News

John Wesley’s Christmas activity

published 12/18/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON On Christmas Day, 1738, just a few months after his Aldersgate Experience when he felt his heart strangely warmed and he trusted Christ and Christ alone for his salvation, John Wesley sat down to write his rules for groups who want to grow in grace together. These rules were designed to help groups who wanted to help members become more Christ-like. It was important that all members covenant together to keep these conversation in strictest confidence. Meet each...

South Georgians give generously to The Methodist Home to help ensure children have a merry Christmas

published 12/18/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Jeanie Hoffman is an avid crocheter and has kept busy in her 12 years of retirement by making prayer shawls, hats, and blankets.  When a local thrift store generously donated her a large supply of yarn, Hoffman considered what to create. She knew of The Methodist Home for Children and Youth and the ministry it provides to children and families across South Georgia, and decided to make hats for the 140 children served by The Home. “Something told me The Children’s ...

Wrapped in such an ordinary package

published 12/18/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK God came to earth wrapped in an ordinary package. His birthing room had a dirt floor, his crib contained remnants of dried animal feed, and instead of “Lullaby” being played over a hospital loud speaker at the birth of a child, there was a mixed chorus of animals braying loudly, possibly over the intrusion of this couple and their baby. Here is a simple illustration of how that happened. In that land called heaven, the Son, Jesus, stood up one day, gave the ...

Confirmation Retreat registration now open

published 12/4/2017
The 16th Annual South Georgia Conference Join the Journey Confirmation Retreat will be held March 2-4, 2018. Designed for students in the fifth grade and above, the “Join the Journey” Confirmation Retreat will provide churches of all sizes an opportunity to connect with others through worship, study, and fellowship. The event will also include large group gatherings around the church seasons and breakout sessions with topics of grace, United Methodist History and United Methodist lingo as well ...

Cordele church’s crops help grow congregation

published 12/4/2017
By Kara Witherow Midway United Methodist Church is in the heart of Cordele, the self-proclaimed Watermelon Capital of the World. With deep agricultural roots, it makes sense that the church’s congregation, pastored by a former farmer, would begin a food and gleaning ministry in the acre-and-a-half field that sits next to the church. What they didn’t necessarily expect, however, was how the small church would blossom right alongside the crops. What started as a pumpkin patch several years ago...

Delegate counts for 2020 General Conference announced

published 12/4/2017
The Secretary of the General Conference announced today the number of delegates assigned to each annual conference for the 2020 General Conference has been calculated, and certificates of election are on the way to bishops and annual conference secretaries. The computation involves applying a statistical formula contained in The Book of Discipline 2016, which is based on the number of clergy and professing lay members of each annual conference. Since the Book of Discipline caps the maximum ...

Leadership is caught more than taught

published 12/4/2017
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS ANNE BOSARGE REV. JAY HANSON We’ve entered cold and flu season. This is the time of year when germs seem to be lurking, powerful and invisible on every surface. Because of the nature of these sneaky germs, it’s nearly impossible to go through a cold and flu season without at least once coming down with a case of the sniffles. Have you ever thought about the fact that great leadership is caught more than taught? Just by being around a great leader others can “catch” ...

New Conference Center less than $500,000 from being fully funded

published 12/4/2017
After being revised and “right-sized,” South Georgia’s new Conference Center is $492,000 from being fully funded. That’s a $700,000 savings from the original construction estimate. “Anytime you can save $700,000 and still fulfill a vision, it’s a good thing!” said Bishop Lawson Bryan. The cost savings are a result of a collaborative partnership with Wesleyan College, which recently built Pierce Chapel and the Corn Center, and their willingness to allow the Conference use of those conference ...

Prepare the way

published 12/4/2017
FROM THE BISHOP  R. LAWSON BRYAN “Prepare the way of the Lord” is the great rallying cry of the Advent season. The prophet Isaiah gives a vivid description of that preparation: hills and valleys made level, crooked places made straight, and rough places made smooth so that the glory of the Lord may be revealed and all people see it together! Preparing the way is also a good description of the work of laity and clergy in the local churches and communities of South Georgia - we seek to focus ...

