News

Beauty from the storm

published 1/22/2018
When storms ripped through the Southwest and South Central Districts last January, all members of Albany’s El Faro congregation were impacted by the storms in some way, with several families losing everything, including their homes and vehicles. But in the year since the tornadoes brought such devastation to the community, there is hope. The church, a Hispanic United Methodist congregation, is growing and vital, says Rev. David Diaz, who serves both El Faro and the Bainbridge Hispanic Mission. ...



Building Capacity: Where we are now

published 1/22/2018
By Allison Lindsey, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries Building capacity - described as the process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes, and resources needed to survive, adapt, and thrive - has been a key phrase among conference leaders this past year when it comes to disaster response.  Admittedly, disaster response becomes very challenging in that as you move out of a disaster event, the awareness and interest fades over time and the sense ...



Commission on a Way Forward prepares updated report to bishops

published 1/22/2018
DALLAS - The Commission on a Way Forward is nearing the completion of its task of making recommendations of possible ways forward for The United Methodist Church regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in this global denomination. The 32-member Commission concluded its three-day meeting in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday after reworking sketches of possible models of the future of the denomination that will be part of the final report to the Council of Bishops in May. Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, ...

Disaster Response: A year in review

published 1/22/2018
2017 was an unprecedented year for disasters. More than 25 million Americans - nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population - were affected by what FEMA has called a historic year. South Georgia wasn’t spared, with deadly tornadoes and straight-line winds hitting the Southwest and South Central Districts; Hurricane Irma striking the coast and continuing through the state; and many residents still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew from the previous year. The Conference also supported ...



Morales serves as UMCOR consultant; helps Puerto Ricans recover

published 1/22/2018
Luis Morales, Disaster Coordinator for the South Georgia Conference, has traveled to his native Puerto Rico four times since Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September.  Serving as a consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) since October, Morales has helped the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico devise a relief strategy and recovery plan. To date, more than 11,000 bags of food and 48,960 bottles water have been distributed, helping more than 27,000 people. Five ...



Relief supplies, cleaning kits help after floods, hurricanes

published 1/22/2018
Revs. Alaina and Greg Harrison weren’t sure what to think when they arrived at Wesley United Methodist Church in Macon and saw hundreds of plastic five-gallon buckets stacked on the church’s fellowship hall stage. Eager to start their new appointment, they quickly learned the church was a drop-off location for UMCOR cleaning kits. Assembled kits had begun being dropped off pretty regularly after last January’s winter storms in the Southwest and South Central districts, and they decided to more ...



When Love is Authentic

published 1/22/2018
Dr. Hal Brady In our time, the word,”Love” and it’s meaning have come in for a number of cheap shots. There is a kind of lip service to the whole idea of love, but everybody knows you can’t take it seriously. How desperately in our world today, we need to be reminded again that for Jesus, love is not simply one virtue among many others. For him, love is actually the foundation, the basic yardstick, for all norms in how we are to behave and act toward one another. Authentic love, then, is not ...

Campus Crawl: A United Methodist College Tour for High School Students

published 1/17/2018
NEW! The Campus Crawl begins in a few short weeks. Space is limited to the first 50 students who register. Refer a friend and get a $10 Amazon gift card for each friend you bring along. Register before February 9 and get a Campus Crawl t-shirt. Reserve your seat on the bus today!   Campus Crawl is a bus tour designed to introduce 9th through 12th grade students to United Methodist campus ministries featuring our Georgia United Methodist Colleges and Universities.   In one weekend, high school ...



Clergy Compensation List now available online

published 1/16/2018
The 2018 Clergy Compensation List is now available online to view: www.sgaumc.org/clergycompensationlist.

United Methodist bishops condemn President Trump’s “offensive” remarks against immigrants

published 1/12/2018
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued a statement today on behalf of the Council concerning remarks reported to have been made by President Donald Trump regarding immigrants. The statement follows: We are appalled by the offensive, disgusting words attributed to President Donald Trump who is said to have referred to immigrants from African countries and Haiti, and the countries themselves, in an insulting and derogative manner.  According to various ...



