News

A Word from Bishop Bryan: COVID-19 update - Quietly courageous in today's world

published 3/31/2020
Dear South Georgia clergy, laity, and friends, Before we even saw the effects of COVID-19 here in Georgia, I recorded a Palm Sunday message. Little did I know how timely the words “quietly courageous” would be today, nearly one year after Dr. Gil Rendle introduced them to us at last year’s Annual Conference session. Today, maybe more than ever before, let us ask the questions, “How do we develop quietly courageous leadership? What does it look like to be a quietly courageous leader in today's ...

Bishop Bryan: Reflections on Palm Sunday

published 3/31/2020
Before South Georgia ever felt the effects of COVID-19, Bishop Bryan recorded this Palm Sunday message. Little did he know how timely the words “quietly courageous” would be today. This Sunday is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week. In anticipation of the week, Bishop Bryan, in a video, encourages South Georgia United Methodists to consider two words: quietly courageous. They’re words introduced to the Annual Conference nearly a year ago, at last year’s Annual Conference session, ...

A worship service with Bishop Bryan - watch now

published 3/29/2020
A number of South Georgia Conference churches are offering an online worship experience either by Live Stream or by recording a service to share online. View list. In addition, Bishop Bryan will offer a live stream worship moment from 10:00 am - 10:30 am.   WATCH THE SERVICE FROM SUNDAY, MARCH 29 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE FROM SUNDAY, MARCH 22

A Word from Bishop Bryan: COVID-19 update - Holy Week and Easter

published 3/24/2020
Dear South Georgia clergy, laity, and friends, Last night Gov. Kemp issued the latest guidelines for lowering the infection rate of COVID-19. This includes a shelter in place order for those in certain areas and for vulnerable populations. He also encouraged people to work from home when possible and to limit travel to only that which is absolutely necessary. The churches of South Georgia have already been proactive in doing all we can to avoid spreading this virus. Thank you for the spirit in ...

General Conference 2020 Postponed

published 3/20/2020
A Word from Bishop Bryan: Dear South Georgia Conference family, I continue to say, these are unprecedented times. We have so many questions about what the days, weeks, and months ahead look like. While I don’t have all the answers, I do want to assure you that I am in constant conversation with the Cabinet and others in leadership as we look at all that is before us. With that said, there are a few things I want you to be aware of right now. Postponement of General Conference 2020 Wednesday, ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: COVID-19 update - suspending church services & activities

published 3/16/2020
Dear South Georgia clergy, laity, and friends, I sit in gratitude today as I reflect on the ways our clergy and our churches have leaned into the sudden adjustments being thrust upon us by the spread of the coronavirus. With inspired creativity, you are exploring ways to stay in connection as you minister in your congregation and community. You are giving special attention to those who are considered most vulnerable. Thank you for rising to the occasion so that the South Georgia Conference can ...

Southwest District spends day serving Vashti, others

published 3/16/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor More than 150 people gathered at the Vashti Center in Thomasville Saturday, Feb. 22 for the Southwest District’s Inaugural Day of Giving Back. A day to focus on missions outside the walls of the church, the effort brought together adults, youth, and children from throughout the district to serve. “This was an opportunity to bring our churches together for fellowship and a common purpose to strengthen the connections between our congregations,” said Southwest District ...

Which Nicodemus are we?

published 3/16/2020
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP After dark one night a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a member of the sect of the Pharisees, came for an interview with Jesus. “Sir,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miracles are proof enough of this.” John 3:1-2 (NLT) After dark. Not during the day, but after dark, when others would not see him, Nicodemus came to Jesus. Something in Nicodemus’ heart pulled him toward Jesus. He recognized that Jesus represented God, but ...

Bishop Bryan announces conference-level appointments/assignment

published 3/15/2020
Bishop Lawson Bryan today announced the projected appointments of Rev. Craig Hutto as the North Central District Superintendent, Dr. Nita Crump as senior pastor of Mulberry Street UMC, and Dr. Rick Lanford to the Georgia United Methodist Foundation as well as the assignment of Mrs. Allison Lindsey as Acting Director of Connectional Ministries, effective June 2020. Rev. Craig Hutto, currently serving as senior pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Warner Robins, will be appointed to serve...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: COVID-19 update - Sunday worship

published 3/13/2020
Dear South Georgia clergy, laity, and friends, As we meet for appointment-making, our South Georgia Cabinet is also mindful of the concern and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. We all want to do our part to stop the spread of this virus. Gov. Kemp has asked school districts across the state to consider closing for two weeks. Local school systems have already implemented some limited closures in specific areas to deal with recent presumed positive and confirmed cases of COVID-19. During ...

