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2015 Annual Conference

Submitted by:
Shari Waters
Annual Conference Lay Delegate

From June 3 to June 6, I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 South Georgia Annual Conference Session in Tifton, Georgia as a Lay Delegate for Swainsboro First United Methodist Church.  I was joined by all clergy members and an equal number of lay members for worship, fellowship and to conduct business of the Conference.
better_together_final
Wednesday, June 3

During the Opening Worship, Bishop King introduced the Annual Conference session’s theme of “We’re Better Together” and emphasized the importance of Christian fellowship. The 2015 Special Offering for South Georgia Wesley Foundations was collected during the service. Together local churches gave over $26,000 to support the work that our Wesley Foundations do on college campuses.

During the afternoon Business Session, changes to the Standing Rules of the Conference were approved, approved the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits report given by Rev. Tommy Mason, 5-Star and 4-Star Pastors were honored and several other committee reports were presented. A Memorial Service for those faithful servants who have served in our Conference was held Wednesday evening.

Thursday, June 4

The Assistant Conference Lay Leader, Lynn Walker, gave a brief orientation to Annual Conference and we heard from candidates who declared their interest in being delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. During the afternoon session, Dr. Christine Pohl, Associate Provost and Professor of Church and Society/Christian Ethics at Asbury Seminary, led the conference in a teaching moment on grace and gratitude.

In the Business Session, a motion was presented to amend the Standing Rules regarding the distribution of materials for Annual Conference and the participants discussed and voted on a resolution from the Church Council of Asbury Memorial UMC in Savannah. Elections for lay delegates took place on Thursday afternoon. (View elected delegates.) Swamp Gravy, the official Folk Life Play of Georgia, presented a one-hour performance for South Georgia Annual Conference session attendees and guests Thursday evening.

Friday, June 5

Friday morning began with another teaching moment led by Dr. Christine Pohl and was followed by the Business Session in which we heard results of the vote on the resolution from the Church Council of Asbury Memorial UMC in Savannah. The resolution was denied.  The Conference then discussed and voted on a resolution from Trinity UMC in Savannah. The resolution was denied. A motion was approved that “the churches of the South Georgia Conference emphasize faithfulness in marriage in 2017; that the Nurture Committee provide guidance and materials to assist pastors and church leaders in promoting marital fidelity in 2017; that District Laity Ministries provide leadership within the district and assist churches in promoting marital fidelity in 2017; and that groups holding conference-wide events be urged to add faithfulness in marriage to the topics they cover during 2017 and beyond.” We heard reports by various committees and approved a 2016 budget of $10,406,501.  Pastors serving fifty years in the ministry were celebrated and we also honored the retiring pastors.

During the clergy elections, laity had the opportunity to attend workshops of their choosing.

I attended:

Better Together in Missions: Mission Advocates from the General Board of Global Ministries, Jim & Bernice Keech, shared the connection and resources to Global Ministries, From Everywhere to Everywhere.

Better Together in Small Groups: Staff from The Chapel UMC in Brunswick, GA presented the keys to successful small group ministries, an important component for nurture ministries in the local church.

Saturday, June 6

Dr. Christine Pohl again opened the day’s session with a teaching moment and heard a John Wesley moment from Rev. Dave Hanson. During the final Business Session, the Conference took action on the church closings, approved a motion to amend the Standing Rules regarding the distribution of materials for Annual Conference, received an update on the new Conference Center and elected persons presented by the Nominations Committee to serve on various boards and committees.  We also accepted an invitation to hold the 2016 Annual Conference session in Tifton June 8-11.

Immediately following, the Conference gathered for the service for the Ordination of Deacons and Elders with Commissioning. Bishop Jonathan Keaton, episcopal leader for the Illinois Area, was the preacher for this service. Bishop James R. King, Jr. presided over the ordinal rites and was assisted by Bishop Keaton and Mrs. Gloria Morgan, Conference Lay Leader, representing the laity, and Rev. Jimmy Towson, Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, observed the ordinal rites. The 2015 Annual Conference ended with a Service of Sending Forth as Bishop King encouraged each person to be the light of the world. Following his message, the names of those receiving a new appointment were read.

 

Dowload: Official Annual Conference Wrap-Up