At the heart of United Methodism is the concept of connectionalism, a system which “enables us to carry out our mission in unity and strength” (Book of Discipline, ¶701).
Basically, it means that together we can accomplish far more than any one church or person could alone.
That connectionalism is at the heart of the South Georgia Conference Center Task Force’s latest fundraising effort for the new Conference Center.
They’re asking 5,000 South Georgia United Methodists to support the project by giving a $100 gift by June 1.
If at least 5,000 individuals or families each give $100, the Task Force would have the funds needed to move forward and break ground on the project.
“We want everyone to have ownership of this Conference Center,” said Dr. Hal Brady, chairman of the Conference Center Task Force. “It seems that $100 is a gift that all of us, either as individuals or as families, can give to make this center a reality.”
The Conference is currently paying more than $53,000 per year to rent space for the Episcopal Office and Administrative Services Office in Macon, and these spaces have become overcrowded and no longer adequately meet the needs of the Conference. The new Conference Center, which will be located on the grounds of Wesleyan College in Macon, will allow several conference offices to work under the same roof instead of being dispersed in multiple office buildings and will optimize work flow and delivery of services to the conference.
To date, $1.3 million of the $2.2 million project has already been raised. The $500,000 Conference leaders expect to raise from this effort, plus other fundraising of $134,000, will move the Conference to the point of breaking ground. If no other funds are raised, the Conference will borrow the final $250,000 and repay it using funds currently allocated for rent.
“While buildings are not the main thing, they can be instrumental in enabling the mission to be effectively accomplished,” Dr. Brady said.
The mission – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world – can be carried out more efficiently and with better stewardship of resources with the majority of the Conference’s staff under one roof and in one building, he says.
The Task Force hopes that this effort will also garner a broad range of support for the Conference Center.
“This would give people ownership,” Dr. Brady said. “Our hope all along has been that people would own this.”
Task Force members understand that the economic recession hit a lot of people hard but remain optimistic that their goal of 5,000 people giving $100 each is within reach.
“$100 is a significant amount of money,” said Dr. Marcus Tripp, a member of the Conference Center Task Force and retired pastor. “But it’s a range that a lot of people can do with a little forethought so we think it is doable.”
The dream can only become a reality with broad support from the Conference, he said.
“The South Georgia Conference deserves a home and with all of us praying, working and giving together we can make it a reality,” Dr. Brady said.
To support the new Conference Center, send checks to Dr. Derek McAleer, Administrative Services, PO Box 13145, Macon, GA 31208.