Leading SGAUMC Forward: A Bright Future with Hope


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 RethinkChurch.org 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 ...

Soles helping souls

published 11/4/2010
 On August 8, members of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Savannah arrived at church wearing shoes, but left barefoot. They weren’t the victims of a Sunday morning shoe-snatching spree, but willingly went barefoot after leaving their shoes at the altar during the church’s Barefoot Sunday service. The special day of worship was part of St. Luke UMC’s effort to support Soles4Souls, a Nashville, Tenn.-based charity that collects and distributes shoes to people in need.  Since 2005, Soles4Souls ...

Goodpaster Urges Bishops to Shift Focus to the Future

published 11/2/2010
Panama City, Panama:  In the presidential address to the Council of Bishops in Panama City, Panama today, Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster challenged the bishops of The United Methodist Church to “lean into God’s future” by turning the focus of attention to what is about to happen rather than what has always been. “We have the opportunity to lead the church toward greater vitality, impact and influence in the world,” said Bishop Goodpaster. “By our decisions and actions this week in Panama, we will ...

South Georgia Annual Conference Trustees Invest in Development Fund

published 11/2/2010
As part of its investment strategy, the South Georgia Annual Conference Trustees recently purchased eight, 4-year certificates from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation Development Fund. “We chose to invest in the Foundation because of the ways these monies are invested back in our local churches,” said Dr. Rick Lanford, chair of the South Georgia Annual Conference Trustees Investment committee. “We also respect the leadership and the integrity of the Foundation’s staff.” Since September, ...

Church women and men focus on domestic violence

published 10/15/2010
Survivors of domestic violence should not have to choose between their faith and being safe. Such a dilemma can occur, says the Rev. Aleese Moore-Orbih, if they are told by their churches to stay “in a situation where it is possible for them to lose their lives.” Moore-Orbih, a United Church of Christ pastor, is director of training and consulting for FaithTrust Institute, an organization working to end sexual and domestic violence. During the Oct. 8-11 meeting of the Women’s Division, United ...

10-Fold shows mission in action via technology

published 10/8/2010
Claudia and Eduardo Maia, missionaries in Chicuque, Mozambique, could have mailed a report documenting their work for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Instead, they used the Internet calling service Skype, which allowed them to share their work in Mozambique via video with those who had gathered for the board’s annual meeting last year. Board members heard stories of Claudia’s work in the community, promoting public health initiatives like HIV prevention, while actually seeing ...

Pastor uses media to minister

published 9/29/2010
In a culture inundated with noise, news and non-stop negativity, Dr. Hal Brady’s brief words of encouragement transcend the clutter to bring help and hope to those who listen. For nearly 37 years, Dr. Brady, senior pastor at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus, has used various media outlets to “reach a skeptical public with a word of encouragement.”  First it was by writing a newspaper column, the “Pastor’s Pitch.” Next came his “On the Spot” radio segments.  Then he began filming ...

College Place UMC launches unique ministry tool

published 9/28/2010
Typically associated with medieval sieges and ancient warfare, the catapult has had a modern resurgence as a ministry and evangelism tool at Brunswick’s College Place United Methodist Church. Instead of being used to “shoot arrows and hurl large stones” as in biblical times (2 Chron. 26:15), on Wednesday, September 8, College Place UMC’s catapult was unveiled and used to hurl water balloons across the church’s parking lot. With a sin or stronghold written on them, the water balloons were ...

UMVIM coordinator is passionate about serving and sharing Gods love

published 9/16/2010
 While visiting the home of a young woman in Costa Rica, Jamie Gibson noticed a large black garbage bag in the corner of the woman’s kitchen.  She watched the woman pull something out of the trash bag and put it on the fire.  Gibson soon realized that the woman was using diapers – dried, soiled diapers from the city dump – as fuel for her family’s cooking fire. Gibson, the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) coordinator for the South Georgia Conference, has witnessed countless similar...

