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


Riverside UMC organist retires after 50 years

published 5/31/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor For nearly 51 years, Gail Pollock was Riverside United Methodist Church’s organist. For more than 2,600 Sundays she sat at the church’s Schantz organ and played beloved hymns, soaring symphonies, and moving melodies. Sunday, May 15 was Pollock’s final performance, a swan song to cap off five decades of service to a congregation and church she dearly loves. Her final Sunday morning playlist included “All Creatures of Our God and King,’’ a duet accompanied by Helen ...

South Georgia prepares for 2022 Annual Conference session

published 5/31/2022
ALL ANNUAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION For the first time in three years, nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists will gather June 5-8 at The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center to worship, fellowship, and discuss the future of the South Georgia Conference. Meeting under the theme, “Great is Your Faithfulness,” attendees at the 2022 Annual Conference session will worship five times in four days, will see friends, and make new ones. It will be a homecoming of sorts, conference leaders ...

Centerville UMC serves community with bi-weekly food bank

published 5/16/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Last month, a handful of men biked 15 miles to Centerville United Methodist Church’s food bank. The food bank closest to their homes had closed, and they couldn’t afford groceries or gas. Inflation and high gas prices are driving more people to Centerville UMC’s bi-weekly food bank, said Cheri Cox, a member of the church and a food bank volunteer. Wednesday, May 11 was a record day, with volunteers serving more than 300 people. “I think the economy is getting bad. It’...

Conference Trustees to extend disaffiliation deadline

published 5/16/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor While seven resolutions have been presented to the Conference Committee on Resolutions for consideration and vote by the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference, there’s an eighth - and perhaps less obvious - resolution contained in the 2022 Book of Recommendations and Reports. Written into Recommendation 1 of the Conference Board of Trustees’ report is a resolution stating the intent of the Conference Trustees to extend South Georgia’s current disaffiliation policy ...

Guyton UMC gives $7,500 to support Ukrainian orphans

published 5/16/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Guyton United Methodist Church is a small church with a big heart. The congregation, which averages between 40-50 people a week in worship, recently raised 150 times that to support Ukrainian orphans. In just one week, church members gave $7,500 to support St. Paul United Methodist Church’s Ukraine Orphan Ministry. Familiar with the ministry through former pastor Rev. Daryl Brown’s connection and his past mission trips to the country, the congregation gave generously...

Choosing the color

published 5/15/2022
By Dr. Hal Brady There’s a story of a student at Iowa State University who took to selling magazine subscriptions for additional income. He decided that a likely customer might be the president of the university. The student was greeted at the door by the president’s wife who was able to resist his sales pitch by saying that her husband already received more magazines than he could read. Before turning to leave, the student assured her that he understood. It was then that the president’s wife ...

Great is thy faithfulness

published 5/15/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD The Methodist Church has laid upon my shoulders many responsibilities, but it has also given to me a great many honors. Perhaps no man ever stood seeking admission at the bar of an Annual Conference with so little to offer as credentials of his worthiness for the work of the Ministry. But in great kindness, the South Georgia Conference received me “on trial” in 1909. From that humble circuit to which I was sent in that year, I have traveled a worldwide ...

Annual Conference Updates - May 12, 2022

published 5/12/2022
Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders, Thank you again for the attention you are paying to all of the many details of the 2022 Annual Conference session set for June 5-8 in Columbus. Below is highlighted or new information you will find helpful as you prepare for Annual Conference, including:   Timeline and Agenda Report from the Board of Trustees Updates to the Board of Pension and Health Benefits Report Updated Covid Safety Protocols Childcare ...

Task Force on Hispanic-Latino Affairs meets, plans, resources congregations

published 5/2/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Georgia is home to nearly 1 million Latinos. But the Church hasn’t done a great job to reach out and welcome them, said Rev. David Thompson, superintendent of the South Georgia Conference’s Coastal District and chairman of the Conference’s Task Force on Hispanic-Latino Affairs. “This isn’t just a Methodist problem; the Church in general isn’t great at recognizing the sojourner in their midst,” he said. Originally formed in 2016, the Task Force on Hispanic-Latino ...

