Five Areas of Focus

5 Values, 5 Areas of Focus: Countless Possibilities
The North Georgia Conference has claimed our core values, and named five areas of transformational disciple-making that are most essential to our mission between now and Annual Conference 2024. 

As United Methodist Christians in North Georgia, we value:

Integrity: We will walk with integrity in Christ and build trust with each other through transparency, honesty, and accountability. As commanded in Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:37, our yes will be yes and our no will be no. 

Courage: With courage, we will innovate and adapt, repent and repair, and live out our historic faith as a prophetic witness. When we risk failure or threat for the sake of the Gospel, we will not fear. For Christ has conquered the world. So be at peace, and take good courage. (John 16:33)

Inclusion: Christ welcomes All to the Table. Therefore, so we will. We will remove our prejudicial blinders & barriers, and see each other through the eyes of baptism (Gal 3:28).  We will celebrate the beauty of our diversity: for we are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it (1 Cor 12). 

Connection: As Wesleyan Christians, we will live and love as one church in limitless missional expressions. As Jesus himself prayed on our behalf in John chapter 17, verses 22-23, our oneness will be our witness. 

Transformation: Drawing from Paul’s words in Romans chapter 12 - that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds and by devoting ourselves to the difficult, holy work of living as Christ’s church -  we will seek God’s preferred future for our neighbor as for ourselves. Sanctify us, O God. Perfect us in Your love.

In the North Georgia Conference, we want to Be Disciples Who Make Disciples devoted to these 5 areas of focus:


