Prepare the way
FROM THE BISHOP  R. LAWSON BRYAN “Prepare the way of the Lord” is the great rallying cry of the Advent season. The prophet Isaiah gives a vivid description of that preparation: ...
Our God is triumphant
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries   “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with ...
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Cordele church’s crops help grow congregation

December 04, 2017
Midway United Methodist Church is in the heart of Cordele, the self-proclaimed Watermelon Capital of the World. With deep agricultural roots, it makes sense that the church’s congregation, pastored by a former farmer, would begin a food and gleaning ministry in the acre-and-a-half field that sits next to the church. What they didn’t necessarily expect, however, was how the small church would blossom right alongside the crops. What started as a pumpkin patch several years ago now is a field ...

Delegate counts for 2020 General Conference announced

December 04, 2017
The Secretary of the General Conference announced today the number of delegates assigned to each annual conference for the 2020 General Conference has been calculated, and certificates of election are on the way to bishops and annual conference secretaries. The computation involves applying a statistical formula contained in The Book of Discipline 2016, which is based on the number of clergy and professing lay members of each annual conference. Since the Book of Discipline caps the maximum ...

New Conference Center less than $500,000 from being fully funded

December 04, 2017
After being revised and “right-sized,” South Georgia’s new Conference Center is $492,000 from being fully funded. That’s a $700,000 savings from the original construction estimate. “Anytime you can save $700,000 and still fulfill a vision, it’s a good thing!” said Bishop Lawson Bryan. The cost savings are a result of a collaborative partnership with Wesleyan College, which recently built Pierce Chapel and the Corn Center, and their willingness to allow the Conference use of those conference ...

South Georgia UM students receive more than $26,000 in scholarships from GBHEM

December 04, 2017
Eighteen South Georgia United Methodist students have received scholarships totalling $26,550 from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).  The students received the funds through the Rev. Dr. Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarship, the United Methodist General Scholarship, the Ethnic Scholarship, the E. Craig Brandenburg Scholarship, the Miriam Hoffman Scholarship, the HANA Scholarship, and the UM Allocation. Each scholarship recipient was awarded amounts ranging from $500 ...

United Methodists called to pray; South Georgia’s week of prayer Jan. 14-21, 2018

December 04, 2017
Conference deacons write prayer and worship guide As The United Methodist Church grapples with issues related to human sexuality and the future of the denomination, United Methodists are being called to pray intentionally and fervently.  The denomination-wide “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative launched New Year’s Day 2017 with 75 weeks of focused prayer for The United Methodist Church. Each annual conference will take one week to pray for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make ...

Banks follows in mother's footsteps as United Methodist Women president

Banks follows in mother's footsteps as United Methodist Women president

November 20, 2017
Carol Banks has followed in her mother’s footsteps in more ways than one. The newly elected United Methodist Women president is carrying on the legacy of service her mother instilled in her from a young age as Banks saw her mother, former United Methodist Women president Eugenia Yawn, attend Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) meetings and actively serve in missions and ministry. A strong influence in her daughter’s life and faith, Yawn served as the South Georgia United Methodist ...

Bishop Bryan names who will serve on two task forces

November 20, 2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan today announced the names of South Georgia clergy and laity who will serve on two task forces approved during the 2017 Annual Conference session: a task force on Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors and a task force on multiculturalism. The first, a task force on Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors, will look at developing a strategy to educate clergy and laity about the history of immigration and human and civil rights concerning ...

Bishops receive interim Way Forward report, elect new officers

November 20, 2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) met at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina last week to receive an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward, elect new officers, and prepare for the 2019 Special Session of General Conference, among other things. From the president’s address to giving feedback on the interim report of the Commission, the bishops stressed the importance of the mission of God, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ in The United Methodist Church. Here ...

Churches focus on safety; South Georgia hosts Church Security Workshop

November 20, 2017
Like many South Georgia congregations, Bonaire United Methodist Church is fortunate to count among its members several law enforcement officers and federal agents. Vigilant and sensitive to their surroundings even during worship services, they keep an eye out for dangers most don’t notice. Still mindful of the need to gird up the Bonaire UMC campus and keep the congregation safe, senior pastor Dr. Scott Hagan attended a church security workshop last April and learned valuable tips that he and ...

South Georgia congregations, individuals give more than $500,000 to storm recovery

November 20, 2017
South Georgia has seen its share of natural disasters during the past two years: devastating tornadoes and straight-line winds and Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. But even amid their own losses and damage, faithful and generous South Georgia United Methodists have dug deep, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to others in need. In 2017 alone, more than $500,000 has been given by South Georgia United Methodist congregations and individuals to the conference’s Hurricane Harvey Relief fund and ...

South Georgia's week for Praying Our Way Forward movement is January 14-21

November 20, 2017
South Georgia Conference Week of Prayer: January 14-21, 2018 umcprays.org The denomination-wide 'Praying Our Way Forward' initiative launched on New Year’s Day 2017 with 75 weeks of focused prayer for The United Methodist Church. Each annual conference will take one week to have intentional prayer for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. The effort began in the North...

St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation announces fall grants

November 20, 2017
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. has approved grants for the Fall 2017 Grant Cycle. Grants totaling $794,018 will be made to 14 organizations the week of December 4, 2017. The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. Organizations serving Southeast Georgia: Skylark (formerly Care Net Pregnancy Center of Coastal Georgia) (www.helloskylark.com)  A $31,768 grant to Skylark to provide funding to upgrade medical...

