Bishop Watson to be keynote speaker at Rock Eagle
By GLENN HANNIGAN
For Bishop Mike Watson, men’s ministry will always hold special personal meaning.
“I know how significant the work of the United Methodist Men can mean to the family,” Bishop Watson said. “My father was active in UMM as far back as I can remember. He was given the honor of being named a Life Member. I grew up in a home with a mother who was active with UM Women and a father who was committed to UM Men. So, the men’s ministry has always been meaningful to me.”
Bishop Watson, providing clear evidence of his passion and commitment to men’s ministry, will serve as keynote speaker for the annual United Methodist Men’s Retreat at Rock Eagle, Sept. 28-30. With the numerous commitments and time demands on the bishop, devoting three days to one event is not an ordinary occurrence.
“Rock Eagle has special significance,” Bishop Watson said. “The vitality of UMM is dependent upon the ministries attracting new and younger men.”
The leadership of UMM in North Georgia believes the presence of Bishop Watson at Rock Eagle will provide a much-needed boost for the retreat.
“The bishop is an excellent speaker and he has a heart for men’s ministry,” said Walt Boyd, who has served in various leadership roles with United Methodist Men over the years. “I believe his presence will attract some pastors who have not attended Rock Eagle before. We have a chance to reach a new group of people in the conference.”
Last year Rock Eagle celebrated its 50th anniversary of drawing men together for worship, fellowship, educational workshops, and recreational activities.
Prior to 2000, it was not unusual for the three-day event to draw 1,000 men from across north Georgia. Last year, approximately 480 men attended.
In response to dwindling attendance, UM Men have been making various modifications to Rock Eagle, focusing workshops and activities toward a younger set. A climbing wall and zip line are among the new additions.
There is also increased emphasis on hands-on projects, such as a Stop Hunger Now food-packaging event, which is planned for this fall.
“We want to share ideas that men can bring back to their local churches,” said Boyd.
Bishop Watson agrees.
“My desire is that more men might know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” he said, “and have influence within their circles, and especially families. We need men who might model Christ for boys and young men.”
For more information, go to www.ngcumm.org.