News

Praying Our Way Forward: Take part in the next phase of prayer for God's guidance

published 6/8/2018
The Council of Bishops, in partnership with The Upper Room, is launching Phase 3 of Praying our Way Forward. Phase 1 involved 84 members of the Council of Bishops praying for The United Methodist Church’s way forward for 15 minutes daily, from August to December 2016. This was followed by Phase 2, which resulted in 18 continuous months of daily individual and corporate prayer by faithful members of annual conferences around the globe. South Georgia United Methodists held a week of prayer ...

South Georgia churches are Alive Together in Christ through mission, ministry and evangelism

published 6/7/2018
Churches throughout the conference continue to demonstrate the ways they are Alive Together in Christ through mission, ministry and evangelism.  Evangelistically Fruitful Congregations The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. A significant dimension of the disciple-making process is that of leading people to make a commitment to God through baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ.   Reaching new persons with the gospel is at the very heart of every church’s ...

Annual Conference Session: Recap of Day 3, June 5

published 6/5/2018
Business Session In the business session Tuesday  morning, the conference: were "energized" with a song and dance by the kids from BEACH camp and the College Summer Camp Leadership team. were led by Claire Bowen, human resource specialist and church consultant, in planning and vision work - “Plan on a Page.” This plan, which is a plan for being alive together in the world, helps churches create a vision of greatness and vitality. The process allows the church to dream, to innovate, to try...

Annual Conference Session: Recap of Day 2, June 4

published 6/4/2018
L to R: Alaina Harrison (full deacon), Shannon Baxter (provisional deacon), David Cott (provisional elder), Susan Beverly (provisional elder), Thomas Anderson (provisional elder) Debora Richards (provisional elder), Jamie Bone (provisional deacon), Grace Guyton (full deacon).  Morning Liturgy The morning liturgy was led by Revs. Anthony McPhail, Alaina Harrison, Greg Harrison, and Robert Wood. The first reading was from Psalm 103:1-18, and the second reading was from 1 Peter 2:21-5. Business ...

Annual Conference Session: Recap of Day 1, June 3

published 6/3/2018
Opening Worship Just outside the doors of the Jekyll Island Convention Center, the Atlantic Ocean stretches as far as the eye can see. Inside, the South Georgia Annual Conference gathered Sunday, June 3 for its opening worship service. “Stretch,” Bishop Bryan said as he preached a sermon encouraging South Georgia United Methodists to respond to Jesus’ call to follow Him and love and serve others. “Even John Wesley had to learn to stretch,” he said. “John Wesley stretched the church.” Bishop ...

2019 Conference budget reduced by nearly 6 percent

published 5/28/2018
The Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A) is proposing a 2019 budget that is a nearly 6 percent decrease from the 2018 budget of $10,662,813. The proposed 2019 budget, to be presented to and voted upon at the 2018 Annual Conference session, is $10,062,826. Most of the decrease is due to a reduction in the Pre-82 pension apportionment of $650,400. The proposed 2019 budget does include a salary increase for conference staff of 2.5 percent and a raise for Cabinet-level staff, along with ...

CBOP responds to 2017 motion about family health insurance

published 5/28/2018
In response to a motion made during the 2017 Annual Conference session which directed the South Georgia Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (CBOP) to “revisit the subject of family health insurance policies specifically focused on finding options that will lower the premium,” the CBOP Insurance Subcommittee met regularly during the past year to study options to creatively lower insurance costs for clergy and their families. After thorough research which included a survey of 39 ...

Conference to consider, vote on two resolutions

published 5/28/2018
Two resolutions have been presented for consideration and vote by the 2018 South Georgia Annual Conference. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, the “Christian Spirituality Task Force” resolution, was written and submitted by four South Georgia pastors and one lay member of the annual conference. It calls on the presiding bishop to appoint a task force to study how the conference can more ...

Live stream of Annual Conference Session begins June 3

published 5/28/2018
Those who are not able to attend the 2018 South Georgia Annual Conference session may watch the conference in its entirety via live stream at www.sgaumc.org/aclivestreaming. The live stream link will be available through the Annual Conference session’s duration, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 through the Fixing the Appointments/Sending Forth Service on Tuesday, June 5. Those with internet access can experience events, worship services, and plenary sessions as if they were attending in ...

