2017 Annual Conference Session - Recap of Sunday, June 4
The Jekyll Island Convention Center was filled with red as the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated Pentecost Sunday, June 4 as it gathered for its opening worship session.
Bishop James Swanson, episcopal leader of the Mississippi Conference and an ordained elder in the South Georgia Conference, “came home” to South Georgia to preach a rousing and passionate sermon about the Holy Spirit.
“You have gathered in a beautiful, pristine place with cool breezes,” he said. “It is good to be home.”
Introducing the conference theme of “Alive Together in Christ,” Bishop Swanson spoke of the Holy Spirit’s role in togetherness.
“There is no togetherness without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “We can only be together and alive through the Holy Spirit.”
Bishop Swanson enthusiastically reminded those gathered of God’s love, grace, and goodness.
“He loved us into the Kingdom … United Methodists, it’s time we quit singing sad songs. God’s been too, too, good to us.”
Well-known across the connection for his preaching and teaching, Bishop Swanson reminded those gathered one reason why he loves the church.
“That’s why I love The United Methodist Church,” Bishop Swanson said. “There’s always room for another sinner. We’re on our way to perfection.”
He opened the altar for prayer, asking district superintendents and the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries to come forward and be available for prayer.
The 2017 Special Offering for South Georgia Conference Disaster Response fund was collected during the service. Together local churches gave more than $21,363.51 to help build our capacity to respond to disasters now and in the future. Through Disaster Response our conference responds to natural or civil disasters of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own. United Methodists are able extend loving care to communities within the bounds of the South Georgia Conference. This past year alone our conference has seen three major storms leave death and destruction in their wake. If and when something else happens within the bounds of our Annual Conference, we want to be able to respond immediately and with great care.