Leading the Local Church: Trainings for Leadership Positions & Committees

First 100 Days

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 home of 52 years into an assisted living facility. A lot of my life had been living in that home. It was a day filled with emotion on many levels. Since that time, I have spent three days – including part of the Thanksgiving break - in Tennessee cleaning out their house and preparing it to sell. During the past six months, Nancy and I not only helped move my parents, but we also helped move Nancy’s aunt from Chicago to Knoxville. And the two of us now split our time between Macon and Montgomery, living part time in both places. I consider myself a circuit-riding bishop who some days wakes up and must remind myself where I am. An adventure for sure. 

This great adventure has taken me from Mobile, Ala. to Selma; from Montgomery to Macon; from Savannah to St. Simons Island; from Port St. Joe, Fla. to Pensacola; and many points in between. During this time, I sadly said goodbye to Bobbi Googe as my executive administrative assistant and gratefully welcomed Kate Tyler. I have the honor of working with two excellent Cabinets and two Conference staff. I have met incredible clergy and laity across South Georgia. Oh yes, a great adventure! 

During the first 91 days, I have had 22 onboarding sessions in South Georgia, which included Conference staff, Cabinet, and lay leaders. I have had the privilege of being in all six districts of the South Georgia Conference, meeting with both clergy and laity. Along the way, I have held four regional meetings in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. 

There have been a lot of meetings along this great adventure: 

  • I’ve met with both Cabinets six times, either in person or via Zoom.
  • I’ve met three times with the South Georgia Laity Cabinet and two times with the Alabama-West Florida Laity Council.
  • I’ve had one meeting with both the South Georgia Committee on Episcopacy and the Alabama-West Florida Committee on Episcopacy. 
Several meetings have taken place to plan for our upcoming Annual Conference sessions in June. Remember, I get to do that twice, along with two appointment making sessions!

I have made several videos, met with countless individuals and groups, met 28 times around the Boy Scout bankruptcy situation, met three times with the Council of Bishops Executive Committee of which I am a part, met one time with the Council of Bishop’s Finance Team, which I chair, and spent four days in meetings for the Council of Bishops Fall meeting. 

What a blessing it was to attend the yearly Children’s Home Banquet in Macon, be a part of a district UMM gathering, give the opening prayer for the beginning of the Georgia State Fair with Governor Brian Kemp, and to be in Brunswick at the Community Prayer Rally during the trial of those accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. Nancy and I have been in worship services on Sunday, and I have preached on a few occasions.

It has been an adventure for sure. I still consider this to be A Great Adventure! For at the end of the day, it’s not about the numbers, but it’s about the people. You have blessed Nancy and me beyond what words can describe. The words of the Psalmist ring so true, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).

As we move into 2022, I will have more to share about what you have shared with me during the past 91 days. In this moment, I want to give God thanks for all He has done in our lives. May you be blessed by the adventure of Advent that is upon us. Luke 2:10-11 reminds us, “But the Angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people. To you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’’’ 

Surely, this reminds each of us that every day is A Great Adventure! 

Thankful to serve alongside you as your Bishop. 

In Christ, 

David

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