Communicating and ministering during a pandemic

published 3/13/2020
The novel coronavirus is spreading, and we each have a responsibility to be prepared. While we should not panic, now is the time for churches and congregations to review or create preparedness plans so that you can communicate and minister during this time.  The decision to suspend worship, even for one Sunday, is a tough one. It’s a hard call to make, especially if your worship, discipleship, and giving systems are primarily dependent upon in-person gatherings. This is also weighty when it ...

South Georgia Conference Churches Offer Online Worship

published 3/12/2020
A number of South Georgia Conference churches are offering an online worship experience either by Live Stream or by recording a service to share online.  In addition, for at least the next two Sundays, Bishop Bryan will offer a live stream worship moment from 10:00 am - 10:30 am. You can find this on our conference Facebook page and website. A recording will also be posted to the conference website for use anytime. This is not to compete with anything churches are already doing but is meant as ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: COVID-19 update - prepare, don’t panic

published 3/11/2020
Dear South Georgia clergy, laity, and friends, The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is spreading, and we each have a responsibility to be prepared. While we should not panic, now is the time for churches and congregations to review or create preparedness plans. Churches, please clean and sanitize highly-touched surfaces throughout the day, including children and adult classrooms, handles, water fountains, and railings. Offer hand sanitizer and tissues in highly visible areas. Consider changing ...

Join a regional prayer gathering this week

published 3/9/2020
You are invited to join a regional prayer gathering near you! Regional Prayer Gatherings Tuesday, March 10 Macon, Vineville UMC, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Statesboro, Pittman Park UMC, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Columbus, St. Mark UMC, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Vidalia, Vidalia First UMC, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12 Savannah, White Bluff UMC, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Camilla, Camilla UMC, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Brunswick, The Chapel, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Valdosta, Park Avenue UMC, 6:30 - 8 p.m.   *************************** When people ...

Prayer and Giving: Responding to Tennessee Tornadoes

published 3/5/2020
Three Nashville-area United Methodist churches — East End and Braden Memorial in East Nashville and Dodson Chapel in Hermitage — were heavily damaged by tornadoes that swept parts of Tennessee early on March 3. The nighttime storms claimed at least 24 lives, particularly in Putnam County, about 80 miles from Nashville. More than 150 of those injured were taken to hospitals in the Nashville area, according to CNN. The tornado, which reportedly cut a 10-mile path through downtown Nashville and ...

Simple steps to limit coronavirus risk

published 3/3/2020
In a 10 p.m. news conference last night, Governor Brian Kemp announced that two cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in Fulton County. Both individuals are in the same household and one of them recently returned from travel in Italy (a high-risk country for the coronavirus). Those two persons have minimal symptoms, are under the care of a physician, and are in “at home isolation” so that they will not infect others.   The governor and the state health officer emphasized the pre-planning...

Perry UMC youth make blankets for children in foster care

published 3/2/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor On a wet, rainy Wednesday evening a few weeks ago, youth at Perry United Methodist Church spent the evening inside, serving others. They cut, tied, worked, and worshiped, but above all, they shared the love of Christ as they made 20 blankets to give children who will be entering the foster care system.   Measuring about a yard and a half long, each no-sew fleece blanket takes four people about half an hour to make. Two youth cut fringe and another two tied knots. ...

Churches reach out with financial literacy classes

published 3/1/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor Nick Fletcher, a father of two with one on the way, says he’s never been financially stable. Elsie and Daniel Widener, parents of 16-month-old Evelyn, were stressed and had given up on budgeting. Cheryl Howell, a registered nurse whose new home seemed more like a burden than a blessing, felt overwhelmed. They are among the hundreds or so participants that gather each week at one of a handful of South Georgia United Methodist churches that offer biblical curriculum to ...

