Higher Education in Georgia: Colleges, universities, and Wesley Foundations reach students, communities for Christ


At sold out Encounter retreat, students focus on what’s most important

published 12/6/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Two weeks ago, if you were to have walked onto the grounds of Camp Jekyll 4-H Center on Jekyll Island you would have seen more than 200 middle and high school students playing basketball and volleyball. You would have watched as they strolled through the surf, played ladderball on the beach, and sat at picnic tables and talked. There was nary a cell phone in sight. Kids were being kids, playing, laughing, and connecting – with each other, with nature, and with God. It...

First 100 Days

published 12/6/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES When the announcement came that I would be serving South Georgia, people asked me repeatedly what I thought about serving as bishop of two Annual Conferences. My response was, “It is going to be A Great Adventure!” After 91 days of serving both Alabama-West Florida and South Georgia, it truly has been an adventure. And, for the most part, it’s been a great one! When I began this great adventure on September 1, I spent the day helping move my parents from their ...

Leading through relationship

published 12/6/2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON “What I want for Christmas is…” Forget the two front teeth; what most ministry leaders want are more volunteers!!! We ask, we beg, we plead, we cast vision, we explain, we smile, we laugh, we cry, we cajole, and… sometimes we resort to guilt. It never seems to be enough. We always need more.  Volunteers… they make our world go ‘round or come crashing down. What if you decided to stop the crazy cycle of begging and pleading? What if your...

Making a difference in the world

published 12/6/2021
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Picking up where I left off in my last column, I ask, “Where is the church serving in the world?” How about Korea and Hawaii? If you ever find yourself in Hawaii on a Sunday you can worship in a United Methodist Church. Interestingly, the origins of the Methodist movement in Hawaii started in places like Ohio and Korea. The United Methodist Church and her predecessors have been at work in the mission field for more than 136 ...

Register today for Youth Worker Winter Retreat

published 12/2/2021
Registration is now open for the South Georgia Conference's Youth Worker Winter Retreat, Jan. 20-21, 2022, at Little Ocmulgee State Park. This retreat is a time for youth workers to remember their calling, their why. The last 18 months have been the hardest times to navigate in ministry; youth ministry has changed and youth workers need the tools, the relationships and reliance on God (and God alone) to continue. This one-day retreat will give youth workers time together to worship, to reset, to...

Theme announced, hotel blocks open for 2022 Annual Conference Session

published 12/2/2021
The 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, scheduled June 5-8 at The Columbus Convention & Trade Center, will gather in person under the theme of “Great is Your Faithfulness.” The annual gathering will begin Sunday evening, June 5 and conclude mid-day Wednesday, June 8. “Thanks to vaccinations and proper protocols, at this time we feel confident that an in-person gathering can occur next year,” said Conference Secretary Meredyth Earnest. “We continue to monitor the pandemic and are ...

Bishop Graves: 'Today justice has prevailed'

published 11/24/2021
The death of Ahmaud Arbery and the involvement of Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William Bryan is such a tragedy on many levels. Countless numbers of people's lives were changed forever on February 23, 2020. Last Wednesday, I stood with community pastors in Brunswick who prayed for the families of Ahmaud, the McMichaels and Bryan. A prayer for justice and peace rang throughout all those gathered. Today justice has prevailed. A verdict has been reached and all three men involved in...

Brunswick First UMC shares hope, comfort, peace through Angel Ministry

published 11/15/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor There are angels among us, as the song says, and in Glynn County, at least, it’s because Ellen and Alan Huth and Brunswick First United Methodist Church’s new Angel Ministry have gifted nearly 500 small crocheted white angels to individuals and area ministries. Depictions of angels have long afforded Ellen Huth a sense of comfort and peace, and for the past 10 years she and her husband, Alan, have passed the symbols of peace out to others. “It all started about 10 ...

Practice radical generosity on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 30

published 11/15/2021
#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 invite you to select a ministry affiliated with the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. This year, Giving Tuesday is on Nov. 30. Click on a link below to give directly to an organization. Andrew College Epworth By The Sea Georgia Southern Wesley Foundation Good News Television Ministry Magnolia Manor Open Door ...

Teaching is Colquitt UMC member's "God-given gift"

published 11/15/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Jessica Lawhorn’s paternal grandfather was a Methodist pastor. He used his booming voice to preach the Good News from behind pulpits in Alabama and Florida. Lawhorn, a teacher, proclaims the gospel in a different way – by teaching children their letters, how to read, and by loving them unconditionally. Lawhorn, a special education teacher at Seminole County Elementary School in Donalsonville, has been teaching since 2002. She was recently voted the 2021-2022 Seminole ...

