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, 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 ...

Colquitt UMC Ministers with the Poor and the Prisoner

published 2/10/2011
Submitted by Mr. Terry Toole, member of Colquitt UMC At a time when it seems we might need to watch out for ourselves in these uncertain days, there is a happening in the small, rural town of Colquitt that is setting the example for others to follow. It not only serves local people, it reaches over into other counties to help people. The program is the CUMC Food Bank under the direction of Allen and Alice Cobb, volunteers from the church.  If you ride by the Colquitt United Methodist Church on ...

2012 General Conference elections process defined

published 2/7/2011
The South Georgia Conference will elect its delegation to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences during the 2011 Annual Conference Session in Tifton, June 5-9. The General Conference is the global gathering of The United Methodist Church where mission and ministry priorities are established and The Book of Discipline is reviewed for possible revisions. The General Conference is the policy setting body of United Methodism. The 2012 General Conference will be held April 24-May 4, 2012, in...

Veteran minister, counselor publishes book

published 2/1/2011
Dr. Edwin Chase’s ministry has taken many forms over the years:  preacher, counselor, chaplain, columnist and now, author. Dr. Chase’s recently released book, “God’s Relentless Love,” combines insight, inspiration and humor gleaned from his more than 35 years of practice as a minister and pastoral counselor.  Having served at Americus’ Morningside United Methodist Church and Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah, Dr. Chase realized his calling into ministry while working as a ...

Bishop Marion Edwards remembered as 'banner-carrier for God'

published 1/31/2011
Bishop Marion Edwards, retired as a United Methodist bishop and pastor, died early Monday morning, January 24, at Columbus Hospice House. His most recent pulpit was at St. Luke United Methodist Church, where he served from 1988-1996. He was bishop of the North Carolina Conference, based in Raleigh, from 1996-2004. He was 71. “Bishop Marion Edwards was a banner-carrier for God – a man who was deeply loved by his family, St. Luke Church, the South Georgia Annual Conference, the Raleigh episcopal ...

Funeral for Bishop Edwards (Jan 29) - live stream & clergy participation

published 1/27/2011
St. Luke UMC will make the funeral of Bishop Marion Edwards available on their website for live video streaming.  Please go to their website at and click on the “Listen Live to Bishop Edwards’ Service” link.  The funeral will be Saturday, January 29 at 11:00 a.m.   Dear Clergypersons of the South Georgia Conference and the North Carolina Conference: For the funeral of Bishop Marion Edwards, the clergy will wear black robes and white stoles. They will meet and change in the Shaw...

Bishop Marion Edwards passes away early Monday, Jan. 24

published 1/24/2011
Retired United Methodist Bishop Marion Edwards, 71, who led the denomination’s North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference for eight years, died Jan. 24 at Columbus (Ga.) Hospice House after a battle with cancer. He was remembered as an ardent supporter of mission work by those who knew him. “Bishop Edwards brought a passion for mission, and he led the denomination’s campaign for the establishment of a seminary in Russia,” said Bishop Alfred Wesley Gwinn Jr., current leader of the North Carolina...

Deacon called from one life to another

published 1/21/2011
God’s plan for Stacey Harwell came as a surprise to her. “If you would have told me at the beginning of my time in college that I was going to be ordained in the Methodist Church, I would have laughed at you!” said the Rev. Harwell, 25, a deacon at Centenary United Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia. Harwell’s call into ministry didn’t lead to a pulpit but rather to a ministry that has “one foot in the world and one foot in the church.” “My calling to be a deacon in The United Methodist Church ...

Engaging in justice ministries to grow a Christlike world

published 1/21/2011
I hope you have been reading the South Georgia Advocate over the last year.  Many things impress me about the tremendous product, but one overwhelming impression from reading last year’s editions is how our local churches and conference ministries are faithfully and creatively engaged in justice ministries.     Justice ministries encompass everything that intentionally expresses God’s love and mercy to a broken world.  For many of us, we have thought of these ministries as “missions,” “...

Forest Hills UMC gives away 12 tons of food

published 1/21/2011
Just as God multiplied loaves and fish to feed 5,000, He multiplied tractor trailers full of food to feed 1,500. In early December, Rev. Jimmy Towson, Forest Hills United Methodist Church’s pastor, shared with his congregation his vision for the church’s annual Christmas project: to raise money to give away enough food to fill one tractor trailer.  Church members responded and were generous in their giving, donating $24,000 in just two weeks.  In total, more than $28,000 was donated for the ...

