In a heartfelt video, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Area of The United Methodist Church, announced his intent to retire, effective Sept. 1, 2021.
“It has been a great joy, and I thank you for the willingness you have had for us to be in ministry together. We are greatly blessed by the South Georgia Conference,” he said in the video. “In every way, this Conference is ready, not only for today, but even for tomorrow, because we are being Alive Together in Christ.”
Elected bishop July 14, 2016, at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference’s quadrennial meeting at Lake Junaluska, N.C., Bishop Bryan began serving as South Georgia’s resident bishop on Sept. 1, 2016.
No decision has yet been made about who will succeed Bishop Bryan as South Georgia’s episcopal leader. The Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Committee on Episcopacy and the College of Bishops are working together on a plan for coverage that will consider recommendations from Bishop Bryan and South Georgia’s members of the Committee on Episcopacy.
In his announcement to the Conference, Bishop Bryan expressed his desire to spend more time with his family.
“Through this intentional process, I have discerned with clarity that it is time for me to turn my full attention to my family,” he said. “I began seminary 50 years ago. Since that time, our lives have been shaped by appointments, moves, and denominational matters. I have no regrets. What I do have, though, is confirmation that now is the time for me to focus my energies more directly on those whose love has sustained me.”
During his five years serving the South Georgia Conference - four years plus an additional year due to the postponement of the 2020 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference because of the coronavirus pandemic - Bishop Bryan has focused on finding fresh ways to be alive together in collaborative leadership. He has worked to build teams like the Compass Group and Laity Cabinet that affirm the giftedness of the Conference’s laity and clergy.
With clarity, focus, and conviction that God’s guidance for him as the episcopal leader of South Georgia is found in Ephesians 2:5, “God has made us alive together in Christ,” Bishop Bryan has served South Georgia with faithfulness and tireless dedication, Conference leaders say.
“Sherrill and I love the South Georgia Conference and are thankful for the unwavering support the laity and clergy have so generously given to us,” he said. “We will always be Alive Together in Christ with our South Georgia family.”
CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM BISHOP BRYAN