News

A father’s love: father and son journey together to the Holy Land

published 2/17/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor As Rev. Jonathan Fuller walked along rough and craggy terrain while following Jesus’ footsteps during a recent Holy Land pilgrimage, one person was always a step behind, ever-watchful and mindful. His father, Robert Fuller. A few weeks ago, the father and son had the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land together with a group of about 90 South Georgia United Methodists. The pilgrims explored Biblical sites such as the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, ...



Conference to unite in prayer, fasting

published 2/17/2020
 When people pray, God listens. And John and Charles Wesley believed “that God does nothing apart from believing prayer.” In a focused effort to prepare for the 2020 General Conference session, the South Georgia Conference is launching a Conference-wide prayer and fasting initiative, “Together We Pray.” It will begin the day after Easter and run through the General Conference session. The initiative will include three components: local church prayer resources, eight regional prayer ...



Macon Conference offices moving this week

published 2/17/2020
This week, the Conference offices in Macon will move to a new, shared home. They will share space at 3040 Riverside Drive, about a mile and a half from the current Episcopal office. “We’re pleased to have the Episcopal office, Ministerial Services office, Administrative Services office, the Director of Connectional Ministries, and Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s South Georgia office all in one place,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services, who has shepherded this ...

2020 appointment-making season begins in the South Georgia Conference

published 2/16/2020
It’s appointment-making season in The United Methodist Church, and this week, Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet are meeting to pray, worship, and begin the decision-making process of appointments. The 2020-2021 appointment-making schedule is available here. “I ask for your prayers for our Cabinet, for every local church, and for every pastor, for we all want to be alive together in ministry and we want the appointment-making process to be a part of that which looks for liveliness and ...



Delegation affirms Protocol

published 2/10/2020
The South Georgia Annual Conference General and Jurisdictional Delegation has released a statement unanimously affirming the work done on the “Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation.” It also recommended the Protocol be the first legislative item considered by General Conference 2020. “The South Georgia Annual Conference General and Jurisdictional Delegation supports the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation as a way to move forward into new expressions of ...



Protocol Legislation Released

published 2/7/2020
A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world has collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved. The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved on December 17, 2019 and shared on January 3, 2020. Legislation to implement the Protocol statement has now been released and...



Bishop Bryan, delegation discuss Protocol, future

published 2/3/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor During a Winter Conference panel discussion, Bishop Bryan and several members of South Georgia’s 2020 General Conference delegation shared their thoughts about the recently released Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation, the possible future of the South Georgia Conference, and General Conference 2020. Held Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Nalls Auditorium at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, much of the dialogue focused on the Protocol. “The Protocol is a ...



South Georgia UMs continue to give despite denominational discord

published 2/3/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor In a year of heightened uncertainty and denominational discord, South Georgia United Methodists continued to faithfully give. While total apportionment giving is down slightly from 2018, giving to conference and district askings was close to 2018 levels. General church apportionment giving was down significantly compared to 2018 levels. Overall apportionment payments for 2019 were at 87 percent, compared to 89.5 percent in 2018. The Northeast and Southwest Districts ...



5 reasons people are more important than the product

published 2/2/2020
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

published 2/2/2020
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 ...

Lean in

published 2/2/2020
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Traveling 6,465 miles together really gives you an opportunity to get to know your companions. That is the privilege I had in leading the recent Holy Land pilgrimage with 90 South Georgia laity and clergy. On this journey to the heart of our faith we never felt like tourists; we referred to ourselves as pilgrims. We began each day by singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And at each place we visited we read scripture...

SEJ heads of delegations affirm Protocol

published 2/2/2020
The clergy and lay heads of Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) General Conference delegations released a statement last week affirming the work done on the “Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation.” They also recommended the Protocol be among the first legislative items considered by General Conference 2020. Heads of delegations from 14 of the 15 conferences of the SEJ signed onto the statement, with 26 lay and clergy heads of delegations supporting and signing it. “One of the ...



Bishop Bryan: Reflections at the Wesley Monument at Fort Pulaski

published 1/27/2020
On Feb. 6, 1736, after sailing four months to get from England to America, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, General Oglethorpe, and others landed on Cockspur Island off the coast of Savannah. A monument marks the location. “One of the things we learn historically is that none of what Wesley really thought was going happen actually happened,” Bishop Bryan said in a video from Fort Pulaski, erected on the site where Wesley and the others landed. “In his diary, on the way back to England, Wesley ...



