Leading SGAUMC Forward: A Bright Future with Hope


The Methodist Home for Children and Youth: Breanna & Noah tell their stories

published 11/14/2022
By the staff of The Methodist Home as published in the Gateway magazine Founded in 1872, The Methodist Home provides care for children and families in need across South Georgia including a continuum of residential care (Children’s Homes), community foster homes, specialized treatment programs and counseling services to better serve our community. The Methodist Home is a faith-based organization working to better equip at-risk youth and families for the future. Their mission is to be a model ...

Look back, give thanks, move forward

published 11/13/2022
By Laura Buchanan, United Methodist Communications Remember God’s past provisions, let go of expectations, and find new ways God is working today     Neighboring has changed. Technology has transformed our daily living. Relationship building must overcome screen time. As societal norms shift, each generation has a moment of realization: “Things just aren’t what they used to be.” “It’s funny how we glorify things in the past and we tend to dread things in the future, the unknown,” says Anne ...

United Methodists to Meet in Charlotte for Worldwide Conference

published 11/13/2022
The Commission on the General Conference announced that the 2024 United Methodist General Conference will be held April 23 – May 3, 2024, at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.  “The Commission selected Charlotte as the site that best met our varied needs. We believe that delegates and attendees will be pleased with all the city has to offer,” said Kim Simpson, Chair of the Commission on the General Conference. “Charlotte is a part of the Western North Carolina Annual ...

Bishop David Graves assigned to South Georgia

published 11/4/2022
Bishop David Graves has been assigned to the South Georgia Annual Conference and will serve as the Episcopal leader for the next two years. He will also continue giving oversight to the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. This announcement came on the final day of the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference held Nov. 2-4 at Lake Junaluska, NC.  Bishop Graves was elected bishop in July 2016 by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. He was assigned to the Alabama-West Florida ...

SEJ Conference meets Nov. 2-4

published 11/1/2022
All updates: www.sgaumc.org/sej Meeting under the theme “This I Know,” the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference began November 1 with a session offered by the Committee on Episcopacy for delegates to get better acquainted with persons who have been nominated for the episcopacy.   The Conference officially opened with worship at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 2.  The five jurisdictional conferences of The United Methodist Church typically meet once every four years. However, the ...

‘Hands on Homerville’ brightens up a community

published 10/31/2022
By Allison Lindsey, Advocate contributor   A drive through rural South Georgia where US Highways 441 and 84 intersect brings you to the heart of Homerville, Ga. in Clinch County. With a population of 2500, this town boasts of its hospitality, quality of living, and spirit of community expressed in their slogan, “There’s No Place Like Homerville.”    The residents take great pride in their town. This pride and the generosity of the people are now showcased through an event called “Hands on ...

Bishop Graves calls for special Annual Conference Session

published 10/28/2022
Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Annual Conference, in accordance with ¶603.5 of the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline, calls for a special session of the annual conference on Sunday, May 21, 2023. The meeting will begin at 4 pm using the Zoom Webinar platform in conjunction with an online voting system. The sole purpose of the special called session of the Annual Conference* is to complete the process of ratifying the current requests for disaffiliation of ...

South Georgia Conference Seeks Chief Financial Officer

published 10/25/2022
The South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church is currently seeking a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). This role is responsible for all financial responsibilities in accordance with the appropriate sections of the Book of Discipline of The UMC.  The South Georgia Conference includes the geographical area of South Georgia with Columbus, Macon, and Waynesboro as the Northern boundary. In addition to overseeing the financial and benefit functions of the Conference, the CFO also supports...

Jurisdictional Conference to elect bishops Nov. 2-4

published 10/18/2022
The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be held November 2-4, 2022, at Lake Junaluska Conference Center in North Carolina.  The primary business of the session will be the election and assignment of bishops. There are nine nominees for bishop. Originally set for July 15-17, 2020, the SEJ Conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council of Bishops has called for Jurisdictional Conferences across the U.S. to meet November 2-4, 2022.  The South Georgia Conference ...

Pastor steps out in faith and discovers the promise of Ephesians 3:20

published 10/16/2022
By Allison Lindsey, Advocate contributor   Early each morning you will find Nick Pumfrey live on social media sharing God’s word, offering a word of encouragement, and issuing a challenge for the day. Until recently, as soon as he stopped the live feed he would hop in his car for his morning commute to his full-time job at Gulfstream in Savannah, Georgia.   As a bi-vocational pastor, Pumfrey enjoyed a solid career path in which, professionally, he worked his entire life to fulfill and had ...