Historic Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church Honored with Preservation Grant
Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church in Cave Spring is the recipient of a $50,000 capital project grant from The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Preserving Black Churches program awards. The initiative is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. to help historic Black churches and congregations reimagine, redesign, and deploy historic preservation to protect the cultural assets and legacies they steward, tell their stories of resiliency and hope and carry their missions into the future. ...
Praying, Giving, Serving: Responding to Damage from Tornadoes, Severe Storms Across North Georgia
Updated January 27 "On behalf of the North Georgia Conference, we send our earnest prayers to all those persons and communities affected by the recent tornadoes. We also pray for generosity and provision asking individuals, churches, and organizations to contribute to UMCOR." —Bishop Robin Dease (Read the full message from Bishop Dease.) Along the path of a tornado in Griffin. Photo by Mark Brown. North Georgia United Methodists join in prayer for all who were affected by the January 12 ...
Madras UMC Launches in Newnan with Weekly Worship
On Sunday, January 22, Madras United Methodist Church launched in the South West District of the North Georgia Conference. This new church start now begins weekly worship. "Sunday was probably one of the most incredible experiences of my life," said lead pastor Rev. Fede Apecena. "For the team and I to launch and say 'hey, we are here and we are seeing the fruits of our presence in this area; all the hard work and the wait was worth it' is fantastic!" The launch was two years in the making! ...
North Georgia Conference Licensed Local Pastors Travel to the Holy Land
Pictured from back row to front row are: James Hannah (LP), Darrell McGinnis (LP), LouAnn Harris, Keith Harris (LP), Eugene Wright, Brenda Wright (LP), Sandra Skinner (LP), Dan Skinner, Pam Townsend, Sam Townsend (LP), Jim Elder (LP), Marvin Mason (LP), Mattylin Hubbard (LP), Peggy Martin, Tom Martin, Eric Dallas, Paula Dallas (LP), Kristen Vincent, Max Vincent (Elder), Vanessa Warner, Julian Warner (LP), G (tour guide), Chuck Beattie (LP), Elaine Beattie, Henrietta Sutton, Bonnette Woods, ...
Sabbath-Focused Clergy Group to Launch in February
All North Georgia Clergy are invited to participate in a Sabbath-focused clergy group. This group will meet one day a month for four months (February through May) at a farm located near Cumming, Georgia. When gathered, the clergy group will be led in the garden, worship, eat, and enjoy silent and group reflection. Participants will be guided throughout the day without the pressure of leadership. The purpose of this group is to provide a structure for clergy to practice the rhythms of Sabbath in...
Youth Opportunity to Explore Faith and Social Justice Launches from Black Church Development
Youth and Adult Leadership Opportunity Begins This Month “Faith in Action is an intentional, intergenerational program to engage young leaders and equip mentors with the skills and competencies to transform the world,” says Rev. Nathalie Nelson Parker, the new Team Chair for Black Congregational Development Committee of the North Georgia Conference. “By participating in Faith and Action, young leaders will be prepared with critical conversations, spiritual formation, social discipline, and best ...
Fresh Expressions Are Reaching New People in New Places in North Georgia
A Fresh Expression is a form of church for those not connected to any church. Fresh Expressions take shape outside of the walls of the church in places where our neighbors are already gathering. Fresh Expressions are anchored to existing churches, connecting churches with people who would never enter the church building on a Sunday morning.  Fresh Expressions in the North Georgia Conference are making new disciples and are passing on the traditions of our Wesleyan faith in new and creative ...
North Georgia Conference Offers Special Promotion with Amplify Media
The North Georgia Conference is pleased to announce a partnership with Amplify Media to provide United Methodist churches in our Conference with access to the streaming service at a deeply discounted rate. Amplify is an online resource for church‐wide, group, or individual study, worship, and devotional material. Access anytime, anywhere, on any device – all with one subscription for your entire congregation. Stream thousands of videos, listen to the entire audio library of the Common English ...
Our Top 5 Favorite Stories of 2022
You have been living out the mission of the church this year! Take a look at our top 5 favorite stories of North Georgia United Methodists in 2022!  Responding to Neighbors in Need The North Georgia Conference has been awarded a grant of $500k for Newnan Tornado Recovery from UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). This is the largest grant our conference has ever received from UMCOR. The North Georgia Conference will use these funds to repair or fully rebuild the homes of three ...
Churches Open as Cold Weather Shelters Christmas Week
In 2022, Christmas week includes both the longest night of the year and some of the coldest nights in many years, with highs expected to be below freezing. United Methodist churches across our Conference are opening their doors for those without a place to stay warm. United Methodist churches opening as overnight shelters this week (and this season) include: Brookhaven UMC Central UMC Conyers First UMC Decatur First UMC Douglasville UMC Due West UMC Ellijay First UMC Rome First UMC Tucker First...
Housing and Homeless Council Celebrates Operational Grant Recipients
