News

South Georgia Conference creates 'buzz' in support of Imagine No Malaria

published 6/11/2011
At the 2011 Annual Conference Session there may have been a buzz about the elections and the finance report and even holding an ordination service in the dark, but the “buzz” created Monday afternoon was all about fighting the deadly disease known as malaria. South Georgia United Methodists joined hands and hearts to give more than $75,000 in a single special offering for Imagine No Malaria.  Churches were asked to take up a special offering prior to Annual Conference and bring the money with ...

The "quiet chatter" heard during Annual Conference

published 6/11/2011
Did you hear it? It was faint, and you had to listen closely, but there was a “quiet chatter” during this year’s Annual Conference session. A handful of clergy and laity communicated with each other – and potentially hundreds or thousands of other people not at the Annual Conference session – through the microblogging website Twitter. A fairly new trend in social media, Twitter allows users to post 140 character updates called tweets. People use Twitter to share news, recommendations and photos,...

Conference approves reduced $11.7 million budget for 2012

published 6/10/2011
During the Wednesday, June 8 afternoon business session, members of the South Georgia Annual Conference heard a report from the Conference’s Council on Finance and Administration (CFA). In its report, the Council recommended an amended 2011 budget as well as a severely reduced 2012 budget. On behalf of the CFA, Chairman Rev. Jimmy Cason presented the Conference with an amended 2011 budget of $12,272,099, down $323,782 from the previously approved budget of $12,595,881.  He also presented a ...

Robert Beckum, Larry Price to lead delegation

published 6/10/2011
During the 2011 Annual Conference session, South Georgia United Methodists elected delegates to represent them at the 2012 General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. In all, five clergy and five laity were elected to attend General Conference, the highest legislative body of the denomination, which will meet in Tampa, Fla., next year. In addition, the conference elected another five clergy and five laity to attend the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, along with the General ...

South Georgia United Methodists encouraged, take actions at Annual Conference session

published 6/10/2011
{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.} More than 1,200 United Methodists felt God’s presence during their Annual Conference session, held June 5-9 in Tifton. Whether it was through warm greetings and friendly smiles, in the bright sun and blistering ...

Evangelism and mission awards presented

published 6/9/2011
Evangelistic awards were presented during the 2011 Annual Conference session to churches in each district which charted the largest net gain in membership, the largest number of professions of faith, and the best ratio of professions of faith with regard to membership.  Harvest Church in Byron, of the Macon District, was the overall conference leader in the largest net gain in membership.  They also led the conference in the largest number of professions of faith for the year.  Cedar Grove ...

In the Kingdom of God We are Never Alone

published 6/9/2011
Fellowship is a key component at any Annual Conference but with the theme of “Never Alone” woven throughout the 2011 Annual Conference Session, it seemed even more essential this year. “Our theme of ‘Never Alone’ points to another essential dimension of being a disciple of Jesus Christ,” said Bishop James King.  “We are made for fellowship with God and one another.” Even the visual stage reminded conference members of the importance of fellowship.  “The stage set was reminiscent of Leonardo da ...

CFA makes tough decisions, budget reductions

published 6/2/2011
The South Georgia Conference’s Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) made some difficult decisions at their recent meeting, held May 9 in Macon.  According to CFA chairman Rev. Jimmy Cason, the Council will recommend to the South Georgia Annual Conference an amended 2011 budget as well as a severely reduced 2012 proposed budget.  At the 2011 Annual Conference Session in Tifton, they will recommend that the 2011 budget be reduced by $323,782, from $12,595,881 to $12,272,099.  They will also...

Wesley Glen Ministries gives stability, security to residents, families

published 6/2/2011
By Kara Witherow, Advocate Editor Like many 21-year-old women, Julia Smith enjoys going out to eat, listening to music and attending birthday and holiday parties. But unlike most other 21-year-olds, she functions at about a 4-year-old level and is unable to live on her own.  Diagnosed with autism at age 4, Julia is severely mentally disabled and requires full-time care and assistance. Julia lived at home with her parents until her mother passed away in 2007.  Upon his wife’s death, Julia’s ...