Wesley Glen is in the business of spreading joy

published 10/16/2022
A Word from Cameron Bishop, CEO, Wesley Glen Ministries   I have had the privilege of traveling to various churches and community groups over the past month to share about “what’s happening” at Wesley Glen Ministries. Aside from meeting some incredible people during my travels, I have been amazed to learn just how many individuals have a personal connection to someone with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Although the stories vary in terms of the who, what, when, and where, one...

Georgia UM Foundation Offers Highest Certificate Rates in the Last 10 Years

published 10/15/2022
Churches, nonprofits, individuals, and families have an opportunity to elevate and advance the mission and ministry of the Methodist Church across Georgia through investments in the Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Certificate Program. Loan demand is growing as churches renovate and expand existing facilities and as Methodist churches work with the Foundation to refinance with favorable terms. When you purchase 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-year fixed-rate certificates, you earn higher returns than ...

Bishop Graves issues a call to "pause" during Advent season

published 10/5/2022
Dear Friends of the South Georgia Conference,   What a joy it has been to visit with over 2,000 laity and clergy across the South Georgia Conference during the month of September. The attendance at these regional gatherings surpassed my expectations, and it was good to be in connection and conversation with the people of South Georgia. Thank you to those who attended as we sought to bring clarity to the issues facing our denomination and annual conference.    A Time to Pause During Advent It ...

Hurricane Ian Update

published 10/3/2022
On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast. Storm surges and Category 4 winds caused significant flooding and damage, devastating the southwest area of the state and beyond. Immediately, UMCOR sent supplies to Florida and initial solidarity grants were issued to both the Florida and South Carolina Annual Conferences to address immediate needs. UMCOR and its local partners have been hard at work preparing the storm response and recovery. How to Help Give ...

New Wesley at Frederica UMC ministries aim to help the community

published 10/3/2022
By Taylor Cooper, The Brunswick News   Two new ministries of Wesley United Methodist Church on St. Simons Island aim to help different people with different issues.   Wesley Arbor gives people with dementia a chance to have some fun while giving their caretakers a break, with the Norma Lucas Academy of Fine Arts at Wesley offering a chance for people with special learning needs and tuition assistance to learn to play a wide array of instruments.   Beth King, the director of Wesley Arbor, started...

Cooks Union UMC offers meals to nourish and bring hope

published 10/2/2022
By Kara Witherow, Advocate Contributor   Food sustains, nourishes, gives life.    It can also connect, bring hope, and convey love.    Since last September, that’s what Cooks Union United Methodist Church, through its Meals of Love ministry, has delivered to about 20 people each week.    Every Wednesday, Rev. Jean Watson, pastor of Cooks Union UMC in Colquitt, Ga., and church member Kaye B. Cook dedicate their entire day to cooking, baking, packing, and delivering meals. Both women enjoy cooking...

Disaster Response Update: Hurricane Ian

published 9/26/2022
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida Wednesday, September 28 as a Category 4 storm. The South Georgia Conference is in contact with the Florida and South Carolina Conferences as the storm tracks north. We are also still monitoring any effects to our coastline on the eastern part of our conference. Our best response today is to wait, pray, and give.  If you have storm-related damage in your community that requires church response, please contact Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Luis ...

Disaster response team travels to Kentucky to help rebuild veteran’s home

published 9/18/2022
By Kelly Roberson, Director of Conference Ministries/Communications  When disaster strikes, United Methodists have a long legacy of being present to help their neighbors and communities from day one until the very last nail is put in place. At the core of this legacy is the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.   In December 2021, after a massive high-end EF4 tornado tore directly through the center of Mayfield, Kentucky, members of Mayfield First United Methodist Church reached ...

Dr. Derek McAleer to retire, new Administrative Services director sought

published 9/18/2022
By Kelly Roberson, Director of Conference Ministries/Communications  Overseeing the finances of an entire United Methodist Annual Conference is a high calling.   The Rev. Dr. Derek McAleer has faithfully lived out this calling as the Director of Administrative Services/Treasurer for the South Georgia Conference, where the amount of information and responsibility is constantly growing and the load of financial, legal, and administrative decision making is a large task.    This week, after 8 ...

Safe Sanctuaries: putting fresh eyes on your local church policy

published 9/18/2022
By Allison Lindsey, Nurture Team Chair   During the 2022 Annual Conference Session, conference members approved the following two items related to Safe Sanctuaries:  1.     Every local church will revisit and update (as necessary) their Safe Sanctuaries policy by Dec. 31, 2023 2.     Changes to the conference Safe Sanctuaries Policy were made to reflect updated practices   As you know, Safe Sanctuaries is the name commonly given by local United Methodist Annual Conferences and local churches to...

