News

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 ...

Conference Nominations Committee looking for leaders

published 12/16/2019
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, ...

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 ...

Historic downtown Savannah church looks to renovate, rebuild for the future

published 12/2/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor The church is not the building, but the people. But the building is a home, a place of identity, and a refuge in times of crisis and need. And now, after 92 years, Asbury United Methodist Church’s building needs help. Named last month to the Georgia Trust’s 2020 “Places in Peril” list, the historic downtown congregation hopes the exposure will help raise awareness of its plight so they can raise funds for the building’s restoration. The only African American United ...

John Wesley’s house in Savannah

published 12/1/2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON In 1903, the Colonial Dames erected a monument near Reynolds Square, at the corner of Abercorn and East Congress, indicating the location of John Wesley’s house in Savannah, Ga. That monument “went missing” in the 1980s. It was recently restored by the Colonial Dames of Savannah. A lot of things happened in that house. John was unable to reside there for a month when he first arrived in Georgia on March 6, 1736. He had to wait until the previous pastor, Rev. ...

Pursue the Real Thing

published 12/1/2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON Have you ever noticed how much of what we buy is an imitation of the real thing? In the grocery store you can purchase chocolate flavored chips, butter flavored spread, and imitation vanilla extract. My kitchen has wood grain vinyl flooring, granite-look counters, and faux leather chairs. My dogs eat food that tastes like real meat and beg for bones that smell like chicken. In my bathroom are products that make my face appear younger and ...

The power of Christmas

published 12/1/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN As we enter Advent and journey toward Christmas, Sherrill and I want to express our gratitude for the privilege of being Alive Together in Christ with you in South Georgia. We wish you a very meaningful holiday season. I also want to remind us that more people come to church during the Advent and Christmas seasons than any other time of the year. This is a golden opportunity to open our doors, our hearts, and our ministries to our entire community. This year I ...

A Thanksgiving message from Bishop Bryan: You Make My Day!

published 11/25/2019
Dear South Georgia Conference family, Each year, the approach of Thanksgiving renews my sense of gratitude that one of my three sisters married a farmer. The rest of us, along with our extended families, gather at the farm on Thanksgiving Day. It’s quite a scene as we are surrounded by fields, farm equipment, horses, cattle, chickens, and several pet dogs. There are sounds of all kinds. And inside the farmhouse there are the aromas of turkey, dressing, gravy, vegetables, casseroles, and various...

A season of giving thanks

published 11/18/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP​ God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8, NLT) The season of Thanksgiving is here. As we pause our preparations for Christmas to consider giving thanks, let us include giving thanks to God for all that he has given us. My favorite passage of scripture for Thanksgiving is Psalm 145. This psalm is a list of many of the reasons we have to give thanks to God. Some of the reasons the ...

Bishop Bryan and Task Force give General Conference update

published 11/18/2019
During the 2019 Annual Conference session, Bishop Bryan shared that the Leadership Forum Task Force would continue to meet throughout this year to provide updates to the Conference concerning the conversations going on in The United Methodist Church as preparations are made for General Conference 2020 in May.  One possibility mentioned was a conference-wide gathering in November. To be good stewards of everyone’s time, Bishop Bryan and the Task Force have decided to release their update report ...

Donalsonville group repairs roofs, restores hope

published 11/18/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor When Hurricane Michael tore through southwest Georgia last year, high winds and falling trees destroyed homes and damaged roofs. More than a year later, blue tarps still dot the landscape, covering hundreds of homes still in need of repair. Lisa Minto’s two roofs were among those hit. Her restaurant, Mintos Sports Bar & Grill, which she and her husband had just opened three months prior, lost its roof. The roof on her home was damaged and water leaked in every time it...

Kindness Considered

published 11/18/2019
By Dr. Hal Brady Is there any doubt that we live in a divisive society that even stretches beyond politics, though politics is where this divisiveness is most painfully obvious? Partisan party lines and media bias have become the spectacle of this societal alienation. Then there is the Internet! So many of us have withdrawn into our own private online worlds of chatter with no contact or communication with real life. Result? Consequently, there is an ever- increasing isolation from and ...

