Affected by Disaffiliation? Find out how you can move forward in mission in South Georgia


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 ( 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 ...


published 7/5/2022
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES I received a lot of feedback from people about “labels” following my Episcopal Address at Annual Conference. I recently sat down with Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed, who is now officially on staff as the Director of Diversity and Justice Ministries for the South Georgia Annual Conference, to unpack how labels can be hurtful and distract us from our ministry. Watch this video of our conversation. I also want to say how excited I am to have Abra in this role and for the ...

Methodist Home celebrates 150 years of helping children and youth

published 7/5/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Edwin arrived at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth as a 9-year-old. A “wild creature” with no significant parenting, he was failing school and fighting during recess. At The Methodist Home, he found structure, order, and values. He was no longer able to wander neighborhoods and alleys at will. He found adults who set limits and cared. Today, more than 70 years later, Dr. Edwin Chase credits The Methodist Home for saving his life. “The Children’s Home saved ...

They will know we are Methodists by our love

published 7/5/2022
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN The great separation has now begun. 2020 was supposed to be the pivotal year we finally settled the division over inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of our denomination. After almost 50 years of fighting, we were finally set to end the division and go our separate ways to serve the Lord as we felt God called us. And then a global pandemic caused General Conference to be postponed for four full years, making it five full years between gatherings. Nonetheless, ...

Videos highlight ways God is faithful

published 7/5/2022
During the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, attendees watched videos highlighting areas in the South Georgia Conference that are thriving and vital and ways our South Georgia United Methodists are faithfully serving their communities and one another. Ministry Moment Snapshots Through several Ministry Moment Snapshots led by Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources, the Conference was able to see the fruit of God’s faithfulness in various ways ...

Bishop Graves sets 2022-2023 pastoral appointments

published 6/13/2022
On Wednesday, June 8, during the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, Bishop David Graves fixed the 2022-2023 pastoral appointments for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. 2022-2023 Appointments Click here to download and view the list of appointments by district. For full Annual Conference coverage, visit

Conference approves three resolutions

published 6/13/2022
During the 2022 Annual Conference session, three of seven resolutions presented to the Conference Committee on Resolutions for consideration and vote by the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference were approved.  In the Monday morning, June 6 business session, the conference approved Resolution 1, “Say ‘No’ to Single-Use Plastic” and Resolution 2, “Resolution on Wage Equality.” Later that afternoon, Resolution 6, “Resolution to Amend the Disaffiliation Policy of the South Georgia Conference,” was ...

Conference votes on disaffiliation matters

published 6/13/2022
During the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, clergy and lay members voted on several matters related to disaffiliation.  On Monday afternoon, June 6, Conference members approved a report from the Conference Trustees in which a process was affirmed that extends the terms of South Georgia’s current disaffiliation policy through December 31, 2024. Already voted on and approved by the Trustees, the resolution states, “the Trustees wish to provide a means for local churches desiring to ...

God’s faithfulness felt amid much-anticipated annual conference session

published 6/13/2022
Detailed recaps of each day’s events, including listings of who was ordained and commissioned, those who retired, and the ministers and spouses who were remembered during the memorial service, as well as the appointment list, photos, and bulletin insert can be found by clicking here. For the first time in three years, nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists gathered to worship and conduct the business of the annual conference as Bishop David Graves led his first annual conference session ...

South Georgia Conference approves establishment of Retiree Health Care Trust

published 6/13/2022
South Georgia retirees and those approaching retirement can breathe a little easier.  During the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, delegates approved the establishment of a Retiree Health Care Trust. This trust helps secure retiree healthcare funding as the denomination moves into an uncertain future. It will benefit all clergy and conference staff currently receiving retiree healthcare funding and will also secure funding for those clergy and staff who are 55 and older and who have...

A royal priesthood of 12-year-olds

published 6/12/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year again. There is no snow. Instead, it is 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity and a 20 percent chance of afternoon showers. There are no gifts to buy or presents to wrap. Instead, we are loading up on boxes of ...