The Chapel’s new playground honors life, legacy of student leader

published 5/2/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Landon Martinez was bright, vibrant, fun. He loved to serve and give back to the community for which he cared so deeply. Landon’s Landing, the new playground at The Chapel Midtown in Brunswick, bears his name and honors his life and legacy. With bold, colorful murals from artist Bongang as a backdrop, the playground invites children to run, play, imagine, and enjoy God’s creation. Landon would have loved it, said his mom, Nicole Wright. “Landon loved The Chapel and...

When God’s people show up

published 5/2/2022
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In just a few short weeks, God’s people of the South Georgia Conference will show up in Columbus for Annual Conference as we celebrate “How Great is Your Faithfulness.” When we show up on June 5, it will have been three years since the conference last gathered in person. It has been a long journey. For four days, we will worship five times and we will see friends and make new ones. It will be a homecoming in some ways. Of course, we have church business to deal ...

Old time religion

published 5/1/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley came to Georgia in 1736 with one over-arching goal in mind. He wanted to establish a religious community like the early church. He wanted some “Old Time Religion.” He thought the ideal place for this experiment in Old Time Religion would be the frontier of Georgia. To that end, Wesley announced on his first Sunday in Savannah that while he was the pastor things would be done the “Old Fashioned Way!” This included the way babies were to be baptized – ...

Seek to make life better for those in need

published 5/1/2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries We often think of missions as something done overseas or in a distant part of our country. There are multiple missions that happen in places we think would be immune to the effects of poverty. If we lived in Washington, D.C., the seat of our government, we would find Christ House Medical Services Advance #381215. They provide comprehensive and compassionate care for people with acute medical needs who are experiencing ...

Book of Recommendations & Reports for the 2022 Annual Conference Session now available

published 4/25/2022
2022 Book of Recommendations and Reports Business items for the 2022 Annual Conference session are contained in the Book of Recommendations and Reports (BOR). One of the purposes of the BOR is to encourage delegates to read the recommendations, reports, and resolutions prior to arriving at conference. A good delegate is a prepared delegate. The BOR is now available* for download as a PDF file at no cost in its entirety or in sections. You can also purchase it for $7 (plus tax and shipping) as a...

South Georgia Conference, churches respond after destructive tornadoes hit region

published 4/18/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor In what was the most significant tornado outbreak in Georgia since April 2020, at least 25 tornadoes were produced in the destructive storms that crossed the state April 5-6. The most damaging tornadoes occurred in Bryan, Houston, and Dooly counties, and the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church responded immediately to assess, respond, support, and meet needs. “This is the worst disaster that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Coastal District ...

Effingham County’s Encounter Church constituted

published 4/17/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor On Sunday morning, April 3, 2022, 87 people gathered to worship and celebrate Encounter Church’s founding and constitution into The United Methodist Church. The mood in the room was expectant and excited as those gathered anticipated an announcement that had for several weeks been teased during worship services and via social media. Preaching on 1 Kings 8 which tells of Solomon dedicating the temple, pastor Damon Hubert told the congregation its purpose is to point ...

Surely Not I

published 4/17/2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK I was around nine when one of our neighbors physically abused me. A couple of years older than me, she had already become a “bully.” I felt safe, however, when my sister was around. My older sister, my only sibling, always looked out for me. I had never been more grateful for her protective nature than when this neighbor tied me to a chair and left me inside her humid playhouse. I could not escape. Not only did she tie me in the chair, but she turned the chair...

The way of the cross leads home

published 4/17/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “We had another terrific day over that awful, overheated, windswept land of desolation. Through vast stretches, there are no landmarks by which the pilot can determine his course. He must depend absolutely on his compass. You fly for hours with nothing but sand beneath dust storms which sweep up and hide the sun.” “The Bishop Is In A Hurry!” published by Robert E. Daniel I have received an advanced copy of a new book compiled and edited by Robert E. Daniel ...

Disaster Response: Responding to the April 5 storms

published 4/6/2022
The South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church is immediately responding to Tuesday's destructive storms that crossed our state. Our district disaster response coordinators are out doing assessments today. More information will be forthcoming. Rev. David Thompson, Coastal District DS, Kelly Crane, Coastal District Disaster Response Coordinator, and Rev. Shannon Baxter, Conference UMVIM Coordinator, are in conversations with area agencies and area churches about a coordinated ...

Annual Conference Special Offering to benefit North Katanga partnership

published 3/31/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Over the past two years, South Georgia has helped the North Katanga Annual Conference build and reconstruct several local churches, host empowerment training events and leadership training conferences, and train local farmers. The mission partnership that began three years ago when a team of six South Georgia United Methodists traveled to the North Katanga Annual Conference, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), continues to develop. During the 2022 Annual ...

