The human chain

9/5/2017

FROM THE BISHOP
R. LAWSON BRYAN


The beginning of my second year in the South Georgia Conference coincides with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. That is interesting because during my first year we experienced three disasters of our own: Hurricane Matthew, the storms in Albany, and the tornadoes in the South Central and Southwest Districts. We are grateful for those who reached out to us in the past year and our conference is already at work to support relief efforts for victims of Harvey.

This Sunday, Sept. 10, let’s be Alive Together in Christ by receiving a special offering for Hurricane Harvey Relief. Sherrill and I are giving $1,000 to this special offering in honor of the laity and clergy of the South Georgia Conference. You can 1) Donate online; 2) Give through your local church to Conference Advance #5827 - Hurricane Harvey Relief (lane 5 credit); or 3) Mail a check to the Administrative Services Office made out to the South Georgia Conference and earmarked Conference Advance #5827 - Hurricane Harvey Relief (address: PO Box 13145, Macon, GA 31208). This offering will be sent directly to the Texas conferences experiencing this devastation.

Many news reports showed the human chains that were formed to rescue those stranded in cars or houses. One by one these determined residents joined hands until the human chain reached the person in need. Then the strength of the chain was used to bring them to safety.

That phrase, “the human chain,” also describes my experience of the South Georgia Conference over the last 12 months. God is using our 600 churches to form a human chain of ministry that covers all of South Georgia. This was seen in dramatic fashion as our members responded to the victims of the three disasters. But it was also visible in the worship services, small group studies, and age-level ministries provided by our churches. In addition, the faithful service of our conference staff allowed us to offer resources and training to our local churches.

The Pathways Conference, held last weekend, is another example of being Alive Together. Pathways opened with more than 300 people joining in a spirited service of worship. The energy of that service flowed into more than 30 workshops offered the rest of the day. A huge blessing was the presence of a group from a CME (Christian Methodist Episcopal) Church who participated enthusiastically in the events of the day. Thanks to all who had a part in this very successful conference.

The human chain of the South Georgia Conference is increasingly visible as our churches identify their top 10 services in terms of worship attendance. Thanks to all those who have turned in their top 10 services and those who will be doing so in the days ahead. I have also learned of churches that are making plans to increase attendance in those 10 services in the coming year. I plan to give a mid-year progress report at Winter Conference in January. Worship is the center of all that we do. We are Alive Together in Worship as we lean into our goal of a 10 percent increase in average worship attendance.

God bless you as you join your fellow church members to form a human chain of God’s love reaching out into your community.   

Alive Together in Christ,
Lawson Bryan