South Georgia delegates to revote on proposed constitutional amendment

published 5/28/2018
Delegates to the 2018 South Georgia Annual Conference, meeting June 3-5 on Jekyll Island, will revote on a proposed amendment to the UMC constitution dealing with women’s equality. It was announced May 10 that an error had been made in the text of proposed Constitutional Amendment I as it was presented to annual conferences for voting. The amendment needed 66.7 percent of the votes to pass and only received 66.5. The amendment was among five constitutional amendments approved by the 2016 ...

Bishop Bryan Announces Projected June Appointments (updated 5/27)

published 5/27/2018
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan has announced projected appointment changes as of May 27, 2018. The appointments will be set at the South Georgia Annual Conference and will be effective in June. The appointment list and a note about the projected appointments can be found at www.sgaumc.org/projectedappointments. 

Hail and Farewell

published 5/14/2018
From the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries “I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have ...

Vineville UMC member teaches students to fix bikes at his Macon bike shop

published 5/14/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor At 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday, a crowd of young boys and girls waits eagerly for the door to the Learn and Earn Bike Shop to open. When it does they rush to their work stations, grab their wrenches, and get to work. They’re there to earn bikes by putting in 10 hours of sweat equity into the Learn and Earn bicycle program, a youth training and mentoring program that’s a partnership between after-school program Campus Clubs and Nathan Watson, a member of Vineville...

Stay Calm. Stay Connected. Stay the Course.

published 5/1/2018
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I flew to Chicago Saturday to meet with the Council of Bishops as we finalize our recommendations to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. As we are meeting, I want to thank you for your prayers as well as share what is on my heart. This season has been challenging yet full of hope, and I am thankful for the gracious and prayerful way we have walked through it. The faithful laity and clergy of the South Georgia...

Strange people John Wesley encountered

published 4/30/2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON   John Wesley met some very strange people. None were stranger than the man at Dewberry who charged up out of the congregation at Wesley and in a rage struck him with all his might on his face. The blow was so violent as to bring tears into Wesley’s eyes, but without a moment’s hesitation, according to Christ’s precepts, John Wesley turned his other cheek. Amazed and confounded, the fierce assailant fell back and sought to hide his face. From that time on he ...

The Financial Way Forward

published 4/30/2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN   In this season of our church where we’re seemingly obsessed with finding “a way forward,” I want to share about a different kind of way forward I’ve recently found. I didn’t need to appoint a commission. And, thankfully, I don’t think my church will split over the fact that we’ve offered this opportunity to find a way forward. Is this newfound “way” a solution to our divisions over human sexuality? No. But I do think this way offers a faithful and responsible way to...

Two Savannah UM churches join to combat racism

published 4/30/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor In Savannah, a group of 30 churchgoers are working to combat racism, and they’re doing it in true United Methodist style – with food, fellowship, and learning. The diverse group – comprised of ConneXion Church members, Trinity United Methodist Church members, and a handful of others from the community – were brought together by ConneXion Church member Ariana Berksteiner and Rev. Stacey Harwell-Dye, Trinity UMC’s Minister of Community Building. The two founded C.U.R.E....

2018 Book of Recommendations & Reports

published 4/27/2018
Business items for the 2018 Annual Conference session are contained in the Book of Recommendations and Reports (BOR). One of the purposes of the BOR is to encourage delegates to read the recommendations, reports, and resolutions prior to arriving at conference. A good delegate is a prepared delegate. The 2015 Annual Conference session voted that all Annual Conference materials, including the Book of Recommendations and Reports, be made available online on the conference website and through ...

Crump to serve as Connectional Ministries Director; Smalls to serve as Southwest District Superintendent

published 4/18/2018
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan today announced the projected appointment of Dr. Nita Crump to serve as Director of Connectional Ministries, effective June 2018. Rev. Doreen Smalls, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Savannah, will succeed Dr. Crump as the Southwest District Superintendent. Dr. Crump, currently serving as the Southwest District’s Superintendent, will succeed Dr. Matt Woodbery, who was appointed last year as the Interim Director of Connectional Ministries. Dr. Woodbery’s ...

Annual Conference Special Offering to benefit South Georgia, U.S., global health initiatives

published 4/17/2018
United Methodists are committed to health, wholeness, and offering hope. Local congregations offer feeding ministries to help children receive nourishing food when they aren’t at school, mission teams travel overseas to help dig and install water wells in faraway countries, and United Methodists from around the conference faithfully give to assist clergy when they are faced with special needs. During this year’s Annual Conference session, South Georgia United Methodists have the opportunity to...

