The 2011 North Georgia Annual Conference in Athens, its robust agenda frequently interrupted for prayer and the casting of ballots, closed with an impassioned charge by Bishop B. Michael Watson.
“Our gloriously exciting role as the church is to offer Christ's mission and ministry through spiritual and humanitarian care to all people regardless of their human condition,” Bishop Watson said. “There is no greater hope for peace and healing throughout the world than for all people to become disciples of the Prince of Peace, the Great Physician, to accept God's redeeming and reconciling love for themselves and to share that wondrously divine love with each other every day.”
On the final day of conferencing, members voted to return to The Classic Center in Athens for 2014 and 2015. Conferences in 2012 (June 12-14) and 2013 (June 11-13) will be held at the Classic Center as well. Members applauded enthusiastically for the Classic Center staff, as well as organizers and volunteers from the North Georgia Conference.
Resolutions were vigorously discussed, debated, amended, and debated some more.
Ballots were cast throughout the day as clergy and laity selected delegates to the 2012 Jurisdictional Conference. Selection for the 2012 General Conference were completed on Thursday.
Tired but determined members of the conference worked overtime in selecting delegates.
In the final tally:
Clergy elected to the 2012 General Conference Session
1. Sharma Denise Lewis
2. Jonathan Holston
3. James Cantrell
4. Phil Schroeder
5. Jane Brooks
6. P. Alice Rogers
7. Kyle Edward Tomlinson
8. John Anderson Simmons
9. Nora Martinez
10. Jamie Jenkins
11. Chuck Savage
12. Steve Wood
13. David Bevel Jones
Laity elected to the 2012 General Conference Session
1. Jane Finley
2. Lyn Powell
3. Mathew Pinson
4. Joe M. Whittemore
5. Jeff Jernigan
6. Bill Stikes
7. Tonya Murphy
8. Leon Jourolman
9. Dianne Spencer
10. Joe Kilpatrick
11. Richard Williamson
12. Bill Martin
13. Marjorie Kimbrough
Clergy elected to the 2012 Souteastern Jurisdictional Conference
1. Wiley Stephens
2. Elizabeth Larocca-Pitts
3. David Allen Grady
4. Richard Winn
5. James Ellison
6. Dianne Parish
7. Joy Melton
8. Karen Kagiyama
9. Leon Matthews
10. Renita Thomas
11. Richard Hunter
12. Bridgette Young
13. Mike Cash
Laity elected to the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference
1. Keith Cox
2. Gary Fuller
3. Jasper Russell Sr.
4. Hank Huckaby
5. Dianne Traynham
6. Debby Stikes
7. Micah Arrington
8. Janet Sligar
9. Elizabeth Corrie
10. Al Stocks
11. Sue Raymond
12. Robert Fincher
13. Jack Camarda
Clergy Reserve Members
1. Jimmy Moor
2. Susan Allen Grady
3. David Walters
4. Glenn Ethridge
5. Davis Chappell
Lay Reserve Members
1. Charles Miller
2. Tom Cook
3. Ida Florine Tarver Jones
4. Lowell Kirkman
5. Christian Higgins
As the final ballot results were announced, a somewhat weary but upbeat cross-section of clergy and laity streamed out of the hall. “I wish that each of the more than 360,000 United Methodists in the local churches that make up our Annual Conference could have been present at our yearly gathering. Wouldn't that have been a glorious celebration!” Bishop Watson said in his closing remarks. “However, every one of those members was represented by the nearly 3,000 who were elected to attend. I hope that you will join me in prayer that everything we did and said in this year's session in Athens was pleasing in God's sight, was inspiring to those present, and will enable all North Georgia United Methodist Christians to serve Christ more effectively in the upcoming year.”
Imagine No Malaria
The conference collected more than $112,000 in the special offering Thursday for Imagine No Malaria.
Laity needed 13 for Jurisdictional and, on a single ballot, elected 14. A motion was made to fill the 13 spaces with the top 13 vote getters and the 14th would be the first reserve delegate.
Mathew Pinson, Associate Conference Lay Leader and member of Glenn Memorial UMC, brought the morning devotion. He asked us to consider one word: "witness." Interactions with friends and colleagues, serving at a soup kitchen, time together at Annual Conference are all a witness of our faith. Our lives are our real accounting of our faith in Jesus Christ. Singer Timothy Miller wowed the conference with song.
Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
“We embrace education as a companion to our faith, as United Methodists," said Leigh Martin, Campus Minister at Reinhardt University. In Georgia, we have nine United Methodist colleges and universities. We have Wesley Foundations on 18 public university campuses. Caroline Pereira, a junior at Reinhardt University and member of Kennesaw UMC, and Angie Gibbons, intern at the University of West Georgia Wesley Foundation, spoke to Annual Conference about their experience with campus ministries. Martin asked each church to please let the chaplain or Wesley Foundation director know when students from your church are coming to their campus.
Black College Fund
Charlie Walter Coleman III, a senior at Dillard University in New Orleans, spoke to the conference as a recipient of the Black College Fund. He thanked the North Georgia Conference for opening doors by providing support to the Black College Fund.
New Church Development - “2011 Initiatives”
Tommy Willingham, director of New Church Development, introduced the new church starts for 2011. Oakhurst UMC will start in Decatur with pastor Timothy Lloyd. A new church will be planted in South Forsyth with pastor Andy Lett. Fellowship UMC will be started by Jeremy Green in the Rome-Carrollton District. Crossroads UMC will be started in the Atlanta Marietta District by pastor Brian Funderburke.
