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


How John Wesley treated critics

published 1/31/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON We can learn a lot about a person by seeing how they treat their critics. John Wesley received a critical letter from an anonymous person who called himself “John Smith.” Although John Wesley had no idea who “John Smith” was, it is amazing how he handled his lengthy (eight page) response. Here is his introduction in his own words: “I was determined, from the time I received yours, to answer it as soon as I should have opportunity. But it was the longer delayed,...

The appointment-making season

published 1/31/2022
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES Colleagues and friends,  Currently the Cabinet, pastors, staff-parish relations committees, and churches are working on the upcoming appointment year which runs July 2022 to June 2023. I have found that Cabinet transparency is vital in building trust. To inform you of our process, but most importantly to ask for your prayers, I want to share the following. The Cabinet, consisting of the six district superintendents, Dr. Jay Harris, and myself, will be working to ...

Waynesboro First UMC builds beds for children

published 1/31/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Every child needs a bed. That’s the driving force behind a new ministry at Waynesboro First United Methodist Church.   The church’s bed ministry, launched in December, aims to give children without beds a good night’s sleep by providing them with new beds and bedding, said Bill Tinsley, Waynesboro First UMC’s chair of missions. “If there are children in our community who have to sleep on the floor, what are we doing? As a church, if we’re not meeting the needs of our...

Cordele Ukulele Band spreads joy, happiness with music

published 1/17/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Churches tend to be known for their spectacular pipe organs, beautiful pianos, or accomplished hand bell choirs. It’s rare, outside of Hawaii, perhaps, to hear a ukulele band. But a group in Cordele is doing its best to change that. Known as the CUBs – the Cordele Ukulele Band – the group of about 10 musicians has been strumming and singing together for nearly a decade. The group was formed after Phil Davison and his wife, Cathy, returned from visiting Phil’s native ...

Entering on a New Year

published 1/17/2022
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Monday, January 1, 1776, entry of Rev. Francis Asbury’s journal: I am now entering on a new year, and am of late constantly happy, feeling my heart much taken up with God and hope thus to live and thus to die. Francis Asbury sailed to America in 1771 at the ripe age of 22 years, unaware that he would never return to his birth country. He served as Wesley’s assistant during that first year, preaching in 25 different settlements. When the American Revolution...

Stetson Bennett – a champion

published 1/17/2022
By Dr. Hal Brady Stetson Bennett, IV is the College Football National Champion Georgia Bulldogs’ quarterback and a heartwarming lesson in determination. As you know, Stetson played football at Pierce County High School and was a lightly-regarded two-star quarterback upon graduation. In reality, he had a couple of small colleges interested in him, but, as a boy, Stetson dreamed of playing quarterback at the University of Georgia. So, at this point, Stetson chose the less-glamorous route of ...

Thomasville First UMC members give time, serve others during Advent

published 1/17/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor For the past 14 years, Thomasville First United Methodist Church’s congregation has celebrated Christmas differently. Since 2007, church leaders have challenged members to spend less during the Christmas season and put the money saved towards a mission project. Called Advent Revolution, the mission project focuses on remembering why Christmas is celebrated and on making an eternal difference in the world. Over the years, the congregation has built homes for orphaned ...

Bishop Graves: A look forward into 2022

published 1/4/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Bishop David Graves doesn’t know what 2022 holds, but one thing he knows for certain: God is faithful. “I don’t know what 2022 is going to bring to us. It could be challenging in many ways,” he said in a new video. “There have been many years (in history) that have been challenging, but God’s faithfulness has always been there and God’s faithfulness will be with us. And I want us to lean into that.” As he looks forward to the new year, Bishop Graves acknowledges the ...

Could 2022 (finally) be the year for non-anxiousness?

published 1/4/2022
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Our world is filled with anxiety. I don’t know if that’s a new thing, but it’s certainly been amplified over the years through vehicles like cable news and social media. And certainly, this anxiety has been ratcheted up during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Methodists, we bring our own baggage because our General Conference — the one where we finally promised one another we’d solve our 50+ year division over LGBTQ inclusion in the church — has been postponed since...