St. Marys Foundation Announces 2011 Spring Grant Recipients

published 5/23/2011
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. has approved grants for the Spring 2011 Grant Cycle.  Grants totaling $585,000 will be made to 12 charitable organizations the week of June 6, 2011.  The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. American Red Cross – Northeast Florida Chapter (www.nefloridaredcross.org) A $20,000 grant to the American Red Cross in Camden County to provide funding for personal assistance to ...

North Georgia UM churches clean up after historic spring storms

published 5/20/2011
Mike Yoder knows what it is like to live on the edge of disaster. In truth, he believes it is his life’s calling. Yoder, a long-time member of Conyers First United Methodist Church, has been chairman of disaster response for the North Georgia Conference for eight years. He also serves as president of Georgia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Yoder’s work brings him face-to-face with some of life’s greatest extremes, devastated families left with nothing more than the clothes on ...

Mulberry Street UMC turns vacant lot into field of dreams

published 5/18/2011
By Kara Witherow, Advocate Editor Sowing the seeds of community. Cultivating the spirit of outreach. Harvesting the fruits of ministry. Through its new community garden ministry, Macon’s Mulberry Street United Methodist Church is reaching out to the Macon community and those served by the church’s Macon Outreach ministry.  They’re replacing a blighted streetscape with a thriving, well-tended garden, will soon be providing the needy with fresh produce and are helping build active, healthy ...

Central UMC helps "Change the World"

published 5/17/2011
Submitted by Susan Hughes, Central UMC On Sunday, April 10, Central United Methodist Church in Fitzgerald participated in “Change the World Day,” part of a world-wide movement in The United Methodist Church to “rethink church.”  It is a call to refocus and ask the question, “What is God calling His Church to be in the 21st century?”  Jesus gave the Great Commission, telling the church to “Go into the world” and do the things that He did: teach, heal, feed hungry people, speak out about ...

Pastor endures tragedy to give hope to the hurting

published 5/17/2011
By Kara Witherow, Advocate Editor Through life and death, tragedy and triumph, retired South Georgia pastor Rev. Ralph Bailey believes that everything has a purpose and that nothing in life is a waste. Even the death of two of his children, Angela and Michael. At 25 years old, Rev. Bailey and his wife Vermelle were secure in their respective careers – he as a high school band director and she as a public school musician – when they were expecting their first child. Joy quickly turned to sorrow ...

Denomination faces sizable budget cuts

published 5/16/2011
By Rich Peck* 1:00 P.M. EST May 13, 2011 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) Wisconsin Area Bishop Linda Lee (left) offers Holy Communion to Mary Brooke Casad, executive director of the United Methodist Connectional Table, during a budgetary meeting in Nashville, Tenn. A UMNS photo by Rich Peck. View in Photo Gallery While the U.S. Congress is hammering out a 2012 budget, United Methodists are engaging in a yearlong effort to craft denominational budgets for the years 2013 to 2016. Unlike protracted ...

Savage Elected President/CEO of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation

published 5/12/2011
The board of trustees unanimously approved the election of The Rev. Charles W. Savage II as the new president/CEO of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation following the enthusiastic endorsements of the presidential search and executive committees. Bishop Mike Watson of the North Georgia Conference will make this appointment effective June 2011. “Chuck possesses the faith, commitment and ability to carry the Foundation into the future as it fulfills its vision of helping United Methodist ...

Leadership Summit tackles church future; S GA United Methodists weigh in

published 5/6/2011
“What is God’s vision for The United Methodist Church?” That question was among several fielded by a panel of three bishops, a young adult leader and agency head at the Leadership Summit on April 6. There was a notable pause after the question as the leaders considered how best to respond on behalf of the Almighty. Finally, Germany’s Bishop Rosemarie Wenner took a crack at it. “We took the words of Matthew 28 as the mission of the church, and that really is God’s wish for all of us: Making ...