John Wesley’s name

published 3/1/2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON A lot of Methodists name their children after John Wesley. My own great, great grandfather was named “John Wesley Hanson” and he named his son, my great grandfather, “John Wesley Hanson, Jr.” Our son, Jeff, names his son, my youngest grandson, “John Wesley Hanson.” There were four people in John Wesley’s family who shared that name. His great grandfather was named “John Westley” (notice the unusual spelling). His father and mother, Samuel and Susanna Wesley, had...

Voices in this Season of Conversations – Lent

published 3/1/2020
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN In a recent article, I noted that the release of the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation has led to an enhanced season of conversations throughout The United Methodist Church. Some are pleased with the Protocol. Others want to see it amended to make space for more people. Still others want more details about specific aspects of it. All seek to be faithful and desire to work together so General Conference 2020 will be fruitful for the global ...

A father’s love: father and son journey together to the Holy Land

published 2/17/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor As Rev. Jonathan Fuller walked along rough and craggy terrain while following Jesus’ footsteps during a recent Holy Land pilgrimage, one person was always a step behind, ever-watchful and mindful. His father, Robert Fuller. A few weeks ago, the father and son had the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land together with a group of about 90 South Georgia United Methodists. The pilgrims explored Biblical sites such as the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, ...

Conference to unite in prayer, fasting

published 2/17/2020
 When people pray, God listens. And John and Charles Wesley believed “that God does nothing apart from believing prayer.” In a focused effort to prepare for the 2020 General Conference session, the South Georgia Conference is launching a Conference-wide prayer and fasting initiative, “Together We Pray.” It will begin the day after Easter and run through the General Conference session. The initiative will include three components: local church prayer resources, eight regional prayer ...

Macon Conference offices moving this week

published 2/17/2020
This week, the Conference offices in Macon will move to a new, shared home. They will share space at 3040 Riverside Drive, about a mile and a half from the current Episcopal office. “We’re pleased to have the Episcopal office, Ministerial Services office, Administrative Services office, the Director of Connectional Ministries, and Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s South Georgia office all in one place,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services, who has shepherded this ...

2020 appointment-making season begins in the South Georgia Conference

published 2/16/2020
It’s appointment-making season in The United Methodist Church, and this week, Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet are meeting to pray, worship, and begin the decision-making process of appointments. The 2020-2021 appointment-making schedule is available here. “I ask for your prayers for our Cabinet, for every local church, and for every pastor, for we all want to be alive together in ministry and we want the appointment-making process to be a part of that which looks for liveliness and ...

Delegation affirms Protocol

published 2/10/2020
The South Georgia Annual Conference General and Jurisdictional Delegation has released a statement unanimously affirming the work done on the “Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation.” It also recommended the Protocol be the first legislative item considered by General Conference 2020. “The South Georgia Annual Conference General and Jurisdictional Delegation supports the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation as a way to move forward into new expressions of ...

Protocol Legislation Released

published 2/7/2020
A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world has collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved. The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved on December 17, 2019 and shared on January 3, 2020. Legislation to implement the Protocol statement has now been released and...

Bishop Bryan, delegation discuss Protocol, future

published 2/3/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor During a Winter Conference panel discussion, Bishop Bryan and several members of South Georgia’s 2020 General Conference delegation shared their thoughts about the recently released Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation, the possible future of the South Georgia Conference, and General Conference 2020. Held Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Nalls Auditorium at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, much of the dialogue focused on the Protocol. “The Protocol is a ...

South Georgia UMs continue to give despite denominational discord

published 2/3/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor In a year of heightened uncertainty and denominational discord, South Georgia United Methodists continued to faithfully give. While total apportionment giving is down slightly from 2018, giving to conference and district askings was close to 2018 levels. General church apportionment giving was down significantly compared to 2018 levels. Overall apportionment payments for 2019 were at 87 percent, compared to 89.5 percent in 2018. The Northeast and Southwest Districts ...

5 reasons people are more important than the product

published 2/2/2020
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I (Anne) am a 1 with a 9 wing. You enneagram fans now know a lot about me. However, the rest of you might feel like I’m speaking another language. I found out I was a 1 when I took the enneagram test during a conference I was attending several years ago. The test I took labeled the 1 as “The Reformer.” I LOVE being first and I love to reform things so I felt really good about these test results. Fast forward a year later and I heard people...

