Liminal space
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Thanks for the inspiring way that you, laity and clergy, participated in our historic virtual annual conference session. Your cards, letters, ...
Hispanic Heritage Month
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS ALLISON LINDSEY “Today is the day God embraces all hues of humanity Delights in diversity and difference, Favors solidarity transforming strangers into ...
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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 ...

Arthur J. Moore Museum obtains notice: John Wesley gets married

November 05, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Jay Jordan from St Marys, Georgia recently gave me a rare copy of the February 1751 Gentlemen’s Magazine from London, England. Buried in the small print on an inside page of this magazine was a small notice which indicated that John Wesley, Methodist preacher, had married a merchant’s widow. It did not mention the bride’s name, but did say that a certain amount was given as her dowry. The important magazine has been donated to the Arthur J. Moore Methodist ...

Hear the corn grow

October 15, 2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Hearing corn grow? For real? I thought it was a myth or some old wives’ tale. So, I went to a video on the Internet and actually heard the corn growing. Like soft lightning or better yet, like a continuous crackle. Fascinating! So what does it sound like? Interestingly enough, it sounds remarkably similar to the sounds made when corn breaks. It seems that plant growth involves millions of tiny breakage events.  These breakage events trigger the plant to rush ...

If you could ask anything, what would it be?

October 01, 2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON We’ve been a bit intrigued by questions lately. I guess you could say we’re kind of question nerds. We began talking about the power of Jesus’ questions in our last article, “What is Jesus asking you?” As we reflect on the power of Jesus’ questions in our lives, we’re prompted to ask ourselves, “If I could ask anything, what would it be?”  I recently read that the best question-askers are actually 4-year old girls. They ask an average of ...

Encouragement Matters

September 17, 2018
Dr. Hal Brady The National Day of Encouragement occurs every year in the United States on September 12. This special day started in 2007 at Harding University in Searcy, Ark. and is intended as a day dedicated to the uplifting of those around us. The idea, of course, is for Americans to make specific acts of encouragement by words and deeds to others on this specific day, with the hope that this way of living will become a reality in our everyday lives. The point of this National Day of ...

3 practices to prepare for YOUR District Conversation

September 04, 2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Bishop Bryan is busy traveling the Conference speaking with members of each district of South Georgia about General Conference 2019 and the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. As we prepare for the conversations in our respective districts, I want to share three important practices I think we all should engage in as we enter into potentially difficult conversations. (I realize that three districts will have already had their event by the time you read this ...

John Wesley’s marriage

September 04, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley had discussed with a friend whether or not it would be a good thing for him to marry, and on February 2, 1751, he decided to do so. He was 47 years old and his bride, Molly Vazelle, was a wealthy widow with four children. She was 41 years old. Her merchant husband had died four years previously. It is interesting that this marriage occurred just days after John had urged Methodist ministers not to marry unless there were exceptional reasons to do so....

When did garbage become entertainment?

August 21, 2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When I was growing up, my daddy emptied our garbage cans every other day. If he didn’t, the cans would fill to overflowing. If the garbage was in the kitchen, he took it out more often so that leftover food would not begin to smell. If you had asked me what I knew about garbage, I would have considered that a weird question. I wasn’t supposed to know anything about garbage. It belonged out of our house, and daddy saw to that. Around 40 years ago, the late ...

What is Jesus asking you?

August 07, 2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON How would you define “a consuming intimacy with God?” How long has it been since you were hungry and thirsty for a deeper relationship with Him? Those questions and many like it have filled my thoughts lately and have caused my heart to deeply desire living in a constant state of intimacy with God. But how do we achieve that level of intimacy? Recently my practice has been to read a passage of scripture several times while imagining myself...

Better Together

August 06, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Wesley told his followers that they should support their local Church of England and go there for worship and Holy Communion. Some asked him, “But what should we do if the pastor teaches doctrines we do not believe, like predestination? Or if he says there can be no Christian perfection this side of heaven? Or preaches against enthusiasm?” Wesley would reply to them and to us today, “In that case you should simply and quietly get up and leave the sanctuary. Do ...