Backpack Buddies battles hunger in Bulloch County

published 5/5/2011
By Kara Witherow, South Georgia Advocate Editor For a state that is well known for its peach, pecan and poultry production, the issue of hunger is, nonetheless, a real and ever-present problem in Georgia. To help combat the issue of childhood hunger, in September 2008 members of Statesboro First United Methodist Church began Backpack Buddies, a ministry dedicated to helping meet the needs of hungry children in Bulloch County. Teaming up with Sallie Zetterower Elementary School to provide ...

Alabama church shares heartbreak, hope

published 5/2/2011
A UMNS Report By Barbara Dunlap-Berg* 7:00 A.M. EST May 3, 2011 | HARVEST, Ala. (UMNS) Anna Aycock and Elam Wallace, students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, view the damage at Ford’s Chapel United Methodist Church. UMNS photos by Kathleen Barry. View in photo gallery View slideshow Beneath sunny skies, people greeted one another with hugs, tears and comforting words. It was a Sunday morning unlike any other at Ford’s Chapel United Methodist Church in north Alabama. Much of ...

Conference paying close attention to finances

published 4/26/2011
The economy and its impact on every aspect of society are on the forefront of almost everyone’s mind.  Individuals, families, government agencies, businesses, non-profit institutions and local churches are in a heightened state of awareness around finances. The South Georgia Conference’s Council on Finance and Administration is keenly aware of the economic climate.  The Council is composed of 10 lay persons and eight clergy, each of whom comes from a South Georgia local church and has personal ...

Imagine No Malaria efforts prove contagious

published 4/25/2011
Kim Granzow learned she could help to save 100 lives by giving just $28 a month for three years and decided she had no excuse not to do so. Granzow of First United Methodist Church in Los Alamos, N.M., attended an Imagine No Malaria presentation after the denomination launched the initiative last April 25 on World Malaria Day. NBC special to focus on efforts against malaria An NBC TV special, "A Killer in the Dark," will show efforts of United Methodists and others to eliminate suffering ...

Hispanic pastors take Sabbath retreat to Epworth By The Sea

published 4/15/2011
Spring break came a little early for nine Hispanic pastors and their families. During the weekend of March 4-6, the Hispanic pastors of the South Georgia Conference were invited to Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island to enjoy a weekend retreat designed to let them relax, be renewed, and return to their ministries refreshed.  “The plan was for the Hispanic pastors and their families to come and enjoy a retreat and not worry about anything,” said Columbus District Superintendent Rev. Shane ...

Friendship UMC gives back to community

published 4/12/2011
Donalsonville’s Friendship United Methodist Church is living up to its name. Needy residents of Donalsonville and Seminole County have, for years, looked to Friendship UMC to help get them through hard times, often stopping by the church to ask for food or money. Church staff would oftentimes hand visitors a voucher to use at a local grocery store, allowing them to purchase items up to a certain amount.  At the end of the month the grocery store would send the church a bill, which was paid for ...

South Georgia prepares for Annual Conference session

published 4/12/2011
Plans are quickly taking shape for the 2011 South Georgia Annual Conference session, scheduled for June 5-9 in Tifton at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. Gathering under the theme of “Never Alone,” based on Acts 2:42, this year’s Annual Conference session will provide several opportunities for attendees to gather together in fellowship and worship.  “The annual conference session is always a highly anticipated time when we celebrate what God has been doing through the ...

General Conference Petitions Now Being Accepted

published 4/11/2011
Petitions for consideration by the 2012 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary beginning April 1 and continuing through September 27, 2011.  According to church law, “Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference…”. Detailed instructions for submitting a petition are available on the General Conference website at gc2012.umc.org. Petitions must be typed and may be submitted via e-mail to petitions@umpublis...

