Bishop Swanson to speak at United Methodist Men's annual retreat


South Georgia’s own Bishop James E. Swanson, currently the episcopal leader of the Mississippi Annual Conference, will challenge and inspire men at the annual United Methodist Men retreat.

Gathering under the theme, “Making disciples through your fellowship,” the retreat will be held April 19 through April 21 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island.

 “This is an important time for the men of the South Georgia Conference to come together as a body in fellowship and to worship God,” said UMM President Johnny Hemingway. “This is an opportunity, too, for us to know each other better. The better we know each other the better we’re able to help each other in our spiritual endeavors to make disciples.”

The retreat, while a Methodist men’s event, is open to all ages and to anyone interested in participating.

Beginning at noon on Friday, April 19 with a golf tournament at Sanctuary Cove Golf Course in Waverly and ending after lunch on Sunday, April 21, the retreat is designed to help participants grow spiritually and in fellowship with others. 

“These retreats have meant a great deal to me ever since I was first introduced to the United Methodist Men in the late ‘80s,” Hemingway said. “It’s a time that I look forward to every year to meet old acquaintances and to be introduced to some new ones. I have come to know and love and fellowship with men throughout the whole South Georgia area, men who I would not normally have come in contact with had it not been for this retreat.”

Bishop Swanson, an ordained elder in the South Georgia Conference, was serving as the Savannah District Superintendent when he was elected to the episcopacy in July 2004. His other South Georgia pastorates include the Statesboro Circuit, the Palen/Mt. Zion Charge, and St. Mary’s Road United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men and is a member of the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church. He is known across the connection as an excellent preacher, teacher, visionary leader and mentor.

Bishop Swanson will deliver the messages on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday.

The weekend’s worship will be led by Frank Lowery and Carl Tott. They have been singing and playing together for many years, and their love and music and their love of the Lord comes shining through. Both attend Americus First United Methodist Church, where they sing in the choir.

On Saturday afternoon, retreat attendees will have the opportunity to participate in faith-sharing workshops or in service projects that minister to Glynn County residents.  There will also be an opportunity to join the Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International as they minister to area residents.

“All are welcome and invited, whether they’re United Methodist or not,” Hemingway said. “We’re trying to reach all men, young and old. I hope that we have a really great turnout this year.”

For more information and to download a brochure, click here.


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