Conference Nominations Committee looking for leaders

published 1/22/2020
The South Georgia Annual Conference Committee on Nominations has begun a process to identify laity and clergy interested in serving on Conference and District boards, committees, and teams for the 2021-2024 quadrennium.  Between now and January 29, you are invited to indicate your willingness to serve or to encourage possible leaders to complete the online Interest Form. The Conference Nominations Committee is looking for resourceful and committed leaders who have vision, leadership skills, ...



Fraud Alert: Spoofing emails being sent from fake address

published 1/21/2020
The conference office has been notified of a spoofing email making the rounds to various South Georgia United Methodists appearing as a message from Bishop Bryan. We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure about the email address.  We ask that you submit/flag the email to your provider as spam. Please do not forward the email to anyone.  Remember now and in the future that the conference sends emails from official conference ...



GSW Wesley Foundation sees rapid growth, strong leadership

published 1/20/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor For Georgia Southwestern State University junior Jessica Montanye, the Wesley Foundation is a home away from home. Without the foundation of the campus ministry and the support she finds there, she probably wouldn’t be attending church today, she said. “If The Wes wasn’t there …. I would have probably left the church.” This fall, the campus ministry welcomed 85 students at its kickoff event and is averaging more than 60 students at its recently restored Tuesday night...



Vineville UMC helps strengthen community, build neighbor’s home

published 1/20/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor Shequita Manson’s new home is painted blue, in honor and memory of her 12-year-old daughter, Nophstaria “Star” Henley, who died May 25, 2018, of sickle-cell disease. After her daughter’s death, Manson and her older daughter moved several times, bouncing from rental to rental, unable to find their “happy place.” But today, thanks in large part to Vineville United Methodist Church, they are finally home and happy. Partnering with the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity and ...



Common goals unite us

published 1/19/2020
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-1, NIV) Happy New Year! Did you make a resolution? Multiple resolutions? Did your congregation, church, Sunday school class, Bible study group, or small group make any resolutions? A resolution is a promise you ...

An Update on the Leadership Forum Task Force Meeting - Writing our own story in 2020

published 1/15/2020
A Word from Bishop Bryan: Since January 3 you may have seen headlines announcing that a decision has been reached to split The United Methodist Church. As most have figured out by now, those headlines were wrong and misleading. What’s the truth? The top legislative body of The United Methodist Church, the General Conference, meets every four years. The next session of General Conference is May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN. This is the only body that can speak officially for The United ...



Fraud Alert: Spoofing emails being sent from fake address

published 1/8/2020
The conference office has been notified of a spoofing email making the rounds to various South Georgia United Methodists appearing as a message from Bishop Bryan. We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure about the email address.  We ask that you submit/flag the email to your provider as spam. Please do not forward the email to anyone.  Remember now and in the future that the conference sends emails from official conference ...



John Wesley and the poor

published 1/6/2020
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 – ...

Let’s write our own story in 2020

published 1/6/2020
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN The old year ends and the new year begins during the 12 days of Christmas (from Christmas Day to Epiphany Day on January 6). This seems particularly fitting since the coming of Jesus marks the culmination of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Standing on the shoulders of our Hebrew heritage, we hold the Christ Child and, like Mary and Joseph, move forward into a new future. Certainly, we wonder about what this new year will hold for us. As...

South Georgia UMs share Christmas with Navajo Nation

published 1/6/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor Several South Georgia United Methodists spread some early Christmas cheer last month when they took more than 2,000 shoeboxes packed full of gifts to the Navajo Nation. Two trailers, loaded full of filled Christmas presents, left South Georgia Dec. 11. After crossing the country, the group arrived in northeastern Arizona ready to serve and play Santa. While only seven people actually made the trip, thousands of South Georgia United Methodists contributed to the ...



Thank you, South Georgia United Methodists!

published 1/6/2020
As we begin a new year and a new decade, we want to give thanks to you, the faithful members of our local churches, for partnering with us to do the ministry we’ve been called to do. Because of your prayers, support, and gifts, we are able to minister to people all across South Georgia - and beyond - in the name of Jesus Christ.   Thank you!  A note from Bishop Bryan I am so very grateful for the privilege of serving with you in the South Georgia Conference. The power and hope of the ...



Two new resolutions to add to your 2020

published 1/6/2020
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, ...

South Georgia United Methodists respond to Dec. 17 storms

published 12/19/2019
Severe weather struck South Georgia Tuesday night, damaging homes, downing power lines, and destroying trees. Tornadoes were confirmed in Early, Irwin, and Miller Counties. While officials are still assessing damages, the South Georgia Conference’s Disaster Response Team is on the ground, ready to help where needed. “Tuesday's tornadoes were devastating,” said Disaster Response coordinator Luis Morales. “Damage like this is hard any time of the year, but just days before Christmas makes it so ...



