

The way of the cross leads home

April 17, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “We had another terrific day over that awful, overheated, windswept land of desolation. Through vast stretches, there are no landmarks by which the pilot can determine his course. He must depend absolutely on his compass. You fly for hours with nothing but sand beneath dust storms which sweep up and hide the sun.” “The Bishop Is In A Hurry!” published by Robert E. Daniel I have received an advanced copy of a new book compiled and edited by Robert E. Daniel ...

Fighting Decision Fatigue

Fighting Decision Fatigue

March 31, 2022
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources Do you have decision fatigue? If you’re exhausted after making decisions, procrastinating, impulsive, or indecisive, it may be because you’re experiencing decision fatigue. Psychologists have discovered a correlation between the quality of decisions and the number of decisions that must be made in a short period of time. The more decisions you are required to make, the lower the quality of your decisions. Leaders ...

Meet Gaston

March 31, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries As part of my role as the Conference Secretary for Global Ministries I have the privilege of researching and highlighting missionaries who might otherwise go unnoticed. Gaston Nkulu Ntambo is based in Luena, Angola, where he serves as a pilot and mechanic with the Wings of the Morning Aviation ministry in the North Katanga Conference. The ministry provides transportation in hard-to-reach areas of Africa, especially in ...

Why John Wesley never wrote “Notes on the Old Testament”

March 31, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley wrote “Notes on the New Testament” which, along with his “Forty Standard Sermons” and the Church of England’s “Articles of Religion,” form the theological foundation of the Methodist Church. Many urged him to also write “Notes on the Old Testament,” but he never did so. Why? Wesley gave three reasons for not writing this document:  Others have written on this topic in an adequate way.  If I undertook this major project it would take away massive ...

No Set Formula

March 14, 2022
By Dr. Hal Brady So much has been and continues to be written about leadership. Author Harris W. Lee examined leadership over the past 50 years and learned there are at least 350 definitions of it. From his study of leadership, Lee concluded that “leadership is one of the most observed but least understood phenomena on earth.” To be sure, leadership is difficult to define. There is a certain elusive mysterious quality about it. There is no set formula. But while there is that mysterious quality...

School Pictures

March 14, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD It’s 1975 and a young boy in third grade shows up to school in his favorite “Jaws” t-shirt. He was in a hurry and didn’t really have time to brush his hair or wash his face, even though he told his mother he had. He may even still have a little grape jelly in the corners of his mouth. You may be wondering how these small details could be remembered 47 years later. Well, I’ll tell you, as luck would have it, it was picture day at the elementary school and ...

John Wesley’s “Christian Library”

February 28, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said, “I am a man of one book,” showing the importance he placed on the Bible. However, Wesley believed in reading many books. He encouraged his followers to read. But there were problems. Books were often too expensive and difficult to read. In an effort to makes books less expensive and simpler he published his “Christian Library” – 50 volumes! He took the writings of others and abridged them – something like “CliffsNotes” today. He made them ...

UMCOR delivers hope to hurting people

February 28, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Many United Methodists have heard of UMCOR. The United Methodist Committee on Relief does great work in places most of us have never been and maybe have never heard of, either. They respond after natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and mudslides. They are working all over the world in places like Haiti and New Orleans, helping to feed and rebuild. What many may not know is that UMCOR also responds to ...

I’m going to Hollywood!

February 13, 2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Occasionally, I look at the beginning process of “America’s Got Talent.” The judges watch the talent and give a pass if the performance is really good. If the person gets that pass there is a big celebration. There’s shouting, dancing, and music as each contestant comes out from the room where he or she performed and tells their waiting parents and friends the good news. And what is that good news? Why, he or she has made the first pass and that person is ...

These three …

February 13, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD On January 15, 1891, Vanderbilt Benjamin Simmons was born to Frank and Cornelia Simmons as one of their 22 children. He married Sarah Smith in Brunswick, Georgia in 1914 and went on to father eight children. V.B. Simmons served as a successful lay leader until he was received on trial in the Savannah Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South on November 25, 1931. After being ordained a deacon in 1934, V.B. Simmons was ordained an elder in the newly ...

Feeling like a failure

January 31, 2022
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Anyone who has been in ministry for much time at all has likely experienced their share of failure – or at least what felt like failure. Lately, I (Jay) have been feeling like a failure and I am finding real value in embracing those feelings. Stay with me for a moment. Feelings are not always accurately connected to facts. It is possible to have feelings that are not supported by facts at all, but that doesn’t negate the feelings. I can ...