Academy for Spiritual Formation coming to Epworth

November 06, 2017
Prayer, worship, learning, and reflection are the hallmarks of the five-day Academy for Spiritual Formation, a retreat experience for clergy and laity that is scheduled April 29 through May 4, 2018, at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. A time for intentional spiritual growth in a disciplined community of prayer, study, worship, and fellowship, the Academy for Spiritual Growth, a program of Upper Room Ministries, provides an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship ...

Andrew College receives gift of bicycles for student transportation from Brunswick First UMC

November 06, 2017
Shown with some of the refurbished bicycles are students Madison Whitehead, Franklin, GA; Frederik Ackander, Västerås, Sweden; and Destiny Reed, Dawson, GA Thanks to a generous donation, students at Andrew College in Cuthbert are now enjoying riding bicycles as they move from campus to downtown classes or shopping. The refurbished bicycles were donated to the college by the Bicycle Ministry program of the First United Methodist Church of Brunswick. More than a dozen bicycles were delivered to ...

Columbus pastor, wife launch marriage and family podcast

Columbus pastor, wife launch marriage and family podcast

November 06, 2017
Marriage, family, faith, fun. Those who know Shannon and Rev. Jimmy McIlrath know they’re passionate about those four topics. And now they’re the basis of a lively and engaging weekly podcast – Figuring Our Four – where the McIlraths share four ideas about a specific topic. During a recent episode, Balance, they shared ways to find balance with time, money, faith, and fun. “Make fun a priority,” Shannon McIlrath said, whether it’s a day at the lake or a weekend getaway. “Put it on the ...

Jack Ewing to retire as Executive Director of Lake Junaluska

November 06, 2017
Lake Junaluska Executive Director Jack Ewing announced today that he will retire on December 31, 2017. Over the past seven years Ewing has led Lake Junaluska following four guiding principles: clarity of mission, focus on place, support of staff and development of a sustainable business model.   “Jack brought a vision to Lake Junaluska, and over the last seven years he has helped us live into that vision,” said Mike Warren, chairman of the Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees. “Lake Junaluska has ...

United Methodist Women gather for 45th annual meeting

November 06, 2017
Past United Methodist Women gathered at the annual meeting. Pictured, left to right, are Mary Exley, Sara Bankhead, Margaret Creech, Eugenia Yawn, Gloria Morgan, and Charlene Black. After plans for a 2016 annual meeting were thwarted by Hurricane Matthew, the South Georgia United Methodist Women gathered Saturday, Oct. 21 for their 45th annual meeting. “What a wonderful day God has made for us to gather,” South Georgia United Methodist Women president Mary Exley said to the women and handful ...

Commission on a Way Forward working on interim report to bishops

November 01, 2017
The Commission on a Way Forward, which is working to find unity for The United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality, began its sixth meeting on October 30, 2017, with a devotion that challenged the members to be as one in the body of Christ and to see each person as a reflection of God. The Rev. Dr. Tom Salsgiver, of the Susquehanna Annual Conference in the U.S., sharing on Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, told his fellow Commission members: “I must be the reflection of the one who created ...

2017 Conference Journal ready for orders and download

2017 Conference Journal ready for orders and download

October 16, 2017
Journal includes conference business, directories, reports, appointments, and statistical tables The 2017 Journal of the South Georgia Annual Conference is now available for purchase. As has been our process in recent years, those wishing to purchase a Conference Journal will order their copy(ies) online directly from the printer. The cost of the Journal is $20 each plus tax and shipping. Click here to order your copy of the 2017 Journal of the South Georgia Annual Conference.*  The ...

Annual Conference shortened by one day; hotel room blocks now open

October 16, 2017
At a recent meeting, the Annual Conference Program Committee decided to shorten the length of the 2018 Annual Conference session by one day. It is now set for June 3-5, 2018, at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island. “After last year, some delegates expressed concern over the cost of hotel rooms and meals on the island,” said Dr. Jay Harris, Conference secretary. “We listened and have therefore modified our schedule so that delegates may choose to head home on Tuesday if they ...

Asbury Memorial UMC weaves scripture, sermon, Broadway songs into services

Asbury Memorial UMC weaves scripture, sermon, Broadway songs into services

October 16, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Colorful carousel horses, balloons, and men in masks are more often associated with Broadway stages instead of church chancels, but on Sunday, Oct. 8 worshipers at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church were treated to a vibrant and powerful musical display during a special worship service. It’s become an October tradition for the Savannah church to incorporate well-known Broadway numbers into its services. Liturgy, scripture, and a sermon are woven among harmonies ...

Church, school partnership helps give students hope, skills, confidence

October 16, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor It’s sometimes challenging for young adults with disabilities to find meaningful work and live independently after graduating high school, but a unique partnership between a Richmond Hill church and school is helping give students the life skills and confidence they need to tackle adult life. For the past two years, Richmond Hill United Methodist Church has partnered with Richmond Hill High School’s special education class to help students increase their capabilities ...

Morales to be UMCOR liaison in Puerto Rico

October 13, 2017
  Luis Morales, South Georgia Conference Disaster Coordinator Luis Morales, Disaster Coordinator for the South Georgia Conference, is traveling to Puerto Rico today, Friday, Oct. 13, as a consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). He is representing UMCOR and meeting with Bishop Hector Ortiz, bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, to assess how The United Methodist Church and UMCOR can best support and help Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “This is ...

Building Community; UMW to meet Oct. 21

Building Community; UMW to meet Oct. 21

October 02, 2017
United Methodist Women Annual Meeting 2017 Written and submitted by United Methodist Women United Methodist Women in South Georgia has been “Building Community” all year long. It’s is nothing new for this organization because it is what and who we are – a community. The conference Annual Meeting being held at Statesboro First United Methodist Church Oct. 21 will highlight this theme and will accent the job our Bishop give us at Annual Conference, “being alive in Christ.” “Statesboro First is...