Advent candles spark church fire

published 12/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Baxley First United Methodist Church was damaged by fire Sunday afternoon, Dec. 15. No injuries were reported. Church leaders say the fire was an accident that started in the pulpit area where candles on an advent wreath were left burning unattended. “We’re brokenhearted, but we know that buildings can be replaced,” said Rev. Steve Meguiar, pastor of Baxley First UMC. “We’re very blessed that it was reported as early as it was.” A passer-by who saw smoke coming from ...



Former Santa still spreading message of love, joy, hope

published 12/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor For 18 Christmas seasons, from 1975 until 1993, Rev. Eric Sizemore donned a red suit, a beard, and a stocking cap. And while the 160ish-pound, dark-haired, 36-year-old preacher didn’t then look much like the jolly, old elf, he had the same infectious grin and hope-filled spirit. On Sunday mornings – then and now – Rev. Sizemore preaches a message of love, hope, and goodwill to all. But for those 18 holiday seasons, on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons ...



Mary’s faith

published 12/16/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you….” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-28, 38, NIV) Mary is thought ...

Tutoring program helps connect church to community

published 12/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Whether they’re there for the food, the fun computer games, or the free tutoring, the end result is the same: they know ConneXion Church cares. Every Wednesday afternoon at 3:45, a dozen children from Savannah’s Juliette Low Elementary School pile into a church van and make the short trek to ConneXion Church. They spend a few minutes in the church’s fellowship hall, chatting, playing, and eating snacks. Then the group heads to the education/children’s wing, divides ...



Historic downtown Savannah church looks to renovate, rebuild for the future

published 12/2/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor The church is not the building, but the people. But the building is a home, a place of identity, and a refuge in times of crisis and need. And now, after 92 years, Asbury United Methodist Church’s building needs help. Named last month to the Georgia Trust’s 2020 “Places in Peril” list, the historic downtown congregation hopes the exposure will help raise awareness of its plight so they can raise funds for the building’s restoration. The only African American United ...



John Wesley’s house in Savannah

published 12/1/2019
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

published 12/1/2019
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 ...

The power of Christmas

published 12/1/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN As we enter Advent and journey toward Christmas, Sherrill and I want to express our gratitude for the privilege of being Alive Together in Christ with you in South Georgia. We wish you a very meaningful holiday season. I also want to remind us that more people come to church during the Advent and Christmas seasons than any other time of the year. This is a golden opportunity to open our doors, our hearts, and our ministries to our entire community. This year I ...

A Thanksgiving message from Bishop Bryan: You Make My Day!

published 11/25/2019
Dear South Georgia Conference family, Each year, the approach of Thanksgiving renews my sense of gratitude that one of my three sisters married a farmer. The rest of us, along with our extended families, gather at the farm on Thanksgiving Day. It’s quite a scene as we are surrounded by fields, farm equipment, horses, cattle, chickens, and several pet dogs. There are sounds of all kinds. And inside the farmhouse there are the aromas of turkey, dressing, gravy, vegetables, casseroles, and various...



South Georgia pastors attend multiculturalism conference

published 11/25/2019
Connectional Ministries continues to receive training to remain relevant in the ministry of multiculturalism. Rev. Earnestine Campbell, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries, and Rev. Antonie Walker, senior pastor at Riverside UMC who is serving in a cross-racial/cultural appointment, recently attended the In Living Culture Conference held at Fellowship UMC in Trophy Club, Texas. Led by Rev. Edlen Cowley, the conference focused on creating and releasing "active" cultures for "effective" ...

A season of giving thanks

published 11/18/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP​ God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8, NLT) The season of Thanksgiving is here. As we pause our preparations for Christmas to consider giving thanks, let us include giving thanks to God for all that he has given us. My favorite passage of scripture for Thanksgiving is Psalm 145. This psalm is a list of many of the reasons we have to give thanks to God. Some of the reasons the ...

Bishop Bryan and Task Force give General Conference update

published 11/18/2019
During the 2019 Annual Conference session, Bishop Bryan shared that the Leadership Forum Task Force would continue to meet throughout this year to provide updates to the Conference concerning the conversations going on in The United Methodist Church as preparations are made for General Conference 2020 in May.  One possibility mentioned was a conference-wide gathering in November. To be good stewards of everyone’s time, Bishop Bryan and the Task Force have decided to release their update report ...