God is at work

January 31, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Did you know there were Methodists behind the Iron Curtain? In what was once the Russian Empire under Czar Nicholas II, the church was quietly formed by Swedish immigrants. It was allowed to become a formal church in 1905 when the czar signed the Edict of Toleration that made it okay for churches other than the Russian Orthodox Church to operate in Russia. From 1905 to 1917, the Methodists built churches, clinics, schools ...

How John Wesley treated critics

January 31, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON We can learn a lot about a person by seeing how they treat their critics. John Wesley received a critical letter from an anonymous person who called himself “John Smith.” Although John Wesley had no idea who “John Smith” was, it is amazing how he handled his lengthy (eight page) response. Here is his introduction in his own words: “I was determined, from the time I received yours, to answer it as soon as I should have opportunity. But it was the longer delayed,...

Entering on a New Year

January 17, 2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Monday, January 1, 1776, entry of Rev. Francis Asbury’s journal: I am now entering on a new year, and am of late constantly happy, feeling my heart much taken up with God and hope thus to live and thus to die. Francis Asbury sailed to America in 1771 at the ripe age of 22 years, unaware that he would never return to his birth country. He served as Wesley’s assistant during that first year, preaching in 25 different settlements. When the American Revolution...

Stetson Bennett – a champion

January 17, 2022
By Dr. Hal Brady Stetson Bennett, IV is the College Football National Champion Georgia Bulldogs’ quarterback and a heartwarming lesson in determination. As you know, Stetson played football at Pierce County High School and was a lightly-regarded two-star quarterback upon graduation. In reality, he had a couple of small colleges interested in him, but, as a boy, Stetson dreamed of playing quarterback at the University of Georgia. So, at this point, Stetson chose the less-glamorous route of ...

Could 2022 (finally) be the year for non-anxiousness?

January 04, 2022
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Our world is filled with anxiety. I don’t know if that’s a new thing, but it’s certainly been amplified over the years through vehicles like cable news and social media. And certainly, this anxiety has been ratcheted up during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Methodists, we bring our own baggage because our General Conference — the one where we finally promised one another we’d solve our 50+ year division over LGBTQ inclusion in the church — has been postponed since...

How Methodism got its name

January 02, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In the sermon “The Foundation of City Road Church,” John Wesley gave a brief history of Methodism’s beginnings. He says that in the year 1725 a young Oxford student (himself) was moved by reading two books (Kempis’s “Christian Pattern” and Bishop Taylor’s “Rules of Holy Living and Dying”). He sought to live in accordance of these teaching and sought others to walk along with him, but found no one. But in the year 1729 he found one other person who would join with...

What will our legacy be?

January 02, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries What is new to us is not really new. Long before we thought to send missionaries into the continent of Africa to share the Gospel message they sent messages and shared the Gospel with the world. Gifted writers, theologians and preachers took what they learned in Africa to the world. One of the most well-known theologians of the early church is St. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine was born in 354 in what is today Algeria, in ...

A sufficient Christmas

December 19, 2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Before my mother-in-law left for heaven, she was trapped in her limited body by a debilitating stroke. For four-and-a-half years, she lay motionless in the bed, unable to speak or communicate. Christmas came. Roy and I traveled from sunny South Georgia to the snow laden streets of Burlington, Michigan, our first time to see his mother after her stroke. Mr. Funk greeted us with a huge hug before we walked into the living room of the old farmhouse, the dark ...

What about the camels?

December 19, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11) ...

Leading through relationship

December 06, 2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON “What I want for Christmas is…” Forget the two front teeth; what most ministry leaders want are more volunteers!!! We ask, we beg, we plead, we cast vision, we explain, we smile, we laugh, we cry, we cajole, and… sometimes we resort to guilt. It never seems to be enough. We always need more.  Volunteers… they make our world go ‘round or come crashing down. What if you decided to stop the crazy cycle of begging and pleading? What if your...

Making a difference in the world

December 06, 2021
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Picking up where I left off in my last column, I ask, “Where is the church serving in the world?” How about Korea and Hawaii? If you ever find yourself in Hawaii on a Sunday you can worship in a United Methodist Church. Interestingly, the origins of the Methodist movement in Hawaii started in places like Ohio and Korea. The United Methodist Church and her predecessors have been at work in the mission field for more than 136 ...

Suffering and a Few Insights

November 14, 2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Have you ever been watching television and the announcer suddenly interrupts and says, “We interrupt this program to bring you an important announcement.” Sure, you have. We’ve all experienced this kind of interruption. Occasionally, the interruption will be good news such as the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But most of the time when we hear that interruption we have to white-knuckle the arms of our chairs. We know it means trouble, storms, disaster, pandemics, and more ...

