News

Arca de Fuego worships in new home

published 10/15/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Sunday, Aug. 26 was a day of celebration for Arca de Fuego, the Hispanic congregation of Americus First United Methodist Church, as they opened the doors of their new facility. About 270 members of the Hispanic congregation gathered in the downtown Americus location and sang songs, worshiped, and thanked God for their new home. While the congregation is 15 years old, Sunday, Aug. 26 was their first service in the Clarence Jorden Center on Habitat for Humanity’s campus...

Excitement is contagious!

published 10/15/2018
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere … for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us … 1 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (NLT) Do you ever get excited about something? Did you watch a college football game last Saturday?  I know, I know. When I scream at the television, no one on the field can hear me. But I get ...

Hear the corn grow

published 10/15/2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Hearing corn grow? For real? I thought it was a myth or some old wives’ tale. So, I went to a video on the Internet and actually heard the corn growing. Like soft lightning or better yet, like a continuous crackle. Fascinating! So what does it sound like? Interestingly enough, it sounds remarkably similar to the sounds made when corn breaks. It seems that plant growth involves millions of tiny breakage events.  These breakage events trigger the plant to rush ...

Neighbors help neighbors after Hurricane Michael slams Southwest Georgia

published 10/15/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor The Southwest District bore the brunt of Hurricane Michael’s wrath in Georgia as the storm slammed into the area last Wednesday afternoon and evening as a Category 3 hurricane. Michael brought 115 mph winds and downed trees and power lines throughout the region. Homes, churches, and businesses were damaged and destroyed. Cotton, peanut, and pecan crops, which were not yet fully harvested, were decimated. But through it all, many United Methodists remain grateful and ...

Assessing Hurricane Michael damage in South Georgia

published 10/11/2018
Many residents of Southwest Georgia are reeling today, their homes and communities damaged and devastated by Hurricane Michael. Hurricane Michael, which hit the area yesterday afternoon and evening after slamming into the Florida Panhandle, ravaged much of the area for hours. The wind was intense, uprooting trees, destroying buildings, and decimating crops. Hundreds of thousands are without power, and several counties are in a utility crisis, without power or water. The Conference Disaster ...

South Georgia stands ready; prays for those in the path of Hurricane Michael

published 10/10/2018
Dear South Georgia Conference, While we watch closely the track of Hurricane Michael, I want to assure our annual conference that our South Georgia Disaster Response Team is already standing by and ready to respond.  Over the past two years our area has experienced hurricanes, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding. Our members have risen to the occasion by providing disaster funds and Early Response teams to other areas of the country and to those at home in South Georgia. Thanks to the ...

Alive Together in the World – including Africa!

published 10/1/2018
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We truly are Alive Together in the World! I write that as I sit here in Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, having traveled here as a member of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR). In addition to serving the conference to which we are assigned, bishops also have responsibilities for service in the larger church. Because it is a privilege to represent the South Georgia Conference and the Southeastern Jurisdiction, I...

Annual Conference 2019: Hotel room blocks now open

published 10/1/2018
We are busy preparing for the 2019 Annual Conference Session, which will be held at The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center set for June 2-5, 2019. Last year, Bishop Bryan led us in celebrating all the ways we are “Alive Together in Worship.” We also prepared for a year-long emphasis on being “Alive Together in the World” and will continue that celebration at the 2019 Annual Conference Session. I pray that you are finding many ways to reach out to the world in word and deed as you share ...

Grant helps Colquitt UMC become handicap accessible

published 10/1/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Misty Hayes is a fiercely independent woman, a busy volunteer who spends time serving at Colquitt United Methodist Church’s food bank, helping with the church’s children and youth ministries, and participating in Colquitt’s Swamp Gravy folk-life play. Nothing stops Hayes, says Colquitt UMC pastor Rev Scott Stanfill, except the church’s door. Hayes, who uses a wheelchair, was born with a progressive muscle disease that is a type of muscular dystrophy. The church’s door...

If you could ask anything, what would it be?

published 10/1/2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON We’ve been a bit intrigued by questions lately. I guess you could say we’re kind of question nerds. We began talking about the power of Jesus’ questions in our last article, “What is Jesus asking you?” As we reflect on the power of Jesus’ questions in our lives, we’re prompted to ask ourselves, “If I could ask anything, what would it be?”  I recently read that the best question-askers are actually 4-year old girls. They ask an average of ...

