News

Let justice roll down like waters

published 10/18/2021
To the South Georgia Conference, As jury selection and the trial for those accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery begins today, it brings up different emotions and feelings in all of us. The video and story surrounding Ahmaud’s murder captured the nation’s attention. During the trial, the nation and the world will be tuning in. Brunswick, Georgia will be the stage as the trial progresses and an eventual verdict is reached. So many lives have been affected. More will be as the trial unfolds, ...



South Georgia UMW gather virtually for annual meeting

published 10/18/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Around kitchen tables and from living room couches, South Georgia’s United Methodist Women gathered for their annual meeting Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Apart but together via computer screen, they celebrated 151 years of mission and ministry during their first virtual annual meeting. “Women, children, and youth all over the world who depend on us for many services are able to receive the help they need because you have been faithful,” said Carol Banks, South Georgia ...



Statesboro First UMC pastor, children’s minister dance to raise money for local domestic violence shelter

published 10/17/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dr. Scott Hagan is a pro at dancing through tough theological issues, but on Nov. 18 and Nov. 21 he’s going to put his actual dance moves to the test as he struts his stuff on stage in front of hundreds of Statesboro friends and family. Dr. Hagan, senior pastor of Statesboro First United Methodist Church, and his dance partner, Eastyn Durrence, a Georgia Southern University student and former competitive dancer, are one of 10 teams in this year’s Dancing with the ...



The railroad ties that bind

published 10/14/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD In 1834, a survey was made between Savannah and Macon for the purpose of establishing a rail route between the two Georgia cities. In 1836, the Central Railroad was granted a charter and the building of the railroad, starting at Savannah, began at once. It took several years to build, and in 1843, the first passenger car arrived at the temporary depot set up outside of Macon. The original road was 190 miles long and, at the time it was completed, was the ...

Our Connection Matters: Advent Resources

published 10/7/2021
'Tis the season...almost! Sunday, November 28th marks the beginning of Advent, and as we prepare to journey through the season, we hope the resources provided in this edition will help jumpstart your planning and give you fresh ideas. As you begin preparations for the Advent season, consider the following resources for new ideas.  Nurture:  Come Home for Christmas - 2021 worship series from Discipleship Ministries Podcast: Worship Matters Episode 51 – Join the worship team from Discipleship...



Begun by UM Sunday school class, Lawson Neel MedBank serves Thomasville citizens

published 10/4/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Millions of Americans regularly have to choose between basic necessities and their medications: buy food or heart medication? Pay the rent or purchase insulin? A recent Gallup poll shows that nearly 18 million Americans can’t afford at least one prescription medication in a three-month span.  Like Eliquis, a widely prescribed medication that helps lower the risk of stroke and blood clots and costs about $600 a month. Or Ozempic, a diabetes medication that costs nearly ...



Connecting, communicating, collaborating are focus of Conference, district lay leaders

published 10/4/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Communication and connection. That’s the focus for J. Knapp, who just completed his first year as the South Georgia Conference’s lay leader. Knapp’s goal – to train and develop district lay leaders who, in turn, will train local church lay leaders – will be realized through increased communication and better connection with district and church leaders, he said. “The role of the lay leader in the local church is to help strengthen and develop the local laity,” he ...

Encounter Youth Retreat moved to Jekyll Island, set for Nov. 19-21

published 10/4/2021
Encounter, the annual youth retreat sponsored by South Georgia's Connectional Ministries, is set for November 19-21 at Camp Jekyll 4-H Center on Jekyll Island. Designed for 6th - 12th grade students, Encounter will offer passionate worship, relevant Bible study, and a hope-filled time away in community with other teens.  Online registration is available through November 10. Churches will register as a group. The cost for this event is $150 per person which includes programming, insurance, food,...

Go beyond what is asked of you

published 10/4/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In a video message to the South Georgia Conference, Bishop David Graves spoke about the On Boarding process, how it has helped jump start his time in South Georgia, and how, even during these challenging times, South Georgia United Methodists can be witnesses for Christ each day. Watch it here.  Read the full transcript of his video message: Well, it’s just wonderful to be with the wonderful people of the South Georgia Conference. And I’m starting my second month ...

Kate Tyler joins episcopal office staff as executive administrative assistant

published 10/4/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Upon Bobbi Googe’s retirement Oct. 8, Kate Tyler will join the South Georgia Conference’s episcopal office staff as executive administrative assistant.  Tyler succeeds Googe, who, after three years serving in the episcopal office, will begin a new role as a full-time grandmother.  Tyler currently serves as administrative assistant to both Conference Pastoral Counselor Rev. Deborah Wight-Knight and Assistant to the Bishop for Ministerial Services Dr. Jay Harris.  ...