SACSCOC approves Reinhardt University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing

October 02, 2017
Reinhardt University is proud to announce that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has approved the University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing. “It is gratifying to see several years of work come to full fruition with approval from SACSCOC,” said Provost Mark Roberts. “Regional accreditation is a mark of quality, and Reinhardt is pleased to add the BSN to its academic offerings.” Reinhardt University announced its new program in early 2017 and received a ...

UMCom internship helps South Georgia student learn, grow, share

October 02, 2017
Taylor Bush is pictured with her UMCom co-workers in their Nashville, Tenn. office. Pictured in the front row, left to right, are: Kathy Noble, editor of Interpreter Magazine; Fran Coode Walsh, Director, Member Communication; Taylor Bush; Chris Fenoglio, Manager, Web Content. Pictured in the back row left to right, are: Joe Iovino, Manager, Member Content Development, and Tony Cook, Freelance Video Editor. Photo courtesy of Fran Walsh, UMCom By Kara Witherow, Editor This summer, more than 400...

We pray for victims of the Las Vegas shooting

We pray for victims of the Las Vegas shooting

October 02, 2017
Our hearts go out to the victims of last night’s shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. Early reports indicate that at least 50 people have died and hundreds more are injured. The police are at work to learn all they can about the shooter and his background. Right now there is so much we want to know, yet we want real information and not misinformation. What we do know for certain is that we must pray: for the hundreds of wounded victims, that their injuries would heal and that they will ...

Bishop Bryan reflects on one year in South Georgia, looks ahead to future

September 18, 2017
Stay Calm, Stay Connected, and Stay the Course ADVOCATE: It’s hard to believe more than a year has passed since you were appointed and installed to the South Georgia Conference! How has being a bishop differed from being a local church pastor? BISHOP BRYAN: Some of the differences would include expanding my parish area from a local community to an annual conference covering 61 percent of the state of Georgia. Another difference would be the shift in focus from one local church to working with ...

Church presence brings help, hope to those affected by Hurricane Irma

September 18, 2017
Rev. Andy Lamon, campus pastor of The Chapel Effingham, and several members of the congregation helped clean a Tybee Island home that was flooded by Hurricane Irma. By Kara Witherow, Editor Tricia Lewis carried sodden pillows to a growing pile of debris Friday afternoon, days after Hurricane Irma flooded her home with 18 inches of water. “It’s just stuff,” said Lewis, whose house on Lewis Street on Tybee Island was also flooded just 11 months ago during Hurricane Matthew. “We’re a lot better...

Churches outside Florida feel effects of Irma

September 18, 2017
By Linda Bloom Sept. 12, 2017 | UMNS While United Methodists across Florida began to take stock as Hurricane Irma left the state, church members in Georgia and South Carolina were dealing with flash flooding, downed trees and power outages as the storm headed north. Reports also began to emerge from Hispanic-Latino churches in the Caribbean, where Irma began its path of destruction on Sept. 5 in the Leeward Islands. The hurricane killed 36 people in the Caribbean before making landfall on the ...

Congregations and communities come together to serve during, after hurricane

Congregations and communities come together to serve during, after hurricane

September 18, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Hurricane Irma, which was downgraded to Tropical Storm Irma before it struck South Georgia Monday, Sept. 11, downed power lines, felled trees, flooded neighborhoods, and taxed local utilities throughout the region. One week after the storm, hundreds are still without power and full restoration will take months, officials say. United Methodists across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are still assessing the damage and cleaning up after the deadly storm that left at...

Methodist Home houses evacuees, shares Christ’s love

September 18, 2017
By Brittany Grier, Marketing Coordinator, The Methodist Home The Methodist Home was blessed with the opportunity to serve others during Hurricane Irma. It was truly an incredible week of service! Roughly 120 kids and staff from The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, along with seven dogs, arrived at The Methodist Home in Macon on Thursday, September 7 as they evacuated from Enterprise, Fla. ahead of Hurricane Irma. The following day Bishop Lawson Bryan, along with his wife, Sherrill, ...

Andrew College receives final approval for cancer registry management certificate program

September 05, 2017
Andrew College passed the final hurdle in the process of creating an online Cancer Registry Management program. On Thursday, Aug. 17, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) approved the program and have included it in the scope of the current Andrew College accreditation profile. Dr. Richard McCallum, interim academic dean for Andrew College said, “We are pleased and delighted to receive SACS approval. This new certificate program will respond to an ...

Churches paint, hide rocks to share hope, faith

September 05, 2017
Lena Sumner, a fifth-grade student in Christy Yates' Park Avenue UMC Sunday school class, paints a scripture verse on a rock. By Kara Witherow, Editor A little acrylic paint and a few rocks are helping spread hope and love across South Georgia communities. From Bainbridge to Brunswick, individuals and groups are painting rocks and brightening people’s days, one rock at a time. At Park Avenue United Methodist Church, Christy Yates’ fifth-grade Sunday school class is learning about the Bible ...

COB President appeals for prayers and disaster relief support

September 05, 2017
United Methodist Council of Bishops FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, September 1, 2017 WASHINGTON – Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough is urging all United Methodists to pray and offer support to the victims of the flooding in the Gulf Coast and the mudslides in Sierra Leone. In his letter, Bishop Ough said the heart-rending images from the floods in Texas and the mudslides in Sierra Leone should move all Christians into helping fellow brothers and sisters in the disaster areas. “...