South Georgia team serves at Sager Brown, helps with UMCOR’s disaster response efforts

published 10/1/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Last month, nine South Georgia United Methodists traveled to Baldwin, La. to work in the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) Sager Brown supply depot. There they got an up-close look at how the agency responds before and after disasters. The trip, sponsored by the Conference Outreach team, was organized by Allison Lindsey, associate director of Connectional Ministries and led by Susan Hughes, a member of Central United Methodist Church in Fitzgerald. Hughes ...

UM connection, technology join families, transcend time zones

published 10/1/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor It’s not often that Russian is spoken with a Southern accent, but on Sunday, Sept. 16, members of Svetlana Thompson’s family in central Russia heard “приветственная семья – Welcome, family of Lana,” in a distinctly South Georgia drawl. From half a world away, they watched via livestream as Rev. Ted Goshorn, pastor of Eastman United Methodist Church, welcomed congregants to worship and led the congregation through the liturgy from The United Methodist Hymnal. Svetlana ...

A word from Bishop Bryan: My reflections on a recent joint meeting

published 9/24/2018
The Appointive Cabinet and the Compass Group met together September 10, 2018, at Wesley Glen Ministries in Macon for a collaborative session focusing on the many initiatives they are jointly sponsoring for the South Georgia Conference.   This meeting means a great deal to me because it represents the culmination of two years of work in team building among the members of both groups. We have such talented, devoted disciples of Christ on our conference staff. My personal mission has been to ...

Connectional Ministries September Toolkit: Advent/Christmas Resources

published 9/24/2018
Each month the Office of Connectional Ministries offers a toolkit which includes a wealth of resources focusing on a different theme to resource your local church in nurture, outreach, witness and advocacy ministries.​ During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in ...

Conference invests in pastors, local churches through On Boarding

published 9/17/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Transition is tough, whether it’s getting a new appointment and moving to a new town and church or receiving a new pastor. Getting a jump start to help further the process can be an invaluable tool for all involved. The South Georgia Conference has embraced On Boarding, a corporate technique for getting a fast start in executive leadership through early, candid dialogue, assisted by an outside consultant. A corporate strategy that’s been adapted for ministry settings ...

Responding to Florence: how to help

published 9/17/2018
As Florence continues to drench the Carolinas, dumping record amounts of rain on the region that has and will continue to lead to devastating flooding, South Georgia United Methodists ask, “How can we help?” The tropical depression, which was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane after it made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Friday, has swamped communities in North Carolina and South Carolina, damaged thousands of homes and businesses, and left hundreds of thousands without power. At ...

Slow Down

published 9/17/2018
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP 35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:35-37 Years ago, as a nursing home administrator, I served one that was part of a national chain. The home office was in Texas. Keep in mind that this was in the late 80s. The best option for being ...

Hurricane Florence Update: Online Giving, Cleaning Kits, A Word from the Bishop

published 9/14/2018
Hurricane Florence has made landfall along the east coast and is predicted to move slowly through the Carolinas and Southeast throughout this weekend causing inland rainfall flooding, life-threatening storm surge and possible mudslides. Parts of South Georgia can expect some rain and windy conditions. You should stay tuned to your local weather source for updated information for your area. The Disaster Response Team will continue to monitor this storm and the updates very closely as the storm ...

3 practices to prepare for YOUR District Conversation

published 9/4/2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Bishop Bryan is busy traveling the Conference speaking with members of each district of South Georgia about General Conference 2019 and the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. As we prepare for the conversations in our respective districts, I want to share three important practices I think we all should engage in as we enter into potentially difficult conversations. (I realize that three districts will have already had their event by the time you read this ...

As we journey toward General Conference, Stay Calm, Stay Connected, Stay the Course

published 9/4/2018
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Attendance at the Way Forward district meetings has been outstanding. With nearly 500 people present in Columbus, nearly 400 in Statesboro, and around 350 in Valdosta, the interest of our church members and pastors is certainly evident. Those present at each gathering have inspired me with their sincere devotion, their deep love for the Church, and their passionate desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  The three remaining...

