2020 Virtual Annual Conference Session: Schedule, links to worship services, helpful documents & videos

Recap of Monday, June 3

The Service for the Ordination with Commissioning was held Monday night in the sanctuary of St. Luke United Methodist Church. From L to R, front: Jonathan Beckum (Commissioned), Jeremy Alexander (Full Elder), Greg Harrison (Full Elder), Josh Gale (Full Elder); middle: Mike Bankston (Commissioned), Mark Miller (Commissioned), David Donnan (Commissioned), Matthew Stout (Commissioned); back: Haynes Martin (Commissioned), Ted Goshorn (Full Elder), Kirk Hagan (Full Elder). 


Morning Session

Morning Liturgy
The morning liturgy was led by Rev. Josh Bizzell, pastor at Warner Robins First UMC. Rev. Bizzell asked members to take a moment to reflect on the icon of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and the Christ child. “As we conference together, let us sit with this image, holding on to one another, looking to the best interests of those around us, and living as the faithful family of God. Jesus is among us, inviting us, welcoming us into this scene,” he said.


Business Session
The Business Session of the 2019 Annual Conference opened with the historic hymn, “And Are We Yet Alive.” Bishop Bryan called the 153rd session of the South Georgia Annual Conference to order. This is Bishop Bryan’s third Annual Conference to preside over as the resident bishop of the South Georgia Area.

In the Business Session Monday morning, the conference:

  • were greeted by Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson
  • heard the Board of Ordained Ministry report given by Rev. Scott Tucker, chair.

    • recognized those clergy who faithfully serve beyond the local church in an extension ministry appointment.

    • recognized the following persons:

      • New Certified Candidates: Christopher Archambeault, Margaret A. Bloodworth, Jeremy Lee Crosby, Kurt Dukes, Cecilia Eisentraeger, Franklin D. Fletcher, John Dale Giefing, William Andy Ginn, Brantley Horton, Carolyn Hurley, William Michael Miller, Chris Pavlovsky, Herbert Stephen Peavy, Cheryl Roach, Leanette Roberson, Shelly R. Sims, Trevor L. Ward, Charles E. Way, Wesley Webb, Lauren West, and Thomas G. Whatley

      • 2019 Licensing School Students: Christopher Archambeault, Margaret A. Bloodworth, Jeremy Lee Crosby, Kurt Dukes, Franklin D. Fletcher, John Dale Giefing, William Andy Ginn, Brantley Horton, Carolyn Hurley, William Michael Miller, Herbert Stephen Peavy, Cheryl Roach, Trevor L. Ward, Charles E. Way, Wesley Webb, Thomas G. Whatley, and Jerry Chandler (CLM Candidate)

      • New Licensed Local Pastors: Chris Archambeault, Maggie Bloodworth, Jeremy Lee Crosby, Franklin D. Fletcher, John Dale Giefing, William Andy Ginn, Brantley Horton, Michael Miller, Chris Pavlovsky, Herbert Stephen Peavy, Cheryl Roach, Shelly R. Sims, Stephen Carlson Waite, Trevor L. Ward, Charles E. Way, Wesley Webb, and Thomas Whatley

      • 2018-2019 Young Clergy Academy Interns: Tripp Anderson - Metter UMC, Clay Boerner - Statesboro First UMC, Ashley Fenstermaker - Georgia Southern Wesley Foundation, Amanda Gail - Isle of Hope UMC, John Dale Giefing - LaGrange College, Austin McMillan - Kennesaw State Wesley Foundation, Rebecca Paul - Wesley UMC, and Sarah Pounds - Macon Wesley & Mulberry Street UMC.

  • received those clergy who have been elected into provisional membership and the clergy for reception into full conference membership. Bishop R. Lawson Bryan asked the clergy the historic questions asked of clergy since the days of John Wesley. The conference welcomed these clergy into their new relationship:

    • Provisional Members: Elders - Robert Michael Bankston, Jonathan William Beckum, David Wesley Donnan, Jeremiah Haynes Martin, Mark J. Miller, and Matthew Steven Stout

    • Full Conference Member: Elders - Jeremy Scott Alexander, Joshua Otto Gale, Theodore Adriel Goshorn, Kirk Carruth Hagan, and Gregory Elliott Harrison

  • heard a South Georgia Conference history moment from Rev. Dave Hanson. If John Wesley were here today, Rev. Hanson said, he would encourage us to minister to the people within our congregations but to not stop there. “They deserve our best efforts, but we are not to stop there. We’re to look beyond our local church to minister to the entire community and even the entire world,” Rev. Hanson said. “The world is your parish. Never let the parish be your world!”