Mike Selleck, director of Connectional Ministries, thanked the staff, board, ministry team leaders and many volunteers who make up the ministry arm of the Conference.
Wiley Stephens, Elizabeth Larocca-Pitts, David Allen Grady, Richard Winn were elected clergy delegates to Jurisdictional Conference.
United Methodist Women
Deloris Carhee, UMW president, reported that the UMW has been engaging in ministry with the poor for 140 years. In addition to giving $20,000 last year to six mission institutions and hands-on mission work, the women brought 4,000 UMCOR birthing kits to their annual meeting in October and collected $1,600 for birthing kit items to be purchased by UMCOR.
Jerry Haas, Spiritual Director for Upper Room Ministries, presented a video about the international work of The Upper Room, and thanked North Georgia for being part of a world-wide fellowship of Christians by supporting and reading the Upper Room devotional. The Upper Room is distributed in 100 countries and 40 languages. The North Georgia Conference has agreed to underwrite the distribution of the Upper Room in El Salvador.
Connectional Ministries - Disaster Response
Mike Yoder, chair of Disaster Response, reported that the North Georgia Conference are hard at work responding to the tornados and deadly storms travelled through Georgia in April. Our churches are still working in 11 counties in this state and across the Southeast and teams have come from all over United States to help with this disaster. Find updates on disaster needs in North Georgia at www.ngumc.org. "We have reacted to the need of the people as the Lord told us to do in Matthew 25," said Yoder. "We hope we can train many of you to respond."
Resolution 708 "Resolution to the South and North Georgia Annual Conferences Regarding Sunday Alcohol Sales" passed. "Resolution on Immigrant Communities" passed with amendments.
"Resolution on Studying UM Position on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts" was not approved.
Resolution 701 "Building Vital Women's Ministry in the Local Church" was not approved.
James Ellison and Dianne Parish were elected clergy delegates to Jurisdictional Conference. Tom Cook, Ida Florine Tarver Jones and Lowell Kirkman were elected lay reserve delegates to Jurisdictional Conference.
Joy Melton was elected clergy delegate to General Conference.
Wesley Community Centers
Cande W. Taylor, Executive Director, works with low income residents of the south Atlanta area. Wesley Community Centers has two ministry programs. Project Extend helps with home repairs for older adults allowing them to age in place, and Bethlehem Senior Center is a free safe place for seniors to socialize with their friends. Please support WCC by taking part in the Wesley Walk for Others and the Wesley Speedway Walk for Others.
Conference Board of Laity
Jane Finley, Conference Lay Leader, introduced each district lay leader. Next year the Board of Laity is partnering with clergy to incourage an increase in apportionments and professions of faith.
Connectional Ministries – Stewardship Insights
Following the success of the 2010 Generosity Summit, Bernice Kirkland, stewardship co-chair, and Leon Matthews, chair of the Witness Program, announced four regional stewardship events. Regional events will be Oct. 2 at McEachern UMC, Feb. 5 at Trinity on the Hill Augusta, Feb. 26, at Gainesville First UMC and at a date still to be determined at Wesley Chapel UMC in McDonough.
Tara Paul, Conference Representative for COSROW, reported that for the first time in our history the top vote-getter among clergy for General Conference is an African-American female.
Future Dates and Sites of Annual Conference
Annual Conference 2012 will be June 12-14, 2012 and Annual Conference 2013 will be June 11-13, 2013 at the Athens Classic Center. An invitation by the Athens-Elberton District and the Classic Center to return for 2014 and 2015 was accepted.
Hinton Rural Life Center
Overlooking Lake Chatuge, the Hinton Center provides a unique setting for retreats, conferences, workshops, mission opportunities, vacations, individual rest and relaxation, and spiritual renewal.
Camp and Retreats Task Force
Russell Davis reported that the camp and retreat task force is looking for opportunities to make camping more geographically accessible and more diverse. The task force envisions day camps across North Georgia that partner with local churches, small group expeditions led by trained staff starting at any local church, and sleep-away programs that would be available in all parts of our conference.
Karen Kagiyama, Leon Matthews and Renita Thomas were elected clergy delegates to Jurisdictional Conference. Connectional Ministries
Resolution # 703 "Resolution to Encourage Congregations to Take Part in an Energy Audit" was approved with an amendment.
Thursday, June 23, 2011, is the official move day.
After annual conference, you may order the 2011 Journal online at www.ngumc.org/journal.
As Russell Davis, director, gave his report, more than 400 children were leaving after week three of Camp Glisson. Priorities at camp this year include teaching the campers that worship is not a spectator event, that we are all to bring our gifts and talents to worship God. Glisson expects 2,500 campers this summer. If your church hasn't had a young person attend Camp Glisson in five or more years, take advantage of the First Camper program. "EcoEternity Forrest Resolution" brought by the Glisson board was approved.
Connectional Ministries Conclusion
Share your recipe for a successful ministry at the "Connectional Ministries" page of www.ngumc.org.
Richard Hunter and Bridgette Young were elected clergy delegates to Jurisdictional Conference. Christian Higgins was elected lay reserve delegate to Jurisdictional Conference. This election completes the lay delegation to 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conference.
Mike Cash was elected as the final clergy delegate to Jurisdictional Conference. Jimmy Moor, Susan Allen Grady, David Walters, Glenn Ethridge, Davis Chappell were elected clergy reserve delegates. This completed the entire North Georgia delegation to 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conference.