But Grace said

published 6/12/2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My car broke down and I needed a loaner while it was being repaired. You’ve gotten a loaner before, right? How much gas did it have in it? I thought so. Almost on empty. Mine too. I think they learn that in car school. So, I went to the gas station right away and moved the line way above empty. After a few days, I learned that my car was in worse shape than I thought. I needed a new engine. That would take a while. Meanwhile, I had places to go. A sign ...

Celebrating God’s faithfulness through mission, ministry & evangelism

published 6/12/2022
Churches throughout the conference continue to demonstrate how great God’s faithfulness is through mission, ministry, and evangelism.  Evangelistically Fruitful Congregations The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. A significant dimension of the disciple-making process is that of leading people to make a commitment to God through baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Reaching new persons with the gospel is at the very heart of every church’s purpose. Below ...

Celebrating Ministry Milestones and Achievements at Annual Conference

published 6/12/2022
Annual Conference is a special time to celebrate ministry milestones and achievements, from those just entering the ministry to those taking the next step of their journey into retirement. During the Board of Ordained Ministry report Monday afternoon, individuals were recognized for achieving milestones and achievements. Received into their new relationship with the conference as Elders and Full Conference Members were Jonathan William Beckum, Nathan Christopher Lehman, and Jeremiah Haynes ...

Memorial Service 2022: ‘Hope is in our job description’

published 6/12/2022
A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held Tuesday afternoon, June 7, at 2 p.m. as conference members gathered at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ga. Rev. Bill Bagwell, outgoing pastor at Pittman Park UMC in Statesboro who retired at this year’s Annual Conference session, reminded those gathered that hope is an important work.  “Hope is in our job description,” he said. “I dearly need hope. Do you? It is the essence ...

South Georgia United Methodists give more than $22,000 for North Katanga partnership

published 6/12/2022
At the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, South Georgia United Methodists gave $22,708 to support two North Katanga Conference ministries: Kamina Orphanage and Wings of the Morning Aviation.  On Monday morning, Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, conference secretary of Global Ministries and senior pastor of Epworth UMC in Jesup, presented a check to the Kamina Orphanage and the Wings of Aviation ministry of the North Katanga Conference. Receiving the check on behalf of Global Ministries were ...

Worship Opportunities at Annual Conference

published 6/1/2022
The South Georgia Conference Committee on Worship has worked diligently to plan beautiful and meaningful worship opportunities during our Annual Conference gathering next week. The Committee on Memoirs is instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Memorial Service. We are thankful to both of these committees for their time and commitment. As we gather to conduct our business these times of worship will center us and help us focus on the faithfulness of God. As a reminder, two of our...

District Gatherings with Bishop Graves set for September

published 5/31/2022
To the clergy and laity of South Georgia: As you know by now, my passion is sharing Jesus, seeing the overlooked, joining God in transforming lives, and changing the world one person at a time. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the great people of South Georgia over the past nine months, and I’ve seen firsthand that our local churches share in this passion. I continue to be amazed at the incredible ministry happening all across the South Georgia Conference. Many of you, clergy and ...

Meaghan Blight selected as Wesleyan College’s 26th president

published 5/31/2022
The Wesleyan College Board of Trustees proudly announces the appointment of Meaghan Blight as the institution’s 26th president effective July 1, 2022. President-elect Blight comes to Wesleyan from Huron University College, a small liberal arts institution in London, Ontario, Canada. She has spent the last 13 years as an executive in higher education, partnering with industry, private donors, and foundations to identify advancement opportunities for students, faculty, and community and since 2016...

Methodist missionaries in India

published 5/31/2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries There are many worthy projects for mission in our world. We cannot do them all. The best way to decide which project to undertake or fund is to listen to the calling of God. God will reveal to us which mission works best for us. My wonderful role is to highlight the many projects we have in the world. Thus far I have talked of Afghanistan; Korea; Hawaii; Africa; North Katanga; Yemen; Washington, D.C.; North Carolina; ...

Reflect, don’t repeat

published 5/31/2022
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources Have you ever looked at someone’s life and been confused about why they keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Or maybe, if you’re like me, you realize that person is you! Why do we get stuck in a cycle of doing the same failing things over and over again? Why do we keep repeating our missteps and failures? One of the main reasons is we aren’t taking the time to reflect on our experiences. See if you can ...

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