Collaboration is Co-Labor
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN  Easter Sunday worship begins with the joyous affirmation, “Christ is Risen!” And the congregation responds, “Christ is risen, indeed!”  This ...
Caring for God’s Creation
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS ALLISON LINDSEY “Creation is the canvas on which God has painted His character.” Author Unknown Spring fever is upon me, especially as the temperatures ...
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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 ...

When is it too late?

March 15, 2021
By Dr. Hal Brady “And the door was shut” (Matthew 25:10). Sadder words have never been spoken or written. There’s a certain finality about them. Jesus tells how 10 young women were invited to a marriage feast. Five were wise and five were foolish. The wise women showed their wisdom by planning for the possible delay of the bridegroom. They took extra oil for their lamps so they would be ready when he came. The foolish women neglected to do so, and while they waited, all fell asleep. Suddenly ...

John Wesley and the Germans, part 5

February 28, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON The German colonists who traveled to Georgia with General Oglethorpe influenced John Wesley in many ways. One of those ways was to give him guidance in how to deal with women. He actually asked the German bishop for advice in this area. Actually, John Wesley needed a lot of advice in how to deal with women! The German bishop, Spandenburgh, advised John Wesley to not to talk with women “overmuch.” Billy Graham and his staff met together early in his evangelistic...

At church but not in church

February 15, 2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK A couple of years ago, our church completed a wonderful study using Rob Renfroe’s book, “A Way Through the Wilderness. Growing in Faith When Life is Hard.” As we watched his videos and met for discussions, the participants agreed that their wilderness periods have often been so painful they thought they would never get through them in one piece. It never felt good. It always hurt. They cried. They felt broken. Often, their lives didn’t make sense. Through our ...

True Love

February 15, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Recently, the South Georgia Conference Archives was given an unexpected gift filled with faith, hope, and love. During the month where hearts and cupids abound, it reminds me again what true love looks like and sounds like and how it is the most powerful force in the world. It reminds me again how our Lord and Savior and our very own Methodist movement is filled with this true love and shares it abundantly with all. True love, as with so many other things, ...

Becoming More Perceptive in 2021

January 31, 2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19) Did 2020 seem like an untamed wilderness to you? Did it feel like a dry wasteland? How is 2021 so far? If you’re like me (Anne), it feels like more of the same! Isaiah 43:18-19 is my life verse – the one I come back to in seasons of...

John Wesley and the Germans, part 4

January 31, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley was greatly impressed by the Moravian Germans who traveled with him to the New World on the ship Simmons in 1735- 1736. He had noticed how happy they were and how they did the menial tasks aboard the ship without complaining. He was even more impressed when he visited them during an awful storm which rocked the ship. Wesley was terrified! He struggled with a fear of death and when this storm hit, he was in a panic. When he looked in on the Moravians ...

Addressing Walls

January 17, 2021
By Dr. Hal Brady I have just finished preparing a Sunday School lesson related to Joshua’s experience of carrying out God’s plan in tearing down the walls of Jericho. The walls of Jericho were the first obstacle facing Joshua and the children of Israel as they sought to gain God’s gift of the promised land. It’s a fascinating account of faith, obedience, and leadership found in chapters five and six of the book of Joshua. The reason I’m mentioning this today is because walls can be a problem ...

How Pure in Heart

January 17, 2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD On Saturday, January 17, 1736, John Wesley wrote in his journal, “Many people were very impatient at the contrary wind. At seven in the evening they were quieted by a storm. It rose higher and higher till nine. About nine the sea broke over us from stem to stern; burst through the windows of the state cabin, where three or four of us were, and covered us all over, though a bureau sheltered me from the main shock. About eleven I lay down in the great cabin ...

A John Wesley Moment (More about the Germans)

January 03, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON The small group of Germans who traveled with John Wesley and General Oglethorpe to Georgia had a powerful influence on the young pastor. Wesley wrote in his diary, “There is something special about these Germans. They are so happy and they do the menial jobs on this ship without complaining. They say it helps them with their humility.” Have you noticed how we all sit up and pay attention to someone who rolls up their sleeves and pleasantly serves? My friend, ...

Ezekiel bread and the pandemic

January 03, 2021
By Rev. Ashley Randall, pastor of Garden City UMC In Ezekiel 4:9 the Lord gives these instructions to the prophet, “Take wheat, barley, beans, small peas, and millet seeds, and put them in one bowl, and make them into bread for yourself” (NCV). About 50 years ago, the folks at Food for Life took this list of ingredients and developed a number of products they claim “harvests benefits beyond what we normally expect from our breads, pastas, cereals, and other foods.” You may have seen one or more...

Welcome 2021: Better than normal

January 03, 2021
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN It’s hard to believe the decade known as the year 2020 is finally coming to an end. I was listening to all of the different ways people aired grievances for this year. “The year we all want to forget,” one commentator said. “Good riddance once and for all, 2020” another remarked. We can all relate. None of us imagined 2020 would turn out this way. We all have one thing or another, in varying degrees, to grieve at the end of this unforgettable year. Add to it all the...