Applications being accepted for S3 clergy groups

published 4/17/2018
Deadline is July 1 S3 is a program for sustaining excellence in ministry sponsored by the South Georgia Order of Elders and the Board of Ordained Ministry. S3 is a collaborative, small group, action learning experience that will help sustain/promote excellence in ordained ministry. You and your peer group develop and implement a two-year long small group learning experience focused on three areas: Sabbath, Study, and Service. S3 groups are self-selected and self-directed: you choose the members ...

Irwinville UMC quilters share gifts of love with Methodist Home’s children

published 4/17/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Every Monday, a group of five women from Irwinville United Methodist Church gather in the church’s fellowship hall to sew, stitch, and make small talk while joyfully sharing God’s love. They’re there to make quilts for the children at the Methodist Home for Children and Youth, something they’ve been doing for more than 12 years. They’ve handmade hundreds of quilts over the years, lovingly crafting each one. The quilts are more than just warm, colorful blankets. They ...

Judicial Council announces special session

published 4/17/2018
By Linda Bloom, UMNS The United Methodist Judicial Council has confirmed it will meet May 22-25 to consider one or more petitions related to the special session of General Conference in February 2019. General Conference 2019 will focus solely on one topic — the church’s position on homosexuality. In an April 16 letter, Lui Tran, Judicial Council secretary, told Bishop Cynthia Harvey that the United Methodist Council of Bishops’ request for a special meeting of the denomination’s top court “...

The fellowship of believers

published 4/17/2018
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries “We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us – we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have ...

Whiners, blamers, and complainers

published 4/16/2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK   I wonder if God ever thinks about adding a PS to His Ten Commandments, preceded by one simple explanation: “Since I already know you won’t obey these ten, try this one: P.S. Get over yourself!”   Some of the phrases that attach to that statement, like ribbons flying behind a kite, are “Me first,” “My way,” “Notice me,” “Hear me,” and “Why me?” Right now, before even reading further, you may already be thinking of someone – maybe more than one – whose shoulder ...

Bishops seek declaratory decision from Judicial Council on Special Session

published 4/10/2018
WASHINGTON – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on what petitions can be submitted to the denomination’s Special Session of General Conference called for February 2019. In an electronic vote that affirmed the request made at their February 2018 meeting in Dallas, the bishops voted to seek a ruling from the highest court in the denomination on the meaning, application and effect of Paragraph 14 in relation to Paragraph ...

Cordele First UMC blesses community, church with unexpected candy donation

published 4/3/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor What would you do with 48,000 pieces of candy? Cordele First United Methodist Church asked themselves that question when a semi-truck carrying 48 cases of candy, unable to deliver the order, donated its entire load to the church a few weeks ago. While several cases were given to the church’s food pantry, the timing turned out to be perfect to turn their small church-wide Easter egg hunt into a community outreach event, and church leaders quickly jumped on the idea. “...

Great insights from Henry Cloud

published 4/3/2018
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON   The author of numerous incredible books, Henry Cloud has become one of my go-to authors and I try to read everything he writes. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with him and take some notes as he shared with a small group of pastors. The following are a few of my notes from his sharing: 1. Stay Replenished.To stay in ministry you need to make sure your soul stays replenished. Your Tank Level       -           When pain and ...

Isle of Hope UMC ministry offers hope, support to those with dementia

published 4/3/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Five years ago, Beth and Chuck Maner’s lives changed when Chuck was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. In the past two years, his health has declined to a point where he needs round-the-clock care and isn’t able to be alone. It’s been a difficult few years, Beth says – isolating and lonely. Because of the disease, Chuck, an outgoing and friendly man, had little to look forward to and nowhere where he felt normal. And unless she hired a caregiver Beth didn’t have time ...

John Wesley and the Bible

published 4/3/2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley claimed to be a man of “One Book,” the Bible. He knew that the Holy Scriptures were the foundation of our faith and our guide for living the Christian life. Yet, there was no one of his era who knew more about many books than John Wesley. He was widely read in the classic and in contemporary literature of his own day. For example, John Wesley read everything Ben Franklin wrote about electricity. In search of remedies, he studied the medical writings ...