North Georgia UM churches partnering in new ways with new campus ministries

September 05, 2017
By Sybil Davidson As college students begin a new school year, United Methodist churches are partnering in new ways with the Georgia UMCommission to launch and champion new campus ministries. Three notable new ministries are in the works thanks to our United Methodist connection: Georgia Gwinnett Wesley, West Georgia Wesley, and Augusta Wesley.   Georgia Gwinnett Wesley Most people don't think of Lawrenceville as a "college town," but when Lawrenceville First UMC went through a ...

St. Simons UMC father helps organize $6,500 student debt payoff

September 05, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor A note sent home in his son’s folder before the end of school last May spurred one St. Simons Island man into action to organize a community effort to pay off the lunch debt at every school in Glynn County. The note reminded parents to pay their children’s cafeteria debts. Instead of reading it and immediately tossing the note in the trash, Dan Meyers, a member of St. Simons United Methodist Church, wondered what he could do to help those who couldn’t afford to pay ...

September 1 marks one year anniversary for Bishop Bryan in South Georgia

September 01, 2017
We want to wish Bishop Lawson Bryan a happy One Year Anniversary! September 1 marks one year he has served as the episcopal leader in the South Georgia Conference. Recently, Bishop Bryan and Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, episcopal leader of the North Georgia Conference, sat down to reflect on their first year of ministry here in Georgia. We are so thankful for their spiritual leadership and guidance and can’t wait to see what this next year holds! Click here to watch video.  

After violence, death in Charlottesville, United Methodists pray for peace, healing, unity

August 21, 2017
Centenary Church's service attracted a diverse crowd and more than 30 clergy, including Episcopalian pastors, a Catholic priest, Methodist pastors, and Baptist ministers. Photo courtesy of Centenary Church. By Kara Witherow, Editor “Lord, what can I do?” That’s the question Rev. Precious Hawkins asked as she watched violence erupt in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend. “What can we do? It kept coming back to ‘pray,’” said Rev. Hawkins, pastor of Speedwell United Methodist Church in Savannah....

Larry and Myrna Roberts named Chief Junaluska recipients

Larry and Myrna Roberts named Chief Junaluska recipients

August 21, 2017
Rev. Larry Roberts accepts the Chief Junaluska Award on behalf of himself and his wife, Myrna, who passed away earlier in 2017. Rev. Larry Roberts and his wife, Myrna (posthumously), were named the 2017 Chief Junaluska recipients during Lake Junaluska Associates Weekend held on Aug. 5. “Larry and Myrna have given unselfishly to Lake Junaluska through labors of love, time, and gifts, and have been Life Members of the Lake Junaluska Associates for 14 years,” said Rev. Jimmy Pennell, the 2016 ...

Q & A with Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries

Q & A with Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries

August 21, 2017
“The rich blessings we have experienced inspire us and require us to serve others.” Upon his retirement from the United States Army, Dr. Jerry Maddox (Matt) Woodbery, Jr. was appointed by Bishop Lawson Bryan to serve as Director of Connectional Ministries. His appointment began Aug. 1. A member in Full Connection and an Ordained Elder of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, Dr. Woodbery began his ordained ministry in 1985 as the associate minister at Americus First ...

The Methodist Home achieves Sanctuary Institute certification

August 21, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor After an “amazing” three-year journey, the Methodist Home for Children and Youth has become the first organization in Georgia to be certified by The Sanctuary Institute. An agency that serves families and children in crisis, the Methodist Home wants to be a place of restoration and of sanctuary. When they learned of the Sanctuary Model of care, Methodist Home leaders decided to implement the program throughout the agency. “When we began our Sanctuary journey, we ...

SEJ College of Bishops grieves the violence in Charlottesville

August 18, 2017
Witness and Invitation from the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, August 17, 2017   "The things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us grace to labor for." - Thomas More, UMH, 408 Serving with you in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, we grieve the violence in Charlottesville. We renew our baptismal covenant to trust and serve Christ, to resist evil, and to honor all in the human family. We share with you our resolve to name, resist and dismantle racism in ...

Bishop Bryan: Moving beyond hatred and violence to build Casa de Vida y Paz

Bishop Bryan: Moving beyond hatred and violence to build Casa de Vida y Paz

August 12, 2017
I received the news of the violence that erupted this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, as I was attending the Southwest District United Methodist Men’s Rally. As followers of the Prince of Peace, who himself died at the hands of violent people, we United Methodists raise our voices in protest over this latest demonstration of inhumanity to one another. We pray for those on all sides of this conflict to come to the awareness that such actions are a denial of the values that bind us together ...

5 ways congregations can serve schools

August 07, 2017
Photo courtesy of Rev. Kirk Hagan, pastor of Wrightsville First UMC By Kara Witherow, Editor School starts this week or has already started for many in South Georgia, and with the inevitable flurry of back-to-school activity comes the question: how can we serve our schools and students? Each act of service usually has a need associated with it, but at the heart of every action or program should be sharing hope and God’s love. Here are a few practical ways to step outside the walls of the ...

Annual Conference location update

August 07, 2017
In an effort to garner bids for future locations of the South Georgia Annual Conference Session, a subgroup of the Annual Conference Program Committee has developed an RFP (request for proposal). Prior to the 2017 Annual Conference Session, the RFP was sent to 12 different Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus in South Georgia cities which might have facilities and motels to accommodate our conference's needs. Cities include: Albany, Columbus, Dublin, Golden Isles, Macon, Perry, Savannah, Statesboro,...

Serving is a rewarding experience for Leesburg UMC couple

August 07, 2017
Linda and Jimmy Bence, members of Leesburg UMC, served at UMCOR's Sagar Brown depot By Kara Witherow, Editor Linda and Jimmy Bence have seen firsthand how the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) serves communities in times of need, alleviates human suffering, and advances hope and healing. The couple, members of Leesburg United Methodist Church, saw how the agency responded in the aftermath of the Flood of 1994. “We like what they do,” Jimmy Bence said. “UMCOR has really meant a lot...