God makes the impossible possible

December 11, 2020
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When Gabriel told Mary about Elizabeth’s pregnancy, he said, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:36) Those words are also for you today. Whatever you are facing, God has an answer that seems impossible to you on earth, but in the heavenly realm God sees things another way. He sees your brokenness, your loneliness, your heartache, and your pain with great possibilities. God sees that out of the ashes of your hurt, new life will rise again. There...

The Twelve Days of Christmas

December 11, 2020
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD It is not known who wrote the original “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but it is thought to have started as a children’s memory game with each verse being said on the appropriate day after Christmas and the entirety of the song to be known on the twelfth day. Players of the game who made an error were required to pay a penalty, usually in the form of a kiss or sweet confection. The best-known English version was first printed in 1780 in a book intended for ...

John Wesley and the Germans, part 2

November 29, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON When John Wesley boarded the “Simmons” at Gravesend Harbor in the port of London on November 14, 1735, for his move to Georgia, he met a group of Germans who strongly influenced his life and faith. There were two groups of Germans on the small vessel. One group, numbering “two and thirty,” were Moravians. The other group, numbering around 17, were Salzburgers, Lutheran Christians. Both groups were coming to Georgia as a part of General Oglethorpe’s colony in ...

What you believe shapes how you behave

November 29, 2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON People ask us how the church where we serve is different than other churches. They are usually looking for “the thing we do” that sets us apart. Rather than give them a list of activities we try to explain that what you believe shapes how you behave. In fact, the connection between belief and behavior is so strong, you can tell what someone really believes by looking at how they behave. You might even say behavior reveals our beliefs. Here ...

Prepare

November 16, 2020
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Historians believe that from 300-500 AD, advent was a time to prepare new Christians with fasting, prayer, and penance for baptism which would take place during the feast of Epiphany in January. Later, Roman Christians used advent as a time to prepare for Christ’s arrival, but not his original arrival in a manger in Bethlehem. ...

That Different Spirit

November 16, 2020
By Dr. Hal Brady Not long ago a man audited a doctoral seminar on leadership. One day the professor asked each of the 16 participants in his class to tell the one thing at which they excelled. The man said he dreaded questions like that because he still was not sure of what he did best. And besides, it sounded to him like bragging. But when his turn came all he could think to say was this, “I am best at not quitting.” Now, at first, that answer sounds a little strange, but when you consider ...

How to avoid using bad online metrics

November 02, 2020
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN There’s not a lot we can agree on in such a hectic year. But surely we can agree on the fact that COVID-19 has called into question lots of ways we’ve always understood how to be the church. From an over-emphasis on buildings to how we embody the gospel in socially distanced ways, this year has been a year where the learning curve has been high for pastors and lay people alike. Among the many things called into question is the validity or effectiveness of measuring ...

A John Wesley Moment about voting

October 31, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON  On October 6, 1774, John Wesley wrote in his journal: “I met with those who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:  To vote without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy  To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and  To take care that their spirits were not sharpened against those who voted on the other side.” The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.  

Awaken to a Camp Meeting

October 19, 2020
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD In a letter to a Methodist preacher dated December 2, 1802, Asbury wrote, “I wish you would also hold camp meetings; they have never been tried without success. To collect such a number of God's people together to pray, and the ministers to preach, and the longer they stay, generally, the better.” It is not known when or where the first camp meeting occurred because the definition of camp meetings cannot be clearly stated, but outdoor preaching has been ...

But Grace said

October 19, 2020
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK I never thought I could live in this world without my mother. That’s why the way God loved me through her passing will always be a beautiful, thankful remembrance. I was teaching school and visiting her in another town as much as I could. At 94, she was in the nursing home, and my heart felt drained of joy because I could not take care of her myself. My plan was to take her to her home and stay with her after school got out for the summer. Roy was fine with ...

Getting ready for a creative COVID Christmas

October 05, 2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Did you know there are only 81 days until Christmas? When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind first? Does your mind wander to small groups caroling in a nursing home, sing-alongs in church, Christmas cantatas, kids’ programs, buffets of cookies and carafes of hot chocolate with melting marshmallows? What if those beloved traditions aren’t accessible to us this year? What will we do to ensure our congregations are safe, yet still ...

John Wesley and the Germans

October 05, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON   Certain Germans had a powerful influence upon John Wesley’s spiritual development. He was able to communicate with Germans because he learned to speak the German language, probably while he was a student at Christ Church College at Oxford University. John Wesley could communicate in eight languages: English, French, German, Spanish (which he learned in America), Italian (Latin), Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. He wrote grammars in five languages. One Sunday in ...

If anybody’s listening

September 14, 2020
By Dr. Hal Brady Whenever I do pre-martial counseling, I usually include the following: role expectation and is it realistic, a good theology of marriage, the importance of communication, the necessity of commitment, and how to deal with conflict or disagreement. Unless one of the marriage partners is a non-thinking robot, every marriage has disagreements. The only question is how we handle it. But whether it’s in marriage, business, sports, politics, church, world issues or personal ...