Living Tall Ministries helps clients grow, discover, reach goals

published 9/15/2010
Three-and-a-half years ago, Emily Calhoun was at her wits end.  Constantly stressed, caught up in a flurry of activity and feeling like her life had no focus, she didn’t know where to turn. One morning she woke up and realized that she needed to take control of her schedule, time and priorities.  Rev. Karen Prevatt’s name popped into her head, and Calhoun decided she needed to make a phone call. “I believe the idea to call her was straight from God,” said Calhoun, a wife, mother, teacher and ...

Emanuel UMC spends second Saturdays serving

published 9/4/2010
This summer, homeowners in the Brunswick area have been given a helping hand by good Samaritans from Emanuel United Methodist Church. The good Samaritans are part of Emanuel UMC’s Second Saturday Servants ministry, a local missions outreach of the church. On the second Saturday of each month, men, women and children come together to help those in need.  They meet in Emanuel UMC’s fellowship hall at 7:30 a.m. and then go out into the community to mow lawns, paint houses, repair leaky toilets and ...

VSU students share pursuit of God in new music project

published 9/3/2010
A relentless pursuit of God, and His relentless pursuit of them, led six South Georgia singer-songwriters on a spiritual and musical journey. What came out of their journey is “Relentless: A Worship Project,” a self-described “collaboration of passionate worship artists deciding to worship together.” The six Valdosta State University students began their almost year-long odyssey one evening after a VSU Wesley Foundation worship service.  Realizing that there was a wealth of musical talent within...

Bishop King's Mother - Ruby G. King - dies at the age of 94

published 8/30/2010
Ruby G. King, mother of South Georgia Bishop James R. King, Jr., of Ashland, Alabama died Friday afternoon, August 27, 2010, at the age of 94. The funeral service and visitations will be held at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church.  The church is located at 41324 Highway 77 / Ashland, Alabama / 36251. Visitations will be held Wednesday, September 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Thursday, September 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, September...

Joyful Noise Jazz Cafe serves poetry, jazz and Jesus

published 8/19/2010
Just like its motto says, New Covenant United Methodist Church is “Doing Church Differently.”  In September, the downtown Savannah church’s Joyful Noise Jazz Café will turn one year old.  On the first and third Thursdays of each month, this unique ministry transcends typical race and age barriers by showcasing local jazz musicians and poets.   During his initial visit to the church, New Covenant UMC pastor Dr. Andrew Young saw possibilities for the church’s lower level.  It was being used as a ...

Mulberry UMC member's spiritual seeking leads to book

published 8/4/2010
Numbers and spreadsheets don’t usually add up to a second career as an author.   But that’s exactly what happened when Ann Smith, a certified public accountant, combined her love of writing with her desire to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord. As a teenager, Smith, who has been an accountant for more than 25 years, began reading the Bible all the way through each year.  Years later, she still reads from Genesis to Revelation every year, but realized that she was doing it more out ...

River of Life brings help, hope

published 8/4/2010
What happens when hundreds of middle- and high-school students descend on Macon? Homes are repaired.  Lives are changed. More than 200 students from eight churches across the state recently participated in River of Life, a four-day local mission project hosted by Forest Hills United Methodist Church. Dedicated to repairing and rebuilding the homes of some of the city’s elderly, disabled and low-income residents, River of Life, held July 14-18, gave volunteers the opportunity to put their ...

Oconee Outreach Opportunity rebuilds homes, impacts lives

published 7/14/2010
Years of prayers have been answered for members of one local church in Whigham. And Whigham resident Josephine Jackson says that a “miracle” has happened. Jackson’s home and Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church caught the eye of Rev. Garth Duke-Barton last summer when he visited Whigham prior to moving to the community.    Upon seeing the historic church, which had fallen into disrepair, Whigham-Springhill Charge pastor Rev. Duke-Barton said that he knew he needed to find a ...

Brazilian Methodists focus on children

published 7/13/2010
By Alice M. Smith* Gordon and Teca Greathouse have served as United Methodist missionaries to Brazil for 32 years and have seen great changes in the country as it moved from dictatorship to democracy. But what hasn’t changed is the overwhelming need among most of the people in a country where only a tiny percentage of the population, about five percent, owns almost all the wealth. “Among developing countries, Brazil is in the top echelon, but in terms of distribution [of wealth], it is in the...