  • heard the first of five “Alive Together in the World” moment - segments highlighting the various ways we are reaching out throughout the South Georgia Conference and beyond. This first one focused on how the conference is developing leaders and also celebrated growth in worship attendance. Anne Bosarge shared the experience of the Certified Lay Ministry Training and new opportunities for laity to be equipped and empowered to serve in the local churches but also develop skills in leadership. The pilot program, Increased Impact, was highlighted in which coaches, clergy and laity are engaged in new ways of thinking about ministry in their local churches. Lifting up the challenge for 10% increase in worship attendance, churches experiencing this increase were recognized along with our newest church launch, The Porch Community Church in Valdosta, Georgia.

  • were led by Dr. Gil Rendle in the first of four teaching moment where he shared about what it means to be fruitful, effective leaders for Christ in a changing world. “We are now in a new mission field,” he said. “We are living in a brand new place.” Good leadership is not enough, he told the annual conference. The problem churches and other faith organizations face is not exclusive to The United Methodist Church. “The world around us has grown different. The mission field has changed,” he said. “The reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not change, but the way we talk to the world about it must.”

  • took action on the church closings of the following churches, while also celebrating the impact these churches have had on many people in the South Georgia Conference: West Bainbridge UMC, Chester UMC, Glory UMC, and The Gathering.

  • celebrated with those pastors who have served 50 years in the ministry:

Rev. Mira L. Barrett

Rev. Thomas W. Davis

Rev. Lyndal C. Hurley

Rev. John W. Powell

Rev. Donald R. Wood

Rev. Donald R. Youmans

  • and honored those pastors retiring this year:

Henry C. Bass

David Michael Boggs

Joseph A. Cannon, Sr.

Edwin M Cooper, Jr.

Frank Danner

Loretta Dunbar

Pamela L. France

Cynthia Cox Garrard

Cleo McRae Gilchrist

David Carroll Griffin

John H. Harrington

Etta Joyce Harris

Thomas H. Johnson, Jr.

Beverly E. King

Dennis B. Lanning

Robert Earl McDaniel

Joseph Eddie Morrison, Jr.

Rex L. Odom

Jeffery Alan Seeley

John H. Stephens, III

Noon Liturgy
The noon liturgy was led by Rev. Teresa Edwards, associate pastor at Forest Hills UMC. Teresa encouraged members to lean on the words of The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus teaches all the disciples in every time and place.


Memorial Service

A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who have served in our Conference was held Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. at St. Luke UMC. Rev. Cleo Gilchrist, retired South Georgia minister, reminded those gathered that although they may grieve, God is able.


“When grief comes to your home, God’s grace will be sufficient,” she said. “Be not dismayed. God will be able to take care of you.”


Those being remembered include:

Deceased Clergy

Ralph Haywood
November 4, 1921 – April 25, 2018

Griffin Edward Thompson
November 15, 1926 – May 4, 2018

George W. Herndon
July 17, 1928 – June 15, 2018

Dale Hughes Thornton
December 25, 1954 – July 6, 2018

David E. Hudson
February 20, 1933 – August 3, 2019

Jerry Turner Lott
April 15, 1944 – August 10, 2018

J. Harold Tucker

November 3, 1926 – August 30, 2018

Lewis Wallace Strickland
July 25, 1932 – September 17, 2018

Richard G. Aultman
December 12, 1933 - November 4, 2018

Denton Roscoe Parker, Sr.
June 13, 1932 – December 23, 2018

William Edward “Eddie” Ratcliffe
September 22, 1948 – January 10, 2019

Travis David Warlick
May 5, 1955 – January 20, 2019

William Earl “Bill” Berry
September 16, 1929 – January 22, 2019


Deceased Clergy Spouses

Janice Wells Karlbom
Surviving Spouse of Rev. David O. Karlbom
September 11, 1937 – May 3, 2016

Nadine Hobby Willis Haywood
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Ralph Haywood
July 13, 1928 – December 30, 2016

Maxine Miller Raley
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Kennedy Raley
December 28, 1939 – April 29, 2018

Betty Jeanne Barlow
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Max E. Barlow
January 11, 1933 – July 21, 2018

Mildred Joiner
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Albert G. Joiner
April 14, 1923 – August 17, 2018

Betty Hagan Gilbert
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Emory Gilbert
January 13, 1929 – September 4, 2018

Karen Marie Toms Johnson
Spouse of Rev. Tom Johnson, Jr.
August 6, 1952 – September 13, 2018

Ruth Holland Glisson Sheppard
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Harold Sheppard
August 15, 1930 – October 18, 2018

Billie Joyce Cole Parrish
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Walter Guy Parrish
January 24, 1930 – November 24, 2018

Charlotte Smith Vickery
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Robert “Bob” Lee Vickery Jr.
October 13, 1934 – December 5, 2018

Carlton Rainge
Spouse of Rev. Marie S. Rainge
August 3, 1951 – January 6, 2019

Thomas Jere Cater
Spouse of Rev. Nancylee Cater
January 21, 1946 – January 10, 2019

Betty Swearingen Hurdle
Surviving Spouse of Rev. William Hurbert Hurdle
February 28, 1929 – February 19, 2019

Betty Ruth Sellers Freeman
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Ramus Guy Freeman
December 7, 1929 - March 6, 2019


Afternoon Session

Business Session

In the Business Session Monday afternoon, the conference: 

  • heard a report from the Conference Trustees.