Thankful for Philip Barrett

November 14, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Barrett’s Chapel is the oldest surviving church building built by and for Methodists. It was built in 1780 on land donated by Philip Barrett, a successful politician and newly converted Methodist, and is located north of Frederica, in Kent County, Delaware. With the end of the American Revolution and peace at last in the newly formed country, John Wesley sent Thomas Coke to America in 1784 to find Francis Asbury and discuss the future of American Methodism. ...

A word you will never hear John Wesley say

November 01, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said, “There is one word you will never hear me say!” I was stunned when I read that statement in John Wesley’s writings. I was even more surprised when I discovered the word was “dearest.” He meant that he would never use the word “dearest” in connection with God. He was concerned that many were becoming too familiar when speaking of Almighty God. The word “dearest” was to be used in expressing warm, intimate feelings of affection, especially to a ...

Together, we are making a difference

November 01, 2021
By Rev. Garth Duke Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries As your new South Georgia Annual Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, one of my tasks is to highlight the great mission work we are doing in the world. It will be my pleasure to share news of some of the people and the places we are working to make a difference for the kingdom of God. In this column I mention UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee on Relief. For more information about this agency, visit umcmission.org/u...

The railroad ties that bind

October 14, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD In 1834, a survey was made between Savannah and Macon for the purpose of establishing a rail route between the two Georgia cities. In 1836, the Central Railroad was granted a charter and the building of the railroad, starting at Savannah, began at once. It took several years to build, and in 1843, the first passenger car arrived at the temporary depot set up outside of Macon. The original road was 190 miles long and, at the time it was completed, was the ...

Anointed!

October 03, 2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Many people from our Annual Conference participated in this year’s New Room Experience. Here are just a few examples of the impact in some of their lives. “The best conference I have attended in years - I fully plan to attend again!” – Rev. Roy White, St. Marys United Methodist Church “After this last season, every pastor deserves the chance to breathe and receive – to breathe in passionate worship and receive Spirit-filled teaching. New ...

Disagreeing with John Wesley

October 03, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON We must remember that John Wesley lived a long time ago and some of his ideas seem strange to modern ears. I find John’s idea about the cause and cure of earthquakes especially disturbing. In his sermon on this topic, he states that God causes earthquakes in order to punish sinful mankind for our sins. I don’t believe that. In this sermon he describes in horrifying detail three powerful earthquakes in Sicily (1692, where 54 cities were destroyed), Jamaica (June ...

“Here Endeth the First Lesson”

September 17, 2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Cannon Dick Sheppard was the minister at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in the heart of London right after World War l. It is reported that when he died, quite suddenly, one of the morning newspapers printed a large photograph of his pulpit. There it was, the same as ever, but empty. However, the Bible on the pulpit was still open with a ray of light across it. Beneath the picture were these words: “Here endeth the first lesson.” The implication here, and rightly so, is that there ...

Universal Truths

September 16, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Primarily, Christian love is gentleness. In other words, it is self-restraint. It is the ability and the power to check or to hold under mastery those natural tendencies of self-assertion which come boiling up out of our hearts. It is keeping pride and fretfulness and malice down. It is fairness of judgement. It is a kindly allowance for the mistakes of the other man. It is consideration for the feelings of people. That is love. Bishop Arthur J. Moore The ...

Why the vision statement doesn’t get a rise

September 16, 2021
By Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services Sometime in the early ‘90s I began to learn about how critical it was for a church to have a vision statement. Somewhere in the intersection of business, academia, and the practical administration of the church the idea of a compelling mission or vision statement surfaced in the minds of pastors and other church leaders. Our annual conference got behind the idea, and soon we were merrily discussing the difference between a mission ...

Reclaiming our childlikeness

September 06, 2021
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN When was the last time you splashed in a puddle? How about the last time you danced in the grocery aisle when your favorite song came on? When was the last time you laughed to the point of tears at something ridiculously silly?  If you’re scratching your head to answer these questions, you might be too “adultish.” I know what you’re thinking: “Ben, you’re just making words up now.” Yes, I am. But hang with me. Adultish is a term I’ve found that refers to our ...

Wesley gives advice on dealing with the public

September 02, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In his sermon, “Visiting the Sick,” John Wesley gives some good advice on dealing with the public. He says that when preparing to go visit the sick we should first say our prayers and ask God to cleanse us from any pride and give us a spirit of meekness and gentleness, of patience and longsuffering, that we may never be angry or discouraged at whatever treatment, rough or smooth, kind or unkind, we may meet with. He reminds us not to be surprised at their ...