Conference to offer Certified Lay Minister Training

published 9/4/2018
Laity have long been an integral part of Methodist ministry. Lay leaders, lay speakers, and lay missioners have served the church almost since its inception. Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) typically provide ministry in part-time or volunteer roles in a variety of formats including conducting public worship, caring for the congregation, assisting in program leadership, developing new and existing faith communities, preaching the Word, leading small groups, and establishing community outreach ...

Delegation to host listening sessions

published 9/4/2018
South Georgia’s General Conference delegation will host three listening post sessions to provide South Georgia clergy and laity the opportunity to share their thoughts and take part in the Way Forward conversation. Three listening sessions will be held, and several delegation members will be present at each meeting. Thursday, October 11             The Chapel, Brunswick          10 a.m. – noon Wednesday, October 17         Centenary UMC, Macon        10 a.m. – noon Thursday, October 25        ...

John Wesley’s marriage

published 9/4/2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley had discussed with a friend whether or not it would be a good thing for him to marry, and on February 2, 1751, he decided to do so. He was 47 years old and his bride, Molly Vazelle, was a wealthy widow with four children. She was 41 years old. Her merchant husband had died four years previously. It is interesting that this marriage occurred just days after John had urged Methodist ministers not to marry unless there were exceptional reasons to do so....

KidzQuest - "This Wild Life" - set for Sept. 21-23

published 9/4/2018
KidzQuest, an annual children’s retreat sponsored by South Georgia’s Connectional Ministries, will be held September 21-23 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. The theme, “This Wild Life,” will be the foundation of the weekend and will help show kids just how wild their faith journey can be! As Joshua 1:9 commands us to be strong, brave, and not afraid, kids will learn that “I [God] will be there to help you wherever you go.” What a promise!  Designed for students in third through sixth ...

Letter calls for hope, kindness, unity

published 9/4/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor In a season when The United Methodist Church is fraught with discord, distrust, and dissension, more than 250 South Georgia clergy and laity have signed an online petition to demonstrate their commitment to unity. The “Hope Through Unity” open letter was published last month and has gained attention around the Conference and the connection. The writers hope to build a coalition of people on both sides of the human sexuality debate who support unity. “Our hope is ...

Three appointments announced, effective Oct. 1

published 9/2/2018
Bishop Lawson Bryan has announced appointments for three local church positions effective October 1. Dr. Tony Caldwell, currently serving as pastor of Montezuma United Methodist Church, will be appointed to Hinesville First United Methodist Church. Rev. Jonathan Beckum, currently serving at Ellaville United Methodist Church and Corinth United Methodist Church, has been appointed to Montezuma UMC. Haynes Martin, a certified candidate currently serving as assistant pastor at Martha Bowman United ...

Fraud Alert: Spoofing emails being sent from fake address

published 8/31/2018
The conference office has been notified of a spoofing email making the rounds to various South Georgia United Methodists appearing as a message from Bishop Bryan. We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure about the email address.  We ask that you submit/flag the email to your provider as a spam. Remember now and in the future that the conference sends emails from official conference emails addresses only. Anytime you receive ...

God makes the seed grow

published 8/21/2018
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers….” 1 Corinthians 3:7-9a (NLT) In my early years in ministry I served as the associate pastor. Let me say thank you to the person who was handed the responsibility of serving as my ...

When did garbage become entertainment?

published 8/21/2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When I was growing up, my daddy emptied our garbage cans every other day. If he didn’t, the cans would fill to overflowing. If the garbage was in the kitchen, he took it out more often so that leftover food would not begin to smell. If you had asked me what I knew about garbage, I would have considered that a weird question. I wasn’t supposed to know anything about garbage. It belonged out of our house, and daddy saw to that. Around 40 years ago, the late ...

Financial Literacy Academy gives clergy tools, teaching needed for financial literacy

published 8/20/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Fresh out of seminary or License to Preach school most pastors enter into vocational ministry feeling pretty well prepared to preach, teach Bible studies, lead theological discussions, and make disciples. But too often they receive their first or second appointment and are thrust into a situation for which they feel completely unprepared – a finance committee meeting. There are no financial classes taught at seminary, and precious few hours are spent on preparing ...