Transformation but not defeat

September 14, 2020
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “That we are in a critical and fateful hour no one can deny. The entire world is in serious trouble. There is confusion everywhere. Turn where you will, there you find the rampant forces of racial prejudice, assertive nationalism, blind economics, coupled with the age-old human passions and lusts. All these are contesting every inch of Christian progress. The Christian movement is hindered not only because some oppose its teaching, but because so many ignore...

John Wesley’s sister Kezia (Kessy)

August 31, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley’s youngest sister was born in 1709. She was six years younger than John. She was the last child born of Susanna and arrived when Susanna was 40 years old. Susanna had 19 children but only 10 reached adulthood. Mrs. Wesley began homeschooling each child when they reached the age of five. She waited that long because her first son, Samuel, did not speak until he was five. Kessy, however, began her studies earlier. The older children taught the younger ...

Resiliency: The by-product of 2020?

August 31, 2020
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN The other day I retrieved my journal where I recorded my New Year’s goals and resolutions and a weird thing struck me. In those pages were the hopes and dreams of a year that, at the time, was a blank slate. And, looking back, it felt like I was reading something I wrote years ago. So much has happened since that feeling of excitement over a new year: a global pandemic, upheaval over racial injustice, and political divisions that have reached new heights of vitriol ...

Crossing Over

August 17, 2020
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK If you are struggling with what is happening in our churches right now, it may be that you are allowing tradition to make your choices. While the security of tradition can move our days forward with a sameness that brings comfort, the trap of tradition can close our minds to the beauty of what else God might have in mind. We can be sure that He does have something in mind, and what He has in mind is good. He has not turned away. His love places a shield of love...

No bandwidth required

August 17, 2020
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Wilkes Boulevard, Columbia Mo. – October 16, 1918: As a whole, the meeting was a great success, and the church was strengthened and edified, and had not the Spanish Influenza invaded our town we would have gone at least another week and the good would have certainly been more far-reaching than even that was. We have been prevented from having any service since the close of the meeting on Sunday night, Oct. 6, to baptize or receive the candidates into the ...

John Wesley’s sister Anne (Nancy)

August 03, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley had seven sisters who grew to adulthood. Anne, who was nicknamed “Nancy,” was just two year older than John. She and a twin brother were born on May 17, 1791. Her twin brother died seven months later; she lived. She was in her teens when “Ol’ Jeffery,” the friendly Epworth ghost, began to act up in the parsonage. Her father thought that perhaps the ghost could be frightened away by noise, so he sent Anne into the attic to blow a horn. She was ...

Counting the Joy

August 02, 2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON What do you do when you don’t know what to do? How do you make decisions when you’re not sure where you want to end up? How do you lead with confidence when you’re just as uncertain as the people you’re leading? How do you stand firm when the traditions and methods you’ve used for years seem to be eroding? James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith ...

Live to God and bring others to do so

July 19, 2020
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “Whither am I going? To the New World. What to do? To gain honor? No, if I know my own heart. To get money? No: I am going to live to God, and to bring others so to do.” Francis Asbury wrote this while sailing to the New World in 1771. Welcome to the “New Normal.” This phrase has been used often in the last few months – at times a little too often – to describe current extraordinary events. However, it’s wrong on both counts. These days are neither new nor...

Observations from a train ride

July 19, 2020
By Dr. Hal Brady There’s a story about a woman who many years ago took her first journey on a train. As soon as she reached her seat, she began fumbling with the window to be sure that she got exactly the right amount of air. Then she pulled the window shade up and down until she got exactly the right amount of light coming in. Then she worked with her baggage to get it placed just right. Then she took off her hat and was very careful to put it where it would not get mashed. Then she took her ...

A time to learn and grow

July 06, 2020
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN The great debate in school systems all over our country is if and how to reopen schools for the fall. As we wait, however, we find ourselves in a season of learning as our society tries to process and grow through multiple crises. Learning is a lot like taking medicine – it always does us good, but it’s not always fun. Opening ourselves up to learn means doing the difficult work of admitting the uncomfortable truth that we do not, in fact, have all of the answers. ...

John Wesley’s sisters: Mehetabel

July 02, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON       John Wesley’s sister Mehetabel was better known as “Hetty.” She was six years older than John and was probably the most beautiful of the Wesley sisters. She was a happy child with a warm personality. The Wesley family played cards and enjoyed dancing. The Wesley family was a happy oasis in the midst of a not-so-happy community. Following a fire in the rectory in 1709, Hetty was sent to live with her Uncle Matthew in London. There she met students, ...

Have I got a story for you!

June 14, 2020
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK It is 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, 2020, and I have been, as many of you, glued to the television over an outbreak of violence in many of our cities. The initial reason is the murder of an African American, George Floyd. However, that has now been overshadowed by the collective reason of perceived mistreatment toward black men and women by white police officers for years. And it’s even more than that. It’s anger that has been stuffed down in the souls of any ...