Suffering and a Few Insights

published 11/14/2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Have you ever been watching television and the announcer suddenly interrupts and says, “We interrupt this program to bring you an important announcement.” Sure, you have. We’ve all experienced this kind of interruption. Occasionally, the interruption will be good news such as the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But most of the time when we hear that interruption we have to white-knuckle the arms of our chairs. We know it means trouble, storms, disaster, pandemics, and more ...

Thankful for Philip Barrett

published 11/14/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Barrett’s Chapel is the oldest surviving church building built by and for Methodists. It was built in 1780 on land donated by Philip Barrett, a successful politician and newly converted Methodist, and is located north of Frederica, in Kent County, Delaware. With the end of the American Revolution and peace at last in the newly formed country, John Wesley sent Thomas Coke to America in 1784 to find Francis Asbury and discuss the future of American Methodism. ...

Bishop Graves: A call to prayer

published 11/10/2021
As the trial for the three men charged with murder in the February 23, 2020, shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery unfolds in Brunswick, there is concern and a lot of emotion regarding what will take place when a verdict is rendered. So many lives are and will be impacted by the events of the trial and an impending verdict. I am thankful for the pastoral and lay leadership of our Brunswick-area churches who are seeking to help people express themselves in a spirit of peace. I am reminded of Psalm 23 ...

A word you will never hear John Wesley say

published 11/1/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said, “There is one word you will never hear me say!” I was stunned when I read that statement in John Wesley’s writings. I was even more surprised when I discovered the word was “dearest.” He meant that he would never use the word “dearest” in connection with God. He was concerned that many were becoming too familiar when speaking of Almighty God. The word “dearest” was to be used in expressing warm, intimate feelings of affection, especially to a ...

Clergy promote peace during trial

published 11/1/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Amid those protesting outside the Glynn County Courthouse this week – many from as far away as Virginia, Wisconsin, New York, and Canada – walks Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed. Wearing a multicolored sticker that reads, “Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk humbly… together. Glynn,” Rev. Lattany-Reed is one of about 20 area clergy and religious leaders who have formed a diverse ecumenical group, Glynn Clergy for Equity, dedicated to peace and prayer. Whether sitting under the group’s...

Disaster Response Ministry: Upcoming trainings and news

published 11/1/2021
With the end of the 2021 hurricane season in sight, now is a great time to evaluate your readiness, attend an Early Response Team (ERT) training or ERT recertification class, or give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). For those whose ERT credentials have expired due to COVID, UMCOR has waived all credentials from November 2019 through December 2021. In order to move forward in the credentialing process, UMCOR has now deployed an online recertification course to help interested...

Five hopes for the South Georgia Conference

published 11/1/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In a new “Five Faves with Bishop Graves” video message, Bishop David Graves spoke about his hopes for the South Georgia Conference. Watch it here. Read the full transcript of his video message: My five hopes for the South Georgia Conference, first of all, are partnering together for mission and ministry. It’s so important that we partner together and focus on our mission and ministry. And then secondly, continue to live into the future, remembering of our faithful...

Revs. Baxter, Duke-Barton to serve as South Georgia mission liaisons

published 11/1/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Rev. Shannon Baxter and Rev. Garth Duke-Barton have been tapped to serve as South Georgia Conference mission liaisons. Rev. Baxter, minister of Missions Outreach Ministries at Isle of Hope United Methodist Church in Savannah, is also now serving as the South Georgia Conference’s United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Conference coordinator. Rev. Duke-Barton, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Jesup, is also now serving as Conference Secretary for ...

Statesboro First UMC’s revival a “work of God through hundreds of lay people”

published 11/1/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Eight months ago, a group of four Statesboro First United Methodist Church members began to pray for revival. Meeting every Monday evening in an upstairs room at the church – aptly named the Upper Room – they had no plans and no real idea what to do but pray. “We knew we needed revival. The whole world needs a revival,” said Don Marsh, a member of Statesboro First UMC who served on the church’s evangelism committee. “When we started, we talked about having revival in ...

Together, we are making a difference

published 11/1/2021
By Rev. Garth Duke Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries As your new South Georgia Annual Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, one of my tasks is to highlight the great mission work we are doing in the world. It will be my pleasure to share news of some of the people and the places we are working to make a difference for the kingdom of God. In this column I mention UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee on Relief. For more information about this agency, visit umcmission.org/u...