Conference to consider, vote on seven resolutions

published 3/31/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Seven resolutions have been presented to the Conference Committee on Resolutions for consideration and vote by the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference. Resolutions, if approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. Two resolutions, submitted in 2020 by members of the Advocacy Committee and its ad-hoc teams, will be considered and voted upon by the 2022 Annual Conference session. Discussion and voting on ...

Denman Award nominations due this week

published 3/31/2022
The South Georgia Annual Conference is now accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay, and Youth. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award program recognizes United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism – expressed in Word (what), Sign (why), and Deed (how) – brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Evangelism happens in many contexts and many settings; impacts and engages all generations; and ...

Fighting Decision Fatigue

published 3/31/2022
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources Do you have decision fatigue? If you’re exhausted after making decisions, procrastinating, impulsive, or indecisive, it may be because you’re experiencing decision fatigue. Psychologists have discovered a correlation between the quality of decisions and the number of decisions that must be made in a short period of time. The more decisions you are required to make, the lower the quality of your decisions. Leaders ...

Focus on Jesus, the local church

published 3/31/2022
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES My passion is sharing Jesus, seeing the overlooked, joining God in transforming lives, and changing the world one person at a time. That’s what I want the South Georgia Conference to focus on, too. I realize, however, that The United Methodist Church is in a season of life where questions are being raised and uncertainty and anxiousness are apparent throughout the system. In a spirit of transparency and forthrightness, I recently had a conversation with Kelly ...

Meet Gaston

published 3/31/2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries As part of my role as the Conference Secretary for Global Ministries I have the privilege of researching and highlighting missionaries who might otherwise go unnoticed. Gaston Nkulu Ntambo is based in Luena, Angola, where he serves as a pilot and mechanic with the Wings of the Morning Aviation ministry in the North Katanga Conference. The ministry provides transportation in hard-to-reach areas of Africa, especially in ...

UMW change name, keep mission

published 3/31/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor New name, same mission. For 153 years, women united by their shared love of Christ and desire to serve women, children, and youth have put their faith into action. Over the years, what was first known as the Methodist Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society became known as the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and then eventually United Methodist Women. Today, the organization has rebranded itself again, this time to “United Women in Faith.” The new name, which was ...

Why John Wesley never wrote “Notes on the Old Testament”

published 3/31/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley wrote “Notes on the New Testament” which, along with his “Forty Standard Sermons” and the Church of England’s “Articles of Religion,” form the theological foundation of the Methodist Church. Many urged him to also write “Notes on the Old Testament,” but he never did so. Why? Wesley gave three reasons for not writing this document:  Others have written on this topic in an adequate way.  If I undertook this major project it would take away massive ...

Annual Conference Update: Special Offering, Resolutions, Basic Agenda

published 3/29/2022
The following is an email sent out by Meredyth Earnest, Conference Secretary, with updated details about the 2022 Annual Conference Session set for June 5-8 in Columbus. Dear Lay/Clergy member to Annual Conference, Our 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference Session is set for June 5-8 in Columbus, Ga. All Sunday activities and all business sessions will be held at The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center, a wonderful venue along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The memorial service ...

Conference’s Confirmation Retreat at Epworth is “the best weekend”

published 3/14/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Epworth By The Sea is quiet no more. The serene, peaceful campus along the Mackay River was once again filled with laughter, activity, and music as the 21st annual Join the Journey Confirmation Retreat returned after a one-year hiatus. More than 400 youth and their adult volunteers gathered to worship, learn, and play together during the March 4-6 weekend retreat that teaches confirmands about prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace as well as their ...

No Set Formula

published 3/14/2022
By Dr. Hal Brady So much has been and continues to be written about leadership. Author Harris W. Lee examined leadership over the past 50 years and learned there are at least 350 definitions of it. From his study of leadership, Lee concluded that “leadership is one of the most observed but least understood phenomena on earth.” To be sure, leadership is difficult to define. There is a certain elusive mysterious quality about it. There is no set formula. But while there is that mysterious quality...