Disagreeing with John Wesley

published 10/3/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON We must remember that John Wesley lived a long time ago and some of his ideas seem strange to modern ears. I find John’s idea about the cause and cure of earthquakes especially disturbing. In his sermon on this topic, he states that God causes earthquakes in order to punish sinful mankind for our sins. I don’t believe that. In this sermon he describes in horrifying detail three powerful earthquakes in Sicily (1692, where 54 cities were destroyed), Jamaica (June ...

Tips for including church members in your service

published 10/3/2021
Laity Sunday is Oct. 17, 2021 By Darby Jones, United Methodist Communications  The word laity is from the Greek word, laos, meaning “people of God.” It is used to describe members of a congregation or parish who are not a part of the clergy. By letting laity plan services and offer ideas for worship, the pastor and worship team members can get a little respite, and participating members may find a deeper connection within the church. Laity Sunday is a specific day to include church members in...

South Georgia ERTs needed in Louisiana

published 9/24/2021
In response to the devastation left by Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas, the Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church is now extending the invitation to South Georgia Conference early response teams (ERTs). This is a great opportunity to use your training! More information



Conference’s assistant disaster response coordinator lives faith through service

published 9/20/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Whether pressure washing sidewalks at Dooley Campground, setting up a collection and distribution warehouse after a catastrophic hurricane, or clearing limbs after a tornado, Bob Grieco is a helper. It’s just who he is, how he’s wired. “I want to help, so that’s what I do. I’m pretty good at organizing things and I feel like I’m helping people,” said Grieco, who serves as South Georgia’s assistant disaster response coordinator. That’s why Grieco, an Air Force and ...



New book by Bishop Looney shares humor, inspirational stories from his life and ministry

published 9/20/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Those who know Bishop Richard Looney know he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he is serious about Jesus. Well-known for his humor, Bishop Looney, who served the South Georgia Conference from 1998 until his retirement in 2000, has written a book of “holy hilarity” and inspirational stories. “The purpose is to bring a little joy in the midst of all this darkness we’re going through these days,” he said. “I’ve always thought a little humor is helpful.” All proceeds ...



“Here Endeth the First Lesson”

published 9/17/2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Cannon Dick Sheppard was the minister at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in the heart of London right after World War l. It is reported that when he died, quite suddenly, one of the morning newspapers printed a large photograph of his pulpit. There it was, the same as ever, but empty. However, the Bible on the pulpit was still open with a ray of light across it. Beneath the picture were these words: “Here endeth the first lesson.” The implication here, and rightly so, is that there ...

Universal Truths

published 9/16/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Primarily, Christian love is gentleness. In other words, it is self-restraint. It is the ability and the power to check or to hold under mastery those natural tendencies of self-assertion which come boiling up out of our hearts. It is keeping pride and fretfulness and malice down. It is fairness of judgement. It is a kindly allowance for the mistakes of the other man. It is consideration for the feelings of people. That is love. Bishop Arthur J. Moore The ...

Why the vision statement doesn’t get a rise

published 9/16/2021
By Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services Sometime in the early ‘90s I began to learn about how critical it was for a church to have a vision statement. Somewhere in the intersection of business, academia, and the practical administration of the church the idea of a compelling mission or vision statement surfaced in the minds of pastors and other church leaders. Our annual conference got behind the idea, and soon we were merrily discussing the difference between a mission ...

Reclaiming our childlikeness

published 9/6/2021
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN When was the last time you splashed in a puddle? How about the last time you danced in the grocery aisle when your favorite song came on? When was the last time you laughed to the point of tears at something ridiculously silly?  If you’re scratching your head to answer these questions, you might be too “adultish.” I know what you’re thinking: “Ben, you’re just making words up now.” Yes, I am. But hang with me. Adultish is a term I’ve found that refers to our ...

A great adventure

published 9/3/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In an introductory greeting to the South Georgia Conference, Bishop David Graves said he looks forward to serving with the clergy and laity of the conference. “Thank you for allowing us to come and be a part of you. We look forward to our adventure together; it should be a great adventure.” Watch his video greeting here.

Brunswick First UMC team focuses on creation care, conservation

published 9/3/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Wednesday Night Suppers are nearly as Methodist as the itineracy. But in many United Methodist churches, when the food comes out, so do piles of plastic and Styrofoam. Foam plates, plastic bowls, and foam cups. And it all ends up in the trashcan and then in a landfill. Looking around her church’s Wednesday Night Supper, Kathryn Schiliro wanted to do better. “I noticed that we were using a lot of Styrofoam. Everybody likes coffee and we use a lot of Styrofoam cups,” ...