Grace UMC shuts its doors, opens its arms

published 3/31/2011
On Sunday, March 6, Vidalia’s Grace United Methodist Church shut its doors. Instead of having its regular Sunday morning worship service, the church held its first “Be the Church Day” at nearby Bay Street Park.  An outreach effort to area residents, Grace UMC’s “Be the Church Day” included food, games, live worship music, and clothing and food giveaways.  More than just  a day of fun and activities, though, the event was created as a way for congregants to step outside the church walls and meet ...

South Georgia Conference joins fight against malaria

published 3/31/2011
Because of malaria, nearly four African children will have died by the time you finish reading this article. Because of malaria, nearly one million people worldwide die each year. Because of malaria, an estimated 10,000 pregnant women and 200,000 infants die each year in Africa alone. The World Health Organization reported that in 2008 there were 247 million cases of malaria and nearly a million deaths. In Africa, a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds; the disease accounts for 20 percent of...

"Celebrity Apprentice" contender plays for United Methodist Children's Home

published 3/18/2011
By Diane Degnan, United Methodist Communications When the fourth installment of the “Celebrity Apprentice” television show premiered on March 6, the kids at the United Methodist Children’s Home of the North Georgia Conference were likely watching — and rooting for Lil Jon. The Atlanta music producer, rapper and entrepreneur has selected the United Methodist Children’s Home as his designated charity while he competes on NBC’s hit show "The Celebrity Apprentice." "I chose the United Methodist ...

Two Dublin churches partner for The Kids' Connection

published 3/18/2011
Written by Dr. Diane Davis, Dublin First UMC Members of two churches in downtown Dublin have joined hands in order to provide a Christian witness to the children and families of the Southside Community in the central city area.  Partnership between the two churches, Howard Chapel United Methodist Church and Dublin First United Methodist Church, is nothing new, as the two churches have cooperated in a weekly soup kitchen for 16 years.  Rev. Patricia Brown of Howard Chapel UMC and lay member Dr. ...

Yes, but How?

published 3/18/2011
Lately, I have been listening to some church folks who embrace God’s assignment to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, but who find the assignment too large to comprehend.  Their comments are often framed, “Yes, but how?” There are many ways to break disciple formation down into understandable components. When you boil it down, each model seeks to describe an ongoing process by which people are awakened to God’s love, grow in God’s love, and come to share God’s ...

Americus First UMC's Hispanic ministry gets new home

published 3/16/2011
Americus First United Methodist Church’s Hispanic ministry is getting a new home … right next door to its old one. The ministry, which began with five people on Oct. 20, 2005, has outgrown its current location in Americus First UMC’s chapel.  With worship attendance now nearing the chapel’s 100-person capacity, ministry leaders knew that expansion was necessary. Since its inception, weekly attendance has hovered near 75.  Numerous baptisms and marriages have been performed, and the ministry ...

Asbury Memorial UMC's Busy Bees and Busy Bats are clowning around

published 3/16/2011
In the early 1990s, Savannah’s Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church had hit hard times.  The once-thriving downtown church’s attendance had shrunk to about 25 and the average member’s age was 80.  The church faced the very real possibility of closing its doors. Despite the bleak outlook, a group of women who had been meeting since the 1970s continued to gather together each Monday night to make colorful and cute clown dolls.  A couple of husbands accompanied their wives and got involved, too....

Summer camps offer fun, faith for elementary and middle-school students

published 3/16/2011
With campers set to arrive very soon, planning and preparation for the South Georgia Conference Summer Camps programs are well under way, says Camp Director Rev. Adam Ricker. The theme of this year’s camps is “Grow,” based on the parable of the sower, found in Mark 4:1-8.  “The whole experience is going to be geared towards what it means to grow in Christ,” Rev. Ricker said.  “We’re trying to help the kids understand that the Gospel is the seed that’s being scattered, and that if they will ...