A Holy Week message from Bishop Bryan: Lift high the cross

published 3/28/2018
This is the most unusual Holy Week I have ever experienced.  Last Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday, I attended the memorial service for my mentor and friend, Bishop Bev Jones. Serving on his staff while I was in seminary was an invaluable part of my training for ministry. I thank God for the sequence of events that made possible that opportunity. On Palm Sunday, Sherrill and I received word that her brother was hospitalized due to a sudden medical crisis related to his three-year battle ...

Annual Conference 2018: Announcements & Reminders

published 3/23/2018
2018 Annual Conference Session From the Bishop Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders, We launched “Alive Together in Worship” at the conclusion of the 2017 Annual Conference. When we meet again this June we will have much to celebrate for our churches have been diligently pursuing our goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10%. This year’s annual conference session will include stirring music, inspiring updates on our ministries over the ...

Update on the Appointment Making Process - March 2018

published 3/21/2018
Moon to serve Methodist Children’s Home; Retirements Announced Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet are grateful to the laity and clergy of South Georgia for your ongoing prayer support during this time of discernment around appointment making for our churches and our clergy. Guidance for this process is found in The Book of Discipline 2016: “Appointments are to be made with consideration of the gifts and evidences of God’s grace of those appointed, to the needs, characteristics, and ...

After-school program fosters servant leadership in teenage boys

published 3/19/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor   Andre Greene wants to be a lawyer. And a doctor.   The 13-year-old already has plans to finish high school early and start college before his peers.    His big dreams are being nurtured at the Robert Lamar Anderson Academy of Excellence, an after-school program serving at-risk minority students at Columbus’ Baker Middle School.   Begun in October, the RLA Academy provides an art and music-based curriculum that includes leadership training, fine and performing arts ...

Being who your dog thinks you are

published 3/19/2018
Dr. Hal Brady   The late Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author, once said that there are three questions we should ask ourselves about any business transaction. Is it legal? Is it balanced? Will it make me feel good about myself? Here, Dr. Peale is talking about character.    I simply cannot over-estimate the importance of character. Character has been defined in many ways. Character is what you are in the dark. Character is who you are when no one else is looking. Character is who ...

Reynolds Chapel UMC member shares God’s love through bicycle ministry

published 3/19/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor The joy on a father’s face, a simple promise, and a commitment to God set Jim Anderson on a path toward sobriety and launched a bicycle ministry that is now in its ninth year. When cleaning out their garage one afternoon Anderson and his wife, Debbie, found a bike their grandson had outgrown. Not wanting to sell it, they decided to give it to a child who might not otherwise have a bike. Anderson took it to the Seminole County Division of Family and Children Services ...

Still time to register for Elementary Camp!

published 3/19/2018
Don't miss out on the opportunity for your child to spend a week away from normal everyday life in the beauty of God’s creation with people who seek to share Christ in the everyday. Register today for Camp Connect Elementary Camp, the camping ministry of the South Georgia Conference.  With a “Blueprints” theme this summer, a week at Camp Connect will teach campers what God’s design for their life looks like. Diving into scripture and sharing life stories will show them they are created in God’s ...

Fraud Alert: Phishing emails being sent from fake address

published 3/13/2018
It appears a phishing email is making the rounds to various South Georgia United Methodists asking for a cell phone number. We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure about the email address.  james.joan3@aol.com is NOT an email address affiliated with the South Georgia Conference. AOL has been alerted to the fake email address, but you can also submit/flag the email to your provider as a spam. Remember now and in the future ...

Advocacy: Toxic Charity

published 3/6/2018
Each year the Advocacy team selects an area of focus from among the four members' deepest cares and concerns. This year, the Advocacy team is focusing on ending extreme poverty worldwide. Over the next year we will share how we can engage with this issue from various perspectives.  By Rev. Stacey Harwell-Dye Just the words toxic charity may be enough to make you question the very premise of this article. After all, how can charity, which comes from a good place in our hearts, ever be toxic? ...

Bishop Bryan reflects on the Special Meeting of the Council of Bishops

published 3/6/2018
I continue to hear about the great work you - the churches of the South Georgia Conference - are doing in your communities and out in the world. While you are working faithfully in your local setting, I have been working with fellow United Methodist bishops and members of the Commission on a Way Forward to discern what the way forward looks like. A special meeting of the Council of Bishops was held last week to receive an updated report from the Commission on a Way Forward. The meeting also ...

