Remembering those who have gone before us


A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 6, at 2:00 p.m. as conference members gathered at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Bishop B. Michael Watson, South Georgia’s former episcopal leader and current Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops, gave a touching message titled, “The Strong Arms of Jesus,” as he remembered those who have gone before us.

The message reminded listeners that God’s grace sustains, holds, and surrounds them.

“Those we’ll name have outrun us to that great homecoming,” he said. “We can be grateful that God has got them. Just like He has us.”

Dr. Vance Mathis, retired clergy who lost his beloved wife Carol this past conference year, said he was moved by the powerful and encouraging sermon from Bishop Watson, reminding us in different and helpful ways about our expectation of eternal reunion with those we have lost – but only for awhile.

“The entire service – with the readings, responses, prayers, and music – was a reminder of that blessed fact, which I embrace with unshakeable, unquestioned, and immutable faith,” said Dr. Mathis. “So the service I dreaded became for me a good thing – a good spiritual medicine for the healing of a broken heart.

“Today I am further along, thanks to God and for our annual conference of brothers and sisters, who prepare and do this work of worship by enfolding us in the comfort of their love and proclamation.”

The Conference Memoirs Committee helps plan and lead the Memorial Service.
One member of the committee, Rev. Chris Shoemaker, pastor of the Wadley/Lamb's Chapel Charge, says it is humbling—and a great honor—to be allowed to participate in the remembrance of our saints.
“We as clergy stand, and our spouses beside us, with all Christians as part of an unbroken line reaching back to Christ’s calling of the Disciples,” he said.

Those faithful servants remembered include:
Deceased Clergy
Edwin Bryan O’Neil
August 22, 1931 – April 10, 2016

Sammy Clark
September 28, 1932 – May 4, 2016

Bernard K. Henry, Sr.
August 16, 1927 – May 6, 2016

Walter Max Hill
January 9, 1929 – August 10, 2016

James Gaston Pollock
July 9, 1931 – August 10, 2016

Annie Louise Johnson
July 11, 1922 – September 15, 2016

David Keith Willett
January 20, 1959 – September 25, 2016

Ronald Joseph Burbank
November 20, 1942 – December 11, 2016

Robert Lee Vickery, Jr.
July 2, 1930 – December 11, 2016

James Randell Daniell
September 12, 1945 – December 15, 2016

Herman A. Howell
July 4, 1923 – December 28, 2016

Joe Reynolds
May 22, 1936 – March 16, 2017

Ramus Guy Freeman
April 14, 1927 – March 26, 2017

Deceased Clergy Spouses
Margaret Ione Reid
Surviving Spouse of Carlton F. Reid, Sr.
July 31, 1921 – March 23, 2016

Mary Grace Scoates McCurley
Surviving Spouse of Harry W. Scoates, Jr.
March 26, 1921 – April 13, 2016

Glenda Faye Webb
Surviving Spouse of Ronald Kenneth Webb
July 6, 1946 – May 12, 2016

Betty H. Oliver
Spouse of Rev. Thomas Tinsley Oliver
August 13, 1931 – June 22, 2016

Carol Wood Mathis
Spouse of Rev. Dr. Vance B. Mathis
August 26, 1935 – July 19, 2016

Betty L. Houston
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Lawrence E. Houston, Jr.
April 14, 1926 – September 12, 2016

Patricia Drake Aultman
Spouse of Rev. Richard G. Aultman
March 24, 1931 – October 12, 2016

Jeanette Bittner
Spouse of Rev. Raymond Leroy Bittner
December 31, 1922 – October 12, 2016

Jessie Mathis
Spouse of Rev. Hubert Guy Mathis, Jr.
August 28, 1946 – October 20, 2016

Emma Dell Hendley Brooks
Spouse of Rev. James Allen Brooks
July 27, 1936 – November 6, 2016

Florine Lois Chappell
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Robert P. Chappell, Sr.
August 6, 1931 – December 3, 2016

Mabel Estelle Martin Harris-Webb
Surviving Spouse of Rev. James Redding Webb, Jr.
August 28, 1918 – December 10, 2016

Janie Ophelia Ray
Spouse of Rev. Randall Ray, Sr.
May 6, 1943 – December 22, 2016

Golda Faye Penny Hudson
Spouse of Rev. David Elzie Hudson
December 21, 1934 – January 5, 2017

Rosalie V. Johnson
Spouse of Rev. Joseph Morgan Johnson
July 5, 1934 – January 12, 2017

Myrna Eidson Roberts
Spouse of Rev. Larry B. Roberts
January 11, 1937 – January 15, 2017

Marguerite Emmalyn D. Adams
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Arthur Ray Adams
May 6, 1926 – January 20, 2017

Virginia Ripley Fauthauer Smith
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Clarence E. Smith, Jr.
September 6, 1937 – February 13, 2017

Beauford Morris Johnson
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Annie Louise Johnson
March 7, 1924 – February 21, 2017

Mary Catharyn Osborn
Spouse of Rev. James Robert Osborn
October 16, 1942 – February 26, 2017

Jane Inman Shirah
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Dr. Jason Shirah
August 22, 1926 – March 21, 2017

Laren Gail Reincheld
Spouse of Rev. William Reincheld, Jr.
April 22, 1946 – March 23, 2017

Frances S. Ramsey
Surviving Spouse of Rev. Dr. Gilbert Ramsey
June 16, 1927 – March 30, 2017
The Memoir Committee also puts 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.
“These men and women who have gone before us each have a story—a story that needs to be remembered and shared as a part of the continuing narrative of the living and active Grace of God,” said Rev. Shoemaker. “It is a rich blessing to be able to hear and record these stories.”
Click here to view the Book of Remembrance.
Click here to view the Memorial Service sermon by Bishop B. Michael Watson.