Happy birthday, John Wesley

June 13, 2020
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD The Moore Methodist Museum celebrates John Wesley’s birthday each year on June 28. This in itself can lead to confusion because his real birth date is June 17, but when England’s calendar changed from the Julian calendar to the Georgian calendar, 10 days were lost and that moved his birth date to June 28. The tagline the Museum uses to celebrate John Wesley’s birthday is, “We’re going to party like it’s 1703!” Usually, at the end of June, the Museum is ...

Injustice Anywhere

June 01, 2020
Written and submitted by Rev. Lynn Meadows-White May 15, 2020 The tragic story of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery has hit close to home for me – literally. That’s my hometown – where I grew up. I am from St. Simons Island and Brunswick is our “mainland.” My mother, sister, niece, and nephew live in Brunswick. My nephew, Jacob, is 24 and white. Ahmaud would have been 26 last Friday, and he was black. Both graduated from Brunswick High School – Ahmaud in 2012 and Jacob in 2014. I felt sick when I ...

John Wesley’s sisters: Mary

June 01, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON        John Wesley’s sister Mary (also called Molly) was seven years older than John. She was born in 1696 and died in 1734 at the age of 38. Soon after her birth she became disabled. It may have been caused by the carelessness of her nurse or some other accident. Soon Molly realized that she was “different.” Other children teased her and some of her own family laughed at her. However, they all soon learned to love and respect her because of her sweetness, ...

Questions

June 01, 2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Have people been asking you questions like these: “How bad will this get?” “How long will it last?” “When is the church going reopen?” “How many people will come back?” "Can we sing in church?” “Should we sing?” What if we changed the narrative by starting to ask a different question? When you ask a new question, you unlock different answers. Our questions direct our minds. They can keep our attention locked in the past or they can open us...

The risk the white church must take to address racism

June 01, 2020
By Rev. Eric Mayle We find ourselves at a critically important moment in time as the white church. I have little doubt in my mind that the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd will be addressed in many white churches — maybe even in most. The real question isn’t will we address these killings, but how will we address them? Will we address these deaths so vaguely that only those who are listening for it will hear it? Will we speak out only enough so we can say we weren’t ...

A new sense of patriotism

May 17, 2020
By Dr. Hal Brady The late Dr. John Claypool, noted minister, tells about going to make pastoral calls at a large hospital. He visited two women both approaching 90 and both with physical difficulties. When John entered the first woman’s room, he felt this incredible cloud of despair. The woman was quick to list all her complaints. Dr. Claypool said he tried to cheer her up but to no avail. Two floors down, he saw the other woman who was facing some serious physical ailments, but the ...

John Wesley’s sister Susana (“Sukey”)

May 04, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley’s sister Susanna was eight years older than John. She was a good-natured young woman, happy and vivacious, with a delightful sense of humor. When a “ghost” seemed to haunt the Wesley parsonage, Sukey emphasized the humorous aspects of his “visitations.” Susanna lived for a while in London with her Uncle Annesley, her mother’s brother. He liked Sukie and promised her a generous gift. However, her hopes were dashed when he went off to India and ...

Leadership in a brave new world

May 04, 2020
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Just 90 days ago we began a new year. 2020 seemed rich with possibility. This was going to be the year my congregation, Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Savannah, launched a financial campaign to finally address the ongoing interior needs of the 172-year-old building. As a church, we had grown from the brink of financial despair to more health. And this was going to be the year we parlayed that growth and enthusiasm into leaving a mark on this historic ...

Yard flowers ignore the quarantine

April 19, 2020
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Today, on my 28th day of voluntary self-quarantining (not sick… just doing as we’ve been asked), I ventured outside to go to the drive-through at the bank. As I drove out of my yard, I noticed the beginning buds on my Crepe Myrtle trees that line both sides of my long driveway. My son, Shawn, pruned them in the winter, and for all of these months, they have looked like a sad bunch of limbs sticking out of the ground. Not so today. New life called to me, “Drive...

John Wesley’s oldest sister Emily

April 07, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley had seven sisters who survived to adulthood. Emily was his oldest sister. She was 11 years older than John and helped raise him. Their mother, Susanna, had 19 or 20 children, but only 10 survived to adulthood – seven girls and three boys. Susanna had the older children help raise the younger children. Emily was quick to learn. Her mother taught Emily her letters in one day and soon she was reading the Bible. The Wesley girls were among the best ...

How to be present in a pandemic: use your words

April 06, 2020
By Rev. Deborah Wight-Knight, Conference Pastoral Counselor I was a CPE (student) chaplain at Grady Hospital in 1984. One of my patients - I’ll call her Gloria - was the first documented female diagnosed with AIDS in the southeast. This was before they called it HIV/AIDS. No one knew at that time exactly how the virus spread. Was it only sexually transmitted? Was it contained in the gay and lesbian community? Were our medical personnel at risk? No one knew. Studies were just beginning on ...