Leadership Team applications now available

published 1/4/2022
Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 Camp Connect Summer Leadership Team at Epworth By The Sea. Applications are open to college students who have completed at least one year of college. The Leadership Team will commit to nine weeks of camping ministry which will include serving hundreds of youth and children while making Christian friendships with other staff members that last a lifetime. Click here for more information.

Registration for summer camps now open

published 1/4/2022
Camp Connect, the camping ministry of the South Georgia Conference, is headed home to Epworth By The Sea for the 2022 summer camping season! Weekly camp dates for high school, middle school and elementary students, along with registration information, can be found at

Save the Date: Virtual Clergy Time Apart set for Feb. 15

published 1/4/2022
Bishop Graves invites all Alabama-West Florida and South Georgia clergy to a special virtual Clergy Time Apart that will help pastors learn how to more fully care for themselves in order to more effectively serve. Set for Tuesday, February 15 from 10 a.m. until noon EST via Zoom, the virtual conference will focus on “Empathy as Pastoral Leadership: Continuing to Care while Maintaining Spiritual Wellness.”  Joining Bishop Graves will be Rev. April Casperson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion ...

Central UMC’s Work-Out Bible Study aims to firm body, mind, soul

published 1/3/2022
By Kara Witherow, Editor Like many at the beginning of a new year, in 2021 Kindall Strahan resolved to take her health more seriously. The wife and mother of four had battled a long-term infection and various health issues since her second daughter was born eight years ago. A former dancer, she was tired of being sick and tired. “I knew I had to be wholly healthy,” said Strahan, the secretary at Central United Methodist Church in Fitzgerald. “I had to turn to God to be healthy.” A busy mom, ...

Leadership training, new SPRC videos available for local church leaders

published 1/3/2022
A series of training videos designed for local church leaders is available on the conference website. Laity who are stepping into new roles or who are continuing to serve in key leadership positions can take advantage of these video resources. In the videos, leaders will receive tools, training, and encouragement that will equip and empower them as they begin the year in their roles.  Bishop Graves has recorded a new Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) video. In it, he expresses thanks for...

Wesley Glen Ministries announces Cameron Bishop President and CEO

published 1/3/2022
The Board of Wesley Glen Ministries is pleased to announce that Cameron Bishop has joined the organization as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. “I am thankful and excited to announce that Cam Bishop has been appointed by the Board as the new CEO of Wesley Glen Ministries,” said Robin Hughes, chair of the Wesley Glen Board of Trustees. “Cam has a long history of serving those in need. We look forward to him assuming his new role on January 24, 2022.” Wesley Glen Ministries is a ...

How Methodism got its name

published 1/2/2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In the sermon “The Foundation of City Road Church,” John Wesley gave a brief history of Methodism’s beginnings. He says that in the year 1725 a young Oxford student (himself) was moved by reading two books (Kempis’s “Christian Pattern” and Bishop Taylor’s “Rules of Holy Living and Dying”). He sought to live in accordance of these teaching and sought others to walk along with him, but found no one. But in the year 1729 he found one other person who would join with...

ICYMI: Our main articles from 2021

published 1/2/2022
Can you believe it’s 2022? Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the new year and read the main 2021 stories from the South Georgia Advocate, listed in chronological order, in case you missed any! 2021: a look ahead with Bishop Bryan Bikers deliver gifts, cheer to Wesley Glen residents COVID-19 battle impact’s Pine Forest UMC pastor’s life, faith Hazlehurst UMC turns shipping container into clinic Albany First UMC’s new Alzheimer’s Outreach Center building expands longstanding ministry’s ...

What will our legacy be?

published 1/2/2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries What is new to us is not really new. Long before we thought to send missionaries into the continent of Africa to share the Gospel message they sent messages and shared the Gospel with the world. Gifted writers, theologians and preachers took what they learned in Africa to the world. One of the most well-known theologians of the early church is St. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine was born in 354 in what is today Algeria, in ...