Five words that are killing Methodism in South Georgia

August 16, 2021
By Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services There are five little words that, when put together a certain way, are killing Methodism in South Georgia: We’re just a small church. These five words have acquired a certain power, and I am ready to see their influence taken away.  These five words can be used as a way to excuse, to defend, and to dismiss. But their real impact is felt when the words take the heart out of mission, evangelism, and worship. When given credibility, these...

Married States

August 16, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “On many accounts I should recommend to you marriage, rather than celibacy. You are of a social temper, and would find in a married state the difficulties of working out your salvation exceedingly lessened, and your helps as much increased.” These are some of the last words that General James Oglethorpe spoke to Rev. Charles Wesley prior to Wesley leaving the American colonies forever. Intentions to marry off a single minister? Whoever heard of such a ...

The Heart of the Gospel

August 16, 2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When I was a young girl, I stood by my mother at the kitchen sink and watched her as she separated stalks of celery, washing each piece before she gave it to us at supper. She taught me that there is a part of the celery stalk that has a sweeter taste than the rest of the stalks. When all of the stalks are pulled away, there lies within the celery a beautiful surprise. It’s called the heart of the celery, and it has a deeper, sweeter taste than the rest of the ...

Be a Bridge!

August 01, 2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I am a bridge towering high up in the sky. Proudly I stand, spanning land to land. Although many may not know Without me progress would slow For across me travelers must go. I have a cause as noble as can be My purpose is to allow people to walk over me. Trampled underfoot by people rushing past Climbed by thrill seekers hoping to make a splash Driven over by large trucks Flown past by noisy planes Run through by foreign ships Pounded...

John Wesley and the American Revolution

August 01, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley was initially opposed to the American Revolution for four basic reasons: He felt that the American colonists enjoyed many freedoms under British rule. Why should they “destroy ship-loads of tea when settlers of other British territories around the world did not have representation in the English Parliament?” Americans are “foaming with rage against England, the king, and their own neighbors who remain loyal to the motherland!” They stand ready to “...

Get a Grip on Life

July 18, 2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Get a grip! Get a life! On just about everything it is crucial to get a proper grip. This is true whether we are climbing rocks, gripping a golf club, throwing a football or baseball, or simply shaking hands. I reiterate, on just about everything, it is crucial to get a proper grip, and this especially applies to life. Get a grip on life! Be content – that’s where Paul offers us great wisdom. He states, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians ...

In the future

July 18, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “One of the seemingly indestructible human delusions is that of supposing that back somewhere in the past there was a time when there were large numbers of men and women who were good and true and pious and loyal to God in a sense in which only an exceptional few are good and true and pious and loyal today.” Sunday School Magazine, January 1910 Many of the articles I write harken back to an easier time when camp meetings were the only form of social media ...

Happy birthday, John Wesley!

July 06, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON It is June 17, 2021, as I sit down to write this John Wesley Moment – John Wesley’s 318th birthday. John was born in Epworth, England on June 17,1703 (the old, Julian calendar). You may notice that the present-day United Methodist official church calendar records Wesley’s birthday as June 28, which is the new/Gregorian calendar date. By most accounts, John was Susanna and Rev. Samuel Wesley’s 16th of 19 children. As a matter of fact, “our” John Wesley was the ...

Patience is grace

July 05, 2021
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN It’s July, and I’m reminded of when I was a kid and I would complain about the summer heat. My mom would promptly tell me to “stop moving around so much and you’ll cool off.” Looking back, that seems to be as good an analogy for patience as I can think of. When life makes us anxious, we tend to move around, trying to make things better. Rather than moving around so much, sometimes the best thing we can do is slow down and be patient knowing that God will make a way ...

The Come Back

June 19, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD As the temperature rises and the days get longer, parents and children wash and label clothes and pack sleeping bags in preparation for summer camp. It will be loud. It will be hot. Mosquitos will be plentiful and s’mores will be eaten. Is it 1949 or 2021? What’s old is new again! Before buildings could be built or even renovated, Methodist youth camped in tents on the hallowed grounds of Epworth By The Sea. Within months of the property being purchased, ...

Lessons from Humpty Dumpty

June 18, 2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Our world is broken in so many places. Humanity runs here and there, searching for a glue that will stick us back the way we were. When you become broken, it is difficult to think straight. Everything about your life is in shambles. It happened to Humpty Dumpty, and all the king’s men couldn’t put him back together again! I guess it really doesn’t matter what Humpty Dumpty was doing on a wall in the first place. What really matters is that he fell and broke ...