4 Ways to be an Extravagantly Generous Leader

April 03, 2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON What is your most valuable resource? I’ve come to discover that time is one of the most valuable resources I have and that it is nonrenewable. I can always make more money, but I can’t make more time. There is no end to the demands on my time. There are people who need my attention, problems to solve, messages to prepare, opportunities to take advantage of and issues to deal with. Does that sound familiar? In the midst of busyness, how do ...

No Limit

March 16, 2020
By Dr. Hal Brady What do we intend to do with our lives? As we contemplate this critical question, we need to remember that our dreams are more important than the vehicles we drive. An automobile depreciates very quickly, but noble dreams have no limit. When we have no dream, it usually follows that we have no life. For a moment, let’s focus on the biblical character Nehemiah and his dream of rebuilding the broken-down walls of Jerusalem. It seemed such a hopeless task. The walls were in ...

John Wesley’s name

March 01, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON A lot of Methodists name their children after John Wesley. My own great, great grandfather was named “John Wesley Hanson” and he named his son, my great grandfather, “John Wesley Hanson, Jr.” Our son, Jeff, names his son, my youngest grandson, “John Wesley Hanson.” There were four people in John Wesley’s family who shared that name. His great grandfather was named “John Westley” (notice the unusual spelling). His father and mother, Samuel and Susanna Wesley, had...

Grace gifts

February 17, 2020
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK I recently returned from a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I spent some time with a dear friend who lost her husband to the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s. Each of you knows something about pain. No one escapes those things that bring severe hurt to us physically, mentally, or emotionally. And it seems that no matter what kind of pain we have been through, we can always find someone else who has been through at least a similar or even a worse pain. The ...

5 reasons people are more important than the product

February 02, 2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I (Anne) am a 1 with a 9 wing. You enneagram fans now know a lot about me. However, the rest of you might feel like I’m speaking another language. I found out I was a 1 when I took the enneagram test during a conference I was attending several years ago. The test I took labeled the 1 as “The Reformer.” I LOVE being first and I love to reform things so I felt really good about these test results. Fast forward a year later and I heard people...

John Wesley on disagreements

February 02, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In this era of so many disagreements, it is helpful to review John Wesley’s comments on this subject. “No man can choose for or prescribe to another. Everyone must follow the dictates of his own conscience in sympathy and sincerity. He must be fully persuaded in his own mind and then act according to the best light he has. Nor has any creature the power to constrain another to walk by his own rule. God has given no right to any of the children of men to lord it ...

What about cheating?

January 19, 2020
Dr. Hal Brady In recent days, I’ve read several articles on the accusation of cheating in three sports: baseball, golf, and football (infractions). And these are certainly not the only sports who have issues with this kind of accusation either in the past or present. However, with the three sports currently involved this time, a baseball manager and general manager lost their jobs, a golfer has a cloud of suspicion hanging over his head, and several football programs are treading on thin ice. ...

John Wesley and the poor

January 06, 2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley cared deeply about the poor. In Bristol, he was proud to find the Methodist New Room Congregation active in ministering with the poor. They not only brought “good news to the poor,” but embodied various forms of “social holiness.” There was a school for poor children, a dispensary with free medicine for the poor, prison visitation, and the formation of a Stranger’s Friend Society which was for the benefit of those outside the Methodist Society – ...

Two new resolutions to add to your 2020

January 06, 2020
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, may well go down as a significant day in Methodist history. If I use my imagination, I can already hear a Methodist History professor teaching seminary students in 30 years about the day our denomination announced its biggest split since the issue of slavery divided us in the 19th Century. 13: The number of text messages I received within about 15 minutes of the story about the new protocol document breaking. 11: The number of church members, ...

Wrapped in such an ordinary package

December 15, 2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit always have had complete reign above the earth in a land called heaven, then it is reasonable to assume that the kingdom of heaven was and is where the Trinity lived and reigned. Wherever the Triune God was, then that’s where the Kingdom of heaven was and is. That lasted all throughout time from Genesis through Malachi, and then through 400 years of silence before the New Testament. In that land ...

John Wesley’s house in Savannah

December 01, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In 1903, the Colonial Dames erected a monument near Reynolds Square, at the corner of Abercorn and East Congress, indicating the location of John Wesley’s house in Savannah, Ga. That monument “went missing” in the 1980s. It was recently restored by the Colonial Dames of Savannah. A lot of things happened in that house. John was unable to reside there for a month when he first arrived in Georgia on March 6, 1736. He had to wait until the previous pastor, Rev. ...

Pursue the Real Thing

December 01, 2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Have you ever noticed how much of what we buy is an imitation of the real thing? In the grocery store you can purchase chocolate flavored chips, butter flavored spread, and imitation vanilla extract. My kitchen has wood grain vinyl flooring, granite-look counters, and faux leather chairs. My dogs eat food that tastes like real meat and beg for bones that smell like chicken. In my bathroom are products that make my face appear younger and ...