Practice radical generosity on #GivingTuesday, Dec. 3

published 11/18/2019
#GivingTuesday harnesses the generosity of millions of people around the world to support the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. We believe the movement will become the first global day of giving and a year-round platform for strengthening civil society.  We invite you to select an organized affiliated with the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. This year, Giving Tuesday is on December 3. Click on a link below to give directly to an organization....

Student athlete lives faith on and off the court

published 11/18/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor If you look closely at Madie Bunge’s wrist you’ll likely see “P4:13.” A reminder that she can do all things through Christ, who strengthens her, Bunge, a senior defensive specialist on the College of Coastal Georgia’s Mariners volleyball team, writes the verse on the inside of her wrist before each volleyball game. It’s just one of the ways Bunge lives out her faith when she’s on the volleyball court. She also prays for her teammates; invites them to worship ...

Boreholes bring ‘sigh of relief’ in Uganda

published 11/4/2019
By Vivian Agaba Accessing clean water in some parts of Uganda is difficult, especially for girls and women who are usually responsible for walking long distances to fetch water, often from unsafe sources. The addition of five boreholes near United Methodist churches in the Uganda-South Sudan Conference will alleviate that problem for some. Members of Baxley First United Methodist Church in Baxley, Georgia, First United Methodist Church in Vidalia, Georgia, and Lynn Haven United Methodist ...

Forest Hills UMC’s Sanctuary Respite Ministry offers hope to those living with memory loss diagnosis

published 11/4/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Dianne Roberts had prayed the same prayer for nearly 10 years. “Church, do something.” Her husband of 52 years, Marvin, suffers from corticobasal degeneration, a progressive neurological disorder and cognitive illness similar to Alzheimer’s. A former certified public accountant, Marvin is no longer able to speak, and Roberts, a teacher, retired to care for him. “He is able to do a lot of things, but he does need some help,” she said. “I really prayed for a long time ...

Stand at the Wesley monument

published 11/4/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land I found myself seated beside a Jewish rabbi from Philadelphia. When he asked about my group’s itinerary, I explained that when we landed in Tel Aviv we would board a bus and head to Galilee. After several days we would travel south to Jericho, the Dead Sea, and Qumran. Then we would end with several more days exploring Jerusalem. The rabbi replied “That’s not how we do it.” He continued, “I work with Jewish college students who ...

The number one reason Methodism doesn’t grow

published 11/4/2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley believed those Methodist Societies which did not grow had neglected the main reason for their existence which was to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land. He believed that God raised up the Methodist Movement in order to proclaim God’s desire to make believers Christlike in perfect love. “Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?” John never claimed to be sanctified (perfect in love), but he ...

UMW gather, celebrate 150 years of missions, ministry

published 11/4/2019
By Kelly Roberson, Director of Communications It was a rainy day outside but inside was a beautiful day of celebration as the South Georgia Conference United Methodist Women gathered for their annual meeting Oct. 19, 2019, at Open Door Community House in Columbus, Ga. Carol Banks, South Georgia United Methodist Women president, expressed her appreciation for the year of blessings in United Methodist Women as they celebrated their 150-year milestone as a mission organization focused on missions...

2019 Advent Resources

published 10/25/2019
Advent/Christmas We hope the resources provided in this edition will help jumpstart your planning and give you new ideas for this season.   _________________________________________ N  U  R  T  U  R  E Take the Online Advent Quiz: (Download), print and share the Advent Quiz with your church, family & friends!  Chuck Knows Church: The Advent Wreath (Video 3 minutes) New Ways to Celebrate Advent With Kids Christmas Gifts That Won't Break: A Children's Advent Study by James W. Moore. ...