John Wesley on disagreements

published 2/2/2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In this era of so many disagreements, it is helpful to review John Wesley’s comments on this subject. “No man can choose for or prescribe to another. Everyone must follow the dictates of his own conscience in sympathy and sincerity. He must be fully persuaded in his own mind and then act according to the best light he has. Nor has any creature the power to constrain another to walk by his own rule. God has given no right to any of the children of men to lord it ...

Lean in

published 2/2/2020
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Traveling 6,465 miles together really gives you an opportunity to get to know your companions. That is the privilege I had in leading the recent Holy Land pilgrimage with 90 South Georgia laity and clergy. On this journey to the heart of our faith we never felt like tourists; we referred to ourselves as pilgrims. We began each day by singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And at each place we visited we read scripture...

SEJ heads of delegations affirm Protocol

published 2/2/2020
The clergy and lay heads of Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) General Conference delegations released a statement last week affirming the work done on the “Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation Through Separation.” They also recommended the Protocol be among the first legislative items considered by General Conference 2020. Heads of delegations from 14 of the 15 conferences of the SEJ signed onto the statement, with 26 lay and clergy heads of delegations supporting and signing it. “One of the ...

Bishop Bryan: Reflections at the Wesley Monument at Fort Pulaski

published 1/27/2020
On Feb. 6, 1736, after sailing four months to get from England to America, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, General Oglethorpe, and others landed on Cockspur Island off the coast of Savannah. A monument marks the location. “One of the things we learn historically is that none of what Wesley really thought was going happen actually happened,” Bishop Bryan said in a video from Fort Pulaski, erected on the site where Wesley and the others landed. “In his diary, on the way back to England, Wesley ...

Conference Nominations Committee looking for leaders

published 1/22/2020
The South Georgia Annual Conference Committee on Nominations has begun a process to identify laity and clergy interested in serving on Conference and District boards, committees, and teams for the 2021-2024 quadrennium.  Between now and January 29, you are invited to indicate your willingness to serve or to encourage possible leaders to complete the online Interest Form. The Conference Nominations Committee is looking for resourceful and committed leaders who have vision, leadership skills, ...

Fraud Alert: Spoofing emails being sent from fake address

published 1/21/2020
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 spam. Please do not forward the email to anyone.  Remember now and in the future that the conference sends emails from official conference ...

GSW Wesley Foundation sees rapid growth, strong leadership

published 1/20/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor For Georgia Southwestern State University junior Jessica Montanye, the Wesley Foundation is a home away from home. Without the foundation of the campus ministry and the support she finds there, she probably wouldn’t be attending church today, she said. “If The Wes wasn’t there …. I would have probably left the church.” This fall, the campus ministry welcomed 85 students at its kickoff event and is averaging more than 60 students at its recently restored Tuesday night...

Vineville UMC helps strengthen community, build neighbor’s home

published 1/20/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor Shequita Manson’s new home is painted blue, in honor and memory of her 12-year-old daughter, Nophstaria “Star” Henley, who died May 25, 2018, of sickle-cell disease. After her daughter’s death, Manson and her older daughter moved several times, bouncing from rental to rental, unable to find their “happy place.” But today, thanks in large part to Vineville United Methodist Church, they are finally home and happy. Partnering with the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity and ...

Common goals unite us

published 1/19/2020
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-1, NIV) Happy New Year! Did you make a resolution? Multiple resolutions? Did your congregation, church, Sunday school class, Bible study group, or small group make any resolutions? A resolution is a promise you ...

An Update on the Leadership Forum Task Force Meeting - Writing our own story in 2020

published 1/15/2020
A Word from Bishop Bryan: Since January 3 you may have seen headlines announcing that a decision has been reached to split The United Methodist Church. As most have figured out by now, those headlines were wrong and misleading. What’s the truth? The top legislative body of The United Methodist Church, the General Conference, meets every four years. The next session of General Conference is May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN. This is the only body that can speak officially for The United ...

Fraud Alert: Spoofing emails being sent from fake address

published 1/8/2020
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 spam. Please do not forward the email to anyone.  Remember now and in the future that the conference sends emails from official conference ...