Telfair County churches unite to provide biblical education

published 8/20/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor This semester, nearly 75 of Telfair County’s public-school students are receiving biblical, Christ-centered education during the school day. They’re not just learning about the Bible as an influential piece of literature or about Christianity in the context of a world religion class, but instead they’re learning about creation-based science, apologetics, and stewardship. This is thanks to a new partnership between several Telfair County churches that led to the ...

A note from Bishop Bryan: How to prepare for District Way Forward Meetings

published 8/7/2018
Now that the full report of the Commission on a Way Forward has been released to the public, I am looking forward to discussing it with laity and clergy of each district. Here is the schedule for the six district meetings:  August 16 – Northwest District | 6:30 pm – 8 pm at St. Luke UMC, Columbus August 20 – Northeast District | 6:30 pm – 8 pm at Pittman Park UMC, Statesboro August 27 – South Central District | 6:30 pm – 8 pm at Valdosta FUMC September 6 – Coastal District | 6:30 pm – 8 pm at ...

Blessing Boxes benefit communities

published 8/7/2018
Clay Brown, a member of Whigham UMC​, stands outside the church next to the Little Free Pantry he built and installed as his Boy Scout Eagle Scout project. By Kara Witherow, Editor Broxton United Methodist Church may be a small church in a small town, but the congregation’s generosity knows no bounds. Broxton UMC is just one of a handful of South Georgia United Methodist Churches who have embraced a grassroots movement to address food insecurity by installing Blessing Boxes, tiny pantries ...

What is Jesus asking you?

published 8/7/2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON How would you define “a consuming intimacy with God?” How long has it been since you were hungry and thirsty for a deeper relationship with Him? Those questions and many like it have filled my thoughts lately and have caused my heart to deeply desire living in a constant state of intimacy with God. But how do we achieve that level of intimacy? Recently my practice has been to read a passage of scripture several times while imagining myself...

Better Together

published 8/6/2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Wesley told his followers that they should support their local Church of England and go there for worship and Holy Communion. Some asked him, “But what should we do if the pastor teaches doctrines we do not believe, like predestination? Or if he says there can be no Christian perfection this side of heaven? Or preaches against enthusiasm?” Wesley would reply to them and to us today, “In that case you should simply and quietly get up and leave the sanctuary. Do ...

North Central District churches partner to share resources, expand ministries, host Connectional VBS

published 8/6/2018
Children at the Connectional VBS, hosted by Piney Mount UMC in Tennille, participated in two mission projects. For one, they divided into teams and competed to see who could donate the most canned goods.  By Kara Witherow, Editor   Four small, rural churches in the North Central District came alive this summer as they partnered to do more together than they could individually. Piney Mount United Methodist in Tennille, Tennille First United Methodist Church, Davisboro United Methodist Church, ...

What I’m reading this summer

published 8/6/2018
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN For years I have looked forward to summer as a time to read some of the books that have caught my attention during the year. While I read books all year long, the opportunity to read uninterruptedly is one of the ways I find renewal for my mind and spirit. Listed below are eight books I have read, or am still reading, this summer. Interestingly, each of these books was recommended to me by colleagues, both clergy and laity. I share them with the South Georgia ...

Connectional Ministries August Toolkit: Back to School

published 7/25/2018
Each month, the Office of Connectional Ministries offers a toolkit that focuses on a different theme to resource your local church in nurture, outreach, witness and advocacy ministries. Subscribe to receive future issues, click here. BACK TO SCHOOL  This month we are focusing on "Back to School." Where did this summer go? As your church looks ahead to a new school year, Connectional Ministries is here to help! Dive into the resource list below for new ideas and resources to strengthen ...

Being Neighborly

published 7/23/2018
Dr. Hal Brady You know the story. I once saw it mimed by a youth group in a worship service. The wounded person was stretched out on the floor in the chancel area. A figure representing the priest came up, took a look and turned his back. Next, another figure representing the Levite came up, took a look and turned his back. At this point in the worship service, all of us present confessed our sins of omission and commission in unison and received absolution (forgiveness). Then, the Samaritan ...