Where Does the Dollar Go?

published 9/18/2022
By Dr. Derek McAleer, Conference Director of Administrative Services/Conference Treasurer   One of the questions I heard as a pastor and often get in my role as Conference Treasurer is: “Where does the money I give to my local church go?”   People are interested in how much stays in the local church and how much goes beyond the local church.  People also want to know what the funds sent beyond the local church go towards.  If you gave a dollar to your local United Methodist Church in South ...

Isaac and Paty Salgado find ‘esperanza’ on mission trip to the DR

published 9/5/2022
By Allison Lindsey, Advocate Contributor   When Rev. Isaac and Mrs. Paty Salgado boarded the plane for the Dominican Republic early one morning in late July 2022, they carried extra baggage. Not baggage in the form of luggage but baggage in the form of worry, busyness of work, church activities, family, and the growing uncertainty of The United Methodist Church. All of this weighed heavily upon them. Leading right up to the time of departure, they even questioned whether now was the appropriate ...

Bishop Graves to meet with Laity in District Gatherings Sept. 11, 18, & 25

published 9/4/2022
During three weeks in September, Bishop David Graves will travel across the South Georgia Conference to meet with clergy and laity in various settings. The purpose of these gatherings is to provide necessary and accurate information around current denominational matters. While the three Sunday district gatherings are geared toward laity, all are welcome to attend. The Sunday gathering dates are as follows: Sept. 11: District Gathering for the North Central & Northwest Districts at Perry UMC ...

Wesleyan College partners with Duke Divinity School

published 9/4/2022
Committed to the shared values of educational opportunities and excellence, Wesleyan College and Duke Divinity School have joined together to offer a program that provides a unique combination of liberal and professional education well suited for those desiring entry to the fields of ordained and lay ministry.  This pathway is designed for highly qualified Wesleyan College students to accelerate their course of study by completing both their bachelor’s degree while taking graduate level courses...

Bishop Graves Announces Diversity, Inclusion, and Vitality Task Force

published 9/3/2022
A Word from the Bishop   It has been one full year since I was assigned as the bishop of the South Georgia Annual Conference. As I began my tenure here in South Georgia, I watched the trial for those convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery unfold. The video, the story surrounding Ahmaud’s murder, and the trial captured not just my attention but the nation’s attention.    As eyes were focused on Brunswick, Georgia one thing I am certain of amidst all of the heartache: the nation saw a faith community ...

United Methodist Student Day is November 27

published 9/1/2022
The United Methodist Student Day Special Sunday Offering helps provide funds for scholarships and loans for United Methodist students. Student Day gifts make a real difference for those who hope to attend college. Ninety percent (90%) of the offering goes toward funding the many scholarships and loans administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (www.gbhem.org) and ten percent (10%) stays within our state and goes to Georgia UM-related schools for merit scholarships.  ...

Bishop Graves: Navigating this next season together

published 8/29/2022
In a recent video, Bishop Graves shares his commitment to churches committed to remaining at the table and navigating this next season together. He also invites clergy and laity to join him at one of the September gatherings.  Watch the video

Conference votes on church disaffiliations, adjusted 2023 budget

published 8/22/2022
By Kelly Roberson, Director of Conference Ministries/Communications During a special called South Georgia Annual Conference session on August 20, 2022, clergy and lay members voted on matters related to disaffiliation, including ratifying the disaffiliation of 62 congregations and approving an adjusted budget for the 2023 calendar year.  Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, opened the 157th session of the South Georgia Annual Conference with a centering moment...

Revised budget approved, missional apportionment numbers to be sent to churches

published 8/22/2022
At the called session of Annual Conference on August 20, 2022, a revised 2023 Conference budget was approved. This budget is $223,000 lower than the budget approved at the June Annual Conference session for the 2023 year.   “We did not want those churches which have faithfully remained to bear an extra financial burden,” Rev. Robert Beckum, budget committee chair for the conference’s Council on Finance and Administration (CFA), said in his presentation during the online session. “We lowered the ...

History Made Every Day

published 8/15/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN  ANNE PACKARD  The historical societies of the Southeastern Jurisdiction and The United Methodist Church met at the Moore Methodist Museum this summer to trace the footsteps of John and Charles Wesley while they ministered to the colonists in Georgia. Highlights of the week’s events included a stop at Peeper’s Island, a walking tour of historical Savannah, and time on the grounds of Christ Episcopal Church and Fort Frederica. While walking in these sacred places, the ...

