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Q&A with Rev. Denise Walton - Dublin District Superintendent

published 9/16/2011
ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. WALTON:  I was born in the inner city of Chicago but grew up in Columbus, Georgia. My mother, Minnie Lee Harris, moved back home to care for her mother, Precious Amber Johnson, after she had a stroke. My five siblings and I grew up caring for my grandmother. I believe it taught me to be compassionate and concerned for those unable to care for themselves. I grew up in the East Wynnton area of Columbus not far from ...

9/11 healing aided by United Methodist funds

published 9/7/2011
A UMNS Report By Linda Bloom* 7:00 A.M. EDT Sept. 7, 2011 In 2001 the United Methodist Committee on Relief established a “listening post” at John Street United Methodist Church just blocks from ground zero. A banner expressing support hangs outside the church. A UMNS 2001 file photo by John C. Goodwin. View in Photo Gallery As a professional case manager, Catherine Earl does not routinely keep in touch with former clients she has assisted through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. ...

News from your South Georgia delegation - Sept. 2

published 9/2/2011
By Rev. Robert Beckum* Your South Georgia Conference delegation will meet on Friday, October 21, for an overview of General and Jurisdictional Conference issues. We have invited representatives from the General Board of Pensions to brief delegates on the significant changes proposed for our current clergy pension plan.  The first thing that strikes me about the upcoming General Conference is the profile and makeup of delegations, comprising the voting members for 2012. Of the 988 voting ...

OKGO: Youth Mission in Brunswick

published 9/2/2011
By David Herndon When thinking of teenagers and summer, the images that often come to mind usually involve a beach, a theme park, a couch or someone sleeping until noon.  But on Monday, June 20, 50 middle-school and high-school students from three different churches in Glynn County came together for something completely different.  OKGO was a mission project that involved students and leaders from St. Simons Island’s Wesley United Methodist Church and The Chapel and College Place United ...

Q&A with Rev. Benjy Varnell - Waycross District Superintendent

published 9/2/2011
ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. VARNELL: I was born in Savannah, and have always lived in South Georgia. My father was a pastor in the South Georgia Conference for almost 50 years, so I have lived in several South Georgia towns.  As a preacher's kid, I moved in the itinerant system, and continue to do so as a pastor in the Conference. I believe, as the Discipline puts it, that we as pastors are to “offer ourselves without reserve to be appointed and...

Rev. Watson releases eighth book; benefits Macon Outreach

published 9/2/2011
By Kara Witherow, Editor Retired South Georgia pastor Rev. Hamp Watson celebrated his 80th birthday on Thursday, August 25.  To commemorate the day, he released his eighth book, “About Those Special Days.”  The book, which benefits Macon Outreach at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, focuses on special days that the church typically observes and celebrates – days listed on the church lectionary and days not listed. Christmas, All Saints Sunday and Easter are commonly observed, but days ...

The Methodist Home mends broken childhoods

published 9/2/2011
By Kara Witherow, Editor Trevor Rose turned 14 the day he came to The Methodist Home for Children and Youth. Removed from his home at 13 because of neglect and abuse, Rose was shuffled between group homes before finally being placed at The Methodist Home’s St. Marys campus. Unsure of what to expect when he arrived, Rose was greeted with a birthday party, complete with gifts, a cake and ice cream. Because it was his birthday, the Methodist Home staff went above and beyond to make Rose feel ...

United Methodists assess Irene's toll

published 8/30/2011
By Linda Bloom* 7:00 P.M. EDT August 29, 2011 | NEW YORK (UMNS) Satellite image of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27, two hours after it made landfall on Cape Lookout, N.C. Irene's outer bands had already extended into New England. Photo courtesy of NASA/NOAA GOES Project. In the six years that the Rev. Dale Ashby has lived in Downsville, the town in the New York Catskills region has flooded four or five times. This week, as the remnants of Hurricane Irene soaked an already sodden landscape, it’s ...

Lyman Coleman to lead Eagles' Retreat

published 8/17/2011
The South Georgia Eagles, a group of retired South Georgia United Methodist pastors and spouses, will gather November 7-9, 2011, at Epworth By The Sea, for their annual retreat. Rev. Dave and Kay Hanson, Eagles’ co-presidents, are happy to announce that Rev. Lyman Coleman, a world-wide leader in small-group ministries, will lead the retreat. “Lyman Coleman has more fun leading a retreat than anyone I know!” Rev. Hanson said. Dr. Coleman has trained more than 500,000 small group leaders in his ...