A John Wesley Moment: Peter Bohler

May 31, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Peter Bohler was a young German Moravian Christian. John Wesley met him soon after returning from his failed mission to Georgia. Bohler was in London preparing to travel to America to do missionary work among the slaves. John Wesley looked after Bohler and some of his friends while they were in London. Bohler, who was about 10 years younger than Wesley, spoke a little English. Wesley spoke a little German, but they found that they could speak easily in Latin. ...

Need More Output? Get More Input!

May 31, 2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON “I’m exhausted. I can’t do another thing.” “I’m overwhelmed. I’ve got too much to do.” “I’m out of energy. I’ve got to focus on me for a while.” “The ministry never seems to end and I just don’t have enough to give.” Lately I’ve been hearing sentiments like these from many tired church leaders. There is an overwhelming amount of overwork, mental and physical exhaustion, rushed engagements, and thirsty souls. Leaders are looking for ...

Why I am waiting

May 31, 2021
By Dr. Derek W. McAleer I know many United Methodists are frustrated with the continued delays of General Conference. While I am aware and sensitive to the problems COVID-19 has caused for gatherings and travel, that does not lessen my frustration. I, along with other traditional United Methodists I know, have been holding forth for what we view as traditional Bible-based beliefs. We thought we were finally at the point of no longer being “unequally yoked,” to borrow St. Paul’s language. Just ...

Dealing with Loneliness

May 17, 2021
By Dr. Hal Brady A thoughtful physician who takes time to deal with his patients as whole persons says that he has discovered that “99 out of 100 individuals are lonely. And the one who says he/she isn’t probably is.” Loneliness is indeed a universal problem and yet it comes to each of us on an individual basis. No question, loneliness has been enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic. While appropriate during the pandemic, being asked to push away from each other, social distance, isolate, and ...

May we stay strangely warmed

May 17, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin ...

5 lessons we need to carry out of the pandemic

May 02, 2021
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN By all expert accounts we seem to be nearing a place where the end of this pandemic is in sight (side note: please keep wearing your masks and get your vaccine if you’re able to get one). What started as a brief delay in our routine has become a marathon of more than a year. We’ve marked special days in different ways. We’ve lived our daily lives somewhere on the spectrum of fearful to incredibly anxious. And what might be among the hardest for most of us, we’ve ...

The Germans elect a bishop

May 02, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON One of the most thrilling experiences John Wesley had with his German neighbors in Georgia was being present when these Moravian Christians elected a bishop. John Wesley spent a lot of time with these German Christians learning their language, singing, and sharing Christian fellowship. He watched as the German congregation elected a new bishop. It seemed to him that he had been transported back in history to the early church where fishermen and tentmakers simply...

Playing in your own sandbox

April 18, 2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK There is an art to learning what you can do and trying to do it well. The tendency, however, is to put our hands in as many projects as we can, becoming a Jack of all trades, master of none. It’s taken me a while to figure this out. When I was young, I used to think I could do it all. You know, like that lady on TV who sang, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan….” Or, Helen Reddy who brought us, “I am woman, hear me roar!” In that same song she ...

The USPS and The UMC

April 18, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Quoting the United States Postal Service, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” The very same could be said of our itinerant Methodist ministers. It is our clergy who put the move into our movement and, as they prepare to pack up all of their worldly belongings and relocate to a new town, we’d like to highlight What’s Old Is New Again! The itinerancy is as fundamental to...

John Wesley and the Germans singing together

April 02, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley’s diary often indicates that he enjoyed “singing with the Germans.” He would sing with them in their worship services. Church of England worship services in Wesley’s day did not include singing hymns. Some Psalms were chanted, but no hymns. Wesley loved the German music so much that he translated some into English, added a few other hymns, and published a hymn book. It was the first hymnal in English in the New World and probably the first hymn book ...

Survive or thrive?

April 02, 2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON “If we want to survive, we’ve got to get online.” I’ve heard versions of this sentence spoken by clergy and laity throughout the last 12 months as we have all struggled to find our way in a changing digital landscape. While I (Anne) agree with them and think having a digital presence is essential in this season of ministry, “survival” isn’t a compelling enough vision upon which to build an impactful ministry. Just getting online isn’t the ...

The stone will roll away

March 15, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD A time of darkness and confusion filled with more questions than answers. Too many people in too small a space with no meaningful communication occurring. Heart-felt arguments regarding the best practices in serving God. Is it spring 2021 or Passover in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago? What’s old is new again. During this Lenten season, we are to transport ourselves, at least spiritually, to the last days of Jesus’s ministry among his disciples. After traveling ...

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