Do Justice: conference website to highlight justice ministries

published 1/13/2011
The Office of Connectional Ministries has launched a new section on the conference website that highlights the justice ministries flowing out of South Georgia’s congregations and ministries.  This is part of our 2011 emphasis called Do Justice.  “As Bishop King has so eloquently reminded us in his teaching and preaching, a holistic view of discipleship includes engaging in justice ministries,” said Rev. Doreen Smalls, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries and Conference Global Missions ...

Instructions for Petitions to General Conference

published 1/13/2011
United Methodist individuals or organizations interested in sending petitions to the 2012 General Conference for consideration should take note. The General Conference, which meets every four years and is made up of delegates from United Methodist Annual and Central Conferences throughout the world, is the only body that may officially speak for the United Methodist Church.  The decisions General Conference makes help create The United Methodist Book of Discipline, the book of rules and ...

Two Confirmation Retreats set for March

published 1/12/2011
Two weekend-long Confirmation Retreats are scheduled for 2011, the first from March 4-6 and the second from March 18-20.      Designed for students in the sixth grade and above, the “Join the Journey” Confirmation Retreats will provide churches of all sizes an opportunity to connect with others through worship, study, and fellowship.  They will also include large group gatherings around the church seasons and breakout sessions with topics of grace, United Methodist History and United Methodist ...

Haiti Earthquake Recovery: One Year Later

published 1/10/2011
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti that occurred Jan. 12, 2010, The United Methodist Church is reminding people that much work remains to be done in Haiti and there are ways they can help. An advertising campaign running now through January 23 includes television ads on CNN and Fox News Channel, online advertising, text messaging, and outdoor billboards in selected cities. The ads invite viewers to go to to find out how to get involved. In ...


published 1/7/2011
Hello, Beautiful People of South Georgia. As we take those first steps into a new year we do so hopefully, with a sense of gratitude and great expectations. Some are grateful for the gift of life and hopeful that life will be more because unfulfilled dreams are realized. I would not be surprised that for many, the first days of a new year are met with a sigh of relief simply because one has survived another year. On the other hand, there are those who are so excited about the promises that the ...

Allentown UMCs Agape Stitchers travel to Dominican Republic

published 1/3/2011
There’s an old quote that says, “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” They’re not feeding or fishing, but the women of Allentown United Methodist Church’s Agape Stitchers are living out the proverb in their own way. Since August 2003, this group of women in their 60s to late 90s has sewn more than 5,700 girl’s dresses, almost 3,000 boy’s shorts/shirt outfits, and 600 baby blankets, all of which have been sent to needy children around...

Disciple Covenant Conference aims to help groups make disciples

published 1/3/2011
In his ongoing effort to focus on disciple making and growing a Christlike world, South Georgia area resident Bishop James R. King, Jr. invites individuals and groups to join him at the inaugural Disciple Covenant Conference. Scheduled for February 11-12 at the Macon Centreplex, the Disciple Covenant Conference will be a time of developing and sharpening discipleship efforts.   “Our hope and prayer is that people will be moved to come and attend the Disciple Covenant Conference so that they can ...

LifeSpring UMC, Statesboro District partner to give water well in memory of Rev. Joe Roberson

published 1/3/2011
In Kenya, where inconsistent rains and prolonged droughts are causing severe water shortages, wells dug by Unto the Least of His ministries and its partners are helping families overcome poverty, disease and death. LifeSpring United Methodist Church and the Statesboro District are partnering with Unto the Least of His ministries to help change the future for 3,000 to 5,000 people in northern Kenya’s Samburu region.  In doing so, they are also honoring the life of beloved pastor and former ...

A different kind of Advent celebration in Brunswick

published 12/15/2010
The Advent season, once a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, has, to many, become a season of stress, shopping and spending. Six churches in the Brunswick area are conspiring to change that, vowing to celebrate Advent differently this year.  Their “Advent Celebration” is a local version of the international Advent Conspiracy movement, which has more than 1,000 churches in 17 countries participating as “co-conspirators” in justice projects around the world. Brunswick First, College Place,...

Harvest Church launches satellite campus and fifth service

published 12/15/2010
Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Byron and one of the fastest-growing Protestant churches in the United States, has recently added a second campus and fifth weekend worship service. Located at the Houston Lakes Stadium Cinemas in Kathleen, about four miles away from Harvest Church’s main campus, the new Kathleen location is a throwback to Harvest’s early days – before moving to their current location on Highway 41 in Byron, Harvest Church met for five years in the Galleria ...

Crocheting chains of love

published 12/1/2010
Blessed be the tie that binds, but blessed also are the “chains” that connect one person to another. Nearly every Tuesday afternoon, a small group of women gather at Morgan's Chapel United Methodist Church in Townsend.  For about three hours, the ladies knit, crochet, fellowship and create chains of love. The chain stitch, the foundation for all crochet stitches, is the beginning stitch in almost every crochet pattern.  They are used over and over again as the women lovingly crochet and knit ...

