News

A Heavenly Visitor

published 8/19/2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK My sweet mother outlived almost all of her friends. At 94, signs of dementia were beginning to show. She was losing weight, and life was harder for her. But, she was made of strong stock. The kind of stock that survived the Depression. That’s a good kind of stock. She seldom complained about anything, but lived her life in gratitude to God that there was food for her family during those lean years. On Friday nights, after work, I drove the 45-minute drive ...

Albany First UMC program helps feed kids, reduce waste

published 8/19/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor A program in Dougherty County, launched by Albany First United Methodist Church, helped save 25.5 tons of food from the landfill last year. But more importantly, it provided food for nearly 1,500 children during the weekends, a time when they don’t have the free breakfasts and lunches that schools offer. “Helping Hands Ending Hunger,” launched last September in Albany’s Morningside and Northside Elementary Schools, has now expanded to include all of Dougherty County’s...

Let us work for shalom

published 8/19/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP​ On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19, NIV) As we read the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in the gospel of John, we find several times when Jesus came, stood among the disciples, and started the conversation with the words “Peace be with you.” The disciples had locked themselves ...

Ministry weaves plastic bags into beds for homeless

published 8/19/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor You’ve heard of Charlie’s Angels, but do you know the Plarning Angels? A group of women, affectionately known as the “Plarning Angels,” are using plastic shopping bags to help people who are homeless. Park Avenue United Methodist Church’s Homeless Bedroll Ministry has, for the past year, been making bedrolls out of used plastic shopping bags, the kind nearly everyone has stuffed under their kitchen sink or tucked in their pantry. “Everyone has hundreds of these bags ...

A summer of hopeful conversations

published 8/5/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN In addition to the high heat, summer is also a time for a break from school, sports of all kinds, and travel to the beach or other favorite vacation spots. This year we United Methodists can add “conversation” to our list of summer activities. Recent conversations among United Methodists stem from the special General Conference held last February. That conference passed the Traditional Plan, which retains current language in The Book of Discipline concerning ...

John Wesley and the Mystics

published 8/5/2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON During John Wesley’s early years, and especially his time in Georgia, he read and studied many of the mystical writings of his day and of ancient Christian mystics. He was very interested in what they had to say about self-denial, solitude, works of charity, and the interior life. William Law was very influential in Wesley’s life at Oxford. Wesley later wrote Law a scorching letter criticizing him for leading him astray by not talking more about Jesus Christ ...

New Conference Center receives $100,000 gift

published 8/5/2019
By Dr. Hal Brady, chairman of the Conference Center Task Force The campaign to build a new Conference Center for the South Georgia Conference just received a massive boost with the generous gift of $100,000. The donor hopes that the gift will inspire others to step up their giving and finish the campaign toward providing the South Georgia Conference a much-needed home. As you know, the new Conference Center is to be built on the beautiful campus of Wesleyan College and will bring the Episcopal...

Prepare now, respond when storms hit

published 8/5/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Last fall, Hurricane Michael slammed into Southwest Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane after making landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 5.  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. The damage - widespread and far-reaching - is still being felt. The 2019 Atlantic ...

Try on a new identity!

published 8/5/2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON I love watching preschool graduations. Precious chubby-faced kids with caps and gowns typically take turns declaring to beaming parents and grandparents what they want to be when they grow up. “A fireman.” “A ballerina.” “A baseball player and an astronaut.” “A mommy.” “A zookeeper and a policeman.” Nothing is impossible or unattainable. Everything has potential. If you asked the same kids in a year, you’d often find they’re now considering...

Wesley Foundations, campus ministries offer community, connection

published 8/5/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Transformational. Inclusive. Loving. A home-away-from home. In a word, life changing. As a sophomore in college, away from home for the first time, Savannah Buice was looking for a community of believers. Invited to a worship service at Valdosta State University’s Wesley Foundation, she went and immediately felt welcomed and at home. “I feel like when you go to college you’re out on your own for the first time, and, for a lot of people, they look to join the first ...