Leesburg UMC helps send students back to school with confidence

published 8/15/2022
By Kara Witherow, Advocate contributor  Thanks to Leesburg United Methodist Church, more than 200 Lee County schoolchildren walked into school Friday, Aug. 5 with full backpacks, fresh haircuts, and new-to-them clothes.  The church’s inaugural Community Back to School Bash, held Sunday, July 31, was a fun family event designed to help relieve some of the back-to-school burden families may feel.  “We realize that preparing for school can be financially challenging,” said Leesburg UMC Children’...

Wesley Monumental Youth give sweat equity to serve their community

published 8/15/2022
By Allison Lindsey, Advocate contributor  Soaking up one of the last weeks of summer vacation for youth at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church meant serving God and giving sweat equity for the kingdom through their Local Missions Week. Around 30 middle and high school students and their adult volunteers spent a week doing service projects around Savannah. They sweated through hot days and put in hard work as they put their faith into practice. “The Local Missions Week is great for our ...

Called Annual Conference Session is this Saturday, August 20

published 8/14/2022
In February, Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, announced there would be a special session of the Annual Conference held on Saturday, August 20, 2022. The meeting will begin at 10 am and will be held via Zoom and is anticipated to last no longer than one hour.    The purpose of the special session is to vote on any matters related to local church disaffiliations within the South Georgia Annual Conference. Only matters pertaining to the call made by Bishop ...

Coming up in September: District Gatherings with Bishop Graves and Clergy Time Apart with author Tod Bolsinger

published 8/14/2022
During three weeks in September, Bishop David Graves will travel across the South Georgia Conference to meet with clergy and laity in various settings. The purpose of these gatherings is to provide necessary and accurate information around current denominational matters. While the three Sunday regional gatherings are geared toward laity, all are welcome to attend. Clergy will have an opportunity to meet with the bishop while he is in each district for clergy specific meetings. “I look forward ...

Registration open for fall children's and youth retreats

published 8/14/2022
Registration is now open for KidzQuest, the Conference's annual fall children’s retreat for students in third through sixth grades, and Encounter, the Conference's annual youth retreat for students in sixth through twelfth grades.   KidzQuest is scheduled for September 23-25 2022, at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island for 3rd-6th grade students. More information & registration   Encounter Youth Retreat, for 6th-12th grade students, will take place November 18-20, 2022, at Epworth By The Sea...

Asbury UMC in Columbus hosts job-readiness program, graduation

published 8/1/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Asbury United Methodist Church in Columbus recently held a graduation for the first 11 graduates of Columbus’ inaugural Jobs for Life program. Part of the Chattahoochee Valley Poverty Reduction Coalition (CVPRC), Jobs for Life is an 11-week evangelical job-readiness program to help those who are unemployed and underemployed find work. Rev. Mike Powell, pastor of Asbury UMC and Stephen’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Lumpkin, is a member of the CVPRC and served as ...

Ellabell UMC shares God’s love through brown bag meals

published 8/1/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Ellabell United Methodist Church has taken to the streets to share the love of Jesus. Every weekday during the third week of each month, church members stand on a busy street outside the local Dollar General and hand out sacks of food. It’s a way to take church to the community, said volunteer and Ellabell UMC member Marilyn Page. Knowing people might be reluctant to go to a church, the Fishes and Loaves ministry team decided to hand out the food bags about a half ...

Heritage at Houston UMC’s longstanding breakfast ministry serves spiritual food and physical food

published 8/1/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor “Some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…” Others pancake flippers, some egg scramblers, bacon fryers, or coffee pourers. Maybe that’s not exactly how it’s written in scripture, but that’s the gist of it at Heritage at Houston United Methodist Church. For 884 Sundays – 17 years – the congregation has served breakfast to anyone and everyone who has walked through the Macon church’s doors. The ministry, named Scrambled Eggs ...

Thank you, Kara

published 8/1/2022
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES It is with a sense of sadness and gratitude that we say farewell to our longtime Advocate editor, Mrs. Kara Witherow. After 13 years, Kara, today, publishes her last edition. I know you will join me in offering Kara our sincerest appreciation as she has faithfully shared the good news of our South Georgia United Methodist churches. She will be greatly missed.  Watch my video message here In Christ,  Bishop David Graves

Christian Perfection

published 7/31/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON “Nobody is perfect.” We have heard it all our lives and often said it ourselves to justify some mistake we have made. The Bible even affirms it when it says, “There is none righteous. No, not one, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It also cautions us by saying, “He who says he is without sin is liar and the truth is not in them.” However, we are also urged to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. John Wesley believed and taught ...