Canoeing the Mountains: Daring to take your church “Off the Map”

published 3/6/2018
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN Change. It might as well be a four-letter word because it strikes most of us as something ugly and profane. No one likes to change. As human beings we are biologically wired to enjoy something called homeostasis — the state of equilibrium and balance when all is well and nothing is changing. Change is especially difficult in the church. As the world around us rapidly changes, the church tends to be the one place where we can find refuge from the storm. The ...

John Wesley – a traveling preacher

published 3/6/2018
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley was a traveling preacher. He was always on the move sharing the Gospel of Christ wherever he went. It has been estimated that John Wesley spent one half of his waking hours traveling. He rode his horse more than 250,000 miles across England.  John Wesley spent 23 months in Georgia. It took him four months on the ship before he even arrived at the mouth of the Savannah River. While in Georgia he made 10 trips between Savannah and St. Simons Island. He...

Learning what works: Shadowing Program sends five Europeans to South Georgia to learn principles of growing congregations

published 3/6/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor A group of five United Methodists from Estonia and Finland recently visited two South Georgia United Methodist churches to learn the principles of vital congregations. They visited Harvest Church in Byron and The Chapel Ministries in Brunswick and Effingham County. At each, they spent time with church staff and shadowed pastors to gain experience and insight into what makes an effective, growing church. “The idea was that we could learn from their experiences, to see ...

Northeast District partners with Discipleship Ministries to revitalize churches, make disciples

published 3/6/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor The Northeast District of the South Georgia Conference is about to embark on a two-year program to revitalize churches and make disciples. A partnership between the district and Discipleship Ministries, the new initiative was birthed from a question District Superintendent Rev. Chris Ramsey asked in a meeting nearly a year and a half ago. How can general agencies resource local churches and districts? When he heard the question, Bishop Lawson Bryan responded ...

Ken Howle Elected Executive Director of Lake Junaluska

published 3/4/2018
The Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Ken Howle as the new executive director of Lake Junaluska. He will assume the role immediately. Howle has worked at Lake Junaluska for the last 14 years as director of advancement and as director of sales and marketing. He is a life-long United Methodist. He serves as a member of the church council at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Waynesville, N.C. “We are fortunate to be able to build on Ken’s experience with Lake ...

2018 appointment-making season begins in the South Georgia Conference

published 2/19/2018
It’s appointment-making season in The United Methodist Church, and this week Bishop Bryan and the Appointive Cabinet are meeting for several days to pray, worship, and begin the decision-making process of appointments. The 2018-2019 appointment-making schedule is available here. “One of the primary ways you can see how alive we are is through the appointment-making process,” said Bishop Bryan in a video explaining South Georgia’s appointment-making process. “In that process, local churches, ...

Church uses Facebook Live to minister

published 2/19/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Ashburn, Ga. residents Sheila and Cliff Gibbs have been in Jacksonville since early November. Cliff Gibbs was at Mayo Clinic for nearly three and a half months before recently moving to a rehabilitation hospital. Even though they’ve been far from home for nearly four months, they haven’t felt too far away because they’ve been connected to their Ashburn First United Methodist Church congregation each Sunday via Facebook Live. They haven’t missed a Sunday morning worship...

New fund helps retired pastors in time of need

published 2/19/2018
By Kara Witherow, Editor Unexpected help from a new fund that helps retired pastors in their time of need has made Rev. Guy Mathis’ life a little easier these days. Suffering from coronary artery disease, Rev. Mathis has had open-heart surgery and retired from full-time pastoral duties in 2015. Serving Desoto United Methodist Church part time in retirement, upon his wife’s sudden death in October 2016 he became the primary caregiver for their three adopted grandchildren. So when he was told ...

Satan is a Powerless Wolf

published 2/19/2018
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Have you seen the TV commercial where a granddaddy is reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to his grandson? As the wolf approaches the pigs’ home of straw, he huffs and puffs to blow down the house. The child interrupts, “Kind of like you, Grandpa, when you huff and puff?” Grandpa explains, “That’s right. When you have COPD, it’s hard to get air in and air out.” The commercial continues as the wolf tries hard to blow down the house of straw, but he is ...

Transformation and success are not the same

published 2/19/2018
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries Who, being in very nature God,     did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing     by taking the very nature of a servant,     being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,     he humbled himself     by becoming obedient to death—         even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place     and ...

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