By Rev. Stacey Rushing The North Georgia Housing and Homeless Council is excited to celebrate its 2022 Operational Grant Recipients! We appreciate the work of the Housing and Homeless Council members who reviewed applications, visited applicants, and prayerfully discussed how to best award funds to help the Church serve neighbors in need. We were so inspired by churches of all sizes in communities across the North Georgia Conference who are finding meaningful ways to address poverty and ...
Early Response Teams from North Georgia Continue to Respond to Hurricane Damage in Florida
After the news stories subside it's easy to forget about the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole this fall. But North Georgia United Methodists haven't forgotten and keep showing up. Last week, two Early Response Teams from North Georgia served in Florida in coordination with the Florida Annual Conference. A team with members from Northside UMC, Hillside UMC, and Due West UMC served on the Fort Myers coast while a team from Alpharetta First UMC, Midway UMC, Northbrook UMC, ...
Pastor Brings Chess Club to Kids in His Apartment Complex
This fall Rev. Josh Miles of Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta started a chess club for kids at his apartment complex. With support from the church, 20 young people participated weekly over pizza. Sybil Davidson in Conference Communications checked in with him on this heartwarming and inspiring ministry.  Sybil: What gave you the idea for a Chess Club? Josh: I still remember how my elementary school in Athens, Ga. brought in a local chess instructor during the fall of my third-grade year. We ...
Sabbath Life Program Enriched Clergy Participants: New Groups Open for 2023
In today’s fast-paced world, the idea of taking a Sabbath day of rest seems next to impossible. With calendars crammed full of appointments and to-do lists and with email inboxes that never seem to empty, the idea of Sabbath has been regulated to a few minutes a few times a week or to a few hopeful hours at best. Sadly, for many, the idea of ceasing to work for even a short period of time is completely foreign. Is the idea of Sabbath out-of-date in our modern times or better yet, how can we ...
BEAT Celebrates 2022 Investments, Sets 2023 Grant Application and Funding Window Deadlines
The Barnes Evaluation and Administration Team has completed its work for 2022 having invested $1,388,622 this year in innovative mission and ministry throughout the North Georgia Conference. The BEAT is entrusted by our Annual Conference to receive grant applications and make the best mission investments possible for the whole of the conference. This year the team funded 23 grants across our 8 districts. The grants vary from technology upgrades, to accessibility and facility updates, to ...
Celebrating Two Years of #HolyMischief
By Rev. Dr. Shannon Karafanda   It’s been two years since I launched the digital ministry of #HolyMischief and what an amazing ride it has been! In the past two years, the Facebook group has grown to more than 1,200 members and the email list to almost 300. We’ve had pop-up events at a Farmer’s Market, Wine Tasting venue, and restaurants. We went on a Civil Rights Tour, hosted virtual prayer meetings, and shared the story on podcasts. In 2021, I launched a subscription box service: a quarterly ...
United Methodist Advent Advertising from Times Square to North Georgia
The bustling holiday crowds in Times Square and interstate travelers in the North Georgia Conference (and many in between) will see an invitation from The United Methodist Church in the weeks leading up to Christmas: Join us this Christmas, as we connect with a song in our hearts. Generosity of spirit. And with faith, hope, and joy. This is part of the “Connect with Joy” Advent campaign across the U.S. Placed by United Methodist Communications, there are 11 Advent invitation billboards in ...
Barnabas House Opens: Counseling Center to Serve the Lincolnton Community
The Barnabas House, a community counseling ministry sponsored by four United Methodist congregations in Lincolnton (Lincolnton First, Bethany, Pine Grove and Midway), officially opened last month with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.  Last year, the churches were awarded a Barnes Fund grant for the purpose of establishing a community counseling center for the citizens of Lincoln County. Additionally, the churches partnered with Richmont University and the Lincoln County School System. ...
NOMADS are on a Mission with RVs, Adventurous Spirits, and Hearts for Christian Service
NOMADS serving at Murphy-Harpst in Cedartown. By Sybil Davidson NOMADS have been “on the road” in service for 35 years and there’s room for more to join their numbers. This mission outreach group completes approximately 150 projects for United Methodist ministry partners each year across the United States. Participants must have an RV (recreational vehicle), an adventurous spirit, and a heart for Christian service work. NOMADS are predominantly retirees, and a mix of couples and singles. “...
Inaugural Worship Service at Cascade Midtown Set for Sunday
In March of 2022, Cascade UMC in southwest Atlanta and Grace UMC on Ponce de Leon Avenue in midtown Atlanta voted to approve a strategic merger with a vision for providing mission and ministry in new ways. The churches merged in June, and in July, the Grace campus became Cascade Midtown.  On Sunday, November 13, at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Cascade Midtown will welcome worshippers to its inaugural service.   The launch of Cascade Midtown creates a new, dynamic witness to the love and grace of ...
North Georgia Conference Receives $500k Grant from UMCOR for Newnan Tornado Recovery