Prepare for disasters now, respond when storms hit

July 24, 2017
In January 2017, devastating storms tore through the small community of Adel, causing death, destruction, and nearly insurmountable loss. The storms claimed seven lives in the town and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. In the aftermath of the disaster, Adel United Methodist Church, which was spared major damage and loss of life, offered relief to families in a nearby mobile home community by helping pay for funeral expenses. The church also set up a fund to receive donations to minister ...

Remodeled Lake Junaluska gazebo made possible by South Georgia family

July 24, 2017
Lake Junaluska has remodeled a gazebo along the Francis Asbury Trail, thanks to a generous gift from the family of Larry Roberts, a former  South Georgia minister, in memory of his wife, Myrna Roberts. For many years the Francis Asbury Trail Gazebo has been a much beloved meditation location along the Lake Junaluska Walking Trail. In recent years the gazebo has fallen into disrepair and improvements were needed. The family of Myrna Roberts saw this need and decided to honor Mrs. Roberts, who ...

Rev. Reese to serve as Northwest District liaison during Dr. Cooper’s recovery

July 24, 2017
As Dr. Buddy Cooper, superintendent of the Northwest District, recovers from quintuple bypass surgery, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and the South Georgia Cabinet are grateful to Rev. Dick Reese for stepping in to serve as the Northwest District’s liaison to the Cabinet. He will also serve as a liaison between the district office and the Northwest District churches. Rev. Reese, who retired in 2010 after serving 54 years in the South Georgia Conference, brings supervisory experience to this new role, ...

Bishop Bryan presents Vital Signs Assessment Tool to Conference

July 10, 2017
The “Alive Together in Worship” theme was woven throughout the 2017 Annual Conference session as Dr. Lovett Weems, Distinguished Professor of Christian Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary, taught three sessions based on his book, “Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance and Bear More Fruit.” Each of the sessions was geared toward helping the conference achieve its goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent. To accompany the teaching moments and help congregations and ...

Father and son serve downtown Brunswick church

Father and son serve downtown Brunswick church

July 10, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor In the late 1800s, Mary and Charles Shepard were faithful members of Brunswick First United Methodist Church. Their daughter Lillian married George Bright Culpepper, a Methodist minister. Today, more than 100 years later, the Shepard’s great-great grandson, Dr. Wright Culpepper, and great-great-great grandson, Rev. Bill Culpepper, are following in their footsteps, serving and worshiping in the same downtown Brunswick church. Dr. Culpepper, an ordained elder, was ...

UMC School of Congregational Development to be held in Atlanta

July 10, 2017
You're invited to “Join Us at The Lord’s Table,” and this year the table is close to home! The UMC School of Congregational Development will be held here in Georgia Aug. 17-20 at Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta. This is the premier event in The United Methodist Church for equipping clergy and laity to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year’s event is being hosted by the North Georgia Conference, Candler ...

Andrew College receives final approval to offer four-year business degree

June 26, 2017
Andrew College received word on Thursday, June 15 from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) that approval was given for the college to offer a baccalaureate degree in business, effective fall 2017. The approval by SACS was the final hurdle in the process of creating the program. The program is now included in the scope of the current Andrew College accreditation. Emphasizing the breadth of business systems and processes, with a special eye toward small ...

Columbus congregation gives car to teen

June 26, 2017
Epworth UMC youth minister Adam McNeil, Audrey, and Epworth UMC pastor Rev. Crosby stand in front of Audrey's new 2013 Ford Focus By Kara Witherow, Editor Epworth United Methodist Church in Columbus is a small church making a big impact. When church members learned that the transmission in 16-year-old Audrey’s* 2002 Jeep Liberty had blown and her family couldn’t afford to have it fixed they jumped in and offered to pay for the repairs. When it was determined that the repairs would cost more ...

No age limit on ministry

June 26, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dr. John McGowan loves people and loves to preach. The nonagenarian, who turns 92 in November, officially retired in 1990 after 40 years of service in the South Georgia Conference, but he’s been preaching and pastoring ever since. He’s served at least 14 interim appointments in the past 27 years, and says he’ll serve again if called upon. “I love to preach! Whenever someone would call me and ask me to preach I would go,” Dr. McGowan said. “I have enjoyed doing it in ...

Pathways leadership training event is THIS WEEKEND!

June 26, 2017
Download the Pathways brochure here Register online here Churches looking for new ideas, networking opportunities and practical, quality training for their pastors, parishioners, staff and leaders need look no further than this year’s Pathways leadership training event. Scheduled for Saturday, August 26 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Warner Robins, the training event will offer participants more than 30 workshops to choose from, each designed to help congregations become healthier and...

2017 Annual Conference session is refreshing, rejuvenating, alive

June 09, 2017
Bishop James Swanson preaches at the Opening Worship Service of the 2017 Annual Conference Session. The Jekyll Island Convention Center was filled with red as the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated Pentecost and convened for its 151st session Sunday, June 4. Meeting under the theme “Alive Together in Christ,” this year’s Annual Conference session was held June 4 through June 7 at the new, oceanfront locale. With beautiful views, ocean breezes, and a new facility, the conference had a...

Bishop Bryan presides over first annual conference session in South Georgia

June 09, 2017
For the first time in 40 years, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan wasn’t in Montgomery, Ala. for the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference’s Annual Conference session. Not only was he not sitting in a pew in Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church’s sanctuary, he was sitting on stage, looking over a crowd of nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Presiding over his first annual conference session since becoming South Georgia’s resident bishop, Bishop Bryan...