2021 KidzQuest "a gift from God”

published 10/18/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor After pressing pause in 2020, Connectional Ministries put on an epic beach bash this year to welcome back KidzQuest. More than 200 children and adult leaders from across the South Georgia Conference gathered on Jekyll Island to learn more deeply how to worship, study God's Word, and understand what a relationship with Jesus really means. “Seeing all the church vans and buses arrive at Camp Jekyll gave me goosebumps,” said Associate Director of Connectional Ministries ...

Let justice roll down like waters

published 10/18/2021
To the South Georgia Conference, As jury selection and the trial for those accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery begins today, it brings up different emotions and feelings in all of us. The video and story surrounding Ahmaud’s murder captured the nation’s attention. During the trial, the nation and the world will be tuning in. Brunswick, Georgia will be the stage as the trial progresses and an eventual verdict is reached. So many lives have been affected. More will be as the trial unfolds, ...

South Georgia UMW gather virtually for annual meeting

published 10/18/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Around kitchen tables and from living room couches, South Georgia’s United Methodist Women gathered for their annual meeting Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Apart but together via computer screen, they celebrated 151 years of mission and ministry during their first virtual annual meeting. “Women, children, and youth all over the world who depend on us for many services are able to receive the help they need because you have been faithful,” said Carol Banks, South Georgia ...

Statesboro First UMC pastor, children’s minister dance to raise money for local domestic violence shelter

published 10/17/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dr. Scott Hagan is a pro at dancing through tough theological issues, but on Nov. 18 and Nov. 21 he’s going to put his actual dance moves to the test as he struts his stuff on stage in front of hundreds of Statesboro friends and family. Dr. Hagan, senior pastor of Statesboro First United Methodist Church, and his dance partner, Eastyn Durrence, a Georgia Southern University student and former competitive dancer, are one of 10 teams in this year’s Dancing with the ...

The railroad ties that bind

published 10/14/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD In 1834, a survey was made between Savannah and Macon for the purpose of establishing a rail route between the two Georgia cities. In 1836, the Central Railroad was granted a charter and the building of the railroad, starting at Savannah, began at once. It took several years to build, and in 1843, the first passenger car arrived at the temporary depot set up outside of Macon. The original road was 190 miles long and, at the time it was completed, was the ...

Our Connection Matters: Advent Resources

published 10/7/2021
'Tis the season...almost! Sunday, November 28th marks the beginning of Advent, and as we prepare to journey through the season, we hope the resources provided in this edition will help jumpstart your planning and give you fresh ideas. As you begin preparations for the Advent season, consider the following resources for new ideas.  Nurture:  Come Home for Christmas - 2021 worship series from Discipleship Ministries Podcast: Worship Matters Episode 51 – Join the worship team from Discipleship...

Begun by UM Sunday school class, Lawson Neel MedBank serves Thomasville citizens

published 10/4/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Millions of Americans regularly have to choose between basic necessities and their medications: buy food or heart medication? Pay the rent or purchase insulin? A recent Gallup poll shows that nearly 18 million Americans can’t afford at least one prescription medication in a three-month span.  Like Eliquis, a widely prescribed medication that helps lower the risk of stroke and blood clots and costs about $600 a month. Or Ozempic, a diabetes medication that costs nearly ...

Connecting, communicating, collaborating are focus of Conference, district lay leaders

published 10/4/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Communication and connection. That’s the focus for J. Knapp, who just completed his first year as the South Georgia Conference’s lay leader. Knapp’s goal – to train and develop district lay leaders who, in turn, will train local church lay leaders – will be realized through increased communication and better connection with district and church leaders, he said. “The role of the lay leader in the local church is to help strengthen and develop the local laity,” he ...

Encounter Youth Retreat moved to Jekyll Island, set for Nov. 19-21

published 10/4/2021
Encounter, the annual youth retreat sponsored by South Georgia's Connectional Ministries, is set for November 19-21 at Camp Jekyll 4-H Center on Jekyll Island. Designed for 6th - 12th grade students, Encounter will offer passionate worship, relevant Bible study, and a hope-filled time away in community with other teens.  Online registration is available through November 10. Churches will register as a group. The cost for this event is $150 per person which includes programming, insurance, food,...

Go beyond what is asked of you

published 10/4/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In a video message to the South Georgia Conference, Bishop David Graves spoke about the On Boarding process, how it has helped jump start his time in South Georgia, and how, even during these challenging times, South Georgia United Methodists can be witnesses for Christ each day. Watch it here.  Read the full transcript of his video message: Well, it’s just wonderful to be with the wonderful people of the South Georgia Conference. And I’m starting my second month ...