Kindness Considered

November 18, 2019
By Dr. Hal Brady Is there any doubt that we live in a divisive society that even stretches beyond politics, though politics is where this divisiveness is most painfully obvious? Partisan party lines and media bias have become the spectacle of this societal alienation. Then there is the Internet! So many of us have withdrawn into our own private online worlds of chatter with no contact or communication with real life. Result? Consequently, there is an ever- increasing isolation from and ...

The number one reason Methodism doesn’t grow

November 04, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley believed those Methodist Societies which did not grow had neglected the main reason for their existence which was to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land. He believed that God raised up the Methodist Movement in order to proclaim God’s desire to make believers Christlike in perfect love. “Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?” John never claimed to be sanctified (perfect in love), but he ...

But Grace said …

October 12, 2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My friend and I sat across from one another eating pizza when the subject of tips came up. We both said we always give a 20 percent tip. We discussed how unfortunate it was to have a waiter or waitress work so hard for a table of fifteen or more and then just receive a two dollar tip. That’s their pay. Tips are not just some extra bonus for a hard-working waiter. That’s his pay. “Most people simply don’t realize that these waiters and waitresses count on the ...

Open your hands!

September 30, 2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON One of my favorite things about children’s ministry is observing how children relate and interact with each other. This summer we held Art Camp at our church, and I watched as two young kids were in a tiff over who was going to hold the pool noodle for the next game. Each one had their hands clutched tightly around one end and the adult was trying to pry their hands away so they could actually play the game. They each wanted so desperately ...

What John Wesley says about church growth, part 2

September 30, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said one of the societies had not grown in more than a year. He attributed this lack of growth to one thing: the lack of visiting from house to house. If your congregation is not growing, perhaps you should consider the old fashioned practice which pastors vow to do at their ordination: “visit from house to house.” The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.

A Positive Attitude

September 15, 2019
By Dr. Hal Brady A few days ago, my wife and I visited a minister friend and his wife in an Atlanta hospital. This minister friend and I have known each other for a number of years, as we served neighboring churches at the same time in the North Georgia mountains. Though we haven’t seen each other for some time, when I found out he was in the hospital in another city, I called him to see how he was doing. He told me that he had been in one hospital, transferred to another, was told he was to ...

Home is where the heart is

September 02, 2019
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN A love letter to South Georgia Methodism There hasn’t been a moment in my life when I haven’t been a South Georgia Methodist. It’s true. For nearly 37 years, the compass of my faith in Jesus Christ has pointed to South Georgia as the home of my faith journey. Where do I begin to express my gratitude for this conference – this spiritual space marked with country churches, oak trees that hang just low enough in the summer, beautiful fields lined with peaches and ...

What John Wesley says about church growth

September 02, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON At one point, John Wesley became concerned about Methodist Societies that failed to grow. One suggestion he made concerning this issue you might take to heart. He said the reason they have dropped off is because they have given up early morning worship services. He urges us to have worship every morning at 5 a.m. He said those societies which fail to worship at “first light” will certainly see no growth. How many of us would take this advice to heart if we ...

A Heavenly Visitor

August 19, 2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My sweet mother outlived almost all of her friends. At 94, signs of dementia were beginning to show. She was losing weight, and life was harder for her. But, she was made of strong stock. The kind of stock that survived the Depression. That’s a good kind of stock. She seldom complained about anything, but lived her life in gratitude to God that there was food for her family during those lean years. On Friday nights, after work, I drove the 45-minute drive ...

John Wesley and the Mystics

August 05, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON During John Wesley’s early years, and especially his time in Georgia, he read and studied many of the mystical writings of his day and of ancient Christian mystics. He was very interested in what they had to say about self-denial, solitude, works of charity, and the interior life. William Law was very influential in Wesley’s life at Oxford. Wesley later wrote Law a scorching letter criticizing him for leading him astray by not talking more about Jesus Christ ...

Try on a new identity!

August 05, 2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I love watching preschool graduations. Precious chubby-faced kids with caps and gowns typically take turns declaring to beaming parents and grandparents what they want to be when they grow up. “A fireman.” “A ballerina.” “A baseball player and an astronaut.” “A mommy.” “A zookeeper and a policeman.” Nothing is impossible or unattainable. Everything has potential. If you asked the same kids in a year, you’d often find they’re now considering...

The Greatness of America

July 22, 2019
By Dr. Hal Brady A number of people equate greatness with size. Not so! Greatness is never a matter of size. Take those huge reptiles which once dominated the earth, the dinosaurs. They were simply enormous. But with the exception of the movies, they have all become extinct. In spite of their size and seeming strength they are gone. Simply put, they could not adapt themselves to a changing world. Think of how many great empires have come and gone in spite of their largeness. Focus on the ...

John Wesley’s birthday?

