2013 Annual Conference set for June 2-4


More than 1,000 United Methodists – from Midway to Moultrie, Ludowici to Leesburg and Waycross to Whigham – will descend on Macon June 2 through June 4 for the 2013 South Georgia Annual Conference Session. 

With a theme of “The Least of These,” this year’s Annual Conference session will give attendees the opportunity to serve, fellowship, and worship together. Two main business items are on the agenda – voting on four constitutional amendments and hearing the District Study Task Force’s report.

“There are two major business items that will come up during the Annual Conference session,” said Rev. Craig Hutto, Conference Secretary. “We have to vote on constitutional amendments that have been handed down to us from the General Conference. They are pretty minor changes to our constitution and I don’t foresee any great debate on them.

“The District Study Task Force report will be the major business item before us. We will have some discussion time and hopefully an opportunity to make a decision about that report on Tuesday morning.”

The District Study Task Force, a 21-person group made of laity, clergy and the Appointive Cabinet, has worked for nearly six months to gather information requested during the 2012 Annual Conference session. Their assignment was to provide the Annual Conference, without recommendation, a comprehensive report detailing the configurations of a six-district model and seven-district model, as compared to the Conference’s current nine districts.

The full report may be read at www.sgaumc.org/districtstudy. Conference members will receive it in the pre-conference mailing or, if they’ve opted to go paperless, download it from the Annual Conference session webpage (www.sgaumc.org/ac2013).

As in years past, the highlight of the Annual Conference session will be the coming together of churches, clergy, and laity from across the South Georgia Conference.  Large and small, rural and urban, all will come together to celebrate what God is doing in South Georgia and their oneness in Christ.

The 2013 Annual Conference session will commence on Sunday evening, June 2, with Rev. Jenny Jackson-Adams preaching during the opening worship service, which will include a service of Holy Communion. A clergy choir will also sing two song selections.

It will continue Monday morning, June 3, with separate laity and clergy sessions, followed by the evening’s combined ordination and commissioning service with guest preacher Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn.

Gil Hanke, the General Secretary of the United Methodist Men, will speak to the Annual Conference Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday morning, the Conference will recognize and celebrate eight retiring clergy. Each retiring clergy person will have a moment to address the Annual Conference. The memorial service for deceased clergy and clergy spouses will be held Tuesday afternoon with Rev. Creede Hinshaw preaching.

Woven between worship services will be plenary sessions for information sharing, celebration, inspiration, and decision-making. On Monday afternoon, attendees will hear a report from the District Study Task Force; Tuesday morning will include discussion on the task force’s report, if needed, and voting on several constitutional amendments.

Dr. Denise Hopkins, professor of Hebrew Bible and the Woodrow W. and Mildred B. Miller Professor of Biblical Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., will lead two Bible teaching moments, one on Monday afternoon and the second on Tuesday morning.

The 2013 Annual Conference session will close on Tuesday evening, June 4, following the traditional “fixing of the pastoral appointments” for the coming year by Bishop King.

Throughout the three-day session, clergy and laity will have several opportunities to put their faith into action by serving those less fortunate.

As part of the Conference’s focus on justice ministries and in the spirit of the Annual Conference theme, the Office of Connectional Ministries has organized four mission opportunities for clergy and lay members to Annual Conference.  

During the opening worship service on Sunday evening, June 2, the Conference will receive a special offering to support the ministry of Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world.

During the session’s lunch break on Monday, delegates and guests are invited to participate in a Stop Hunger Now mobile meal packaging session.

And on Tuesday, June 4, attendees are encouraged to donate items to the ministries and agencies of the South Georgia Annual Conference. A full list of requested items can be found at www.sgaumc.org/ac2013 under the “Mission Emphasis” link.

A youth component is also being planned.

“We are excited about the mission emphasis for this year’s conference,” Rev. Hutto said. “We hope to pack somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 Stop Hunger Now meal packages. That’s an exciting opportunity for people to do hands-on ministry.”

Those who will not be in Macon for the Annual Conference session are being asked to participate by giving in advance or sending their donation(s) with their church’s Annual Conference lay member.

Even with the shorter session, the planning committee felt it’s important to include a ministry and mission opportunity, Rev. Hutto said.

“This gives us the chance to respond to the needs that are in our world,” he said. “There are opportunities to serve before and during the Annual Conference session and for attendees to take it home with them so they’re able to share with their local churches and say, ‘This is what we do as United Methodists and it is important that we’re reaching out to the world and those in our communities.’”

As they were last year, all conference business sessions and worship services will be held at the Macon Centreplex.

Those not able to attend the 2013 Annual Conference Session will still be able to keep up with everything that happens. All worship services and business session will be streamed live online at www.sgaumc.org.

Clergy and lay members to Annual Conference will receive the pre-conference mailing, which will include the Book of Recommendations and a copy of the District Study Report, by mid-May.  Those who have opted to go paperless can view the pre-conference documents online at www.sgaumc.org/ac2013. For more information about the 2013 South Georgia Annual Conference Session, visit www.sgaumc.org/ac2013.

Those interested in singing with the clergy choir should contact Dr. Jane Kimbrel at janekimbrel@gmail.com or 478-918-5303. Rehearsal will be on Sunday, June 2 at 6 p.m. in the Centreplex’s main auditorium. Song selections are hymn-based and can be learned in one rehearsal.  Clergy are asked to wear white shirts (no ties) and dark bottoms.

2013 South Georgia Annual Conference Session Agenda

This is a working draft of the 2013 Conference Agenda and is subject to alteration as the Annual Conference session draws nearer. An up-to-date agenda will be available at registration. The 2013 Annual Conference session will be held at the Macon Centreplex, located off Interstate 16 at Exit 2.

For more details, visit www.sgaumc.org/ac2013.

Sunday, June 2

3 p.m.            Registration begins at the Macon Centreplex Coliseum and Convention Center

5 p.m.             Ordination/Commissioning rehearsal

6 p.m.             Clergy Choir Rehearsal

7 p.m.            Opening worship with Holy Communion
                        Rev. Jenny Jackson-Adams preaching
                        Conference Special Offering – Stop Hunger Now

  8 p.m.           Joint reception with clergy and laity

Monday, June 3

8 a.m.             Registration reopens

8:30 a.m.        Laity Session (Coliseum)

8:30 a.m.        Clergy session (Monument Room)
10 a.m.           First Plenary Session (Coliseum)

2 p.m.             Plenary Session

7:30 p.m.        Ordination and Commissioning Service (Coliseum)                                                                                  
                         Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn preaching

Tuesday, June 4

8:30 a.m.       Plenary Session

11:15 am.       Recognition of Retiring Clergy

Noon              Lunch Break       

2 p.m.             Memorial Service
                        Rev. Creede Hinshaw preaching

3:30 p.m.        Final plenary session

4 p.m.             Fixing the Appointments and Sending Forth Service