Christmas greetings from Bishop Graves

published 12/20/2021
In a special Advent video, Bishop Graves offers Christmas greetings to the South Georgia Conference. Watch video

21st annual Join the Journey Confirmation Retreat set for March 4-6

published 12/19/2021
“Join the Journey” Confirmation Retreat is back! The South Georgia Conference’s 21st annual retreat will be held at Epworth By The Sea March 4-6, 2022. Online registration is now open for South Georgia UMC churches through Jan. 7 when it will open up to all churches, both in and out of conference. The deadline is Feb. 18, 2022, or until the event reaches maximum capacity. Click here for more information about registration. Tailored to 5th grade students and above, confirmands will enjoy ...

A sufficient Christmas

published 12/19/2021
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Before my mother-in-law left for heaven, she was trapped in her limited body by a debilitating stroke. For four-and-a-half years, she lay motionless in the bed, unable to speak or communicate. Christmas came. Roy and I traveled from sunny South Georgia to the snow laden streets of Burlington, Michigan, our first time to see his mother after her stroke. Mr. Funk greeted us with a huge hug before we walked into the living room of the old farmhouse, the dark ...

Conference awards $25,000 for children’s, poverty ministries

published 12/19/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor The South Georgia Conference, through the Office of Connectional Ministries and the Conference Outreach Team, has awarded grants totaling $25,375 to 27 local churches for ministries focused on children and poverty. Funding for the grants was made available through the Bishop’s Initiative for Children and Poverty, to which local churches have supported generously over the years. Ministries or projects, which may be ongoing or new, must be completed between December ...

South Georgia Conference sends $20,000 to aid tornado victims

published 12/19/2021
A deadly string of tornadoes left a trail of devastation and ruin across six Midwestern and Southern states Dec. 10-11. Homes, businesses, churches, and lives were lost. The South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church is responding with support by sending $20,000 of disaster response funds to the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference, led by Bishop Bill McAlilly, to help those on the ground meet immediate needs.  “We are overwhelmed with the generosity of the people of South ...

What about the camels?

published 12/19/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11) ...

White Bluff UMC’s Christmas Light Extravaganza shares joy, light of Christ with Savannah

published 12/19/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Rev. Barry Giddens loves Christmas. Each year he and his three boys – Maddux, 11, Paxton, 9, and Lennox, 7 – cheerfully channel their inner Clark Griswold and decorate their home for the holidays with their thousands of lights, more than 100 inflatables, and various other Christmas decorations. To the Giddens family, lights, as Paxton said, “represent Christmas.” This year, however, they are in a new-to-them parsonage in Savannah. The homeowners’ association prefers ...

How You Can Respond to the Tornado Outbreak

published 12/13/2021
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)   The South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church is immediately responding to the weekend tornado outbreak that left a deadly trail in six Midwest states. We also need your help to show our connectional love and support. ...

At sold out Encounter retreat, students focus on what’s most important

published 12/6/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Two weeks ago, if you were to have walked onto the grounds of Camp Jekyll 4-H Center on Jekyll Island you would have seen more than 200 middle and high school students playing basketball and volleyball. You would have watched as they strolled through the surf, played ladderball on the beach, and sat at picnic tables and talked. There was nary a cell phone in sight. Kids were being kids, playing, laughing, and connecting – with each other, with nature, and with God. It...

First 100 Days

published 12/6/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES When the announcement came that I would be serving South Georgia, people asked me repeatedly what I thought about serving as bishop of two Annual Conferences. My response was, “It is going to be A Great Adventure!” After 91 days of serving both Alabama-West Florida and South Georgia, it truly has been an adventure. And, for the most part, it’s been a great one! When I began this great adventure on September 1, I spent the day helping move my parents from their ...

Leading through relationship

published 12/6/2021
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON “What I want for Christmas is…” Forget the two front teeth; what most ministry leaders want are more volunteers!!! We ask, we beg, we plead, we cast vision, we explain, we smile, we laugh, we cry, we cajole, and… sometimes we resort to guilt. It never seems to be enough. We always need more.  Volunteers… they make our world go ‘round or come crashing down. What if you decided to stop the crazy cycle of begging and pleading? What if your...

Making a difference in the world

published 12/6/2021
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Picking up where I left off in my last column, I ask, “Where is the church serving in the world?” How about Korea and Hawaii? If you ever find yourself in Hawaii on a Sunday you can worship in a United Methodist Church. Interestingly, the origins of the Methodist movement in Hawaii started in places like Ohio and Korea. The United Methodist Church and her predecessors have been at work in the mission field for more than 136 ...