A New Year’s letter from Council President Bishop Bruce Ough

published 1/8/2018
2018 New Year’s Greetings To the People Called United Methodists: Grace and peace to you as we embrace the New Year. The joy of Christmas and the gift of Emmanuel – God with us – gives us the confidence to face the future with hope.  This hope is born of our faith in the Living God.  Thus, as we enter the New Year we affirm that God who started a good thing in us will see it to fruition. As United Methodists, we are at a precipitous moment, uncertain about our denomination’s future.  Yet, we...

Alive Together in Christ in 2018!

published 1/8/2018
FROM THE BISHOP  R. LAWSON BRYAN Happy New Year! I hope you are entering 2018 with a sense of refreshment. In one of his devotional books, Henri Nouwen offers this reading for January 1. It is entitled, “Expecting a Surprise.”   Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new...

Canoeing the Mountains: The Speed of Trust and Our Adaptive Challenge

published 1/8/2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN I ended my last column with a phrase I first read in a book written by now-Bishop Bob Farr: “Adapt or die.” I believe what we face in our local churches, districts, annual conferences, and beyond is an adaptive challenge. Ron Heifetz distinguishes two types of challenges — technical and adaptive — and notes the difference as follows: “The technical is defined as those that can be solved by the knowledge of experts, whereas adaptive requires new learning.”  If we’re ...

Conference’s new partnership with seminary makes theological education accessible

published 1/8/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor By day, Lance Bazemore fights pests and banishes bugs as an exterminator.  In the evenings the husband and father of two is a student and scholar, taking seminary classes to earn a Master's of Divinity degree. The South Georgia Conference’s new partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary makes it possible for Bazemore to do both: have a full-time job to support his family and pursue theological education as part of God’s call on his life. Launched this past ...



Porterfield Memorial UMC launches year-long prayer initiative to combat crime

published 1/8/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor With a sharp uptick in violence and crime in Albany in the past year, one local United Methodist Church is praying for change and sending a message of hope and unity to the community.  There were more than 20 murders in Albany last year, more than double what the southwest Georgia city averaged in previous years. The city and its citizens have experienced a spike in crime, much of it drug related, said Rev. Robert Greene, senior pastor of Albany’s Porterfield Memorial ...



South Georgia’s Week of Prayer begins Jan. 14

published 1/8/2018
This coming Sunday marks the beginning of South Georgia’s Week of Prayer for The United Methodist Church’s “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative. During the Week Of Prayer, which runs Jan. 14 through Jan. 21, South Georgia United Methodists are being asked to commit to worshipping and praying daily using a guide written by the Conference’s deacons. A breath prayer is provided to help guide each day’s worship.  The “South Georgia Prays” daily prayer guide may be found online here. Prayers will ...



The John Wesley Covenant Renewal Service

published 1/8/2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley discovered a worship service which was used in the 1600s to encourage believers to renew their covenant with God. He revised the service and used it as a Watch Night Service in his London headquarters, the Foundry. He also used the service as he traveled to various Methodist Societies across England.  His journal indicates wonderful responses to these Covenant Renewal services. Some of them lasted for three or four hours! He often scheduled them for ...

2018 Annual Conference session schedule released

published 12/18/2017
Plans are coming together for the 2018 South Georgia Annual Conference session, set for June 3 through June 5 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island. Gathering under the theme of “Alive Together in Worship,” the annual conference session will celebrate the ways South Georgia churches have made efforts and gains over the past year in worship vitality. Towards the end of the conference session, Bishop Bryan will introduce next year’s emphasis.  The annual conference will also be...

Applications now available for the Carl and Ruth Looney Scholarship

published 12/18/2017
The Carl and Ruth Looney Scholarship was established by Bishop Richard C. Looney,  who was elected the first bishop of the South Georgia Annual Conference in 1988 and where he served for 12 years.  After retirement, he served as President of The Foundation for Evangelism and as the Episcopal Director of the Foundation. He continues to serve as Episcopal Director Emeritus for the Foundation since his retirement.  The scholarship funds, up to $1000 per application, are available to South Georgia ...

Be Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love in your community

published 12/18/2017
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries   “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and ...

Conference leaders meet to discuss future of church, work of Commission

published 12/18/2017
Watch Bishop Bryan and Rev. Jorge Acevedo discuss what it means to be a missional church in a time of uncertainty in our denomination. Various clergy groups and lay leaders met with Bishop Lawson Bryan and Rev. Jorge Acevedo December 5 and Dec. 6 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island to talk about the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and what the journey ahead looks like for The United Methodist Church.  Rev. Acevedo, pastor of Grace Church in the Florida Conference and a member of...