School Pictures

published 3/14/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD It’s 1975 and a young boy in third grade shows up to school in his favorite “Jaws” t-shirt. He was in a hurry and didn’t really have time to brush his hair or wash his face, even though he told his mother he had. He may even still have a little grape jelly in the corners of his mouth. You may be wondering how these small details could be remembered 47 years later. Well, I’ll tell you, as luck would have it, it was picture day at the elementary school and ...

South Georgia UMs raise $75,000 for tornado relief in Kentucky, Tennessee

published 3/14/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor South Georgia United Methodists have raised more than $75,000 to help the Kentucky and Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conferences in their relief and recovery work following a string of deadly December tornadoes. This is in addition to a $20,000 donation of disaster response funds given to the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference in the immediate aftermath of the storms. In December, an appeal was made to South Georgia United Methodists requesting monetary donations for ...

St. Paul UMC supports, loves, helps Ukrainian orphans

published 3/14/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor “Tammichka, it’s happening.”   “Tammichka, pray for us.” Tammy Reynolds – affectionately called Tammichka by her Ukrainian friends – read the texts pouring into her phone from her friends in Ukraine. As explosions rocked Kyiv, Reynolds’ heart broke, knowing homes and lives were being destroyed. Minutes later, a flood of new texts came in, this time from Columbus friends, neighbors, and fellow members of St. Paul United Methodist Church. “What’s going on?” “What’s ...

A Word from Bishop Graves: The postponement of General Conference

published 3/7/2022
On March 3, 2022, the Commission on General Conference announced plans to further postpone the General Conference session of The United Methodist Church to 2024. You can find the full announcement here. In addition, you will find these FAQs helpful. I invite you now to watch this video response as I share my thoughts on the postponement. Watch Video In the days ahead there will be much information shared about General Conference and the implications of a postponed General Conference. As your ...

General Conference further postponed to 2024

published 3/3/2022
Nashville, Tenn.: As the pandemic continues and the wait time for visas stretches to over two years in some countries, the Commission on the General Conference announced today that the 2020 General Conference cannot be held in 2022 due to COVID-related and governmental policies/constraints.   Commission members received a report based on conversations with multiple officials of the U. S. Department of State outlining the massive backlog of visa applications in some areas. This backlog has led ...

Appeal for peace in Russia-Ukraine conflict and how to give

published 2/28/2022
By Roland Fernandes The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church is deeply troubled by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the ominous implications it has for escalating tensions between Russia and Western nations. We join many Christian leaders and organizations worldwide in deploring the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and we ardently pray for a redirection of military action toward diplomatic measures to resolve grievances. United Methodists are ...

Bishop Graves announces new Conference staff positions

published 2/28/2022
Bishop David Graves, resident bishop of the South Georgia Conference, has announced three conference staff positions.  Mrs. Kelly Roberson will become the new Assistant to the Bishop & Director of Conference Ministries/Communications. She will continue her duties as communications director and connectional ministries team leader with additional responsibilities to assist Bishop Graves. Roberson is a lifelong United Methodist and has worked for the South Georgia Annual Conference since 2001. She...

Dr. Jay Harris’ new book helps people read the Bible, connect with God through scripture

published 2/28/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dr. Jay Harris has been hungry for God’s Word since he was a teenager. Baptized at age 8, he gave his life to Christ a few weeks before he turned 14 while on a youth group outing at a Christian concert. Given a New Testament and told to start reading at the Book of John, Dr. Harris’ faith has been grounded and formed in scripture ever since. “I realized that this was instruction for me in that God, through the Bible, was instructing me how I was to live as a ...

John Wesley’s “Christian Library”

published 2/28/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said, “I am a man of one book,” showing the importance he placed on the Bible. However, Wesley believed in reading many books. He encouraged his followers to read. But there were problems. Books were often too expensive and difficult to read. In an effort to makes books less expensive and simpler he published his “Christian Library” – 50 volumes! He took the writings of others and abridged them – something like “CliffsNotes” today. He made them ...

Moving forward in the days to come

published 2/28/2022
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In a new video message, Bishop David Graves spoke about three new conference staff positions. Watch it here. Read a story about the staff updates here. Read the full transcript of his video message:  It’s my great opportunity to introduce to the South Georgia Annual Conference three new positions that are going to really, I think, help impact this annual conference for the immediate future and for the future to come. I’m so thankful that, Kelly Roberson, who you ...