One Great Hour of Sharing set for April 3

published 3/15/2011
One Great Hour of Sharing, which will be recognized on Sunday, April 3, is one of the six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church. One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to live out its mission to alleviate human suffering. UMCOR is the humanitarian arm of The United Methodist Church. OGHS gifts underwrite UMCOR’s “costs of doing business,” meaning that every penny of every gift made to a specific UMCOR project ...

Missionaries in Japan cope with quake's toll

published 3/14/2011
 A UMNS Report by Linda Bloom* The Sunday after the biggest earthquake in Japan’s history was a time of fellowship and thanksgiving for the staff at the Asian Rural Institute in Nasushiobara, Japan. Although the earthquake’s epicenter lay about 200 miles to the north, the local church, Nishinasuno, had suffered structural damage. So the institute’s staff, including Jonathan McCurley, a United Methodist missionary, invited people from the area to come and worship. “This was a chance for us to ...

UMCOR responds to earthquake & tsunami in Japan

published 3/11/2011
UMCOR is connecting with its partners to assess the damage resulting from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. To support UMCOR's response to this emergency please give to Pacific Emergency, UMCOR Advance #3021317. Checks can be made to the South Georgia Conference with "Advance #3021317 - Pacific Emergency" in the memo line. Checks can be put in the church's offering plate or mailed to: South Georgia Conference, PO Box 52101 / Macon, GA 31208. 100% of gifts made to this Advance project will go ...

Appointment Making Process

published 3/4/2011
To the beautiful people of South Georgia, It is my prayer that you are experiencing the grace and peace of Jesus Christ.   As many of you know, the District Superintendents and I are now immersed in a season of prayer around the placement of clergy for the upcoming conference year. Each District Superintendent made a concerted effort to meet with each clergy person and each local church Pastor Parish Relations Committee in recent months.  These listening sessions are so vital to our discernment...



Bishop King announces projected appointments for 6 new Superintendents

published 3/1/2011
Bishop James King has released the projected appointments of six new District Superintendents.  They will begin serving in their new appointments following June’s Annual Conference session.  Rev. Henry Bass will become the Valdosta District Superintendent, Rev. Mike Huling will be assigned as the Savannah District Superintendent, Rev. Thomas Martin, III will serve as Macon District Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Moseley will become the Americus District Superintendent, Rev. Benjy Varnell will be ...

Associate Director for Life Span Ministries Job Opening

published 2/27/2011
The South Georgia Annual Conference Office of Connectional Ministries is beginning a search for a new Associate Director for Life Span Ministries.  Bishop King will be assigning Rev. Adam Ricker to another appointment in June 2011. This staff person has primary responsibility for planning and coordinating the life-span (age-level) and nurture ministries at the conference level, and joining others in resourcing local churches for enhanced disciple-making.  A significant portion of this person’s...

Inaugural Disciple Covenant Conference draws nearly 900

published 2/26/2011
Nearly 900 clergy, laity and youth from across the South Georgia Conference recently gathered in Macon for the inaugural Disciple Covenant Conference, held February 11-12. Held at the Macon Centreplex, the event was designed to help individuals and teams develop plans for disciple formation. “I expect every United Methodist – everyone who says they believe in God – to develop a disciple plan for themselves and for their team or congregation,” said South Georgia resident Bishop James R. King, ...

New Online Bible Study Explores Contemporary Faith Issues

published 2/26/2011
The United Methodist Church is set to debut an online Bible study beginning March 14, where participants will have an opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary topics and how they relate to the Christian faith in response to the call to Rethink Church. Participants who sign on for the Encounter Faith Bible study, available for free at RethinkChurch.org/encounterfaith, will be looking through a lens of faith at timely issues making headlines and creating conversation, such as the ...

Tommy Bowden & John Riley to speak at UMM retreat

published 2/24/2011
The United Methodist Men of the South Georgia Conference will host their annual Spring Retreat April 8-10 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. Gathering under the theme, “Men of God, make a difference,” retreat participants will hear dynamic and inspirational messages from football greats John Riley and Tommy Bowden.  “The purpose is to help men grow closer to Christ,” said UMM president Chuck Cowart.  “They can expect to have their spirits lifted.” The retreat, while a Methodist men’s ...