South Georgia UM students receive more than $26,000 in scholarships from GBHEM

published 12/4/2017
Eighteen South Georgia United Methodist students have received scholarships totalling $26,550 from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).  The students received the funds through the Rev. Dr. Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarship, the United Methodist General Scholarship, the Ethnic Scholarship, the E. Craig Brandenburg Scholarship, the Miriam Hoffman Scholarship, the HANA Scholarship, and the UM Allocation. Each scholarship recipient was awarded amounts ranging from $500 ...

Susanna Wesley’s Rules for Raising Godly Children

published 12/4/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Susanna Wesley’s Rules for Raising Godly Children: Eating between meals not allowed. Take medicine without complaining. Obey parents (break their self-will).  How will they ever obey God if they do not obey their parents? Teach them to pray as soon as they can speak. Require all to be still during Family Worship. Teach them to cry softly so as not to disturb others. Give them nothing that they cry for. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed ...

United Methodists called to pray; South Georgia’s week of prayer Jan. 14-21, 2018

published 12/4/2017
Conference deacons write prayer and worship guide As The United Methodist Church grapples with issues related to human sexuality and the future of the denomination, United Methodists are being called to pray intentionally and fervently.  The denomination-wide “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative launched New Year’s Day 2017 with 75 weeks of focused prayer for The United Methodist Church. Each annual conference will take one week to pray for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make ...

A Thanksgiving message from Bishop Bryan: We have been led

published 11/21/2017
Dear South Georgia Conference, Last Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing our first grandchild, John Philip Bryan, Jr. It was a thrilling experience. Sherrill and I are so grateful for our wonderful son and daughter-in-law, Philip and Brittany. They are good parents and I am happy this child will be raised in a home where the parents are actively involved in the Christian faith and in a local church.  Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving my sermon focused on the lectionary Old Testament...

Alive Together in Christ is more than a slogan

published 11/20/2017
FROM THE BISHOP R. LAWSON BRYAN Thanks to you I was able to make a special presentation during the Council of Bishops meeting two weeks ago at Lake Junaluska. I gave Bishop Hector Ortiz, our Methodist bishop in Puerto Rico, a check for $30,000 for disaster relief in Puerto Rico. The check was made out to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. My heart is full of gratitude to the churches of South Georgia for this—for giving not just the gift of money, but also the gift of hope.  The devastation ...

Banks follows in mother's footsteps as United Methodist Women president

published 11/20/2017
Carol Banks has followed in her mother’s footsteps in more ways than one. The newly elected United Methodist Women president is carrying on the legacy of service her mother instilled in her from a young age as Banks saw her mother, former United Methodist Women president Eugenia Yawn, attend Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) meetings and actively serve in missions and ministry. A strong influence in her daughter’s life and faith, Yawn served as the South Georgia United Methodist ...

Being thankful makes everything better

published 11/20/2017
Some time ago I ran across a statement that is worth pondering. It went like this: “The greatest blessing lacking in life is the willingness to see our blessings.” To my mind, this is something to mull over, not only because it is the thanksgiving season but because this is a true reality. Perhaps this is the point of Jesus traveling through Samaria, when a group of lepers call out to him for help. These lepers desperately desire to be healed. Rather than healing them immediately, however, ...

Bishop Bryan names who will serve on two task forces

published 11/20/2017
Bishop R. Lawson Bryan today announced the names of South Georgia clergy and laity who will serve on two task forces approved during the 2017 Annual Conference session: a task force on Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors and a task force on multiculturalism. The first, a task force on Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors, will look at developing a strategy to educate clergy and laity about the history of immigration and human and civil rights concerning ...

Churches focus on safety; South Georgia hosts Church Security Workshop

published 11/20/2017
Like many South Georgia congregations, Bonaire United Methodist Church is fortunate to count among its members several law enforcement officers and federal agents. Vigilant and sensitive to their surroundings even during worship services, they keep an eye out for dangers most don’t notice. Still mindful of the need to gird up the Bonaire UMC campus and keep the congregation safe, senior pastor Dr. Scott Hagan attended a church security workshop last April and learned valuable tips that he and ...

Our God is triumphant

published 11/20/2017
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries   “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18, NRSV And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom ...