Bishop Bryan will visit each district to discuss Way Forward report

published 7/23/2018
Bishop Lawson Bryan will be in each of the Conference’s six districts to discuss the Way Forward report with clergy and laity. August 16 - Northwest District  6:30 pm - 8 pm at St. Luke UMC, Columbus August 20 - Northeast District  6:30 pm - 8 pm at Pittman Park UMC, Statesboro August 27 - South Central District  6:30 pm - 8 pm at Valdosta FUMC September 6 - Coastal District  6:30 pm - 8 pm at Hinesville FUMC September 9 - North Central District 6 pm - 7:30 pm at Riverside UMC, Macon ...

Q & A with Rev. David Thompson, Coastal District Superintendent

published 7/23/2018
This is the second in a two-part series that will introduce the new District Superintendents ADVOCATE: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. THOMPSON: I was born in Augusta but my dad worked for Westinghouse, so that was the perfect preparation for being a Methodist pastor because I actually moved more with my dad than I have as a pastor. We moved all over. Westinghouse was headquartered in Pittsburgh and they had places all over ...

Together, it becomes enough

published 7/23/2018
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) In late 2010 I went with a group to Barahona, Dominican Republic to work with the people who live in the batays and to take food to an orphanage in Haiti that had been badly affected by the ...

Truckers wanted at Port Wentworth UMC

published 7/23/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Hundreds of semi-trailer trucks drive past Port Wentworth United Methodist Church each day. They’re loud, they rattle the church windows, and the exhaust fills the air. The truckers’ presence is impossible to miss, church members and staff say. “We hear the clanging and banging of the trucks all day long and sometimes even on Sunday mornings during the church services,” said church secretary Laura Weatherford. But instead of being frustrated, the Port Wentworth UMC ...

Fraud Alert: Phishing emails being sent from fake address

published 7/13/2018
The conference office has been notified of a phishing email making the rounds to various South Georgia United Methodists appearing as a message from Bishop Bryan. We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure about the email address.  ronniiiecbarker@yahoo.com is NOT an email address affiliated with the South Georgia Conference. YAHOO has been alerted to the fake email address, but you can also submit/flag the email to your provider...

Anticipated release of Way Forward report; revised call for special session

published 7/9/2018
To the clergy and laity of the South Georgia Conference: In the last couple of days two matters have arisen related to the special session of General Conference, set for February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. In the interest of clarity and transparency I want to address each of them.   Anticipated Release of Way Forward Report The Council of Bishops originally estimated that the Way Forward report would be translated and released no later than July 8, 2018 -- 230 days before the opening...

Dr. Crump’s vision is for Connectional Ministries to be the glue that holds the connection together

published 7/9/2018
Identifying the needs of local churches and working to meet those needs is one of Dr. Nita Crump’s passions. As the new Director of Connectional Ministries, Dr. Crump has the opportunity to help resource, connect, and equip churches on a conference-wide scale. The Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) is the steward of the vision of the annual conference; a leader of the process of transformation and renewal; responsible for alignment of resources, and overseer of the connectional ...

Q & A with Rev. Doreen Smalls, Southwest District Superintendent

published 7/9/2018
This is the first in a two-part series that will introduce the new District Superintendents ADVOCATE: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Have you always lived in South Georgia? REV. SMALLS: I grew up in small-town Ehrhardt, S.C. with my parents and siblings. Ehrhardt is a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. I remained in South Carolina through college and for a few years after college. I moved to Columbus, Ga. upon the urging of one my older sisters who ...

Grace Gifts

published 6/25/2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK When I was a young girl, I stood by my mother at the kitchen sink and watched her as she separated stalks of celery, washing each piece before she gave it to us at supper. She taught me that there is a part of the celery stalk that has a sweeter taste than the rest of the stalks. When all of the stalks are pulled away, there lies within the celery a beautiful surprise. It’s called the heart of the celery, and it has a deeper, sweeter taste than the rest of the ...

Paving the way for female clergy

published 6/25/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor When Rev. Marcia Cochran was first ordained in 1975, she had never heard a woman preach. In every appointment she served before retiring, she was that congregation’s first female pastor. At the 2018 Annual Conference session, the only ordinands were two females, both being ordained as deacons. A lot has changed in 43 years, Rev. Cochran said, but she has endured pain, hurt, and rejection along the way. That bumpy path, however, has helped pave the way for future ...

What does it mean to be connectional and unified?

published 6/25/2018
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have ...

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