Hilton UMC’s monthly lunches feed community, renew congregation’s purpose

published 12/18/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Hilton United Methodist Church, just three miles from the Alabama border, is a rural country church deep in Early County. A small congregation organized in the 1860s, the church regularly has eight people worshiping on Sunday mornings. Earlier this year, the congregation discussed ways to reach out into the community and serve their neighbors. They decided to do what United Methodists do so well - host a covered dish meal and feed others. What started as a small ...



John Wesley’s Christmas activity

published 12/18/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON On Christmas Day, 1738, just a few months after his Aldersgate Experience when he felt his heart strangely warmed and he trusted Christ and Christ alone for his salvation, John Wesley sat down to write his rules for groups who want to grow in grace together. These rules were designed to help groups who wanted to help members become more Christ-like. It was important that all members covenant together to keep these conversation in strictest confidence. Meet each...

South Georgians give generously to The Methodist Home to help ensure children have a merry Christmas

published 12/18/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Jeanie Hoffman is an avid crocheter and has kept busy in her 12 years of retirement by making prayer shawls, hats, and blankets.  When a local thrift store generously donated her a large supply of yarn, Hoffman considered what to create. She knew of The Methodist Home for Children and Youth and the ministry it provides to children and families across South Georgia, and decided to make hats for the 140 children served by The Home. “Something told me The Children’s ...



Wrapped in such an ordinary package

published 12/18/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK God came to earth wrapped in an ordinary package. His birthing room had a dirt floor, his crib contained remnants of dried animal feed, and instead of “Lullaby” being played over a hospital loud speaker at the birth of a child, there was a mixed chorus of animals braying loudly, possibly over the intrusion of this couple and their baby. Here is a simple illustration of how that happened. In that land called heaven, the Son, Jesus, stood up one day, gave the ...

Cordele church’s crops help grow congregation

published 12/4/2017
By Kara Witherow Midway United Methodist Church is in the heart of Cordele, the self-proclaimed Watermelon Capital of the World. With deep agricultural roots, it makes sense that the church’s congregation, pastored by a former farmer, would begin a food and gleaning ministry in the acre-and-a-half field that sits next to the church. What they didn’t necessarily expect, however, was how the small church would blossom right alongside the crops. What started as a pumpkin patch several years ago...



Delegate counts for 2020 General Conference announced

published 12/4/2017
The Secretary of the General Conference announced today the number of delegates assigned to each annual conference for the 2020 General Conference has been calculated, and certificates of election are on the way to bishops and annual conference secretaries. The computation involves applying a statistical formula contained in The Book of Discipline 2016, which is based on the number of clergy and professing lay members of each annual conference. Since the Book of Discipline caps the maximum ...

Leadership is caught more than taught

published 12/4/2017
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON We’ve entered cold and flu season. This is the time of year when germs seem to be lurking, powerful and invisible on every surface. Because of the nature of these sneaky germs, it’s nearly impossible to go through a cold and flu season without at least once coming down with a case of the sniffles. Have you ever thought about the fact that great leadership is caught more than taught? Just by being around a great leader others can “catch” ...

New Conference Center less than $500,000 from being fully funded

published 12/4/2017
After being revised and “right-sized,” South Georgia’s new Conference Center is $492,000 from being fully funded. That’s a $700,000 savings from the original construction estimate. “Anytime you can save $700,000 and still fulfill a vision, it’s a good thing!” said Bishop Lawson Bryan. The cost savings are a result of a collaborative partnership with Wesleyan College, which recently built Pierce Chapel and the Corn Center, and their willingness to allow the Conference use of those conference ...

Prepare the way

published 12/4/2017
FROM THE BISHOP  R. LAWSON BRYAN “Prepare the way of the Lord” is the great rallying cry of the Advent season. The prophet Isaiah gives a vivid description of that preparation: hills and valleys made level, crooked places made straight, and rough places made smooth so that the glory of the Lord may be revealed and all people see it together! Preparing the way is also a good description of the work of laity and clergy in the local churches and communities of South Georgia - we seek to focus ...