Bishop Bryan sets 2017-2018 pastoral appointments

June 09, 2017
On Wednesday, June 7, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan fixed the 2017-2018 pastoral appointments for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Click here to download and view a list of appointments by district. 

Conference approves two resolutions

June 09, 2017
During the Tuesday, June 6 business session, the South Georgia Conference approved two resolutions. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It called on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate clergy and ...

New annual conference venue offers beautiful views, opportunities for outdoor fun

June 09, 2017
Alfredo Bocanegra, Faustino Peres, and Jaime Gallaga, members of Casa de Vida y Paz, part of the Bainbridge Hispanic Mission, enjoyed the oceanfront location of the 2017 Annual Conference session. Breathtaking ocean vistas greeted conference attendees as they arrived at the Jekyll Island Convention Center for the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference session. The only oceanfront convention center on the east coast south of New Jersey, the convention center’s remarkable views of the Atlantic ...

Remembering those who have gone before us

June 09, 2017
A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 6, at 2:00 p.m. as conference members gathered at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Bishop B. Michael Watson, South Georgia’s former episcopal leader and current Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops, gave a touching message titled, “The Strong Arms of Jesus,” as he remembered those who have gone before us. The message reminded listeners that God’s ...

Celebrating ministries, churches, and individuals who are Alive Together in Christ through mission, ministry and evangelism

June 08, 2017
Mission, ministry, and evangelism awards were highlighted during the 2017 Annual Conference session, a way to celebrate how ministries, churches, and individuals throughout the conference are alive together in Christ.   The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. A significant dimension of the disciple-making process is that of leading people to make a commitment to God through baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Reaching new persons with the gospel is at the ...

Celebrating Ministry Milestones and Achievements at Annual Conference

June 08, 2017
The 2017 Class of Retirees Annual Conference is a special time to celebrate ministry milestones and achievements, from those just entering the ministry to those taking the next step of their journey into retirement.   On Tuesday morning the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated with those clergy who have served in ministry for 50 years and those who are entering into a retired relationship with the Annual Conference.   Clergy recognized for having served 50 years in ministry include: Jack...

Andrew College receives final approval for registered nursing degree program

May 15, 2017
Andrew College passed the final hurdle in the process of creating an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. On Monday, May 3, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) approved the program and have included it in the scope of the current Andrew College accreditation. Dr. Linda R. Buchanan, president of Andrew College, expressed her profound thanks to donors, the Board of Trustees, clinical partners and others who have stood behind the College as it ...

Annual Conference to vote on five constitutional amendments

May 15, 2017
One of the major items of business during the 2017 Annual Conference session is the consideration of five constitutional amendments. Voters will consider changes that address matters of gender equality, inclusiveness in membership, delegate and bishop elections, as well as bishop accountability. For an in-depth story about the amendments, scroll down or click here. All five amendments were approved by a two-thirds vote of the 2016 General Conference and now must be ratified by a two-thirds ...

Cokesbury unveils new Ministry Resource Center at Annual Conferences

May 15, 2017
Cokesbury has announced that it is bringing a new consultative retail experience to Annual Conferences this year with the new Cokesbury Ministry Resource Center. Focused on equipping leaders to build disciples, the Ministry Resource Center will offer the opportunity for more personalized consultations with church leaders in order to match products with their specific ministry needs. Features of the Ministry Resource Center include: Showcases highlighting new and classic resources ranging from ...

Conference to consider, vote on three resolutions

May 15, 2017
Three resolutions have been presented for consideration and vote by the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It calls on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate ...

South Georgia Conference Chancellor serves on Judicial Council

May 15, 2017
South Georgia Conference Chancellor W. Warren Plowden, Jr., a member of Vineville United Methodist Church in Macon, is for the second quadrennium serving on The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest judicial body. He was first elected fifth lay alternate during the 2012 General Conference session, held in Tampa, Fla. and elected for a second consecutive term, this time as first lay alternate, during the 2016 General Conference session in Portland, Ore. In what ...

Bishop Bryan encourages Conference to read “Overflow”

May 01, 2017
During the 2016 Annual Conference session, delegates set a goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent by 2018. The 2017 Annual Conference session is being intentionally designed to help the South Georgia Annual Conference meet that goal, and when it gathers at the Jekyll Island Convention Center June 4-7, Dr. Lovett H. Weems, co-author of the book “OVERFLOW: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit,” will teach three sessions that will provide practical steps for planning, ...

S3 groups help clergy renew, recharge, refresh

May 01, 2017
Serving in full-time ministry is consuming. It’s hard to relax and “turn off” at the end of the day. Being a pastor or deacon is an always-on, always-in-demand role with sometimes unrealistically high expectations. The South Georgia Conference realizes the need to care for those in ministry, and has implemented S3, a program for sustaining excellence in ministry through small-group experiences focused on Sabbath, study, and service. Brought to South Georgia nearly 13 years ago, the S3 program ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: The Judicial Council Ruling

April 29, 2017
April 29, 2017 To the South Georgia Conference: The Judicial Council, the highest judicial body or “court” of The United Methodist Church, has ruled that the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the Western Jurisdiction, Bishop Karen Oliveto, violated church law. Specifically, the Council said: “…no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law,” the council ruled. “It is not lawful for the College of Bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a ...

UMC Bishops Call Special Session of General Conference for 2019

April 25, 2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the Special Session will be held in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph ¶14 of The Book of Discipline (2016). The purpose of the 2019 Special Session of the ...

Bishop Bryan Announces Projected June Appointments

April 23, 2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan has announced projected appointment changes as of April 23, 2017. The appointments will be set at the South Georgia Annual Conference and will be effective in June. The appointment list and a note about the projected appointments can be found at www.sgaumc.org/projectedappointments. 