Bishop Bryan: Listen, Pray, Speak the Gospel Truth about Violence

published 8/3/2019
The mass shootings this past week in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio and Gilroy, California have once again brought us face to face with the horrible violence of which human beings are capable. We are plunged into shock and collective grief. And we wonder. Who did this? What were the motives? Why these places in these particular cities?  What about the mental health of the shooters? These and a host of other questions can only be answered after thorough investigations have occurred. In the ...

Our Connection Matters: This is My Story!

published 7/24/2019
Our Connection Matters 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. Our new Annual Conference theme is "Alive Together In Witness." It is through our witness that we are truly Alive Together in Christ - in worship and in the world. These themes are so very interwoven!  Why is the word "evangelism" so intimidating for many and sharing our faith so scary for some? Is it fear...

Andrew College leads effort to revitalize downtown Cuthbert

published 7/22/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor What’s true of many small, rural communities is also true of Cuthbert, a Southwest Georgia town of about 3,800 people. “There were more things to do here 50 years ago than there are now,” said Mary Jane Salter, a 1968 Andrew College graduate and longtime Randolph County resident. But times are changing in Cuthbert, for the better, thanks in large part to Andrew College’s efforts in the downtown area. The school, a private, liberal arts college related to The United ...

Give us a chance

published 7/22/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP​ In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy … (Acts 2:17a, NLT) And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy … (Acts 2:17a, KJV) One of the definitions of prophesy is “to speak as a mediator between God and humankind, or in God’s stead” (dictionary.com). One of the definitions of prophecy is “...

Savannah churches help build houses for homeless veterans

published 7/22/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor On their way to church each Sunday, many members of Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church drive past the homeless camps near Interstate 16 and the Truman Parkway. One day, Nick Hitt, a member of the downtown Savannah church, decided that something needed to be done to help. “There’s no reason we should be driving by veterans sleeping under bridges as we come to church. They served; we need to do something about it,” he said to the congregation. Others agreed, and...

The Greatness of America

published 7/22/2019
By Dr. Hal Brady A number of people equate greatness with size. Not so! Greatness is never a matter of size. Take those huge reptiles which once dominated the earth, the dinosaurs. They were simply enormous. But with the exception of the movies, they have all become extinct. In spite of their size and seeming strength they are gone. Simply put, they could not adapt themselves to a changing world. Think of how many great empires have come and gone in spite of their largeness. Focus on the ...

In praise of small steps

published 7/15/2019
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The launch was on July 16, 1969, the walk on the moon was July 20, and the crew returned to earth July 24. What a week for the three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. What a colossal achievement for the United States when you consider that it took 400,000 people working together to make that mission such a success. When he became the first person to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong said, “...

General Conference 2020 petition submission process opens

published 7/8/2019
Nashville, Tenn.: Petitions for consideration by the 2020 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary now through September 18, 2019. According to church law, "Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference...". Detailed instructions for submitting a petition are available on the General Conference website at umc.org/gcpetition. Petitions must be typed and may be submitted through the General Conference ...

Q & A with Rev. Steve Patton, Northwest District Superintendent

published 7/8/2019
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. PATTON: I was born and raised in Jesup, Georgia, and graduated from Wayne County High School. When I was in middle school we lived in Philadelphia for two years while my dad completed training as an orthodontist. I spent four years in Atlanta for college and three more in Kentucky for ...

Valdosta First UMC launches The Porch Community Church

published 7/8/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Nearly 17 years ago, Valdosta First UMC began Solomon’s Porch as the church’s contemporary worship service. By 2019, attendance at Solomon’s Porch’s two services averaged more than 410, with growth exceeding 33 percent in the past few years. The congregation had maxed out its worship space, limiting further growth. Knowing something had to be done in order to continue growing, church leaders met to discuss options. They considered several, including moving to a bigger ...