Kate Tyler joins episcopal office staff as executive administrative assistant

published 10/4/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Upon Bobbi Googe’s retirement Oct. 8, Kate Tyler will join the South Georgia Conference’s episcopal office staff as executive administrative assistant.  Tyler succeeds Googe, who, after three years serving in the episcopal office, will begin a new role as a full-time grandmother.  Tyler currently serves as administrative assistant to both Conference Pastoral Counselor Rev. Deborah Wight-Knight and Assistant to the Bishop for Ministerial Services Dr. Jay Harris.  ...

Disagreeing with John Wesley

published 10/3/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON We must remember that John Wesley lived a long time ago and some of his ideas seem strange to modern ears. I find John’s idea about the cause and cure of earthquakes especially disturbing. In his sermon on this topic, he states that God causes earthquakes in order to punish sinful mankind for our sins. I don’t believe that. In this sermon he describes in horrifying detail three powerful earthquakes in Sicily (1692, where 54 cities were destroyed), Jamaica (June ...

Tips for including church members in your service

published 10/3/2021
Laity Sunday is Oct. 17, 2021 By Darby Jones, United Methodist Communications  The word laity is from the Greek word, laos, meaning “people of God.” It is used to describe members of a congregation or parish who are not a part of the clergy. By letting laity plan services and offer ideas for worship, the pastor and worship team members can get a little respite, and participating members may find a deeper connection within the church. Laity Sunday is a specific day to include church members in...

South Georgia ERTs needed in Louisiana

published 9/24/2021
In response to the devastation left by Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas, the Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church is now extending the invitation to South Georgia Conference early response teams (ERTs). This is a great opportunity to use your training! More information

Conference’s assistant disaster response coordinator lives faith through service

published 9/20/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Whether pressure washing sidewalks at Dooley Campground, setting up a collection and distribution warehouse after a catastrophic hurricane, or clearing limbs after a tornado, Bob Grieco is a helper. It’s just who he is, how he’s wired. “I want to help, so that’s what I do. I’m pretty good at organizing things and I feel like I’m helping people,” said Grieco, who serves as South Georgia’s assistant disaster response coordinator. That’s why Grieco, an Air Force and ...

New book by Bishop Looney shares humor, inspirational stories from his life and ministry

published 9/20/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Those who know Bishop Richard Looney know he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he is serious about Jesus. Well-known for his humor, Bishop Looney, who served the South Georgia Conference from 1998 until his retirement in 2000, has written a book of “holy hilarity” and inspirational stories. “The purpose is to bring a little joy in the midst of all this darkness we’re going through these days,” he said. “I’ve always thought a little humor is helpful.” All proceeds ...

“Here Endeth the First Lesson”

published 9/17/2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Cannon Dick Sheppard was the minister at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in the heart of London right after World War l. It is reported that when he died, quite suddenly, one of the morning newspapers printed a large photograph of his pulpit. There it was, the same as ever, but empty. However, the Bible on the pulpit was still open with a ray of light across it. Beneath the picture were these words: “Here endeth the first lesson.” The implication here, and rightly so, is that there ...

Universal Truths

published 9/16/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Primarily, Christian love is gentleness. In other words, it is self-restraint. It is the ability and the power to check or to hold under mastery those natural tendencies of self-assertion which come boiling up out of our hearts. It is keeping pride and fretfulness and malice down. It is fairness of judgement. It is a kindly allowance for the mistakes of the other man. It is consideration for the feelings of people. That is love. Bishop Arthur J. Moore The ...

Why the vision statement doesn’t get a rise

published 9/16/2021
By Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services Sometime in the early ‘90s I began to learn about how critical it was for a church to have a vision statement. Somewhere in the intersection of business, academia, and the practical administration of the church the idea of a compelling mission or vision statement surfaced in the minds of pastors and other church leaders. Our annual conference got behind the idea, and soon we were merrily discussing the difference between a mission ...

Reclaiming our childlikeness

published 9/6/2021
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN When was the last time you splashed in a puddle? How about the last time you danced in the grocery aisle when your favorite song came on? When was the last time you laughed to the point of tears at something ridiculously silly?  If you’re scratching your head to answer these questions, you might be too “adultish.” I know what you’re thinking: “Ben, you’re just making words up now.” Yes, I am. But hang with me. Adultish is a term I’ve found that refers to our ...