South Georgia congregations, individuals give more than $500,000 to storm recovery

published 11/20/2017
South Georgia has seen its share of natural disasters during the past two years: devastating tornadoes and straight-line winds and Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. But even amid their own losses and damage, faithful and generous South Georgia United Methodists have dug deep, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to others in need. In 2017 alone, more than $500,000 has been given by South Georgia United Methodist congregations and individuals to the conference’s Hurricane Harvey Relief fund and ...

St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation announces fall grants

published 11/20/2017
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. has approved grants for the Fall 2017 Grant Cycle. Grants totaling $794,018 will be made to 14 organizations the week of December 4, 2017. The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. Organizations serving Southeast Georgia: Skylark (formerly Care Net Pregnancy Center of Coastal Georgia) (www.helloskylark.com)  A $31,768 grant to Skylark to provide funding to upgrade medical...

#GivingTuesday: Connect your passion with God's mission on Nov. 28

published 11/17/2017
It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner. That means it’s time once again for UMC #GivingTuesday. On Nov. 28, United Methodists have the opportunity to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season through gifts to one of the more than 600 church-related Advance projects and more than 300 United Methodist missionaries. And to make a big day even BIGGER, Georgia Gives Day has joined forces with Giving Tuesday. Support South Georgia United Methodist ministries ...

Bishops receive interim Way Forward report, elect new officers

published 11/17/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) met at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina last week to receive an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward, elect new officers, and prepare for the 2019 Special Session of General Conference, among other things. From the president’s address to giving feedback on the interim report of the Commission, the bishops stressed the importance of the mission of God, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ in The United Methodist Church. Here are ...

South Georgia's week for Praying Our Way Forward movement is January 14-21

published 11/16/2017
South Georgia Conference Week of Prayer: January 14-21, 2018 umcprays.org The denomination-wide 'Praying Our Way Forward' initiative launched on New Year’s Day 2017 with 75 weeks of focused prayer for The United Methodist Church. Each annual conference will take one week to have intentional prayer for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. The effort began in the North ...

UMCOR Advance Response Team Assisting in Puerto Rico

published 11/16/2017
Showing the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR’s) support for its partner, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico (MCPR), members of the UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response (USDR) Advance Response Team (ART) traveled to Puerto Rico this week to meet with leaders and help them chart a path for recovery.  UMCOR’s ART members are Ted Warnock, Luis Morales, Tom Vencuss, and Wade McGuinn, a construction/architect specialist. They are working alongside the MCPR Early Response Team (ERT) volunteer ...

Prepared for Emergency: Resources for Churches

published 11/10/2017
After the terrible tragedy in Texas last week, many of our churches are considering how they can best prepare for an emergency in their community or congregation and how United Methodists can take a stand against gun violence. Below are some of the resources available to clergy, trustees committees, church leaders, and others on this topic.  United Methodist Resources Embracing Love: A Prayer for Texas (UMCOM) http://www.umcom.org/topics/embracing-love-responding-to-violence  Keeping Churches...

Commission on Way Forward interim report gives Council of Bishops three models for path forward

published 11/9/2017
November 9, 2017 A note from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan: As we near the conclusion of this week's Council of Bishops’ meeting, I am deeply grateful for the work we have already been doing in South Georgia to equip ourselves for crucial conversations around the recommendations for a Way Forward that will be coming to us in the months ahead. One of the things we will be offering to the churches of South Georgia is a process for meaningful engagement with whatever recommendations come to us. I want ...

Bishop Bryan presents check for $30,000 to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico

published 11/8/2017
Watch Video Puerto Rico is rising up from the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but the U.S. territory continues to need The United Methodist Church’s help. Thanks to your generosity, Bishop Bryan presented Bishop Hector Ortiz, bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, with a check for $30,000 during the Council of Bishops meeting this week at Lake Junaluska. “The spirit of our people is not destroyed,” Bishop Ortiz told the Council of Bishops. “The people of Puerto Rico are ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: Texas Church Shooting

published 11/6/2017
How can I experience anything other than shock, anger, and grief upon learning of the mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas? As I am representing the churches of the South Georgia Conference in a meeting of the Council of Bishops at Lake Junaluska, N.C. this week, I am constantly reminded of how much I love the local church. That is why I am so deeply saddened for such a tragedy at a local church. You and I know that local churches are the heart and soul of our ...