Centenary UMC partners with local group to combat “period poverty”

published 10/14/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor When was the last time you had to choose between paying for a meal or a menstrual pad? For many women, the choice is all too real. Called “period poverty,” it’s the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints, and it affects women and girls around the world. It’s a problem that affects more than those who are financially strapped or experiencing homelessness, though. According to a recent survey, nearly one in five American girls have either left ...

New Conference Center receives another $100,000 donation

published 10/14/2019
The South Georgia Conference’s effort to build a new Conference Center on the grounds of Wesleyan College in Macon has been given another boost with its second major gift in three months. At a recent New Conference Center Task Force meeting, held Oct. 2, Dr. Hal Brady, chair of the Conference Center Task Force, announced that a second anonymous donor has given a $100,000 gift towards building the new Conference Center. “We celebrate this gift and are grateful to the donor and the generosity ...

Sparks UMC’s activity mats help dementia patients

published 10/14/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor When Pat Scrogham’s mother, Margery Resser, was living with dementia, Scrogham looked high and low for something to keep her mother’s hands busy. “Their hands need to be moving,” Scrogham said. She searched online but was unable to find exactly what she was looking for. “I had even gotten her a baby toy that she could twist and twist, and it made her happy.” Coming up empty at local stores and craft fairs and not satisfied with what she found online, Scrogham ...

But Grace said …

published 10/12/2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My friend and I sat across from one another eating pizza when the subject of tips came up. We both said we always give a 20 percent tip. We discussed how unfortunate it was to have a waiter or waitress work so hard for a table of fifteen or more and then just receive a two dollar tip. That’s their pay. Tips are not just some extra bonus for a hard-working waiter. That’s his pay. “Most people simply don’t realize that these waiters and waitresses count on the ...

Excel in the grace of giving

published 10/12/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP​ At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. (2 Corinthians 8:14, NIV) In the eighth chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul is writing about generosity and sacrificial giving. The Macedonians, who were described as being “in the midst of a very severe trial,” gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability. Paul encourages the Corinthians to “excel in this grace of giving” so that ...

Rev. Scott Stanfill reflects on Hurricane Michael one year later: 'We saw church happen...'

published 10/10/2019
As we mark the one-year anniversary of the worst storm many in Northwest Florida and Southwest Georgia have lived through and as Colquitt United Methodist Church (CUMC) still navigates the effects of the storms, Rev. Scott Stanfill, senior pastor of CUMC, shares his reflections: The word for “patience” in the Bible can be translated “long-suffering.” Indeed, CUMC continues to live into our current reality of long-suffering while we eagerly anticipate returning to our building. The layers ...

Church isn't a building: southwest Georgia congregations continue to serve communities

published 9/30/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Nearly one year after Hurricane Michael destroyed parts of southwest Georgia, blue tarps still dot the landscape. Trees are scattered throughout backyards, and some residents are living in hotels instead of their homes. Even now, 12 months later, you can’t drive 100 yards without seeing one of the emergency roof coverings or some other sign of the storm. Full recovery will take years, locals say. At a time when it would be natural for residents to focus on their own ...

Open your hands!

published 9/30/2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON One of my favorite things about children’s ministry is observing how children relate and interact with each other. This summer we held Art Camp at our church, and I watched as two young kids were in a tiff over who was going to hold the pool noodle for the next game. Each one had their hands clutched tightly around one end and the adult was trying to pry their hands away so they could actually play the game. They each wanted so desperately ...

South Georgia Advocate to continue using Standard Lesson Quarterly/Uniform Series for winter, future Sunday school lessons

published 9/30/2019
For years, the South Georgia Advocate has provided weekly Sunday school lessons as a resource to churches and Sunday school teachers. We are profoundly grateful for the gifted and Spirit-led writers – all South Georgia Conference laity and clergy – who have given of their time and talents to provide this much loved and well-used resource. This fall, Cokesbury departed from the Scope and Sequence of the Uniform Series for their Adult Bible Studies (the quarterly curriculum published by United ...