Register today for Youth Worker Winter Retreat

published 12/2/2021
Registration is now open for the South Georgia Conference's Youth Worker Winter Retreat, Jan. 20-21, 2022, at Little Ocmulgee State Park. This retreat is a time for youth workers to remember their calling, their why. The last 18 months have been the hardest times to navigate in ministry; youth ministry has changed and youth workers need the tools, the relationships and reliance on God (and God alone) to continue. This one-day retreat will give youth workers time together to worship, to reset, to...

Theme announced, hotel blocks open for 2022 Annual Conference Session

published 12/2/2021
The 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, scheduled June 5-8 at The Columbus Convention & Trade Center, will gather in person under the theme of “Great is Your Faithfulness.” The annual gathering will begin Sunday evening, June 5 and conclude mid-day Wednesday, June 8. “Thanks to vaccinations and proper protocols, at this time we feel confident that an in-person gathering can occur next year,” said Conference Secretary Meredyth Earnest. “We continue to monitor the pandemic and are ...

Bishop Graves: 'Today justice has prevailed'

published 11/24/2021
The death of Ahmaud Arbery and the involvement of Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William Bryan is such a tragedy on many levels. Countless numbers of people's lives were changed forever on February 23, 2020. Last Wednesday, I stood with community pastors in Brunswick who prayed for the families of Ahmaud, the McMichaels and Bryan. A prayer for justice and peace rang throughout all those gathered. Today justice has prevailed. A verdict has been reached and all three men involved in...

Brunswick First UMC shares hope, comfort, peace through Angel Ministry

published 11/15/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor There are angels among us, as the song says, and in Glynn County, at least, it’s because Ellen and Alan Huth and Brunswick First United Methodist Church’s new Angel Ministry have gifted nearly 500 small crocheted white angels to individuals and area ministries. Depictions of angels have long afforded Ellen Huth a sense of comfort and peace, and for the past 10 years she and her husband, Alan, have passed the symbols of peace out to others. “It all started about 10 ...

Practice radical generosity on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 30

published 11/15/2021
#GivingTuesday harnesses the generosity of millions of people around the world to support the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. We invite you to select a ministry affiliated with the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. This year, Giving Tuesday is on Nov. 30. Click on a link below to give directly to an organization. Andrew College Epworth By The Sea Georgia Southern Wesley Foundation Good News Television Ministry Magnolia Manor Open Door ...

Teaching is Colquitt UMC member's "God-given gift"

published 11/15/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Jessica Lawhorn’s paternal grandfather was a Methodist pastor. He used his booming voice to preach the Good News from behind pulpits in Alabama and Florida. Lawhorn, a teacher, proclaims the gospel in a different way – by teaching children their letters, how to read, and by loving them unconditionally. Lawhorn, a special education teacher at Seminole County Elementary School in Donalsonville, has been teaching since 2002. She was recently voted the 2021-2022 Seminole ...

Suffering and a Few Insights

published 11/14/2021
By Dr. Hal Brady Have you ever been watching television and the announcer suddenly interrupts and says, “We interrupt this program to bring you an important announcement.” Sure, you have. We’ve all experienced this kind of interruption. Occasionally, the interruption will be good news such as the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But most of the time when we hear that interruption we have to white-knuckle the arms of our chairs. We know it means trouble, storms, disaster, pandemics, and more ...

Thankful for Philip Barrett

published 11/14/2021
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN ANNE PACKARD Barrett’s Chapel is the oldest surviving church building built by and for Methodists. It was built in 1780 on land donated by Philip Barrett, a successful politician and newly converted Methodist, and is located north of Frederica, in Kent County, Delaware. With the end of the American Revolution and peace at last in the newly formed country, John Wesley sent Thomas Coke to America in 1784 to find Francis Asbury and discuss the future of American Methodism. ...