Being Neighborly

July 23, 2018
Dr. Hal Brady You know the story. I once saw it mimed by a youth group in a worship service. The wounded person was stretched out on the floor in the chancel area. A figure representing the priest came up, took a look and turned his back. Next, another figure representing the Levite came up, took a look and turned his back. At this point in the worship service, all of us present confessed our sins of omission and commission in unison and received absolution (forgiveness). Then, the Samaritan ...

A Way Forward (… with help from the Church in Ephesus and Mr. Rogers)

July 09, 2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN   This summer, Trinity United Methodist Church (Savannah) is kicking off a new sermon series called, “Won’t You Be a Neighbor?” that follows the Ephesians thread of the lectionary. The church in Ephesus had to struggle with what it meant to form a meaningful community of faith. Paul writes to them at length about important aspects of being the Body of Christ: reconciliation between separate groups (Ephesians 2), how we’re bound together in God’s powerful love ...

John Wesley’s comment on the uniqueness of Methodism

July 09, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley wrote, “There is no other religious society under heaven which requires nothing of men in order to their admission into it, but a desire to save their souls. Look around you, you cannot be admitted into the Church or society of the Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Quakers, or any other, unless you hold the same opinions with them, and adhere to the same mode of worship. “The Methodists alone do not insist on your holding this or that opinion; but they ...

Grace Gifts

June 25, 2018
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 ...

Patience required with new pastor

June 25, 2018
New preachers need time to adjust to new congregations Many Methodist churches across south Georgia received new pastors two weeks ago. Pastors and people are starting to get acquainted with each other. To the average person it might seem simple for a new pastor to learn a new church. Preaching is preaching wherever one serves, right? Church leadership is the same in every church, right? Well, yes and no. Every congregation is a unique organization, even if, like The United Methodist Church, ...

Cleaning the Cobwebs

June 10, 2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON   The other day I was sitting in bed reading a book when my son Jacob, a high school freshman, came in the room to talk to me about the busy schedule of the week ahead.   Before he started speaking, I noticed him standing in front of me looking up at the corner ceiling with a questioning look on his face. I turned to see the object of his attention and was confused – all I saw was the empty corner of my bedroom. He pointed up at the ceiling ...

Getting Rich

May 29, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Someone complained that John Wesley was getting rich by preaching all across England. He replied, “For what price would you preach with all your might, not in an easy manner, 18 or 19 times every week, and this throughout the year? What shall I give you to travel seven or eight hundred miles, in all weather, every two or three months? For what salary will you abstain from all other diversions than doing good and praising God? I am mistaken if you would not prefer...

The Power of a Noble Dream

May 14, 2018
By Dr. Hal Brady   In a certain classroom in New Hampshire, a youth was asked to give an oral report to his classmates. Each attempt ended in embarrassing failure. Recalling his experience, he confessed: “I could not speak before the school. Many a piece did I commit to memory, and recite and rehearse in my own room, over and over again, and yet, when the day came, when my name was called, and all eyes turned to my seat, I could not raise myself from it. When the occasion was over, I went home ...

Strange people John Wesley encountered

April 30, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON   John Wesley met some very strange people. None were stranger than the man at Dewberry who charged up out of the congregation at Wesley and in a rage struck him with all his might on his face. The blow was so violent as to bring tears into Wesley’s eyes, but without a moment’s hesitation, according to Christ’s precepts, John Wesley turned his other cheek. Amazed and confounded, the fierce assailant fell back and sought to hide his face. From that time on he ...

The Financial Way Forward

April 30, 2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN   In this season of our church where we’re seemingly obsessed with finding “a way forward,” I want to share about a different kind of way forward I’ve recently found. I didn’t need to appoint a commission. And, thankfully, I don’t think my church will split over the fact that we’ve offered this opportunity to find a way forward. Is this newfound “way” a solution to our divisions over human sexuality? No. But I do think this way offers a faithful and responsible way to...