July 4th and Laus Deo

published 7/6/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN You may know that the Washington Monument commemorates the Commander of the Continental Army and first president of the United States, George Washington. And you may have stood beside the 55-foot wide base and lifted your eyes 555 feet to the top of the monument. But do you know what is inscribed on the very top? It is the Latin phrase, “Laus Deo,” which means “Praise be to God.” That’s not all. A Bible was among the items placed in the cornerstone when it was ...

Columbus churches partner to feed homeless

published 6/24/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Every Tuesday night, folks in Columbus’ Rose Hill neighborhood gather downstairs in the former Rose Hill United Methodist Church for a little bit of food and a whole lot of Jesus. For nearly a decade, volunteers from throughout the community have come together to help feed the city’s homeless. Begun by a former Rose Hill UMC pastor, the ministry is now run by Linda Laye, chaplain of the Fellowship at Rose Hill. Several Columbus-area United Methodist churches are part ...

Multiculturalism and Undocumented Neighbors Task Forces provide resources

published 6/24/2019
At the 2017 Annual Conference session, the South Georgia Conference approved two resolutions, statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject. The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” called on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate clergy and laity about the history of immigration and human and civil rights concerning undocumented members of society and to encourage South Georgia ...

Q & A with Rev. Paula Lewis, South Central District Superintendent

published 6/23/2019
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. LEWIS: My family moved back here from Mississippi when I was in fourth grade. I lived in the Thomasville area from then until I took my first appointment. When we first moved to Thomasville, we lived in a split-house apartment with my grandfather. I spent a lot of time with him, whether it was ...

But Grace said

published 6/22/2019
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Before leaving for a lengthy trip I went to a crowded gas station. All pumps were filled, so I pulled my car to be second in line. Our two cars were facing head to head because my fuel tank was on the opposite side from hers. No problem. I’ll just wait a bit. A bit turned into several minutes, and I watched as the young woman continued looking down at her lap. She never looked up. “She’s probably waiting for the one in her passenger seat to return from ...

See how they love one another!

published 6/22/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP 18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, The Message) The annual ...

Delegation endorses Rev. Beckum as episcopal nominee

published 6/14/2019
The South Georgia Conference delegation to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences has endorsed the Reverend Robert Beckum as its episcopal nominee (nominee to be elected as a bishop in The United Methodist Church). Rev. Beckum will join nominees from other conferences under consideration for the episcopacy at next summer’s Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, NC. Rev. Beckum is the senior pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus, appointed there in ...

Alive Moments highlight ways Conference is Alive Together in the World

published 6/10/2019
During the 2019 Annual Conference session, attendees heard five “Alive Together in the World” moments from Connectional Ministries. These “Alive Moments” highlighted the various ways South Georgia United Methodists are reaching out throughout the Conference and beyond. During the Monday, June 3 business session, Allison Lindsey, associate director of Connectional Ministries, interviewed Rev. Jay Hanson, Director of Congregational Ministries; Anne Bosarge, multi-campus director of The Chapel ...

Conference passes pension, amended disaffiliation policies

published 6/10/2019
Two policies that focus on churches that want to disaffiliate, or leave The South Georgia Conference and The United Methodist Church, were presented and passed during the 2019 South Georgia Annual Conference session.   A Disaffiliation Policy, created and presented by The Foundations For The Future Task Force and reviewed and approved by Leadership Forum, was passed with two amendments. The policy sets out a framework to be followed when at least two-thirds of a congregation vote to leave the ...

Oh for the continued spirit of the annual Methodist meeting

published 6/10/2019
By Rev. Creede Hinshaw, republished with permission from the Albany Herald I returned home from the yearly meeting of South Georgia United Methodists, held this year alongside the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Columbus. We Methodists have been meeting like this for centuries, a practice begun by our founder, John Wesley, who used the meeting to inspire his preachers, keep their doctrine pure, their preaching relevant and their behavior above reproach. We’re still doing this, but the way ...

Clarity in Direction

published 6/9/2019
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON If you intend to go to Jacksonville, Fla. but take I-95 North from Brunswick, you’ll end up in Savannah, despite how much you want to go to Jacksonville. Your direction – not your intentions – determines your destination. At the church where Anne and I serve, we talk a lot about our spiritual life as a journey. We have people at all points on the path. Many of our people would say they haven’t decided to start their journey yet but are ...