The strength of South Georgia

published 9/30/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN One year ago, on October 10, Hurricane Michael came ashore as a Category 5 storm, devastating Mexico Beach and parts of Panama City, Fla. Then Michael moved northward into the South Georgia Conference. The Southwest District and surrounding region were especially hard hit. The storm was so strong that the World Meteorological Society has decided to retire the name Michael so that no future Atlantic hurricane can have that name. In South Georgia, we are well ...

UMs, UMCOR still helping southwest Georgia recover

published 9/30/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor United Methodists are known for being “the last to leave,” and in southwest Georgia, where Hurricane Michael swept through the area Oct. 10, 2018, as a devastating Category 3 storm, they’re still there, working to restore what was lost. Rev. George Masciarelli was recently hired as a Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Hurricane Michael, working specifically in the Southwest District to coordinate long term recovery efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Michael. His ...

What John Wesley says about church growth, part 2

published 9/30/2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley said one of the societies had not grown in more than a year. He attributed this lack of growth to one thing: the lack of visiting from house to house. If your congregation is not growing, perhaps you should consider the old fashioned practice which pastors vow to do at their ordination: “visit from house to house.” The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.

Register today for Encounter Youth Retreat, set for Nov. 22-24

published 9/26/2019
Youth groups from around the South Georgia Conference (and beyond!) will come together for a fall weekend retreat that offers passionate worship, relevant Bible study, and a meaningful time with other teens at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. Sponsored by the Office of Connectional Ministries, Encounter Youth Retreat, set for Nov. 22-24, 2019, is for all middle and high school students.  Encounter offers a chance for students to take a break from school, have fun in the beautiful ...

Lessons from Dorian: Communication and connection are critical

published 9/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Even though Hurricane Dorian didn’t impact Georgia’s coast as originally forecast, South Georgia United Methodist congregations and ministries responded before and after the storm to help those whose lives were affected. In the days leading up to Hurricane Dorian’s eventual East Coast landfall, no one was sure exactly where the storm would hit, but those in the Coastal District prepared for the worst. Coastal District Superintendent Rev. David Thompson lives in ...

Trip explores partnership between South Georgia, North Katanga Annual Conferences

published 9/16/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Joy. Passion. Radical hospitality. Relevance. That’s what six South Georgia United Methodists found earlier this month when they traveled to the North Katanga Annual Conference, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). There to explore a new mission partnership with the conference, the team met with Bishop Mande Muyombo and learned about his three main initiatives: church planting, the Kamisamba Farm and Training Centre, and an orphanage. The group toured the ...

Unity has a purpose

published 9/16/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP​ 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV) Unity. Unity is a word that’s been tossed around quite a lot over the last couple of years in ...

A Positive Attitude

published 9/15/2019
By Dr. Hal Brady A few days ago, my wife and I visited a minister friend and his wife in an Atlanta hospital. This minister friend and I have known each other for a number of years, as we served neighboring churches at the same time in the North Georgia mountains. Though we haven’t seen each other for some time, when I found out he was in the hospital in another city, I called him to see how he was doing. He told me that he had been in one hospital, transferred to another, was told he was to ...

Responding to Hurricane Dorian: Prayers and Giving

published 9/5/2019
Although we saw minimal impact on the coast of Georgia from Hurricane Dorian, we know other areas were not as fortunate. Our prayers continue for our neighbors in the Bahamas and others impacted by the storm. Bishop Bryan and Luis Morales, conference disaster response coordinator, have been in touch with surrounding annual conferences and UMCOR letting them know of our readiness to serve. UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) has awarded a solidarity grant to Bahamas Methodist Habitat, ...

Monitoring Hurricane Dorian - 9/3/19 Update

published 9/3/2019
Although Hurricane Dorian has weakened as it moved over Grand Bahama Island on Tuesday morning, it is still a powerful category 2 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. The images we have seen of the destruction in the Bahamas caused by this Hurricane are devastating, and we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters who will feel the effects of this storm for a long time to come. The Conference Disaster Response committee remains vigilant as Hurricane Dorian now moves towards ...

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