Academy for Spiritual Formation coming to Epworth

published 11/6/2017
Prayer, worship, learning, and reflection are the hallmarks of the five-day Academy for Spiritual Formation, a retreat experience for clergy and laity that is scheduled April 29 through May 4, 2018, at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island. A time for intentional spiritual growth in a disciplined community of prayer, study, worship, and fellowship, the Academy for Spiritual Growth, a program of Upper Room Ministries, provides an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship ...

Canoeing the mountains

published 11/6/2017
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson explore a new territory America had just purchased from the French (known as the Louisiana Purchase) to find a trade route via the Pacific Ocean. At this point, no one had dared to go west of the Mississippi, so Lewis and Clark set out with their expedition party, known as the Corps of Discovery, and canoes to paddle their way to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and Clark were ...

Columbus pastor, wife launch marriage and family podcast

published 11/6/2017
Marriage, family, faith, fun. Those who know Shannon and Rev. Jimmy McIlrath know they’re passionate about those four topics. And now they’re the basis of a lively and engaging weekly podcast – Figuring Our Four – where the McIlraths share four ideas about a specific topic. During a recent episode, Balance, they shared ways to find balance with time, money, faith, and fun. “Make fun a priority,” Shannon McIlrath said, whether it’s a day at the lake or a weekend getaway. “Put it on the ...

John Wesley’s advice on dealing with controversy

published 11/6/2017
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS DAVE HANSON Near the end of his life John Wesley said that 50 years earlier a good man gave him advice for which he had ever since had reason to bless God. The “good man” was the Archbishop of Canterbury. The advice was: “If you desire to be extremely useful, do not spend your time and strength in contesting for or against things as are of a disputable nature, but in testifying against open and notorious vice, and promoting real spiritual holiness.” Wesley thought that was ...

Peace with Justice grants available

published 11/6/2017
Program funding opportunities The South Georgia Conference Peace with Justice grant fund provides seed money for the United Methodist local church, district, conference, and agency ministries that have a desire to work and support mercy and justice efforts. Peace with Justice grant opportunities are now being offered for groups that are interested in seeking peaceful solutions through Christian discipleship and living out the love and grace of God. What is its purpose? Assists United ...

United Methodist Women gather for 45th annual meeting

published 11/6/2017
Past United Methodist Women gathered at the annual meeting. Pictured, left to right, are Mary Exley, Sara Bankhead, Margaret Creech, Eugenia Yawn, Gloria Morgan, and Charlene Black. After plans for a 2016 annual meeting were thwarted by Hurricane Matthew, the South Georgia United Methodist Women gathered Saturday, Oct. 21 for their 45th annual meeting. “What a wonderful day God has made for us to gather,” South Georgia United Methodist Women president Mary Exley said to the women and handful ...

A Word from Bishop Bryan: A message on All Saints Day

published 11/1/2017
Today is All Saints Day, when Christians the world over remember and thank God for those faithful servants of Christ who have entered the Church Triumphant. In many local churches this Sunday is a time when those who died in the past year will be recognized and remembered with thanksgiving. In 2 Timothy the Apostle Paul writes to the young pastor, Timothy, whom Paul has appointed to serve the infant church in the pagan city of Ephesus. Paul is in prison and is struggling for a way to encourage ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 10/29/17

published 10/23/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, October 29 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

2017 Conference Journal ready for orders and download

published 10/16/2017
Journal includes conference business, directories, reports, appointments, and statistical tables The 2017 Journal of the South Georgia Annual Conference is now available for purchase. As has been our process in recent years, those wishing to purchase a Conference Journal will order their copy(ies) online directly from the printer. The cost of the Journal is $20 each plus tax and shipping. Click here to order your copy of the 2017 Journal of the South Georgia Annual Conference.*  The ...

Annual Conference shortened by one day; hotel room blocks now open

published 10/16/2017
At a recent meeting, the Annual Conference Program Committee decided to shorten the length of the 2018 Annual Conference session by one day. It is now set for June 3-5, 2018, at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island. “After last year, some delegates expressed concern over the cost of hotel rooms and meals on the island,” said Dr. Jay Harris, Conference secretary. “We listened and have therefore modified our schedule so that delegates may choose to head home on Tuesday if they ...