South Georgia UM students receive more than $26,000 in scholarships from GBHEM

published 12/4/2017
Eighteen South Georgia United Methodist students have received scholarships totalling $26,550 from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).  The students received the funds through the Rev. Dr. Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarship, the United Methodist General Scholarship, the Ethnic Scholarship, the E. Craig Brandenburg Scholarship, the Miriam Hoffman Scholarship, the HANA Scholarship, and the UM Allocation. Each scholarship recipient was awarded amounts ranging from $500 ...

Susanna Wesley’s Rules for Raising Godly Children

published 12/4/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Susanna Wesley’s Rules for Raising Godly Children: Eating between meals not allowed. Take medicine without complaining. Obey parents (break their self-will).  How will they ever obey God if they do not obey their parents? Teach them to pray as soon as they can speak. Require all to be still during Family Worship. Teach them to cry softly so as not to disturb others. Give them nothing that they cry for. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed ...

There's still time to register for the 2018 Join the Journey Confirmation Retreat!

published 12/4/2017
The 16th Annual South Georgia Conference Join the Journey Confirmation Retreat will be held March 2-4, 2018. Designed for students in the fifth grade and above, the “Join the Journey” Confirmation Retreat will provide churches of all sizes an opportunity to connect with others through worship, study, and fellowship. The event will also include large group gatherings around the church seasons and breakout sessions with topics of grace, United Methodist History and United Methodist lingo as well ...



United Methodists called to pray; South Georgia’s week of prayer Jan. 14-21, 2018

published 12/4/2017
Conference deacons write prayer and worship guide As The United Methodist Church grapples with issues related to human sexuality and the future of the denomination, United Methodists are being called to pray intentionally and fervently.  The denomination-wide “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative launched New Year’s Day 2017 with 75 weeks of focused prayer for The United Methodist Church. Each annual conference will take one week to pray for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make ...

A Thanksgiving message from Bishop Bryan: We have been led

published 11/21/2017
Dear South Georgia Conference, Last Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing our first grandchild, John Philip Bryan, Jr. It was a thrilling experience. Sherrill and I are so grateful for our wonderful son and daughter-in-law, Philip and Brittany. They are good parents and I am happy this child will be raised in a home where the parents are actively involved in the Christian faith and in a local church.  Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving my sermon focused on the lectionary Old Testament...



Alive Together in Christ is more than a slogan

published 11/20/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Thanks to you I was able to make a special presentation during the Council of Bishops meeting two weeks ago at Lake Junaluska. I gave Bishop Hector Ortiz, our Methodist bishop in Puerto Rico, a check for $30,000 for disaster relief in Puerto Rico. The check was made out to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. My heart is full of gratitude to the churches of South Georgia for this—for giving not just the gift of money, but also the gift of hope.  The devastation ...

Banks follows in mother's footsteps as United Methodist Women president

published 11/20/2017
Carol Banks has followed in her mother’s footsteps in more ways than one. The newly elected United Methodist Women president is carrying on the legacy of service her mother instilled in her from a young age as Banks saw her mother, former United Methodist Women president Eugenia Yawn, attend Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) meetings and actively serve in missions and ministry. A strong influence in her daughter’s life and faith, Yawn served as the South Georgia United Methodist ...



Being thankful makes everything better

published 11/20/2017
Some time ago I ran across a statement that is worth pondering. It went like this: “The greatest blessing lacking in life is the willingness to see our blessings.” To my mind, this is something to mull over, not only because it is the thanksgiving season but because this is a true reality. Perhaps this is the point of Jesus traveling through Samaria, when a group of lepers call out to him for help. These lepers desperately desire to be healed. Rather than healing them immediately, however, ...

Bishop Bryan names who will serve on two task forces

published 11/20/2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan today announced the names of South Georgia clergy and laity who will serve on two task forces approved during the 2017 Annual Conference session: a task force on Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors and a task force on multiculturalism. The first, a task force on Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors, will look at developing a strategy to educate clergy and laity about the history of immigration and human and civil rights concerning ...

Churches focus on safety; South Georgia hosts Church Security Workshop

published 11/20/2017
Like many South Georgia congregations, Bonaire United Methodist Church is fortunate to count among its members several law enforcement officers and federal agents. Vigilant and sensitive to their surroundings even during worship services, they keep an eye out for dangers most don’t notice. Still mindful of the need to gird up the Bonaire UMC campus and keep the congregation safe, senior pastor Dr. Scott Hagan attended a church security workshop last April and learned valuable tips that he and ...