  • heard Bishop Bryan’s Episcopal Address where he talked about the vitality and fruitfulness he sees in South Georgia. “God is faithful and God continues to send the Holy Spirit upon us,” he said. “But the other part of that is: we are open to God. We hold out our hands willing to receive all that Christ our Lord wants to give us. We stretch out our hands to reach into God’s future. God is faithful. Our people are willing. The result is vitality.” He then asked attendees to:

    • Renew their commitment to seeking God’s future for The United Methodist Church and for South Georgia.

    • Reclaim their passion for the salvation of the world.

    • Refocus their energies on redemptive relationships in the world.

          Wrapping up with a baseball analogy, he told attendees to “let the ball come to us. The Good News is, it       has. Let’s play ball.”

  • heard the Lay Leader's Address by Mrs. Gloria Morgan. Mrs. Morgan highlighted the ways laity are serving their neighbors in each district and spreading the love of Christ. “Jesus welcomed the poor, the homeless, the sick and the stranger. We have the honor to stand in for Him, welcoming them, serving them, and providing for them,” she said. “With our involvement, we become the hands, feet, eyes, and body of Christ as we support mission projects and personnel around the world. We share in the mission work that seeks to fulfill God’s directive found in Matthew 25:35. … May we continue to live as God’s people whenever and wherever there is a need as members of the South Georgia Annual Conference.”

  • heard a report from the Leadership Forum Task Force give by Dr. Derek McAleer, DIrector of Ministerial Services and member of the Task Force. Dr. McAleer presented two policies that will be voted upon on Tuesday. The Disaffiliation Policy outlines a framework to be followed if a congregation votes to leave the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. The Pension Liability Proposal, which was prepared by the Conference Board of Pensions, outlines a church’s liabilities if they decide to disaffiliate from the South Georgia Annual Conference. (Read more here)

  • heard a second “Alive Together in the World” moment in which the Multicultural Task Force (Rev. Patricia Burns, chair) and the Undocumented Neighbors Task Force (Rev. Brett Maddocks, chair) shared about the great resources their teams have produced for use by local churches. (Click here for resources)

Evening Liturgy

The evening liturgy was led by Dr. Josh Bizzell, pastor at Warner Robins First UMC. Dr. Bizzell extended an invitation to members to participate in the practice of lectio divina, or sacred reading, to hear God speaking personally through the Scriptures. “This evening I invite you to hear the Word of God and to ground yourself in the presence of the Spirit of Christ until we come back together for more faithful work."


The Service for the Ordination with Commissioning

The Conference gathered Monday evening in the sanctuary of St. Luke United Methodist Church for the service for the Ordination of Deacons and Elders with Commissioning. Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, episcopal leader for the South Georgia area, was the preacher for this service. Bishop Bryan’s sermon, “The What, How and Why of Ministry,” was from John 10:1-18.


What does an elder do? An elder tends the flock of God that is in his or her charge. An elder is a shepherd, he said. The role of shepherd is to get to know its flock.


“Get to know your flock,” Bishop Bryan said. “Go where they go. Eat where they eat. Shop where they shop. Make sure they know your voice and you know their voice. Take care of your flock.”


Why serve in ministry? “Because there is that in life which is opposed to God,” Bishop Bryan said. “There a what, there’s a how, and there’s a why. You have it all tonight.”


Bishop Bryan presided over the ordinal rites and was assisted by Mrs. Gloria Morgan, Conference Lay Leader, representing the laity, and Rev. Scott Tucker, Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, observed the ordinal rites. 

The following individuals were commissioned as Probationary Clergy Members:


Probationary Members Commissioned for Ordination as Elders

Robert Michael Bankston

Jonathan William Beckum

David Wesley Donnan

Jeremiah Haynes Martin

Mark J. Miller

Matthew Steven Stout


The following individuals were ordained as Full Conference Members:

Full Conference Member/Elders

Jeremy Scott Alexander

Joshua Otto Gale

Theodore Adriel Goshorn

Kirk Carruth Hagan

Gregory Elliott Harrison


The Board of Ordained Ministry processed with the ordinands as a sign of the covenant community into which these newly ordained persons are entering. Dr. Jonathan Smith represented the Orders of Elder.


Photos from Monday, June 3 

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