Asbury Memorial UMC weaves scripture, sermon, Broadway songs into services

published 10/16/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor Colorful carousel horses, balloons, and men in masks are more often associated with Broadway stages instead of church chancels, but on Sunday, Oct. 8 worshipers at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church were treated to a vibrant and powerful musical display during a special worship service. It’s become an October tradition for the Savannah church to incorporate well-known Broadway numbers into its services. Liturgy, scripture, and a sermon are woven among harmonies ...

Church, school partnership helps give students hope, skills, confidence

published 10/16/2017
By Kara Witherow, Editor It’s sometimes challenging for young adults with disabilities to find meaningful work and live independently after graduating high school, but a unique partnership between a Richmond Hill church and school is helping give students the life skills and confidence they need to tackle adult life. For the past two years, Richmond Hill United Methodist Church has partnered with Richmond Hill High School’s special education class to help students increase their capabilities ...

Do we have the right to ask God to bless America?

published 10/16/2017
PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE B.J. FUNK Four days after the Las Vegas massacre, I sat in a filled civic center in Tallahassee, Fla., listening to a teaching by David Jeremiah. He was, as expected, wonderful. But what happened at the end had just as great an impact. One of his gifted vocalists sang “God Bless America,” and as she did, I asked myself, “Do we even have the right to ask God to bless America?” With division sweeping our great nation, angry voices accompanied by violence filling our ...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 10/22/17

published 10/16/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, October 22 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate ...

Working with leaders to plan for the future

published 10/16/2017
In the Heart of the Connection Rev. Dr. Matt Woodbery, Director of Connectional Ministries Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (New Revised Standard Version) For anyone paying attention to what’s happening to The United ...

Morales to be UMCOR liaison in Puerto Rico

published 10/13/2017
  Luis Morales, South Georgia Conference Disaster Coordinator Luis Morales, Disaster Coordinator for the South Georgia Conference, is traveling to Puerto Rico today, Friday, Oct. 13, as a consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). He is representing UMCOR and meeting with Bishop Hector Ortiz, bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, to assess how The United Methodist Church and UMCOR can best support and help Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “This is ...

AC2018: Conference shortened by a day; hotel room blocks now open

published 10/12/2017
The following is an email sent by Dr. Jay Harris, Conference Secretary, to clergy and lay members of Annual Conference. Please note that the dates for the 2018 Annual Conference Session are June 3-5. Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference and Conference Leaders, We are busy preparing for the 2018 Annual Conference Session which will once again be held at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island. You will want to make note of the date of next year’s conference, which is...

Sunday Advocate Bulletin Insert - 10/15/17

published 10/10/2017
Click on the link below to download the Sunday Advocate. Sunday, October 15 The Sunday Advocate is a weekly printable bulletin insert and supplement to the South Georgia Advocate online newspaper. Loaded with South Georgia Conference and UMC news, event information, tips and more, the Sunday Advocate is a printable PDF that can be printed and distributed through local church communication pieces. It will be published and available for download each Monday afternoon. The Sunday Advocate is ...

United Methodist bishops call for a 'Clean Dream Act'

published 10/9/2017
United Methodist bishops are urging the United States Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act that would allow undocumented young people the opportunity to work, receive an education and serve in the U.S. military. In a statement released last week, the bishops said they are praying and urging action for the young people affected by the U.S. government’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The young immigrants, also known as Dreamers, had an October 5 deadline ...

Standing in Solidarity with Puerto Rico

published 10/4/2017
(UMCOR) The 2017 hurricane season caused Puerto Rico unprecedented levels of destruction, devastating the lives of millions of people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and displaced. The initial response has been slow for Puerto Rico as its food, fuel, and supplies are dependent on shipments from its air and sea ports, most of which have been severely damaged. The island’s ports and airports are slowly reopening though, allowing much-needed aid to make its way into Puerto Rico. The ...

Building Community; UMW to meet Oct. 21

published 10/2/2017
United Methodist Women Annual Meeting 2017 Written and submitted by United Methodist Women United Methodist Women in South Georgia has been “Building Community” all year long. It’s is nothing new for this organization because it is what and who we are – a community. The conference Annual Meeting being held at Statesboro First United Methodist Church Oct. 21 will highlight this theme and will accent the job our Bishop give us at Annual Conference, “being alive in Christ.” “Statesboro First is...

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