July 08, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley was born on June 17,1703 (Old Style), in Epworth, England. His parents were Rev. Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Samuel was the pastor of St. Andrew Church on the “Isle of Axholme” which was formed by the rivers Trent, Don, and Idle. Most scholars agree that John was the sixteenth of 19 children born to Susanna. Samuel served as rector of St. Andrew Church for 39 years. In recent years we have begun to celebrate John Wesley’s birth on June 28 (New Style)....

Lead like a girl

July 06, 2019
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN A few years ago, a powerful commercial aired during the Super Bowl. It was simply known as #LikeAGirl. The commercial begins with various adults standing in front of a camera and an off-screen director giving them motions to act out. “Run like a girl.” “Fight like a girl.” “Throw like a girl.” You see the actors giggle and offer some pretty over-the-top portrayals: one runs like they’re being swept away, another flaps their hands in a discombobulated way, and another ...

But Grace said

June 22, 2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Before leaving for a lengthy trip I went to a crowded gas station. All pumps were filled, so I pulled my car to be second in line. Our two cars were facing head to head because my fuel tank was on the opposite side from hers. No problem. I’ll just wait a bit. A bit turned into several minutes, and I watched as the young woman continued looking down at her lap. She never looked up. “She’s probably waiting for the one in her passenger seat to return from ...

Oh for the continued spirit of the annual Methodist meeting

June 10, 2019
By Rev. Creede Hinshaw, republished with permission from the Albany Herald I returned home from the yearly meeting of South Georgia United Methodists, held this year alongside the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Columbus. We Methodists have been meeting like this for centuries, a practice begun by our founder, John Wesley, who used the meeting to inspire his preachers, keep their doctrine pure, their preaching relevant and their behavior above reproach. We’re still doing this, but the way ...

Clarity in Direction

June 09, 2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON If you intend to go to Jacksonville, Fla. but take I-95 North from Brunswick, you’ll end up in Savannah, despite how much you want to go to Jacksonville. Your direction – not your intentions – determines your destination. At the church where Anne and I serve, we talk a lot about our spiritual life as a journey. We have people at all points on the path. Many of our people would say they haven’t decided to start their journey yet but are ...

John Wesley’s house at Frederica

June 09, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley lived at Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island for several months. It is not clear just where he lived while on the island. He probably lived with one of the families, perhaps the Hirds. Several times in his diary he mentions work being done in building his house, but we do not know where this house was located or if the building was ever completed. We do know that he was anxious to have the building constructed. One morning he went to the construction ...

A Word to Graduates

May 20, 2019
By Dr. Hal Brady We have a granddaughter who is graduating from high school in a couple of weeks. Joining with her parents, my wife and I are so proud of her and her accomplishments – good grades, skilled musician, sound work ethic, accepts responsibility, fun person, respect for others and meaningful friendships. Of course, we think she is ideal. In a couple of weeks, along with numerous others, she will reach the monumental milestone of becoming a high school graduate. Certainly, she is to ...

John Wesley’s Conversation with an Indian (continued)

May 06, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Q. Do you often think and talk with the beloved ones? A. We think of them always, wherever we are. We talk of them one to them, at home and abroad; in peace, in war, before and after we fight; and indeed whenever and wherever we meet together. Q. Where do you think your souls go after death? A. We believe the souls of the red men walk up and down near the place where they died, or where their bodies lie. For we have often heard cries and noises near the place ...

Lay people as partners in ministry

May 06, 2019
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN I want to tell you about Molly. Molly is in her early 30s and she came to our church two years ago. From the moment I met Molly I sensed a special energy about her. She’s always been willing to help with ministry ideas around the church. The first big project she undertook was redesigning our church logo. She and her husband have a marketing business and special expertise in this area, and, after about a month of meetings and an email thread that grew to about 100 ...

Almost Saved

April 15, 2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE BJ FUNK John Wesley wrote a brilliant sermon, preached in England at Oxford, on July 25, 1741. He named it The Almost Christian. Its relevance stretches through the years to 2019, and it is just as meaningful today as it was 278 years ago. Wesley’s challenge is to question those who are not being Christian through and through. Are there those who are coming to church each Sunday to just “show up,” without any real heart change taking place? He describes the Almost ...

A Conversation with an Indian (continued)

April 01, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Q. How do you know the One above can destroy all your enemies? A. From what I have seen. When our enemies came against us before, then the beloved clouds came for us. And often much rain, and sometimes hail, has come upon them, and that on a very hot day. And I saw, when many French and Choctaws and other nations came against one of our towns. And the ground made a noise under them, and the beloved ones in the air behind them. And they were afraid, and went ...

Clarity in Uncertainty

April 01, 2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Uncertainty is the world in which leaders live. The world of certainty is the world of managers. Their role is to eliminate the risk and standardize the process to ensure dependable, predictable results. If we do this it will produce that. Leaders are not simply repeating what has already been proven. They are innovators exploring new territories, trying new things. There is no evidence to prove what will happen or if it will work. Leaders...

What about our legacy?