United Methodist Women's annual retreat set for March 25-27

published 2/23/2011
The United Methodist Women of the South Georgia Conference will host their annual Spiritual Growth Retreat March 25-27 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. Coming together under the theme of “Summoned by Christ,” retreat participants will hear speaker Rev. Marcia Cochran, Waycross District Superintendent, bring inspiration and motivation to the group during the retreat’s sessions.  They will also have opportunities on Saturday to participate in two interest groups. “This retreat comes at...

Worship, spiritual growth the focus of annual Older Adult Retreat

published 2/21/2011
Older adults in the South Georgia Conference have an exciting opportunity for spiritual renewal, worship and education at the 2011 Older Adult Retreat. Set for April 11-13 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, the annual retreat has been a gathering place of older adults for many years.  Worship and spiritual growth are the main focus of this retreat, and participants are able to totally immerse themselves in the atmosphere and become spiritually renewed. With a theme of “Outrageous Joy,”...

Seventh Book by Rev. Watson to Benefit Wesley Community Centers

published 2/20/2011
Savannah is known for moss-draped Live Oaks, slow Southern drawls and mysteries like “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” Retired United Methodist pastor Rev. W. Hamp Watson, Jr’s., latest book, “Experiencing Ineffable Mystery,” tells the story of an even greater mystery – the mystery of God. The English translation of Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s “The Quest of the Historical Jesus” was published in 1910, but the pursuit to try to understand this enigmatic ...

Richmond Hill UMC is feeding stomachs and souls

published 2/16/2011
What started on Thanksgiving Day, 2003, with just a handful of people has grown into a ministry that serves more than 300 people each week. Every Thursday afternoon, volunteers with Richmond Hill United Methodist Church’s Food for the Soul ministry deliver more than 300 hot meals to needy Richmond Hill residents.  Similar to the well-known “Meals on Wheels” program, Food for the Soul provides a hot meal to anyone who requests one – no questions asked. Begun as a traditional soup kitchen, ...

Uganda trip strengthens relationship between South Ga. and East Africa

published 2/16/2011
As a connectional church, the United Methodist Church is one without borders, an interlocking system of worldwide churches bound together with a common mission – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. During a recent trip to Uganda, five individuals from the South Georgia Annual Conference helped strengthen that connection between their conference and the East Africa Annual (regional) Conference. Revs. Christy Bandy, Earl James, Doreen Smalls, Denise Walton and ...

Church court clarifies voting eligibility

published 2/15/2011
When United Methodists start electing clergy delegates this spring to the denomination's top legislative meeting, several new groups will be elegibile to vote for those representatives. The new categories of electors for the 2012 General Conference were clarified by the denomination’s Judicial Council in a special called session Feb. 12. The nine-member council serves as the church’s “supreme court.”  The new categories — related to elections conducted by the denomination’s annual (regional) ...

Bob Fletcher elected UM HIgher Education Foundation president/CEO

published 2/14/2011
The Rev. Robert R. Fletcher has been elected president/CEO of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) by the board of trustees after receiving enthusiastic recommendations from the presidential search committee and the executive committee.  Bishop Mike Watson of the North Georgia Conference will make this appointment effective June 2011. “Bob’s faith and commitment to the Church and higher education will serve UMHEF well,” stated Glenn C. Andrew, chair of the board of trustees....

Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Schedule Adjusted

published 2/14/2011
The 2012 meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be held Wednesday, July 18 through Friday, July 20, 2012, at Lake Junaluska, N.C. This announcement reflects a recent decision made by the 2012 Program Committee and Local Arrangements Committee that condenses the conference by one day.   “A recent adjustment by the Council of Bishops afforded us an opportunity to eliminate a day in our traditional schedule,” said Dr. Brad Brady, Jurisdictional Conference Secretary.  “The ...

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