Come serve with us! Conference Nominations Committee seeks leaders for 2025-2028 quadrennium

Memorial Service 2023: ‘To Dwell in the Land of Promise’


By Kelly Roberson

A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held Tuesday morning, June 6, at 11 a.m. as conference members gathered at the UGA Tifton Conference Center in Tifton, Ga.

The Rev. Dr. Derek McAleer, South Georgia retired minister, asked those gathered to think about that great Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11, which he says is one of the most challenging and beautiful passages anywhere in scripture for him. 

“We know their stories. And we know they have moments of great glory, but they’ve also got scars,” said Dr. McAleer in speaking of those mentioned in Hebrews 11. “Occasionally they stretch to the heights of grace and then they fall to the depths of sin. The Bible is unflinching about the character of God's people. It holds no secrets and minces no words. But knowing that they are far from examples of untarnished glory, God nevertheless sets them before us as examples of what it means to walk in faith with Him.”

Those we honor today, says Dr. McAleer, are neither more perfect nor less perfect than Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

“God sees them with all their flaws,” said Dr. McAleer. “They have provided for us examples of what it means to walk in faith. Sometimes that example is what it means to stand up for God. Sometimes that example is what it means to stand before God and bow your head and say, ‘will you take me back?’ They recounted their vision, they regained their obedience, and they walked that path a little bit further to that city whose maker and builder is God.” 

Dr. McAleer then reminded those gathered that this world is not our home, and despite all of our work in ministry will never be our home. 

“Our home is with God, and He has prepared a place for us, and He has built the city for us,” said Dr. McAleer. “He who prepared that place for us is preparing us for that place. Just like he prepared those who we have honored today. 

“And we are grateful to know that any of that preparation work that is not finished when we die is completed then. We believe in sanctification. And that process completes when we are taken up into glory.”

Those being remembered include:


Marshall Simpson Howell
May 14, 1943 – April 8, 2022

Sylvia L. Ross
June 9, 1930 – May 5, 2022 

Robert Wesley Clark
August 28, 1926 – June 1, 2022 

James William “Bill” Dupree
October 8, 1932 – June 4, 2022

Vergil Lacy “V.L.” Daughtery, Jr.
January 11, 1934 – June 8, 2022

James Martin Ford
January 27, 1943 – June 9, 2022 

Charles Gilbert “Gill” Tripp
October 25, 1933 – July 16, 2022 

Roy Lee Dial III
June 30, 1944 – August 28, 2022

Charles Douglas “Buddy” Coss
November 27, 1941 – August 31, 2022

Robert Franklin “Bob” Williams, Jr. 
June 8, 1942 – September 11, 2022 

John Monroe Clements
June 9, 1936 – September 17, 2022

Jimmy Lee Gilbert
May 2, 1948 – September 19, 2022 

Robert Lamar “Bob” Herrington, Sr.
September 21, 1928 – September 20, 2022 

Frank Henry Harris, Jr.
January 25, 1931 – September 26, 2022 

William Alfred Smith
December 31, 1930 – October 12, 2022

Sylvia Ann Brantley Kersey 
July 29, 1940 – November 13, 2022

Wayne Allen MacDonald
July 22, 1950 – December 2, 2022 

Grady Estes Vance
January 12, 1949 – January 24, 2023

John Milton Bagwell
February 4, 1928 – March 28, 2023


Pauline O’Dell Aycock
Surviving Spouse of James David Aycock, Sr.
June 2, 1929 – April 22, 2022

Margaret Rosetta “Rose” King
Spouse of Bishop James King
July 6, 1944 – April 27, 2022

Rosalie Gaye Rentz
Spouse of John Cornell Rentz
October 3, 1950 – April 29, 2022

Janelle Ann O’Neil 
Surviving Spouse of Edwin Bryan O’Neil
December 8, 1932 – June 3, 2022

Jacqueline Johnson Varnell
Spouse of Richard F. Varnell
July 29, 1948 – August 10, 2022

Mary Elizabeth Grantham Robertson
Surviving Spouse of Rudolph Edward Grantham
December 30, 1935 – September 12, 2022

Naomi Lorene Reed Ferris 
Surviving Spouse of Orville Leroy Ferris
July 17, 1928 – October 20, 2022

Hazel Eugenia Wigglesworth Beverly
Surviving Spouse of Forest J. Beverly, Jr.
March 17, 1928 – October 22, 2022

Brenda J. Lavender Porter
Surviving Spouse of James Freeman Porter, Sr.
January 27, 1944 – October 23, 2022

Cora Anthony Herndon
Surviving Spouse of George W. Herndon
January 10, 1930 – December 15, 2022

O. Doris Vanstone
Surviving Spouse of John F. Vanstone
March 17, 1935 – January 2, 2023

Carolyn May Banker
Surviving Spouse of Kenneth Reinhold Banker
May 28, 1945 – January 27, 2023

Emily Day Wilson Watson
Surviving Spouse of W. Hampton Watson, Jr.
July 5, 1929 – January 28, 2023

Brenda Fay Aldrich France 
Spouse of Jesse Wayne France
March 19, 1953 – February 3, 2023

Nona Mae Hodges Foster
Surviving Spouse of S. La Vaughn Foster
October 18, 1927 – February 18, 2023

Ruth Khaw
Spouse of Bernie Khaw
March 3, 1949 – February 21, 2023

Margaret Elizabeth Smith Carruth
Surviving Spouse of Edward H. Carruth
November 4, 1921 – March 7, 2023

The Conference Memoirs Committee and the Conference Worship Committee help plan and lead the Memorial Service. They also put together a Book of Remembrance that contains beautiful tributes to each of these faithful saints who have passed away in the past year and presents one to each family prior to the service.


Members of the Conference Worship Committee:

  • Rev. Dr. Ben Gosden, Chair
  • Rev. Tony Crosby
  • Mrs. Laurie Jo Upchurch
  • Rev. Alaina Harrison
  • Rev. Daniel Medina
  • Rev. Doreen Smalls
  • Rev. Antonie Walker

Members of the Conference Committee on Memoirs: 

  • Rev. Chris Shoemaker, Chair
  • Mrs. Brenda Adams
  • Mrs. Millie Adams
  • Rev. Lowery Brantley
  • Mrs. Susan Cason
  • Rev. Ronnie Culpepper
  • Rev. Creede Hinshaw
  • Rev. Vicki Scott
  • Rev. Benji Varnell

Stay in the know

Sign up for our newsletters


Conference Office

3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210


Administrative Office

3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210


Camping & Retreat Ministries

99 Arthur J. Moore Dr - St Simons Is., GA 31522

PO Box 20408 - St Simons Is., GA 31522


Contact us

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.