Wesley UMC builds wheelchair ramp, porch for Macon homeowners

published 2/28/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Louis Miller had been homebound for nearly three months. A disabled Vietnam veteran, he doesn’t walk well anymore and uses a walker to get around. His wife, Patsy, has stage four metastatic breast cancer and is currently under hospice care. The Millers use a ramp to get in and out of their Macon home, but it needed repairs to be safely used. They paid a contractor about $400 to fix it, but the work wasn’t done properly and their ability to get out of the home was ...

Bishop David Graves calls for special session of the South Georgia Annual Conference

published 2/23/2022
Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, in accordance with ¶603.5 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, calls for a special session of the annual conference on Saturday, August 20, 2022. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. EST and, at this time, is planned as a virtual session.   The purpose of the special session is to vote on any matters related to local church disaffiliations within the South Georgia Annual Conference. According to the current South Georgia Conference...

Brunswick First UMC continues ministry despite fire

published 2/14/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor After a Feb. 1 fire destroyed Brunswick First United Methodist Church’s electrical system, the congregation will worship in a warehouse for the next several months, said senior pastor Dr. Wright Culpepper. The fire, which started outside, did little actual physical damage other than breaking windows and melting blinds, but critically damaged the church’s power supply. The fire filled the entire church with smoke. Carpets, ceiling tiles, pews – anything with a soft ...

South Georgia apportionment giving remains steady

published 2/14/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor The 2021 financial books have closed, and the story is much the same as last year.  United Methodist churches in the South Georgia Conference paid 85.16 percent for total 2021 giving, compared to 2020’s 84.21 percent, according to the unaudited figures. The amount collected was, however, a $319,006 decrease from the amount collected in 2020 because last year’s budget was $735,096 lower than 2020’s budget. That translates to $7.5 million of the Conference’s $8.8 ...

I’m going to Hollywood!

published 2/13/2022
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Occasionally, I look at the beginning process of “America’s Got Talent.” The judges watch the talent and give a pass if the performance is really good. If the person gets that pass there is a big celebration. There’s shouting, dancing, and music as each contestant comes out from the room where he or she performed and tells their waiting parents and friends the good news. And what is that good news? Why, he or she has made the first pass and that person is ...

These three …

published 2/13/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD On January 15, 1891, Vanderbilt Benjamin Simmons was born to Frank and Cornelia Simmons as one of their 22 children. He married Sarah Smith in Brunswick, Georgia in 1914 and went on to father eight children. V.B. Simmons served as a successful lay leader until he was received on trial in the Savannah Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South on November 25, 1931. After being ordained a deacon in 1934, V.B. Simmons was ordained an elder in the newly ...

40-year-old kneeling cushions get new life at Wilmington Island UMC

published 1/31/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor So often these days, when an item has reached the end of its usefulness or when it’s a bit worn or dated, it’s tossed aside, thrown in the trash, or shoved in the corner of an attic, never to be seen again. But at Wilmington Island United Methodist Church, 16 kneeling cushions, lovingly hand-stitched 40 years ago, have received new lives. In January 1982, 18 women from the Wilmington Island UMC congregation began a project to create needlepoint covers for new altar ...

Conference Board of Pension presents proposal for Retiree Healthcare Trust

published 1/31/2022
The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits will present a proposal for a Retiree Healthcare Trust during the upcoming 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, set for June 5-8 in Columbus. This proposal aims to secure healthcare coverage for retired clergy and conference staff of the South Georgia Conference no matter what happens in the denomination or annual conference.  “You are probably aware of the discussions going on in our denomination about what our future looks like - ...

Feeling like a failure

published 1/31/2022
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Anyone who has been in ministry for much time at all has likely experienced their share of failure – or at least what felt like failure. Lately, I (Jay) have been feeling like a failure and I am finding real value in embracing those feelings. Stay with me for a moment. Feelings are not always accurately connected to facts. It is possible to have feelings that are not supported by facts at all, but that doesn’t negate the feelings. I can ...

General Conference Update and FAQs

published 1/31/2022
In a November 18 virtual meeting, the Commission on General Conference – the group tasked with planning The United Methodist Church’s quadrennial global gathering – said they would decide in the first three months of 2022 whether The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly can go ahead as scheduled Aug. 29-Sept. 6 in Minneapolis. General Conference is the only body that can officially speak for the church. The coming gathering has 862 voting delegates – 55.9% come from the U.S., 32% ...

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