2017 Annual Conference Session - Recap of Tuesday, June 6


Business Session

In the business session Tuesday, the conference:

  • heard two more John Wesley moments. In the first of the day, Rev. David Hanson told the conference that if they want to increase worship attendance they need to find out why people aren’t attending church. John Wesley, he said, would take a survey. He did, and the results surprised him. Results of a survey may surprise us, too. Two people told Wesley they didn’t attend church because Tom Nesbit attended. Are YOU Tom Nesbit? In the second John Wesley Moment, Rev. Hanson told the conference that John Wesley believed that if a church had “jars” - conflicts, tension, or strife - it wouldn’t grow. “If you invited John Wesley to your church he’d take a look around for ‘jars,’” Rev. Hanson said. “Do you have ‘jars’ in your church. John Wesley would say do something about it. Because when you have ‘jars’ in your church people run away.”

  • celebrated how the following agencies and ministries are alive together in Christ through a Vital Sign moment (click to view videos from each):


Methodist Home for Children and Youth

Open Door Community House

Wesley Community Centers, Inc.

Magnolia Manor

Wesley Glen

Epworth By The Sea

  • approved a motion that was put before the conference yesterday from Rev. Josh Gale that says: “We, as the South Georgia Annual Conference, will create a team to revisit the subject of family health insurance policies specifically focused on finding options that will lower the premium. If options are found, they will be presented at the 2018 annual conference for a vote.” The Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits received this request and will explore options over the next year.

  • approved five standing rules changes: change in policy on Church Professional Sexual Misconduct, change in the membership of the Georgia Commission on Higher Education and Collegiate Ministry, addition of a Conflict of Interest Policy, distribution of Nominations Report at Annual Conference, change of Rules of Order. (read standing rules changes 1-4 in the Book of Recommendations, pages 24-29; read standing rule change 5 here.) The fifth change is a move from the use of Robert’s Rules of Order at Annual Conference to The Modern Rules of Order.

  • voted on five Constitutional Amendments: Amendment 1: Gender Justice, Amendment 2: Inclusiveness, Amendment 3: Election of Delegates, Amendment 4: Episcopal Elections, Amendment 5: Accountability of Bishops. All five amendments were approved by a two-thirds vote of the 2016 General Conference and now must be ratified by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the aggregate number of voting annual members. These amendments are being voted on at every annual conference session across the connection. The vote count on each amendment will be forwarded to the Secretary of the Council of Bishops, who will collect results from the whole Church. Final certification of the results occurs at the fall meeting of the Council of Bishops, and the results will be announced then.

  • approved two resolutions: the first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It calls on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate clergy and laity about the history of immigration and human and civil rights concerning undocumented members of society and to encourage South Georgia United Methodists to engage in works of piety and mercy towards their undocumented neighbors. The second resolution approved, the “Multiculturalism Taskforce Resolution,” resolves that the bishop appoint a diverse task force to consider the implications of multiculturalism education.

  • were challenged in two teaching moments by Dr. Lovett Weems where he continued to give practical tools for growing worship attendance. “Leaders ask good questions,” Dr. Weems said. “They don’t have to have all the answers, but ask good questions.” He challenged the conference to pay attention to those who are present, those who are visiting, and those who are missing. In his third and final teaching moment, Dr. Weems focused on worship that bears fruit and urged congregations to do the hard work it takes to get the desired results. “The harvest only comes after the planting, after the plowing, after the tending.” God’s fruitfulness is sometimes long in coming, he said, but reminded us that “if churches can change, they can grow.”
  • ​were given a “Vital Signs for Healthy Congregations Assessment Tool” by Bishop Bryan that can be used for personal reflection as well as direction for critical conversations within local congregations. More tools can be found at www.sgaumc.org/vitalsigns.
  • heard a second Vital Sign moment which highlighted churches who are working towards or have already reached their 10% growth challenge. Joining Rev. Jay Hanson was Rev. Jim Morrow, pastor at Lyons UMC, Rev. Michael Culbreth, pastor at ConneXion UMC, and Rev. Mike Davis, pastor at Hahira UMC. Rev. Hanson also celebrated those churches who are growth leaders in worship attendance and professions of faith.

  • heard a report from the United Methodist Foundation.

  • approved the Nominations Report for the coming year.