Douglas pastor, dentist roast coffee, change lives

April 17, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor In the heart of Coffee County, Ga. a dentist and a part-time local pastor are helping make disciples and transform a small part of the world, one cup of coffee at a time. What began with a short-term mission trip to El Salvador nearly six years ago has grown into El Camino Coffee, an artisanal coffee company that specializes in single-origin brews. Rev. Chris Calhoun, pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Douglas, and Dr. Griff Lindsey, a dentist and member of...

Students worship, learn at community-wide 3rd Night services

April 17, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Lindsey Conroy, 15, loves seeing fellow believers as she walks through the halls of Columbus High School. She may not know all of their names and they don’t all attend the same church, but they are connected through a shared faith and, for many, through 3rd Night. A community-wide worship service for junior high, high school, and college students, 3rd Night was conceived by leaders from The Ridge and is led by five Columbus-area United Methodist church leaders. “It’s ...

Loads of Love laundry ministry reaches lots of places

April 03, 2017
John Patterson, Caroline Gowan, Debra Patterson, and Rev. Wesley Deverger, pastor of Arco United Methodist Church in Brunswick, gather for a photo during the launch of Brunswick's Loads of Love ministry. The free laundry service will be offered from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month at the Coin Laundry in Brunswick. By Kara Witherow, Editor When Bonaire United Methodist Church member Caroline Gowan began her Loads of Love laundry ministry it was as a short-term Girl ...

Southwest District hosts conference geared toward reaching Millennials, young adults

April 03, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Like many other denominations, United Methodist churches would love to experience their pews overflowing with young adults. Yet, many of these same churches would appreciate insight into how best to attract and reach Millennials – those who were born in or after 1980 – and learn how to share the gospel message with them. To aid churches in inviting and engaging young people, the Southwest District of the South Georgia Conference has partnered with Next Step Ministry to...

2017 Annual Conference Session: Overflow book, AC announcements & reminders

2017 Annual Conference Session: Overflow book, AC announcements & reminders

March 20, 2017
The following is an email sent out by Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and Dr. Jay Harris, Conference Secretary, with updated details about the 2017 Annual Conference Session set for June 4-7 on Jekyll Island. From the Bishop Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders, I am excited about my first Annual Conference Session in South Georgia and look forward to us coming together to share all the ways we are Alive Together in Christ. Even before moving to the ...

Centenary UMC’s Roving Listeners listen, learn, love

March 20, 2017
A Macon resident speaks with Roving Listeners Davida Poole, seated, with microphone; Laura Sugg, standing; and Samuel Closson, sitting, wearing hat. By Kara Witherow, Editor In the Internet age with smart phones and social media, we’re more connected now than ever. So why do we feel so disconnected? Since 2012, Centenary United Methodist Church has worked in its Macon neighborhood to connect neighbors to one another and to promote a greater sense of community through its Roving Listener ...

Court sets oral hearing on gay bishop issue

March 20, 2017
By Linda Bloom An oral hearing on a petition questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church will open the spring meeting of Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court. The hearing — set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Hotel at the Newark Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey — is the only portion of the council’s April 25-28 meeting that is open to the public. The petitioner and respondent in the case will have 60 minutes each to present ...

South Georgia pastors speak at Dominican Republic Methodist General Assembly

March 20, 2017
The United Methodist Church is a Church of connections, relationships, and partnerships. So when presented with the opportunity to attend the Dominican Republic Methodist Church’s General Assembly – their version of an Annual Conference session – South Georgia Conference representatives quickly agreed and set the wheels in motion for a visit. Rev. Henry Bass, superintendent of the South Central District; Rev. Christy Bandy, pastor of Springhill United Methodist Church and Whigham United ...

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox to Step Down in June

March 20, 2017
Young Harris College President Cathy Cox announced today that she will formally step down from the position in June 2017 to accept the role of dean of Mercer University’s School of Law, her alma mater.   During her 10-year tenure as president, Cox has led the College through an unparalleled period of growth, transitioning it from a two-year to a four-year college, more than doubling the size of the faculty and student body, and constructing $100 million in new facilities, while staying true to ...

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox to step down in June

March 20, 2017
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. –Young Harris College President Cathy Cox announced today that she will formally step down from the position in June 2017 to accept the role of dean of Mercer University’s School of Law, her alma mater. During her 10-year tenure as president, Cox has led the College through an unparalleled period of growth, transitioning it from a two-year to a four-year college, more than doubling the size of the faculty and student body, and constructing $100 million in new facilities, while...

Asbury Memorial UMC youth teach tech at “reverse mentoring” workshop

March 06, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor iPhones, iPods, and iPads. PCs and passwords. Facebook and Facetime. Internet and Instagram. Software, settings, and smartphones.   All of the digital technology that inundates our daily lives can be intimidating and downright confusing, especially for those who didn’t grow up in such a wired world. Some Savannah teens, though, are taking the time to help navigate neophytes through the digital landscape with their “reverse mentoring” technology workshops. Asbury ...

Bishop Bryan announces projected Conference-level appointments

March 06, 2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan has released projected appointments for seven Conference-level positions. All six current district superintendents will be reappointed to serve in their respective districts. Dr. Wayne Moseley will continue to serve as Coastal District Superintendent; Dr. Rick Lanford will continue as North Central Superintendent; Rev. Chris Ramsey will continue to serve as the Northeast District Superintendent; Dr. Buddy Cooper will continue serving as the Northwest District’s ...