Whiners, blamers, and complainers

April 16, 2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK   I wonder if God ever thinks about adding a PS to His Ten Commandments, preceded by one simple explanation: “Since I already know you won’t obey these ten, try this one: P.S. Get over yourself!”   Some of the phrases that attach to that statement, like ribbons flying behind a kite, are “Me first,” “My way,” “Notice me,” “Hear me,” and “Why me?” Right now, before even reading further, you may already be thinking of someone – maybe more than one – whose shoulder ...

Great insights from Henry Cloud

April 03, 2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON   The author of numerous incredible books, Henry Cloud has become one of my go-to authors and I try to read everything he writes. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with him and take some notes as he shared with a small group of pastors. The following are a few of my notes from his sharing: 1. Stay Replenished.To stay in ministry you need to make sure your soul stays replenished. Your Tank Level       -           When pain and ...

John Wesley and the Bible

April 03, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley claimed to be a man of “One Book,” the Bible. He knew that the Holy Scriptures were the foundation of our faith and our guide for living the Christian life. Yet, there was no one of his era who knew more about many books than John Wesley. He was widely read in the classic and in contemporary literature of his own day. For example, John Wesley read everything Ben Franklin wrote about electricity. In search of remedies, he studied the medical writings ...

Being who your dog thinks you are

March 19, 2018
Dr. Hal Brady   The late Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author, once said that there are three questions we should ask ourselves about any business transaction. Is it legal? Is it balanced? Will it make me feel good about myself? Here, Dr. Peale is talking about character.    I simply cannot over-estimate the importance of character. Character has been defined in many ways. Character is what you are in the dark. Character is who you are when no one else is looking. Character is who ...

Canoeing the Mountains: Daring to take your church “Off the Map”

March 06, 2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Change. It might as well be a four-letter word because it strikes most of us as something ugly and profane. No one likes to change. As human beings we are biologically wired to enjoy something called homeostasis — the state of equilibrium and balance when all is well and nothing is changing. Change is especially difficult in the church. As the world around us rapidly changes, the church tends to be the one place where we can find refuge from the storm. The ...

John Wesley – a traveling preacher

March 06, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley was a traveling preacher. He was always on the move sharing the Gospel of Christ wherever he went. It has been estimated that John Wesley spent one half of his waking hours traveling. He rode his horse more than 250,000 miles across England.  John Wesley spent 23 months in Georgia. It took him four months on the ship before he even arrived at the mouth of the Savannah River. While in Georgia he made 10 trips between Savannah and St. Simons Island. He...

Satan is a Powerless Wolf

February 19, 2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Have you seen the TV commercial where a granddaddy is reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to his grandson? As the wolf approaches the pigs’ home of straw, he huffs and puffs to blow down the house. The child interrupts, “Kind of like you, Grandpa, when you huff and puff?” Grandpa explains, “That’s right. When you have COPD, it’s hard to get air in and air out.” The commercial continues as the wolf tries hard to blow down the house of straw, but he is ...

Quiet Trust

February 05, 2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Isaiah 30:15 (CEV), “The holy Lord God of Israel had told all of you, ‘I will keep you safe if you turn back to me and calm down. I will make you strong if you quietly trust me.’”  I (Anne) am an evaluator and assessor by nature. I think it’s the teacher in me. I worked as an elementary classroom teacher for seven years, then went on to write curriculum for the Department of Education.  Assessment and evaluation are wired into my DNA. ...

Watch those grandmas

February 05, 2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In his sermon on The Education of Children, John Wesley urges parents to make sure to never give children the things they cry for. He says that if you give children the things they cry for you will only teach them to cry for more. Wesley taught that parents must teach their children to obey them else they will never learn to obey God. He even went so far as to caution against praising your children lest you build their pride. Much of what he taught about ...

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