Undo, Redo, or Reset?

published 7/31/2022
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources I love icebreaker questions. They are such a great way to begin to get to know people you’ve never met or to get a feel for where people are when you’re leading a group. One of my favorite icebreakers is this simple question, “Would you like to undo, redo, or reset something in your life right now?” Here’s how I define those terms: Undo: One thing you would like to completely erase Redo: One thing you wish you could ...

What happens when God sends people to share the Gospel

published 7/31/2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Many of us remember Rev H. Eddie Fox. He served for 25 years as the executive director of the World Methodist Evangelism. He came from Sevierville, Tenn. near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. He told the world he was from Appalachia and never saw an ocean until the age of 21. Eddie traveled the world, sharing the Gospel wherever he went. One of the places was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a country many of us did not ...

Bemiss UMC reaches out to community with hot dogs, prayers

published 7/18/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Hot dogs are synonymous with summer. Long associated with baseball games and summer celebrations, hotdogs are now, at least in one South Georgia town, quickly becoming associated with a United Methodist church. At Bemiss United Methodist Church in Valdosta, the last Saturday of each month is “Hot Dogs and Jesus” day. From about 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., folks can drive up to the church and receive a free hot dog with all the fixings, snacks, drinks, prayer, ...

Cordele First UMC bridges gap between underserved community, healthcare

published 7/18/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Cordele First United Methodist Church recently hosted a health fair to help bridge the gap between healthcare providers and underserved people by bringing the two together for a three-day event. From cholesterol screenings to COVID-19 tests and car seat checks, Cordele First UMC’s health fair provided free care for those who need it most. “Many people not in the Church think of the Church as only a place to praise God and to read the Bible,” said Rev. Tania Montero, ...

Isle of Hope UMC VBS raises $3,000 for Wesley Community Centers

published 7/18/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Mission work – serving the least, the last, and the lost – is integral to the Isle of Hope United Methodist Church congregation. Whether youth, children, women, or men – all ministry groups are encouraged to be involved in missions. Vacation Bible School is no exception, and the 200 children and 80 volunteers who attended the church’s recent VBS, held June 20-23, raised a total of $3,115 for Wesley Community Centers, Inc. in Savannah. The children raised more than ...

Do you want to get well?

published 7/17/2022
By Dr. Hal Brady Since my wife and I have recently tested positive for covid, I have been thinking more about health and healing than normal. I am pleased to report that both of us are steadily improving. However, my hat is off to the multitudes of others who have suffered or are suffering the same or similar plight. My best to all of you. At any rate, I am reminded of an incident in scripture where a man suffered with an infirmity for 38 long years. One day Jesus comes to him and asked a very...

Methodically human

published 7/17/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Only a few days after arriving in Savannah in 1736, John Wesley met Sophia Christiana Hopkey, the 18-year-old niece of Mrs. Thomas Causton. Wesley, being determined “to have no intimacy with any woman in America,” understood the temptation Sophia presented and worked diligently to only meet with her in public spaces or when other people were present. However, in early summer, he arranged to tutor Sophia and another young woman in the parsonage after early ...

Brunswick couple shares love of Christ through daily waves, smiles

published 7/5/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Nearly every weekday, from August 2021 through May 2022, a “cute little old couple” sat in their front yard in a pair of green Adirondack chairs, drinking coffee and waving at passersby. Cars, buses, construction vehicles, and landscape trucks would slow as they drove past, honk, wave, and smile. What started as a one-day sendoff to middle school for grandson Jax grew into something much bigger than Janie and Fred Alexander ever imagined. “This is just a way to ...

God is at work using The UMC on a global scale

published 7/5/2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Did you know there were Methodists behind the Iron Curtain? In what was once the Russian Empire under Czar Nicholas II, the church was quietly formed by Swedish immigrants. It was allowed to become a church in 1905 when the czar signed the Edict of Toleration that made it okay for churches other than the Russian Orthodox Church to operate in Russia. From 1905 to 1917, the Methodists built churches, clinics, schools and ...

John Wesley and disaffiliation

published 7/5/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley disaffiliates John Wesley was a part of the Fetter Lane Society in London. The group was made up of Peter Bohler and about 40 Moravian Christians. It was as a part of this group that John went to a prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street and had his “heart-warming” experience. The group was very important to him. However, the society became involved in a movement called “Quietism” which taught that we should wait quietly for the Lord to move in our ...

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