Open Door Institute's culinary program transforms lives

published 8/17/2011
By Kara Witherow, Advocate Editor In early 2010, Lenore Fox was unemployed and homeless. Destitute and depleted, she turned to Columbus’ Open Door Community House for help.  Through Open Door’s Transition Home for Women, Fox found a warm bed and a place to call home.  Coming to Open Door with just the clothes on her back, Fox also wanted and needed to find gainful employment in order to become self sufficient. When she heard about the Open Door Institute, a life skills and culinary arts ministry...

Q&A with Dr. Wayne Moseley - Americus District Superintendent

published 8/17/2011
ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? DR. MOSELEY: I’m from Reidsville, Georgia, in Tattnall County. I grew up on a farm right outside of Reidsville and have a long heritage there. My parents were always active in church so I have a strong spiritual heritage there, too. I never thought I’d be a minister, but God had other plans. After I moved away and went to college for a while my father died and I came back to Reidsville. In the process of that, I became ...

South Georgia United Methodist Women prepare for annual meeting

published 8/17/2011
On Saturday, October 15, United Methodist Women from around the conference will gather together to celebrate 39 years of mission work in South Georgia and around the world. Meeting at Macon’s Vineville United Methodist Church under the theme, “Finding Peace in a Busy World,” this year’s annual meeting and celebration will feature the work of the Vashti Center in Thomasville, Ga., one of the South Georgia mission agencies supported by the Women’s Division. Cathy Snook, Vashti’s director of ...

Set off on a great adventure at this year's KidzQuest

published 8/10/2011
CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND BROCHURE Grab a compass, jump in the Jeep and join the journey at this year’s KidzQuest retreat, set for September 30 through October 2 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. Designed for students in the third through sixth grades, this annual children’s retreat promises to be high-octane, fast-paced and bursting with learning, worship and fun.     This year’s theme, “The Great Adventure,” will explore how a believer’s relationship with God can ...

What Facebook can teach us about ministry

published 8/5/2011
By Rev. Ben Gosden It’s become everyone’s guilty pleasure. It’s that one place you go when you don’t feel like working or paying attention and you just want to see what’s going on in the world. It’s become one of the biggest time-wasters in life and yet, it’s also become one of the first places where we share and announce life events. Relationships are no longer “official” until they are announced here. Acquaintances and friendships are not legitimized until they are “official” here. Job ...

'Bold' changes proposed for church structure

published 8/3/2011
By Heather Hahn* 7:00 P.M. EDT July 29, 2011 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) Members of the Connectional Table, meeting July 25-28, endorsed five proposals that would change The United Methodist Church’s structure and potentially its funding. East Ohio Area Bishop John L. Hopkins, the Connectional Table’s chairperson, called the proposals “far-reaching.” “What we’re trying to do is simplify the church and integrate it more,” he said. He added that the changes are intended to help the general church’s ...

Gateway Community UMC reaches out in Rincon

published 8/2/2011
By Kara Witherow, Editor This ain’t your mama’s church. With advertising materials that show a man’s heavily tattooed arm pointing to a passage in the Bible and copy that reads, “Same Bible, Different Church,” Gateway Community United Methodist Church hopes to attract people who might be more like the man in the photo than the “typical” churchgoer. “Our marketing targets those who might not feel comfortable in a more traditional church setting,” said Rev. Andy Lamon, pastor of Gateway Community ...

Q&A with Rev. Tommy Martin - Macon District Superintendent

published 8/2/2011
ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. MARTIN: Macon is my home.  I spent the first 17 years of my life here in a great neighborhood in Shirley Hills with lots of kids and historic Alexander III School.  Church was also a big part of our lives then. My parents were married at Mulberry; I was baptized and confirmed there. I participated in the great city-wide youth programs offered at Mulberry. Those times were foundational for me. Church, community, ...

Reading program helps church connect with community

published 8/2/2011
By Christie del Amo Johnson, Vineville United Methodist Church* While his friends are outside playing during the summer, every Tuesday and Thursday 8-year-old Artez Pennymon has been hitting the books, or one book in particular: “Super Fudge” by Judy Bloom. “We’re practicing reading,” he says. “It’s like school, but better.” Artez and more than a dozen other students are part of the Allen Academy, a summer reading program in the Pleasant Hill community of Macon.  Housed at Greater Allen Chapel ...