South Georgia UMW stays connected virtually

published 9/3/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor As women of deep faith who put their beliefs and love into action on behalf of others, the South Georgia Conference’s United Methodist Women weren’t going to let a global pandemic or a capsized cargo ship off the coast of St. Simons Island thwart their mission, fellowship, and spiritual growth efforts. But after nearly a year of cancelled meetings, mission studies, and retreats, they knew they had to pivot and think differently about how to gather. And now, meeting ...



Bishop’s Initiative for Children and Poverty grant deadline is Oct. 15

published 9/2/2021
The South Georgia Conference, through the Office of Connectional Ministries and the Conference Outreach Team, is offering grants of up to $2,000 to local churches for ministries focused on children and poverty. The application deadline is October 15, 2021. Projects must be completed between December 2021 and July 2022. Ministries or projects may be ongoing or new. “It is exciting to think about funding these projects which can have such a helpful impact,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of ...

BOTH/AND webinar is next week!

published 9/2/2021
After more than a year and a half of hybrid worship, many churches feel a mix of exhilaration and exhaustion when thinking about continuing to offer both online and in-person options for worship. Now more than ever, both are needed to reach people for Christ, church leaders say. Join Connectional Ministries and Jason Moore for a follow up to last year’s popular BOTH/AND webinar. BOTH/AND: To Be Continued will focus on why hybrid worship should carry on, how to continue to iterate, and will ...

Wesley gives advice on dealing with the public

published 9/2/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In his sermon, “Visiting the Sick,” John Wesley gives some good advice on dealing with the public. He says that when preparing to go visit the sick we should first say our prayers and ask God to cleanse us from any pride and give us a spirit of meekness and gentleness, of patience and longsuffering, that we may never be angry or discouraged at whatever treatment, rough or smooth, kind or unkind, we may meet with. He reminds us not to be surprised at their ...

Q & A with Bishop David Graves

published 9/1/2021
Episcopal leader of the South Georgia Area As Bishop Graves began his service as the new episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference in 2021, the Advocate asked him a series of questions to get to know him and his guiding principles. ADVOCATE: Welcome to South Georgia, Bishop Graves! We’ve watched you lead and serve our neighbors in the Alabama-West Florida Conference for the past five years. What are your plans and goals as you begin this new, unique season?  BISHOP GRAVES: I plan to ...



Hurricane Ida Update: Wait, Pray, Give, and Prepare

published 8/30/2021
We watched and prayed as the powerful Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday. Our best response today is to pray, wait, actively communicate, and prepare. We'll have more news later from this developing situation as we coordinate with UMCOR & partners in the affected areas to add action to our prayers. Early Response Teams As always, don’t self deploy to a disaster area. Our agreement with our UMC conferences & UMCOR is to wait until we are invited as the locals coordinate their disaster response. ...



Prayer and Giving: UMCOR supports Afghans in need

published 8/26/2021
In collaboration with long-standing partners, UMCOR is providing humanitarian relief and is prepared to assist with refugee resettlement.  For more than 40 years Afghanistan has been wracked by wars, civil strife, invasion and massive amounts of arms shipped in from outside forces. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with high infant and maternal mortality rates, and millions of Afghans have been displaced as refugees over these many years. Today the country is again at a point of ...



Earthquake in Haiti: UMCOR’s response and how you can help

published 8/24/2021
On Saturday, August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake produced widespread destruction in the western region of Haiti. As of August 20, more than 2,200 are dead and 12,000 injured, while hundreds more are still missing. According to Haitian Civil Protection, more than 37,300 homes have been destroyed and 46,000 have sustained damages, leaving thousands homeless.  Several hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, while those still operating are completely overwhelmed, lacking sufficient ...



SEJ College of Bishops appoints Dr. Brad Brady as SEJ Conference secretary

published 8/19/2021
During their virtual meeting Thursday, Aug. 19, the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops appointed Dr. Brad Brady to serve as the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference Secretary, effective upon current secretary Anne Travis’ retirement Sept. 1. This is not a new role for Dr. Brady, who retired in June as senior pastor of Perry United Methodist Church in the South Georgia Conference. In 2008, he was elected to serve as the 2009-2012 Jurisdictional Conference Secretary, with primary ...