Bishop Graves: A call to prayer

published 11/10/2021
As the trial for the three men charged with murder in the February 23, 2020, shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery unfolds in Brunswick, there is concern and a lot of emotion regarding what will take place when a verdict is rendered. So many lives are and will be impacted by the events of the trial and an impending verdict. I am thankful for the pastoral and lay leadership of our Brunswick-area churches who are seeking to help people express themselves in a spirit of peace. I am reminded of Psalm 23 ...

A word you will never hear John Wesley say

published 11/1/2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said, “There is one word you will never hear me say!” I was stunned when I read that statement in John Wesley’s writings. I was even more surprised when I discovered the word was “dearest.” He meant that he would never use the word “dearest” in connection with God. He was concerned that many were becoming too familiar when speaking of Almighty God. The word “dearest” was to be used in expressing warm, intimate feelings of affection, especially to a ...

Clergy promote peace during trial

published 11/1/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Amid those protesting outside the Glynn County Courthouse this week – many from as far away as Virginia, Wisconsin, New York, and Canada – walks Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed. Wearing a multicolored sticker that reads, “Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk humbly… together. Glynn,” Rev. Lattany-Reed is one of about 20 area clergy and religious leaders who have formed a diverse ecumenical group, Glynn Clergy for Equity, dedicated to peace and prayer. Whether sitting under the group’s...

Disaster Response Ministry: Upcoming trainings and news

published 11/1/2021
With the end of the 2021 hurricane season in sight, now is a great time to evaluate your readiness, attend an Early Response Team (ERT) training or ERT recertification class, or give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). For those whose ERT credentials have expired due to COVID, UMCOR has waived all credentials from November 2019 through December 2021. In order to move forward in the credentialing process, UMCOR has now deployed an online recertification course to help interested...

Five hopes for the South Georgia Conference

published 11/1/2021
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES In a new “Five Faves with Bishop Graves” video message, Bishop David Graves spoke about his hopes for the South Georgia Conference. Watch it here. Read the full transcript of his video message: My five hopes for the South Georgia Conference, first of all, are partnering together for mission and ministry. It’s so important that we partner together and focus on our mission and ministry. And then secondly, continue to live into the future, remembering of our faithful...

Revs. Baxter, Duke-Barton to serve as South Georgia mission liaisons

published 11/1/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Rev. Shannon Baxter and Rev. Garth Duke-Barton have been tapped to serve as South Georgia Conference mission liaisons. Rev. Baxter, minister of Missions Outreach Ministries at Isle of Hope United Methodist Church in Savannah, is also now serving as the South Georgia Conference’s United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Conference coordinator. Rev. Duke-Barton, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Jesup, is also now serving as Conference Secretary for ...

Statesboro First UMC’s revival a “work of God through hundreds of lay people”

published 11/1/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor Eight months ago, a group of four Statesboro First United Methodist Church members began to pray for revival. Meeting every Monday evening in an upstairs room at the church – aptly named the Upper Room – they had no plans and no real idea what to do but pray. “We knew we needed revival. The whole world needs a revival,” said Don Marsh, a member of Statesboro First UMC who served on the church’s evangelism committee. “When we started, we talked about having revival in ...

Together, we are making a difference

published 11/1/2021
By Rev. Garth Duke Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries As your new South Georgia Annual Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, one of my tasks is to highlight the great mission work we are doing in the world. It will be my pleasure to share news of some of the people and the places we are working to make a difference for the kingdom of God. In this column I mention UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee on Relief. For more information about this agency, visit

2021 KidzQuest "a gift from God”

published 10/18/2021
By Kara Witherow, Editor After pressing pause in 2020, Connectional Ministries put on an epic beach bash this year to welcome back KidzQuest. More than 200 children and adult leaders from across the South Georgia Conference gathered on Jekyll Island to learn more deeply how to worship, study God's Word, and understand what a relationship with Jesus really means. “Seeing all the church vans and buses arrive at Camp Jekyll gave me goosebumps,” said Associate Director of Connectional Ministries ...

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 ...

Page 4 of 47 previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 47 next

Stay in the know

Sign up for our newsletters


Conference Office

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

PO Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209


Administrative Office

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

PO Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209


Camping & Retreat Ministries

99 Arthur J. Moore Dr - St Simons Is., GA 31522

PO Box 20408 - St Simons Island, GA 31522


Contact us

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.