John Wesley’s house at Frederica

published 6/9/2019
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON John Wesley lived at Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island for several months. It is not clear just where he lived while on the island. He probably lived with one of the families, perhaps the Hirds. Several times in his diary he mentions work being done in building his house, but we do not know where this house was located or if the building was ever completed. We do know that he was anxious to have the building constructed. One morning he went to the construction ...

Let us be Alive Together in Witness this year

published 6/9/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Thanks to the United Methodists of the Columbus area who hosted Annual Conference with radical hospitality and extravagant generosity. The opening worship service, held in the The Columbus Convention & Trade Center overlooking the Chattahoochee River, was alive with spirited music and an inspiring message by Bishop Richard Looney.   In a year that has had more than its share of challenges, the South Georgia Conference demonstrated the spiritual maturity to stay ...

Alive Together in the World through mission, ministry & evangelism

published 6/7/2019
Churches throughout the conference continue to demonstrate the ways they are Alive Together in the World 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 ...

Celebrating Ministry Milestones and Achievements at Annual Conference

published 6/7/2019
Annual Conference is a special time to celebrate ministry milestones and achievements, from those just entering the ministry to those taking the next step of their journey into retirement. On Monday morning the South Georgia Annual Conference celebrated with those clergy who have served in ministry for 50 years and those who are entering into a retired relationship with the Annual Conference. Clergy recognized for having served 50 years in ministry include: Rev. Mira L. Barrett Rev. Thomas W. ...

Memorial Service 2019: ‘Though you may grieve, God is able’

published 6/7/2019
A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who served in the South Georgia Annual Conference was held Monday afternoon, June 3, at 2 p.m. as conference members gathered at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ga. Rev. Cleo Gilchrist, the outgoing pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Brunswick who retired at this year’s Annual Conference session, reminded those gathered that although they may grieve, God is able. “When grief comes to your home, God’s grace will be sufficient,” ...

Jim Cowart, Bill Hatcher to lead delegation

published 6/6/2019
During the 2019 annual conference session, held June 2 through June 5, South Georgia United Methodists elected delegates to serve at the 2020 General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. In all, four clergy and four laity were elected to attend General Conference, the highest legislative body of the denomination, which will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. In addition, the conference elected another four clergy and four laity to attend the Southeastern Jurisdictional ...

Bishop Bryan sets 2019-2020 pastoral appointments

published 6/5/2019
On Wednesday, June 5, Bishop R. Lawson Bryan fixed the 2019-2020 pastoral appointments for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. Click here to download and view a list of appointments by district. 

South Georgia Conference Election Results

published 6/4/2019
On, Tuesday, June 3, the South Georgia Conference elected four clergy and four lay delegates to General Conference and four clergy and four lay delegates to Jurisdictional Conference as well two clergy and two lay alternates.  Clergy General Conference Delegates (4) Jim Cowart Robert Beckum Doreen Smalls Jay Hanson Jurisdictional Conference Delegates (4) Robert Greene (alternate to General Conference) Scott Hagan (alternate to General Conference) Jimmy Towson David Thompson Alternate ...

South Georgia prepares for 2019 Annual Conference session

published 5/30/2019
ALL ANNUAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION Nearly 1,000 South Georgia United Methodists will gather June 2-5 at The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center to worship, fellowship, vote for delegates, and discuss the future of the South Georgia Conference. Meeting under the theme, “Alive Together in the World,” the 2019 Annual Conference session will celebrate how South Georgia churches have connected with their communities in creative ways. “We introduced ‘Alive Together in the World’ one year ago ...

S3 applications due soon

published 5/21/2019
Applications are now available for clergy wanting to participate in an S3 group. S3 is a collaborative, small group, action-learning experience for clergy that helps sustain and promote excellence in ordained ministry. Participants develop and implement a two year small group learning experience focused on three areas: Sabbath, Study, and Service. S3 groups are self-selected and self-directed: participants choose the members of their group and develop their group’s S3 learning project (with ...