Our God is triumphant

published 11/20/2017
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries   “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18, NRSV And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom ...

South Georgia congregations, individuals give more than $500,000 to storm recovery

published 11/20/2017
South Georgia has seen its share of natural disasters during the past two years: devastating tornadoes and straight-line winds and Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. But even amid their own losses and damage, faithful and generous South Georgia United Methodists have dug deep, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to others in need. In 2017 alone, more than $500,000 has been given by South Georgia United Methodist congregations and individuals to the conference’s Hurricane Harvey Relief fund and ...

St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation announces fall grants

published 11/20/2017
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. has approved grants for the Fall 2017 Grant Cycle. Grants totaling $794,018 will be made to 14 organizations the week of December 4, 2017. The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. Organizations serving Southeast Georgia: Skylark (formerly Care Net Pregnancy Center of Coastal Georgia) (www.helloskylark.com)  A $31,768 grant to Skylark to provide funding to upgrade medical...

#GivingTuesday: Connect your passion with God's mission on Nov. 28

published 11/17/2017
It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner. That means it’s time once again for UMC #GivingTuesday. On Nov. 28, United Methodists have the opportunity to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season through gifts to one of the more than 600 church-related Advance projects and more than 300 United Methodist missionaries. And to make a big day even BIGGER, Georgia Gives Day has joined forces with Giving Tuesday. Support South Georgia United Methodist ministries ...



Bishops receive interim Way Forward report, elect new officers

published 11/17/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) met at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina last week to receive an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward, elect new officers, and prepare for the 2019 Special Session of General Conference, among other things. From the president’s address to giving feedback on the interim report of the Commission, the bishops stressed the importance of the mission of God, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ in The United Methodist Church. Here are ...

South Georgia's week for Praying Our Way Forward movement is January 14-21

published 11/16/2017
South Georgia Conference Week of Prayer: January 14-21, 2018 umcprays.org The denomination-wide 'Praying Our Way Forward' initiative launched on New Year’s Day 2017 with 75 weeks of focused prayer for The United Methodist Church. Each annual conference will take one week to have intentional prayer for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. The effort began in the North ...

UMCOR Advance Response Team Assisting in Puerto Rico

published 11/16/2017
Showing the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR’s) support for its partner, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico (MCPR), members of the UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response (USDR) Advance Response Team (ART) traveled to Puerto Rico this week to meet with leaders and help them chart a path for recovery.  UMCOR’s ART members are Ted Warnock, Luis Morales, Tom Vencuss, and Wade McGuinn, a construction/architect specialist. They are working alongside the MCPR Early Response Team (ERT) volunteer ...



Prepared for Emergency: Resources for Churches

published 11/10/2017
After the terrible tragedy in Texas last week, many of our churches are considering how they can best prepare for an emergency in their community or congregation and how United Methodists can take a stand against gun violence. Below are some of the resources available to clergy, trustees committees, church leaders, and others on this topic.  United Methodist Resources Embracing Love: A Prayer for Texas (UMCOM) http://www.umcom.org/topics/embracing-love-responding-to-violence  Keeping Churches...

Commission on Way Forward interim report gives Council of Bishops three models for path forward

published 11/9/2017
November 9, 2017 A note from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan: As we near the conclusion of this week's Council of Bishops’ meeting, I am deeply grateful for the work we have already been doing in South Georgia to equip ourselves for crucial conversations around the recommendations for a Way Forward that will be coming to us in the months ahead. One of the things we will be offering to the churches of South Georgia is a process for meaningful engagement with whatever recommendations come to us. I want ...



Bishop Bryan presents check for $30,000 to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico

published 11/8/2017
Watch Video Puerto Rico is rising up from the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but the U.S. territory continues to need The United Methodist Church’s help. Thanks to your generosity, Bishop Bryan presented Bishop Hector Ortiz, bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, with a check for $30,000 during the Council of Bishops meeting this week at Lake Junaluska. “The spirit of our people is not destroyed,” Bishop Ortiz told the Council of Bishops. “The people of Puerto Rico are ...

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