Perry UMC's Snax Sax helps keep kids from going hungry

published 12/1/2010
  For less than the cost of a cup of premium coffee, a child won’t have to go through the weekend hungry. Many families in South Georgia and across the United States rely on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Free and Reduced Lunch program to feed their children breakfast and lunch during the school week. But what happens on the weekends? Some children, not having eaten enough food during the weekend, show up hungry at school Monday morning. Through their Brian Bowen’s Snax Sax program, Perry ...

Giving thanks with a grateful heart

published 11/22/2010
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we pause to give thanks.  Throughout the year, we are focusing on diving into the scriptures and “sowing the word” in our hearts and lives.  We brought the two ideas together and asked United Methodists around the Conference the question, “What scripture helps you best express your gratitude to God?” Here are their delightful and insightful responses. May they help us all take a moment to reflect on those things for which we are most thankful. Rev. M. ...

Nepsey-Warren UMC teams with America's Second Harvest to feed hundreds

published 11/22/2010
In times of trouble, death, turmoil and even during elections, the church has been the place where people gather and to which they turn when in need. And now in Montgomery County, when people need food they again turn to the church. Nepsey-Warren United Methodist Church has partnered with America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia to provide food for needy area residents.  Since January 2010, Nepsey-Warren UMC and America’s Second Harvest’s Mobile Food Pantry have sorted, bagged and distributed...

Charlie's Place feeds the hungry and heals the hurting

published 11/18/2010
Maybe there is such thing as a free lunch. Every Tuesday at noon, a diverse crowd gathers inside Darien United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall, which has been transformed for the day into “Charlie’s Place.”  The crowd varies, but often includes a mom with her four homeschooled children, an elderly woman, a McIntosh County judge, a local magistrate officer, a young couple and an Episcopal priest.  They’ve all come to Charlie’s Place for the same thing – good food and fellowship. Begun on ...

David Johnson named President of Association of Professional Chaplains

published 11/12/2010
The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), a national organization of professional chaplaincy care providers, has named the Reverend David C. Johnson DMin BCC president. Rev. Johnson begins his two-year term on November 1 as president of the association, which has over 4,000 members and is the chief multifaith certifying body of the chaplaincy profession. “APC is a growing and vibrant organization that is moving into a leadership role within the spiritual care field,” says Johnson. “Our ...

All God's creatures

published 11/9/2010
Dogs and cats and bearded dragons, oh my! On Saturday, October 16, Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon held a Blessing of the Animals service for church and community members and their pets.  While most of the 60 or so attendees brought their dog or cat – about 30 pets in all – one young girl brought her pet lizard, a bearded dragon.  A first for the church, the service was an opportunity for the community to bring their pets to receive a special blessing in accordance with the Oct....

No Change in Number of Delegates for 2012 General Conference

published 11/9/2010
The secretary of the General Conference, Rev. L. Fitzgerald Reist, announced Friday that the number of delegates for the 2012 General Conference will be near the 1,000-delegate limit.  "Although a variety of opinions have been expressed, I've heard strong pleas to retain similar numbers as before, and I believe any significant reduction in the number of delegates should occur in concert with a more comprehensive look at the whole process,” said Rev. Reist. “It’s essential that we not undermine ...

United Methodist Women "Get Together"

published 11/8/2010
Nearly 300 women from around the South Georgia Annual Conference gathered together for the 38th annual meeting of the South Georgia United Methodist Women. Meeting under the theme, “Let’s Get Together,” on Saturday, October 16, UMW from across the conference celebrated 141 years of mission and ministry at Dublin’s Pine Forest United Methodist Church. “What do we want to be next?  What do we want people to say about United Methodist Women by 2020?” asked keynote speaker Harriett Olson, deputy ...

Lake Junaluska Assembly Names New Executive Director

published 11/7/2010
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Dr. John “Jack” L. Ewing, Jr. has been named the new Executive Director of Lake Junaluska Assembly Inc.  Dr. Ewing will begin his new duties on January 1st, 2011, and fills a position that is being vacated by the retirement of Rev. Jimmy L. Carr.  Ewing currently serves as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Evangelism, which is also based at Lake Junaluska, NC.  “The entire Board of Directors is excited about the future and believes that Jack brings a passion for...

Court acts on delegate, clergy issues

published 11/4/2010
Regional United Methodist officials, questioning how much authority a key church executive should have in setting the number of delegates to the denomination’s lawmaking body, may have to wait and see. The Judicial Council at its fall meeting ruled it had “no jurisdiction” to act on a request from the South Carolina Annual (regional) Conference inquiring about the General Conference secretary’s authority to adjust the number of delegates participating in the legislative gathering. The General ...

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