Bishop Bryan retires after 46 years

published 8/16/2021
Next month, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan will retire after 46 years of ministry, the last five of which have been in the South Georgia Conference. As bishop, he has focused on helping all South Georgia United Methodists become Alive Together in Christ. We sat down with Bishop Bryan and talked with him about his ministry, his time in South Georgia, and what he looks forward to in retirement. It’s been said, “You can’t go home again,” but you have come home. Tell us about what it’s been like to come ...



Fifty years with Lawson: a blessing and a joy

published 8/16/2021
By Mrs. Sherrill Bryan 50 years ago, I slipped and almost fell in Cathedral Caverns. Fortunately for me, “he” was there to grab my hand. We have not let go of each other since that day. We married and immediately went to work together in ministry serving United Methodist churches and, in the end, the South Georgia Conference as bishop. Words are inadequate to express the loving hospitality, support, and fun we have had with these soulful people. Everywhere we served was a blessing and a joy. ...

Five words that are killing Methodism in South Georgia

published 8/16/2021
By Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services There are five little words that, when put together a certain way, are killing Methodism in South Georgia: We’re just a small church. These five words have acquired a certain power, and I am ready to see their influence taken away.  These five words can be used as a way to excuse, to defend, and to dismiss. But their real impact is felt when the words take the heart out of mission, evangelism, and worship. When given credibility, these...

Married States

published 8/16/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD “On many accounts I should recommend to you marriage, rather than celibacy. You are of a social temper, and would find in a married state the difficulties of working out your salvation exceedingly lessened, and your helps as much increased.” These are some of the last words that General James Oglethorpe spoke to Rev. Charles Wesley prior to Wesley leaving the American colonies forever. Intentions to marry off a single minister? Whoever heard of such a ...

Sexual Ethics Workshop details announced for 2021-2022 conference year

published 8/16/2021
Every three years, according to the South Georgia Conference Sexual Ethics policy, any person serving under appointment by the bishop (clergy, local pastors, extension ministers, appointed lay speakers) are required to attend a Sexual Ethics Workshop. These workshops are hosted by the South Georgia Conference Pastoral Counselor.  There will be three workshops offered between now and Annual Conference 2022 (September, February, and April.) The new format involves a series of seven videos with a ...

St. Luke UMC opens Ranger Outreach Center to serve military, veterans, families

published 8/16/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus stands just 10 miles from the fifth-largest military base in the world. With more than 25,000 active duty military and a total population of nearly 110,000 people, Fort Benning is an integral part of the Columbus community. That’s why St. Luke’s new Ranger Outreach Center (ROC), opened last month, is a crucial ministry, said director Ret. Maj. Tony Mayne. A true outreach center, the ROC, through its partnerships with ...



The Heart of the Gospel

published 8/16/2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When I was a young girl, I stood by my mother at the kitchen sink and watched her as she separated stalks of celery, washing each piece before she gave it to us at supper. She taught me that there is a part of the celery stalk that has a sweeter taste than the rest of the stalks. When all of the stalks are pulled away, there lies within the celery a beautiful surprise. It’s called the heart of the celery, and it has a deeper, sweeter taste than the rest of the ...

Alive Together at the Table: A response to the survey sent before AC2021

published 8/15/2021
Earlier this year, prior to the 2021 Annual Conference session, the Conference conducted a survey to gather feedback regarding the life of the local church and the upcoming General Conference session. More than 300 responses were received from clergy and laity across South Georgia, and the responses were and are being used to make decisions for the future of the Conference, Bishop Bryan said in a pastoral letter. “Thanks to each of you who responded,” he said. “You provided a wealth of insight...



A message from Bishop Bryan: Kelly Roberson to assume interim role as Connectional Ministries Team Leader

published 8/6/2021
Last month, Allison Lindsey announced she will be stepping down from her role as director of Connectional Ministries effective Aug. 15. As a new grandmother, she now has the opportunity to provide daily care for her 10-week-old grandson, Mac.  While we rejoice in this new role for Allison, we will miss her leadership as Director of Connectional Ministries. Allison has served South Georgia so effectively, both as a member of the Connectional Ministries staff and as director of that ministry for ...



Farewell reception for Bishop and Mrs. Bryan set for Aug. 15

published 8/5/2021
On Sunday, Aug. 15, the South Georgia Conference will host a farewell reception for Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and Mrs. Sherrill Bryan. The drop-in reception will be held from 3 – 5 p.m. at Vineville United Methodist Church in Macon. The reception is a time for the Annual Conference to gather together to thank Bishop and Mrs. Bryan for their five years of service to the South Georgia Annual Conference, said Rev. Jimmy Cason, who for five years served as the chairman of the Conference Committee on ...



