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South Georgia prepares for Annual Conference session


Plans are quickly taking shape for the 2011 South Georgia Annual Conference session, scheduled for June 5-9 in Tifton at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Gathering under the theme of “Never Alone,” based on Acts 2:42, this year’s Annual Conference session will provide several opportunities for attendees to gather together in fellowship and worship. 

“The annual conference session is always a highly anticipated time when we celebrate what God has been doing through the congregations and ministries that make up the South Georgia Annual Conference,” said Bishop James R. King, Jr.  “Reminded of God's call and faithfulness, we will recommit ourselves to growing a Christlike world by making disciples within our communities and beyond.”

As it was last year, the 2011 Annual Conference session will be held in Tifton.  All conference business sessions and worship services will be held at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.

The 2011 Annual Conference session will officially begin on Sunday evening, June 5, with Bishop James R. King, Jr. preaching in the opening worship service.  It will continue Monday morning, June 6, with separate laity and clergy sessions, followed by the evening’s ordination service, with guest preacher Bishop Thomas Bickerton.  It will close on Thursday afternoon, June 9, following the traditional “fixing of the pastoral appointments” for the coming year by Bishop King.

As in years past, the highlight of the conference will be the coming together of churches, clergy and laity from across the South Georgia Conference.  Large and small, rural and urban, all will come together to celebrate what God is doing in South Georgia and their oneness in Christ.

Other highlights include the various worship services that will be held throughout the five-day event.  Sunday evening’s opening worship service will feature Douglas First United Methodist Church’s men’s quartet.  The worship service to commission new provisional deacons, provisional elders and associate members will be held Monday afternoon, June 6. 

The Memorial Service for deceased clergy and clergy spouses will be held Tuesday afternoon with Dr. Hal Brady preaching, and the Sacrament of Holy Communion will be celebrated in this service.  Recognition of 16 retiring clergy will be held on Wednesday morning, June 8.  Each retiring clergy person will have a moment to address the Annual Conference.

Wednesday evening’s worship service will be a service of music featuring a diverse variety of musical styles including Bainbridge First United Methodist Church’s hand bell choir and Vision of Jesus United Methodist Church’s praise band, among others.

Woven between worship services will be plenary sessions for information sharing, celebration, inspiration, and decision-making. Dr. Steven W. Manskar, director of Wesleyan Leadership at the General Board of Discipleship, will lead the session’s Bible studies on Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. 

This year’s special offering will benefit Imagine No Malaria, an initiative of The United Methodist Church to raise $75 million to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.  Each church is encouraged to receive an offering in the weeks prior to Annual Conference and bring the offering to Tifton.

On Wednesday morning “A Healthier Me: Body, Mind and Soul” will again be offered this year.  The morning heath break will allow attendees to focus on a variety of elective activities that will enhance the well being of their lives.  A menu of options will be suggested and will include low-impact activities, high-impact activities, and workshops covering various dimensions of healthy living.  Wednesday morning’s business session will convene at 10 a.m., permitting sufficient time for everyone to engage in “A Healthier Me: Body, Mind and Soul.”

Tuesday evening’s activities will give conference members and their guests the opportunity to experience, for free, the Agrirama, Georgia’s Museum of Agriculture and Living History Museum.  With authentic structures and furnishings, the attraction gives visitors the opportunity to experience 19th century-style farm-like activities, from planting and harvesting to cooking, spinning, quilt making, and more.  The Tifton host committee is planning this free evening as an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the Agrirama experience and musical entertainment.  Food will be available for a cost.

Also during the 2011 Annual Conference Session, the South Georgia Conference will elect its delegation to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.  Five lay delegates and five clergy delegates will be elected to represent the Conference at General Conference, and an additional five lay and five clergy representatives will be elected to the Jurisdictional Conference delegation.  Several reserve delegates will also be elected.

“Plans for our upcoming 2011 South Georgia Annual Conference are going well,” said Rev. Craig Hutto, South Georgia Conference Secretary.  “It is shaping up to be an exciting Conference.

“The purpose of our Annual Conference in making disciples will be strengthened by this year's theme, ‘Never Alone,’” Rev. Hutto said.  “Following the scriptural example in Acts 2:42, we will be devoting ourselves to fellowship under the leadership of Bishop James King.  Our Bible study leader, Dr. Steven Manskar, will guide us in learning more about covenant discipleship groups.  There is still much work to be done as the Annual Conference Planning Committee and Local Arrangements Committee continue to meet over the next several weeks.”

For more information about the 2011 South Georgia Annual Conference Session, visit


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