A Word from the Bishop
It has been one full year since I was assigned as the bishop of the South Georgia Annual Conference. As I began my tenure here in South Georgia, I watched the trial for those convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery unfold. The video, the story surrounding Ahmaud’s murder, and the trial captured not just my attention but the nation’s attention.
As eyes were focused on Brunswick, Georgia one thing I am certain of amidst all of the heartache: the nation saw a faith community come together in unity and prayer. I witnessed this first hand during one of the many prayer rallies on the doorsteps of the courthouse. The ecumenical leadership of the Brunswick-area churches sought to be people who expressed themselves in a spirit of peace, not hostility.
We were reminded last fall – and continue to be reminded – that we live in an unjust world. As followers of Jesus, we are reminded that mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love must abound amid the injustices of this world. However, we must strive to eliminate the injustices that continue to happen to people, especially people of color.
One of my priorities as your episcopal leader that I announced last fall is a focus on disrupting and dismantling racism. During my time with you as your Bishop, I want to lead in a way that continues the work of the South Georgia Conference as we strive to do our part to change systems of injustice and help see the vision of the prophet Amos fulfilled: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 NRSV)
Rev. Doreen Smalls, Southwest District Superintendent, Mrs. Kelly Roberson, Director of Conference Ministries, and most recently Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed, who is now on staff as the Director of Diversity and Justice Ministries, worked over the course of the last 8 months with Rev. April Casperson, a diversity and inclusion consultant, to lay the groundwork for the formation of a working group.
It is my honor to now announce the formation and launch of the Bishop’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Vitality Task Force. Members of the Task Force include:
Rev. Jimmy Cason
Rev. Michael Culbreath
Mr. Archie Grubb
Ms. Meika Hilsman
Rev. Cedric Jackson
Rev. Daniel Medina
Mrs. Debra Thomas
Ms. Patsy J. Thomas
Conference staff members:
Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed
Mrs. Kelly Roberson
Rev. Doreen Smalls
This group will explore how the South Georgia Conference can better work across our differences: race, gender, socioeconomic status, theology/politics, ability, and more. As we meet this Fall and into 2023, you will hear more about how the churches of the South Georgia Conference can partner with and engage in this important work.
I am excited about how God will challenge us and use us here in South Georgia. May we join together in prayer that justice will reign and people will have a spirit of peace: God, lead us to peaceful streams. Help us, Lord, and may your peace begin in each of us. Amen and amen.
Bishop David Graves