Veteran honored for Sunday school service

published 7/13/2010
A special to The Advocate by Carlton Fletcher* Back in 1954, the Senior Adult Sunday school class at Brookfield United Methodist Church didn’t have a permanent teacher, so class members passed the lesson book around each week to a different member. When Perry McCranie got the book, though, he never gave it back. Now, some 56 years later, McCranie is still teaching the class. The long-time teacher and World War II veteran was honored by the church for his years of service recently. He ...

New research on congregations, church structure

published 7/12/2010
Both of the full reports are available for review at www.umc.org/ctaresearch, and readers can share observations and suggestions through the website. Click here to read the full United Methodist News Service article: "Call to Action offers signs of crisis and hope" The Call to Action Steering Team has released the findings of independent research commissioned by the committee regarding congregational vitality and an operational assessment of the connectional church, and invites ...

Four pre-retirement workshops for clergy scheduled for August

published 7/9/2010
The Conference Board of Pensions and the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry are sponsoring four Pre-retirement Workshops for clergy in August. These workshops are designed to help individuals make certain they are on track for retirement.  Peter Hang, Benefits Educator from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, will be leading these meetings.  Individual projections will be available with advanced reservations. Arrangements are being made to have a representative from Social ...

Q & A with Dr. Ben Martin, Statesboro District Superintendent

published 6/30/2010
ADVOCATE: Where did you grow up?  Have you always lived in South Georgia? DR. MARTIN: I was born in Lyons, Georgia, in the Dublin District of the South Georgia Conference.  With the exception of my years in college, I lived there until entering full time ministry in 1988.  Growing up in a small South Georgia county-seat town gave me a love for the close-knit community you find in small towns. ADVOCATE: What’s your faith journey? Did you grow up in the church? DR. MARTIN: I was blessed to grow ...

Evangelism and mission awards presented

published 6/10/2010
Evangelistic awards were presented during the 2010 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.  Gateway Church in Pooler, of the Savannah District, was the overall conference leader in the largest net gain in membership.  Leading the conference in the largest number of professions of faith for the year was also Gateway ...

South Georgia United Methodists support The Advance

published 6/9/2010
Rachael Barnett, staff member of The Advance at the General Board of Global Ministries, addressed members of the 2010 Annual Conference Session on Tuesday afternoon, June 8. “On behalf of the General Board of Global Ministries,” Barnett said, “I would like to thank you for your gifts in 2009 totaling $290,103 through The Advance, including $82,883 for missionary support.” The Advance is an official program of The United Methodist Church for voluntary, designated, second-mile giving. Through The...

Camping makes lasting impact on campers, counselors, families

published 5/6/2010
 Spending a week away from home at summer camp is a rite of passage for many children and teens, a time of fun, freedom and friendships. But for many, attending a South Georgia Conference Summer Camp at Epworth By The Sea is more than just a fun-and-sun-filled vacation away from home and responsibilities.  It’s an impactful, life-changing and challenging place where youth grow closer in their relationship with Christ. “It (camp) has really helped me grow closer to God and become a stronger ...

Council of Bishops Announces Constitutional Amendments Voting Results

published 5/5/2010
(Columbus, Ohio): The United Methodist Council of Bishops announced today that only 5 of 32 amendments to the church's constitution passed by the 2008 General Conference have been ratified by the annual conferences. The ratified amendments will become effective immediately. The process for amending the Constitution of The United Methodist Church requires a two-thirds majority vote of General Conference delegates. Annual conferences must then ratify the amendments by a two-thirds affirmative ...

Bainbridge teen leads by example

published 4/20/2010
Adults and teens alike could learn a thing or two about time management from 17-year-old Maggie Bridges. Bridges, a junior at Southwest Georgia Academy and the daughter of John and Cathy Bridges of Brinson, is constantly on the go with school, sports, community service and church activities.  A member of Bainbridge First United Methodist Church, she participates in the youth praise band and youth leadership team, sings in the chancel choir and joined other members of her church on a mission ...

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