Commission moves onward and forward

March 06, 2017
Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia this week, the Commission on a Way Forward continued to make progress towards completing the groundwork for their task, building relationships, engaging in learning, information gathering, working and worshiping together. On Wednesday, the Rev. Donna Pritchard led a morning Bible study of Galatians 2. Later, Commission members joined the staff of the General Board of Global Ministries in the stained-glass sanctuary of Grace United Methodist Church for an Ash ...

Commission on a Way Forward convenes in Atlanta

March 06, 2017
The second meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward got underway in Atlanta Feb. 27 as commission members spent time in reflection, discussion and work team meetings. Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball led the Commission in discussions of accountability and their covenant, the complexity of the work ahead, and building relationships of trust by going deeper in conversation and understanding. These three values – accountability, complexity, trust – are considered essential to taking the steps toward ...

Reinhardt University launches Bachelor of Science in Nursing; enrollment open now

March 06, 2017
Reinhardt University is launching the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to be offered in Cherokee County. Quality healthcare providers always are in demand, and according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, more than 79 percent of employers are requiring or expressing strong preference for nurses with a BSN. And, according to the 2014 edition of Medical Care, an increase of only 10 percent in the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses lowers the odds of mortality by 10.9 ...

Rev. Hanson presented Historic Preservation award

March 06, 2017
On Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, the Friends of Methodist Heritage presented the 2016 Arthur J. Moore Award for Historic Preservation to Rev. Dave Hanson for his work with the history of the South Georgia Conference. Since 2010, when Marynelle Waite was presented with the inaugural Arthur J. Moore Award for Historic Preservation, each year the Archives and History Committee has chosen someone who has shown the same unwavering devotion and hard work for the history of the of the South Georgia ...

2017 appointment-making season begins in the South Georgia Conference

February 20, 2017
It’s appointment-making season in The United Methodist Church, and on Feb. 20 Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet will meet for several days to pray, worship, and begin the decision-making process of appointments. The 2017-2018 appointment-making schedule is available here. “Our appointment system is really not so much about moving preachers from one place to the next, it’s about sending people, lay and clergy, into those places of service into the world so they can be a part of the gospel ...

5 constitutional amendments head to vote

February 20, 2017
By Heather Hahn, UMNS General Conference delegates had their say last year. Now, it’s up to annual conference voters to determine whether five amendments will become part of The United Methodist Church’s constitution. In the coming months, the voters will consider changes that address matters of gender equality, inclusiveness in membership, delegate and bishop elections, as well as bishop accountability. To be ratified, a constitutional amendment first requires at least a two-thirds vote at ...

Congregational Development publishes 40-day devotional

Congregational Development publishes 40-day devotional

February 20, 2017
South Georgia’s Office of Congregational Development has published a new devotional focused on prayer and evangelism called, “Praying for Five: Forging Eternal Friendships Through Daily Prayer.” Click here for a digital copy Perfect for use as a Lent devotion, “Praying for 5” is a 40-day daily devotional book written by South Georgia clergy and lay persons designed to inspire and equip 20,000 people to pray for 100,000 people in South Georgia. “Prayer changes lives,” said Rev. Jay Hanson, ...

Dr. Vivia Fowler to serve as Wesleyan College’s 25th president

February 20, 2017
Wesleyan College is proud to announce Dr. Vivia Lawton Fowler as the institution’s 25th president. Since 2007, Fowler has served Wesleyan as provost and vice president for academic affairs. In August 2016, President Ruth A. Knox announced her retirement effective June 30, 2017. Fowler will assume the responsibilities of president on July 1, 2017. Fowler brings to the position significant experience in higher education, particularly liberal arts higher education for women. An ordained United ...

Shoreline Church launches in Valdosta

February 20, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Popcorn and … Jesus? People usually associate popcorn with movies and Coca-Cola, not the Holy Spirt. But with the familiar smell of popcorn in the air, 144 people piled into the Valdosta Cinemas on Sunday, Feb. 5 not to watch a movie, but to worship. They were there for The Shoreline Church’s launch service, which was the fifth service the new congregation had hosted. After four preview services church leaders decided they were ready to start meeting weekly. South ...

ConneXion Church consecrated, dedicated

February 06, 2017
Savannah church is focused on connection, unity By Kara Witherow, Editor Sunday morning at 11 a.m. has been called “the most segregated hour in this nation.” More than 53 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke those words, and even today, decades later, many pastors grapple with that same issue and still say that churches are among the most divided institutions in American society. One new South Georgia United Methodist Church, however, is trying to break down those barriers and be an ...

Two South Georgia UM churches top growing church list

February 06, 2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Two South Georgia United Methodist congregations top a well-respected list of growing churches. Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Byron, and The Chapel, a United Methodist congregation in Brunswick, have been ranked number one and number two, respectively, on a list of top 10 United Methodist churches with the highest annual growth over a 10-year period. The Chapel was also recently ranked number 12 on a list of top 25 fastest growing large United ...

A prayer for our country - a message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan

January 23, 2017
A message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan The attention of the nation and the world was focused on our country during last week's inauguration ceremony, and I invite you to join me in reflecting on this event in three ways. First, consider the Social Principles found in the Book of Discipline. These principles represent a prayerful and thoughtful effort to speak to the issues of human life from a sound Biblical foundation expressed in Wesleyan theology and practice. With respect to “The Political ...

Clergy Compensation List now available online

January 23, 2017
The 2017 Clergy Compensation List is now available online to view: http://www.sgaumc.org/clergycompensationlist.  

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Our Contact Information

Episcopal Office: P.O. Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209 478-475-9286

Administrative Office: P.O. Box 13145 - Macon, GA 31208 800-535-4224

Connectional Ministries: P.O. Box 20408 - St. Simons Island, GA 31522 888-266-7642

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.