  • celebrated with those pastors who have served 50 years in the ministry:

Jack G. Atkinson

Richard G. Aultmann

Roy L. Dial

C. Grayton Helms

Ronnie O. Howell

Ronnie Wills 

  • honored those pastors retiring this year:

Larry Bird

Dwight Bishop

Don Black

Andy Brownley

Mark Carter

Roland Fall

Rick Holt

John Irwin

David Johnson

Wesley Kaylor

Bill Lee

Jim McIlrath

Cecile Mitchell

Randy Nease

Joyce Payne

Leigh Ann Raynor

Woody Roberts

Jennifer Sherling

Kenneth West

Memorial Service with Holy Communion

A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who have served in our Conference was held on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Bishop B. Michael Watson gave a moving message as he remembered those who have gone before us.

“Those we’ll name have outrun us to that great homecoming,” he said. “We can be grateful that God has got them. Just like he has us.”

Those being remembered include:

Deceased Clergy

Edwin Bryan O’Neil
August 22, 1931 – April 10, 2016

Sammy Clark
September 28, 1932 – May 4, 2016

Bernard K. Henry, Sr.
August 16, 1927 – May 6, 2016

Walter Max Hill
January 9, 1929 – August 10, 2016

James Gaston Pollock
July 9, 1931 – August 10, 2016

Annie Louise Johnson
July 11, 1922 – September 15, 2016

David Keith Willett
January 20, 1959 – September 25, 2016

Ronald Joseph Burbank
November 20, 1942 – December 11, 2016

Robert Lee Vickery, Jr.
July 2, 1930 – December 11, 2016

James Randell Daniell
September 12, 1945 – December 15, 2016

Herman A. Howell
July 4, 1923 – December 28, 2016

Joe Reynolds
May 22, 1936 – March 16, 2017

Ramus Guy Freeman
April 14, 1927 – March 26, 2017

Deceased Clergy Spouses

Margaret Ione Reid
Surviving Spouse of Carlton F. Reid, Sr.
July 31, 1921 – March 23, 2016

Mary Grace Scoates McCurley
Surviving Spouse of Harry W. Scoates, Jr.
March 26, 1921 – April 13, 2016

Glenda Faye Webb
Surviving Spouse of Ronald Kenneth Webb
July 6, 1946 – May 12, 2016

Betty H. Oliver
Spouse of Rev. Thomas Tinsley Oliver
August 13, 1931 – June 22, 2016

Carol Wood Mathis
Spouse of Rev. Dr. Vance B. Mathis
August 26, 1935 – July 19, 2016

Betty L. Houston
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Lawrence E. Houston, Jr.
April 14, 1926 – September 12, 2016

Patricia Drake Aultman
Spouse of Rev. Richard G. Aultman
March 24, 1931 – October 12, 2016

Jeanette Bittner
Spouse of Rev. Raymond Leroy Bittner
December 31, 1922 – October 12, 2016

Jessie Mathis
Spouse of Rev. Hubert Guy Mathis, Jr.
August 28, 1946 – October 20, 2016

Emma Dell Hendley Brooks
Spouse of Rev. James Allen Brooks
July 27, 1936 – November 6, 2016

Florine Lois Chappell
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Robert P. Chappell, Sr.
August 6, 1931 – December 3, 2016

Mabel Estelle Martin Harris-Webb
Surviving Spouse of Rev. James Redding Webb, Jr.
August 28, 1918 – December 10, 2016

Janie Ophelia Ray
Spouse of Rev. Randall Ray, Sr.
May 6, 1943 – December 22, 2016

Golda Faye Penny Hudson
Spouse of Rev. David Elzie Hudson
December 21, 1934 – January 5, 2017

Rosalie V. Johnson
Spouse of Rev. Joseph Morgan Johnson
July 5, 1934 – January 12, 2017

Myrna Eidson Roberts
Spouse of Rev. Larry B. Roberts
January 11, 1937 – January 15, 2017

Marguerite Emmalyn D. Adams
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Arthur Ray Adams
May 6, 1926 – January 20, 2017

Virginia Ripley Fauthauer Smith
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Clarence E. Smith, Jr.
September 6, 1937 – February 13, 2017

Beauford Morris Johnson
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Annie Louise Johnson
March 7, 1924 – February 21, 2017

Mary Catharyn Osborn
Spouse of Rev. James Robert Osborn
October 16, 1942 – February 26, 2017

Jane Inman Shirah
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Dr. Jason Shirah
August 22, 1926 – March 21, 2017

Laren Gail Reincheld
Spouse of Rev. William Reincheld, Jr.
April 22, 1946 – March 23, 2017

Frances S. Ramsey
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Dr. Gilbert Ramsey
June 16, 1927 – March 30, 2017

Photos from Tuesday, June 6