Donalsonville group repairs roofs, restores hope

published 11/18/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor When Hurricane Michael tore through southwest Georgia last year, high winds and falling trees destroyed homes and damaged roofs. More than a year later, blue tarps still dot the landscape, covering hundreds of homes still in need of repair. Lisa Minto’s two roofs were among those hit. Her restaurant, Mintos Sports Bar & Grill, which she and her husband had just opened three months prior, lost its roof. The roof on her home was damaged and water leaked in every time it...



Kindness Considered

published 11/18/2019
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 ...

Practice radical generosity on #GivingTuesday, Dec. 3

published 11/18/2019
#GivingTuesday harnesses the generosity of millions of people around the world to support the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. We believe the movement will become the first global day of giving and a year-round platform for strengthening civil society.  We invite you to select an organized affiliated with the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. This year, Giving Tuesday is on December 3. Click on a link below to give directly to an organization....



Student athlete lives faith on and off the court

published 11/18/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor If you look closely at Madie Bunge’s wrist you’ll likely see “P4:13.” A reminder that she can do all things through Christ, who strengthens her, Bunge, a senior defensive specialist on the College of Coastal Georgia’s Mariners volleyball team, writes the verse on the inside of her wrist before each volleyball game. It’s just one of the ways Bunge lives out her faith when she’s on the volleyball court. She also prays for her teammates; invites them to worship ...



Boreholes bring ‘sigh of relief’ in Uganda

published 11/4/2019
By Vivian Agaba Accessing clean water in some parts of Uganda is difficult, especially for girls and women who are usually responsible for walking long distances to fetch water, often from unsafe sources. The addition of five boreholes near United Methodist churches in the Uganda-South Sudan Conference will alleviate that problem for some. Members of Baxley First United Methodist Church in Baxley, Georgia, First United Methodist Church in Vidalia, Georgia, and Lynn Haven United Methodist ...

Forest Hills UMC’s Sanctuary Respite Ministry offers hope to those living with memory loss diagnosis

published 11/4/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dianne Roberts had prayed the same prayer for nearly 10 years. “Church, do something.” Her husband of 52 years, Marvin, suffers from corticobasal degeneration, a progressive neurological disorder and cognitive illness similar to Alzheimer’s. A former certified public accountant, Marvin is no longer able to speak, and Roberts, a teacher, retired to care for him. “He is able to do a lot of things, but he does need some help,” she said. “I really prayed for a long time ...



Stand at the Wesley monument

published 11/4/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land I found myself seated beside a Jewish rabbi from Philadelphia. When he asked about my group’s itinerary, I explained that when we landed in Tel Aviv we would board a bus and head to Galilee. After several days we would travel south to Jericho, the Dead Sea, and Qumran. Then we would end with several more days exploring Jerusalem. The rabbi replied “That’s not how we do it.” He continued, “I work with Jewish college students who ...

The number one reason Methodism doesn’t grow

published 11/4/2019
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 ...

UMW gather, celebrate 150 years of missions, ministry

published 11/4/2019
By Kelly Roberson, Director of Communications It was a rainy day outside but inside was a beautiful day of celebration as the South Georgia Conference United Methodist Women gathered for their annual meeting Oct. 19, 2019, at Open Door Community House in Columbus, Ga. Carol Banks, South Georgia United Methodist Women president, expressed her appreciation for the year of blessings in United Methodist Women as they celebrated their 150-year milestone as a mission organization focused on missions...



2019 Advent Resources

published 10/25/2019
Advent/Christmas We hope the resources provided in this edition will help jumpstart your planning and give you new ideas for this season.   _________________________________________ N  U  R  T  U  R  E Take the Online Advent Quiz: (Download), print and share the Advent Quiz with your church, family & friends!  Chuck Knows Church: The Advent Wreath (Video 3 minutes) New Ways to Celebrate Advent With Kids Christmas Gifts That Won't Break: A Children's Advent Study by James W. Moore. ...

United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union Celebrates International Credit Union Day® by Giving Back to Communities and Members

published 10/17/2019
On October 17, 2019, United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union will join with 56,000 credit unions around the world in celebration of the 71st International Credit Union (ICU) Day®. ICU Day is a time to recognize the global credit union movement's history and promote its achievements. This year’s theme, “Local Service. Global Reach.” speaks to how each credit union serves a local community—and it is because of that local service in communities across the world that the global credit ...

Centenary UMC partners with local group to combat “period poverty”

published 10/14/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor When was the last time you had to choose between paying for a meal or a menstrual pad? For many women, the choice is all too real. Called “period poverty,” it’s the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints, and it affects women and girls around the world. It’s a problem that affects more than those who are financially strapped or experiencing homelessness, though. According to a recent survey, nearly one in five American girls have either left ...



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