A Word to Graduates

published 5/20/2019
By Dr. Hal Brady We have a granddaughter who is graduating from high school in a couple of weeks. Joining with her parents, my wife and I are so proud of her and her accomplishments – good grades, skilled musician, sound work ethic, accepts responsibility, fun person, respect for others and meaningful friendships. Of course, we think she is ideal. In a couple of weeks, along with numerous others, she will reach the monumental milestone of becoming a high school graduate. Certainly, she is to ...

South Georgia UMs still assisting in disaster recovery; Conference receives UMCOR grant

published 5/20/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor When Hurricane Michael struck Southwest Georgia last October, it left a path of destruction and devastation that’s still being felt. But thanks to countless volunteers, case managers, organizations, and others, United Methodists in South Georgia are undertaking recovery efforts for those affected. Sherry Buresh is currently serving as a Disaster Recovery Coordinator working specifically in the Southwest District coordinating long term recovery efforts for those ...

They will know we are Christians by our love

published 5/20/2019
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS NITA CRUMP 34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35, The Message) The idea of Christian conferencing has been with Methodists since the early days of John and Charles Wesley. Christian conferencing was considered a means of grace by John. In his book, “Living our Beliefs The ...

Annual Conference to vote on disaffiliation, pension policies

published 5/17/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor Two policies will be presented and voted upon during the upcoming 2019 South Georgia Annual Conference session, set for June 2-5 in Columbus. The Foundations For The Future Task Force will present a Disaffiliation Policy outlining a framework to be followed if a congregation votes to leave the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. The Pension Liability Proposal, which was prepared by the Conference Board of Pensions, will outline a church’s ...

Gather in confidence, go forth and witness

published 5/6/2019
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN How fortunate for us that Annual Conference falls between Ascension Day (May 30) and Pentecost (May 5). For Christians, that is an extremely important 10-day period. The Apostles’ Creed reminds us that after his resurrection Jesus “ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.” Ten days after his ascension, on the Jewish festival of Pentecost, Jesus sent the promised Holy Spirit...

Lay people as partners in ministry

published 5/6/2019
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN I want to tell you about Molly. Molly is in her early 30s and she came to our church two years ago. From the moment I met Molly I sensed a special energy about her. She’s always been willing to help with ministry ideas around the church. The first big project she undertook was redesigning our church logo. She and her husband have a marketing business and special expertise in this area, and, after about a month of meetings and an email thread that grew to about 100 ...

Our Connection Matters: Countdown To Summer

published 5/6/2019
Our Connection Matters 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. ________________________________________ Countdown to Summer What does the countdown to summer include? Planning for so many great things: the end of another school year, graduations, Vacation Bible Schools, moving pastors, family vacations, mission journeys, Pentecost and at the top of the list - SUMMER ...

Vineville UMC youth builds picnic tables for Wesley Glen to earn Eagle rank

published 5/6/2019
By Kara Witherow, Editor On warm, sunny days, Wesley Glen’s 40 residents enjoy eating picnic lunches. They’re now able to, thanks to 18-year-old Joshua Asbell, who recently managed the fundraising, design, and production of 10 picnic tables to earn Boy Scouts’ highest rank. Asbell, a senior at Macon’s Howard High School and a member of Vineville United Methodist Church, is the fourth Asbell to earn the Eagle Scout rank. His father, Dr. Jimmy Asbell, older brother Jimmy, and uncle have all ...

An Easter Message From Bishop Bryan: We have been given an inheritance!

published 4/19/2019
April 15 - the Monday of Holy Week - found the whole world watching as smoke and flames rose from the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. What a shock it was to see such an iconic structure being threatened by a roaring fire. The story of Notre Dame can be traced to the 12th century when ground was broken for a place of worship that has now survived for 800 years. I am glad the president of France has announced it will be rebuilt, but I am also reflecting on how things that seem so permanent can ...

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