March 18, 2019
By Dr. Hal Brady How are we going to live? How will we be remembered? What legacy will we leave behind? Sometimes we can tell about the legacy a person leaves behind simply by walking through the cemetery. View several of these epitaphs and see what they tell us about the person who died. On a tombstone in Cambridge, England, these words were written about an Anglican priest: “Here lies Father William who served as vicar of this church for more than 30 years without the slightest bit of ...

A Love Letter to The Methodist Movement

March 04, 2019
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Dear Methodist Movement, How are you? It’s been a pretty rough week for you. Truth is, it’s been a pretty rough last 40 years. I’m writing because I don’t think I stop enough to tell you thank you. I owe you a lot. On a cold December Sunday in 1982, I was baptized into the church by Rev. Dick Reese. From that moment, through cold water and the mystery of God’s grace, my life course was to be impacted by the Methodist Movement. Sunday after Sunday I went to church ...

Wesley and Indians

March 04, 2019
Wesley and Indians JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON The Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum recently acquired a copy of “Gentleman’s Magazine” from May 1737 which contains a conversation John Wesley had with five Chickasaw Indians in Georgia. Some of the dialogue was as follows: Q:  Do you believe there is One above, who is over all? A:  We believe there are four Beloved Things above: the Clouds, the Sun, the Clear Sky, and he who lives in the Clear Sky. Q:  Do you believe there is but One who ...

A Memory Worth Having

February 17, 2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE BJ FUNK My dear friend Suzanne went to heaven this week. She was the daughter of Reverend Bernard Brown and his wife, Elizabeth. I met Suzanne when her family moved one summer into the District Superintendent’s parsonage on the street where I lived. We became friends that same summer, and we remained good friends until God called her Home. One memory I have of her remains with me always. We were in high school biology class together. When our teacher handed out our ...

Clarity in the Chaos

February 04, 2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON We have just recently been working through repainting several rooms in our house. While I love the finished product and look of fresh paint, I really dislike the chaos created during the renovation. Art comes down off the walls to reveal nail holes, furniture is moved giving way to dust bunnies, and closets are turned inside out. Rooms I thought were clean and orderly reveal clutter and wear. Renovations get messy before they get better.  ...

Listen Up!

February 04, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON On May 28, 1778, John Wesley wrote, “O, when will even Methodists learn not to exaggerate?  After all the pompous accounts I had of the vast increases of the Society, it is not increased at all; nay, it is a little smaller than it was three years ago…” Some things seem to never change. Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.  

Miracles

January 21, 2019
Dr. Hal Brady In one of his columns, the late Lewis Grizzard described standing outside the church in his hometown of Moreland, Georgia on a cold day. It had been at least 10 years since he had been inside, but his roots were there. As he reminisced about the youth group that met on Sunday nights, he recalled how two rowdy boys in town broke into a store and were required to attend the youth group for six months as punishment. The first night they attended, Grizzard recalled, they beat up two ...

Fire, Fire!

January 07, 2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Once when John Wesley was preaching he observed several people sleeping in the congregation. He stopped in the middle of his sermon and shouted, “Fire, Fire!” The sleeping fellows sprang awake and asked, “Where? Where?” Wesley replied, “In Hell, where those go who sleep during the preaching of the Word.”

Christmas is Just Around the Corner

December 17, 2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When my sister was a small child of four, she asked our mother how much longer before Christmas would arrive. Mama responded encouragingly by saying, “Oh, it’s just around the corner!” So, without telling anyone, Beverly walked the half block to the corner of Cranford and Williams street in Valdosta. She stopped and looked both ways around the corners. Christmas wasn’t there. She ran back home, crying into the warm embrace of our mother, who held her and tried...

John Wesley’s wife, Molly Vazelle

December 04, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON When John Wesley was 47 years old he married Mary (Molly) Vazelle, a wealthy widow with four grown children whose merchant husband had died four years earlier. She was 41 years old. They agreed that all her assets would go to her children. Their relationship was stormy. She was jealous of the time Wesley spent traveling and became furious at his correspondence with women. He made the mistake of telling her that she could open and read any letters that came to ...

What’s your favorite question?

December 04, 2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON We are collectors. When I (Anne) was younger I collected stuffed animals, shells, rocks, stamps, plastic Smurf figurines, books, Dr. Scholl’s shoes, Holly Hobbie socks, hair scrunchies, and cassette tapes. When I (Jay) was young we collected stamps with my grandmother. As you can tell, we’re dating ourselves as kids of the 70s and 80s. But as we’ve gotten older, our collections have changed. Instead of physical objects, we now collect ...

Thanksgiving

November 19, 2018
Dr. Hal Brady The late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, former minister of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, once said, “Do not always ask when you pray, but instead affirm that God’s blessings are being given and spend most of your prayer giving thanks.” What marvelous wisdom! Gratitude is the key to meaningful faith and joyful living. One of the unique things about the Thanksgiving season is that it is not so filled with hype. It’s just a special time to reflect with family and friends on ...

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