A great adventure

published 9/3/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In an introductory greeting to the South Georgia Conference, Bishop David Graves said he looks forward to serving with the clergy and laity of the conference. “Thank you for allowing us to come and be a part of you. We look forward to our adventure together; it should be a great adventure.” Watch his video greeting here.

Brunswick First UMC team focuses on creation care, conservation

published 9/3/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Wednesday Night Suppers are nearly as Methodist as the itineracy. But in many United Methodist churches, when the food comes out, so do piles of plastic and Styrofoam. Foam plates, plastic bowls, and foam cups. And it all ends up in the trashcan and then in a landfill. Looking around her church’s Wednesday Night Supper, Kathryn Schiliro wanted to do better. “I noticed that we were using a lot of Styrofoam. Everybody likes coffee and we use a lot of Styrofoam cups,” ...

South Georgia UMW stays connected virtually

published 9/3/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor As women of deep faith who put their beliefs and love into action on behalf of others, the South Georgia Conference’s United Methodist Women weren’t going to let a global pandemic or a capsized cargo ship off the coast of St. Simons Island thwart their mission, fellowship, and spiritual growth efforts. But after nearly a year of cancelled meetings, mission studies, and retreats, they knew they had to pivot and think differently about how to gather. And now, meeting ...

Bishop’s Initiative for Children and Poverty grant deadline is Oct. 15

published 9/2/2021
The South Georgia Conference, through the Office of Connectional Ministries and the Conference Outreach Team, is offering grants of up to $2,000 to local churches for ministries focused on children and poverty. The application deadline is October 15, 2021. Projects must be completed between December 2021 and July 2022. Ministries or projects may be ongoing or new. “It is exciting to think about funding these projects which can have such a helpful impact,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of ...

BOTH/AND webinar is next week!

published 9/2/2021
After more than a year and a half of hybrid worship, many churches feel a mix of exhilaration and exhaustion when thinking about continuing to offer both online and in-person options for worship. Now more than ever, both are needed to reach people for Christ, church leaders say. Join Connectional Ministries and Jason Moore for a follow up to last year’s popular BOTH/AND webinar. BOTH/AND: To Be Continued will focus on why hybrid worship should carry on, how to continue to iterate, and will ...

Wesley gives advice on dealing with the public

published 9/2/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In his sermon, “Visiting the Sick,” John Wesley gives some good advice on dealing with the public. He says that when preparing to go visit the sick we should first say our prayers and ask God to cleanse us from any pride and give us a spirit of meekness and gentleness, of patience and longsuffering, that we may never be angry or discouraged at whatever treatment, rough or smooth, kind or unkind, we may meet with. He reminds us not to be surprised at their ...

Q & A with Bishop David Graves

published 9/1/2021
Episcopal leader of the South Georgia Area As Bishop Graves began his service as the new episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference in 2021, the Advocate asked him a series of questions to get to know him and his guiding principles. ADVOCATE: Welcome to South Georgia, Bishop Graves! We’ve watched you lead and serve our neighbors in the Alabama-West Florida Conference for the past five years. What are your plans and goals as you begin this new, unique season?  BISHOP GRAVES: I plan to ...

Hurricane Ida Update: Wait, Pray, Give, and Prepare

published 8/30/2021
We watched and prayed as the powerful Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday. Our best response today is to pray, wait, actively communicate, and prepare. We'll have more news later from this developing situation as we coordinate with UMCOR & partners in the affected areas to add action to our prayers. Early Response Teams As always, don’t self deploy to a disaster area. Our agreement with our UMC conferences & UMCOR is to wait until we are invited as the locals coordinate their disaster response. ...

Prayer and Giving: UMCOR supports Afghans in need

published 8/26/2021
In collaboration with long-standing partners, UMCOR is providing humanitarian relief and is prepared to assist with refugee resettlement.  For more than 40 years Afghanistan has been wracked by wars, civil strife, invasion and massive amounts of arms shipped in from outside forces. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with high infant and maternal mortality rates, and millions of Afghans have been displaced as refugees over these many years. Today the country is again at a point of ...

Earthquake in Haiti: UMCOR’s response and how you can help

published 8/24/2021
On Saturday, August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake produced widespread destruction in the western region of Haiti. As of August 20, more than 2,200 are dead and 12,000 injured, while hundreds more are still missing. According to Haitian Civil Protection, more than 37,300 homes have been destroyed and 46,000 have sustained damages, leaving thousands homeless.  Several hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, while those still operating are completely overwhelmed, lacking sufficient ...

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3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210

PO Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209

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