Training Session Planned for Prayer Ministry to Support General Conference

published 7/28/2011
GBOD — A national Prayer Ministry Training session for all who are helping to make prayer the foundation of the 2012 General Conference will be offered by The Upper Room Ministries on Aug. 27 in Orlando. Rev. Tom Albin, dean of The Upper Room Ministries, a division of the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), said the training session comes in response to the call from Bishop Larry Goodpaster, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, to pray for the General Conference, which will ...

Albany First UMC team helps rebuild roof, restore hope

published 7/13/2011
By Kara Witherow, Editor For the first time in almost two months, the Slay family has a roof over their heads. Seven weeks after a tornado ripped the roof off their Yantley, Ala. home, the blue tarps that covered their storm-damaged shelter have been removed, thanks, in large part, to 12 hard-working men and women from Albany, Ga. A disaster-relief team from Albany First United Methodist Church traveled to Yantley, a rural area in southwestern Alabama just 25 miles east of Meridian, Miss., from ...

Q & A with Rev. Mike Huling - Savannah District Superintendent

published 7/13/2011
ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. HULING: I grew up in Macon, Georgia, except for a two-year hiatus below Miami.  My dad worked for the Air Force, but we generally stayed in Macon.  We went to Southside and then to Aldersgate; Aldersgate was my home church through my teen years. I’m a South Georgia Methodist – it’s in my blood. ADVOCATE: How did you get started in ministry?  REV. HULING: I went to the University of Georgia and graduated with a B.S. in...

Equip yourself for effective ministry with Pathways to a Healthy Church

published 6/29/2011
Churches looking for new ideas, networking opportunities and practical, quality training for their pastors, parishioners, staff and leaders need look no further than this year’s Pathways to a Healthy Church conference. Scheduled for Saturday, August 20 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Warner Robins, the training event will offer participants nearly 40 workshops, plus four all-day workshops, to choose from, each designed to help congregations become healthier and to fulfill the mission of ...

Join Bishop King during Bishop's Hour this fall

published 6/29/2011
Bishop James R. King, Jr., episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, will again be visiting all nine districts this fall for the 2011 Bishop’s Hour.    These Bishop’s Hours are designed to be an intentional time for Bishop King to be in each district sharing with both laity and clergy.    “The purpose of the Bishop's Hour is for me to come out and be with the people, to draw close to them and to teach and to care for them,” said Bishop King.  “The role of a Bishop is to continue to learn...

News from your South Georgia delegation

published 6/29/2011
By Rev. Robert Beckum It is an honor to serve in the 2012 South Georgia delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference. As Larry Price and I lead the delegation’s work and preparation for these conferences, we want to stress the representative nature of our delegation. It is our responsibility to faithfully represent the churches of the South Georgia Annual Conference. In order to be faithful in our representation, we need your help and your input. The General Conference is the top ...

Pastors' kids minister, build relationships at summer camps

published 6/29/2011
By Kara Witherow, Editor There are a few universal truths for United Methodist preachers’ kids: whenever the church doors are open, they’re at church; if there’s a death or a funeral during a family vacation, the vacation is interrupted or put on hold; and goodbyes are said and new friends are made every few years as families move to new towns and new appointments. Those unique aspects of family life often bond pastors’ kids to each other. Another bond that has united five South Georgia pastors...

Q&A with Rev. Henry Bass - Valdosta District Superintendent

published 6/29/2011
This is the first in a six-part series that will introduce the new District Superintendents. _______________________ ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. BASS: I was born in Athens, Ala.  My father was from St. Cloud/Kissimmee, Fla., and my mother was from Athens, Ala. At childbirth I was given to my grandparents until the age of nine because my father was in the war and contracted tuberculosis and came back and gave it to my mother.  So at birth I was ...

Towson joins Connectional Ministries team

published 6/29/2011
Macon native Jim Towson, Jr. has joined the South Georgia Conference Office of Connectional Ministries staff as Associate Director for Life Span Ministries.  Towson, who began on June 1, succeeds Rev. Adam Ricker, who has been appointed to start a new church in Richmond Hill.  "We are tremendously blessed to have Jim join our team,” said Dr. Brad Brady, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries.  “As expected, Jim is already fully immersed with our summer camp staff in creating an ...

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 ( 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 ...

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