John Wesley and the poor

published 1/6/2020
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley cared deeply about the poor. In Bristol, he was proud to find the Methodist New Room Congregation active in ministering with the poor. They not only brought “good news to the poor,” but embodied various forms of “social holiness.” There was a school for poor children, a dispensary with free medicine for the poor, prison visitation, and the formation of a Stranger’s Friend Society which was for the benefit of those outside the Methodist Society – ...

Let’s write our own story in 2020

published 1/6/2020
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN The old year ends and the new year begins during the 12 days of Christmas (from Christmas Day to Epiphany Day on January 6). This seems particularly fitting since the coming of Jesus marks the culmination of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Standing on the shoulders of our Hebrew heritage, we hold the Christ Child and, like Mary and Joseph, move forward into a new future. Certainly, we wonder about what this new year will hold for us. As...

South Georgia UMs share Christmas with Navajo Nation

published 1/6/2020
By Kara Witherow, Editor Several South Georgia United Methodists spread some early Christmas cheer last month when they took more than 2,000 shoeboxes packed full of gifts to the Navajo Nation. Two trailers, loaded full of filled Christmas presents, left South Georgia Dec. 11. After crossing the country, the group arrived in northeastern Arizona ready to serve and play Santa. While only seven people actually made the trip, thousands of South Georgia United Methodists contributed to the ...

Thank you, South Georgia United Methodists!

published 1/6/2020
As we begin a new year and a new decade, we want to give thanks to you, the faithful members of our local churches, for partnering with us to do the ministry we’ve been called to do. Because of your prayers, support, and gifts, we are able to minister to people all across South Georgia - and beyond - in the name of Jesus Christ.   Thank you!  A note from Bishop Bryan I am so very grateful for the privilege of serving with you in the South Georgia Conference. The power and hope of the ...

Two new resolutions to add to your 2020

published 1/6/2020
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, may well go down as a significant day in Methodist history. If I use my imagination, I can already hear a Methodist History professor teaching seminary students in 30 years about the day our denomination announced its biggest split since the issue of slavery divided us in the 19th Century. 13: The number of text messages I received within about 15 minutes of the story about the new protocol document breaking. 11: The number of church members, ...

South Georgia United Methodists respond to Dec. 17 storms

published 12/19/2019
Severe weather struck South Georgia Tuesday night, damaging homes, downing power lines, and destroying trees. Tornadoes were confirmed in Early, Irwin, and Miller Counties. While officials are still assessing damages, the South Georgia Conference’s Disaster Response Team is on the ground, ready to help where needed. “Tuesday's tornadoes were devastating,” said Disaster Response coordinator Luis Morales. “Damage like this is hard any time of the year, but just days before Christmas makes it so ...

Advent candles spark church fire

published 12/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Baxley First United Methodist Church was damaged by fire Sunday afternoon, Dec. 15. No injuries were reported. Church leaders say the fire was an accident that started in the pulpit area where candles on an advent wreath were left burning unattended. “We’re brokenhearted, but we know that buildings can be replaced,” said Rev. Steve Meguiar, pastor of Baxley First UMC. “We’re very blessed that it was reported as early as it was.” A passer-by who saw smoke coming from ...

Former Santa still spreading message of love, joy, hope

published 12/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor For 18 Christmas seasons, from 1975 until 1993, Rev. Eric Sizemore donned a red suit, a beard, and a stocking cap. And while the 160ish-pound, dark-haired, 36-year-old preacher didn’t then look much like the jolly, old elf, he had the same infectious grin and hope-filled spirit. On Sunday mornings – then and now – Rev. Sizemore preaches a message of love, hope, and goodwill to all. But for those 18 holiday seasons, on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons ...

Mary’s faith

published 12/16/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you….” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-28, 38, NIV) Mary is thought ...

Tutoring program helps connect church to community

published 12/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Whether they’re there for the food, the fun computer games, or the free tutoring, the end result is the same: they know ConneXion Church cares. Every Wednesday afternoon at 3:45, a dozen children from Savannah’s Juliette Low Elementary School pile into a church van and make the short trek to ConneXion Church. They spend a few minutes in the church’s fellowship hall, chatting, playing, and eating snacks. Then the group heads to the education/children’s wing, divides ...

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