Pay attention to the processes that keep us Alive Together in Christ

published 8/2/2021
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN To borrow a phrase from Charles Wesley, Sherrill and I wish we had “a thousand tongues to sing” our thanksgiving to God and to each of you for the privilege of serving the South Georgia Conference over the past five years. Your radical hospitality welcomed and supported us every step of the way. Thank you for the many ways you have included us, ministered to us, and blessed us. When we think of the South Georgia Conference we often quote Psalm 16:6, “the boundary...

Registration open for fall children's and youth retreats

published 8/2/2021
Registration is now open for KidzQuest, the Conference's annual fall children’s retreat for students in third through sixth grades, and Encounter, the Conference's annual youth retreat for students in sixth through twelfth grades.  KidzQuest is scheduled for October 15-17, 2021, at Camp Jekyll 4-H Center on Jekyll Island, Georgia for 3rd-6th grade students and is limited to 250 participants. Information I Register Encounter Youth Retreat, for 6th-12th grade students, will take place November ...

Wesley UMC hosts school uniform drive

published 8/2/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Wesley United Methodist Church is showing the love of Christ by serving. Each month this year, the congregation has chosen a mission project as a way to give back to the Macon community. For July, Wesley UMC collected gently used or new school uniforms and hosted a free uniform giveaway July 30 and July 31. Families were lined up, waiting for the doors to open, said Natalie Nicholl, a Wesley UMC member who helped spearhead the event. One family of five drove about 30 ...



After a year off, South Georgia UM churches resume VBS

published 8/1/2021
VBS is back. A summertime staple, vacation Bible school has returned to South Georgia United Methodist Churches. Most congregations canceled VBS last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as restrictions ease and more are vaccinated, many churches felt they could safely return to in-person vacation Bible school this summer. Richmond Hill United Methodist Church’s VBS has long been a huge outreach effort with hundreds of children and volunteers participating. Last year, church leaders ...



August 15 lesson: A Patient, Persevering Faith

published 8/1/2021
Click here for a print-friendly version A Patient, Persevering Faith Summer Quarter: Confident Hope Unit 3: Faith Gives Us Hope Sunday school lesson for the week of August 15, 2021 By Dr. Jay Harris Lesson Scripture: Hebrews 10:23-36 Hope Sustains Our Faith and Growth In this third unit, we continue to spend time learning not only how faith gives us hope, but also learning what hope does to sustain our faith. How does hope sustain our faith and growth after we say “yes” to the relationship...

August 8 lesson: A Necessary Faith

published 8/1/2021
Click here for a print-friendly version A Necessary Faith Summer Quarter: Confident Hope Unit 3: Faith Gives Us Hope Sunday school lesson for the week of August 8, 2021 By Dr. Jay Harris Lesson Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-8, 13-16 Faith Gives Us Hope We are starting the third and final unit in this summer quarter. In many ways, the second unit helped us see how faith and salvation give us hope. In this third unit, we will spend the next four weeks learning not only how faith gives us hope, but...

Be a Bridge!

published 8/1/2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I am a bridge towering high up in the sky. Proudly I stand, spanning land to land. Although many may not know Without me progress would slow For across me travelers must go. I have a cause as noble as can be My purpose is to allow people to walk over me. Trampled underfoot by people rushing past Climbed by thrill seekers hoping to make a splash Driven over by large trucks Flown past by noisy planes Run through by foreign ships Pounded...

John Wesley and the American Revolution

published 8/1/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley was initially opposed to the American Revolution for four basic reasons: He felt that the American colonists enjoyed many freedoms under British rule. Why should they “destroy ship-loads of tea when settlers of other British territories around the world did not have representation in the English Parliament?” Americans are “foaming with rage against England, the king, and their own neighbors who remain loyal to the motherland!” They stand ready to “...

Special session of the SEJ votes to unite the Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences

published 8/1/2021
Newly formed Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference will launch in January By Sybil Davidson, adapted from a UMNS report by Heather Hahn At a special session on Wednesday, July 21, the delegates of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference worshiped, received video updates from across the jurisdiction, and approved realigning the boundaries of Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences to create the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference.  Bishop James Swanson of the Mississippi Conference ...

Fraud Alert: Spoofing emails being sent from fake address

published 7/20/2021
The conference office has been notified of a spoofing email as well as a text making the rounds to various South Georgia United Methodists appearing as a message from Bishop Bryan. This most recent email is from a fake, spoofed email account that has NO ties to Bishop Bryan.  Please know that the Bishop will never ask for a donation, gift cards, or any kind of transfer of money via email. We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are ...



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3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210

PO Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209

478-738-0048 | 800-535-4224

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