Members of Alpharetta First UMC's Early Response Team pray with a homeowner in Newnan in March of 2021. Photo by Larry Garrard. The North Georgia Conference received word this week that we have been awarded a grant of $500k for Newnan Tornado Recovery from UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). This is the largest grant our conference has ever received from UMCOR. On March 26, 2021, an F4 tornado struck Newnan and Coweta County. The total damage area extended beyond 31 miles and ...
Reparations Task Force Begins Work in the North Georgia Conference
Formed in response to thoughtful discussion at Annual Conference 2022, the Task Force will bring a report to the 2023 Annual Conference session Many people remember learning the story of Zacchaeus through the popular children’s song. It is a song with many meanings, including Christ’s encompassing and redeeming love, and the great lengths that Zacchaeus went to see Jesus.   Rev. Vance P. Ross, the pastor of historic Central United Methodist Church in Atlanta and chair of the Conference ...
An Open Letter from North Georgia United Methodists
Laity, Clergy, and Friends of the North Georgia Conference have signed (and continue to sign) an Open Letter on the Future Of The United Methodist Church.  The letter is intended to serve as a public witness that The United Methodist Church has a bright future and that anyone who joins in the work of fulfilling Christ's mission through the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church will not walk alone.  The letter is published at Any and all North Georgia United ...
100 for Florida: We Need Your Church to Serve in Florida Disaster Response Effort
Your help is needed in response to Florida Hurricane Recovery. As our neighbors in the Florida Annual Conference face a 20-county clean-up effort following Hurricane Ian, the North Georgia Conference is looking to multiply our numbers in service in Florida in the coming weeks. Our goal is for representatives from 100 churches to commit to serving, "boots on the ground," in Florida.  What can my church do? Identify two or three already-badged ERT or skilled workers willing to serve Encourage ...
Hurricane Ian Response Update: Praying, Giving, Serving
October 13 Update In the last 10 days, the North Georgia has sent two ERT groups, delivered two truck-loads of supplies, delivered our conference shower trailer as Florida opens another church to host ERT in Fort Myers, and some of these same ERT who served in the last week are in the queue to return! Now, we need your help.  As our neighbors in the Florida Annual Conference face a 20-county clean-up effort following Hurricane Ian, the North Georgia Conference is looking to multiply our ...
Clergy from Across the Conference Gather for 'Bishop's Day Apart' 2022
In celebration of “Clergy Appreciation Month," clergy from across the North Georgia Conference gathered on Monday, October 3, at Marietta First UMC for a Day Apart with Bishop Sue. Spreading out across the lawn at the Park on Polk on Marietta First UMC's campus, clergy joined in worship led by Theophilus Stanford and the praise team from Cliftondale UMC. They heard words of encouragement from Conference Lay Leader Nate Abrams, District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Byron Thomas, and Bishop Sue. The ...
Create and Use QR Codes for Church Communication
By Sybil Davidson When QR Codes first appeared more than a decade ago they were more of a novelty than a useful tool. (Did you ever fumble with downloading an app to try to scan a QR code only to realize you could have typed in a web address more quickly?)  They have made quite a comeback in recent years as they became scannable through the camera on your phone. QR code stands for "Quick Response," and the black and white squares are now living up to their name. Consider Here are some ...
Religion and Race Announces New Grant Cycle
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) is proud to announce a new cycle of the CORR Action Fund grant program that will support creative initiatives that will transform the United Methodist Church and the world. The 2022-2023 grant program will provide up to $10,000 to fund projects that increase intercultural competency and support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity, and systemic equity leading to action. UMC churches and other UMC entities are invited to apply for...
Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month, observed annually September 15-October 15, highlights the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic Americans—specifically those whose ancestors came from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico, and Spain. Communities honor the achievements of Hispanic and Latino Americans with festivals and educational activities.   ResourceUMC offers several ways for churches to observe Hispanic Heritage Month. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Outreach ...
UMCOR Awards Solidarity Grant to the North Georgia Conference for Catoosa and Floyd County Flood Response
UMCOR has awarded a solidarity grant of $10,000 to the North Georgia Conference to support initial relief efforts for the damage caused by severe flooding in Chattooga and Floyd Counties this weekend. The Conference is coordinating with a range of local and state partners including GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management) and Georgia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) as the assessment phase continues.  "Sometimes the best thing to do is wait. The flood happened on Sunday and Monday ...
5 Areas of Focus in Action
In June, the North Georgia Annual Conference officially adopted 5 Core Values and 5 Areas of Focus to guide us into transformational disciple-making between now and Annual Conference 2024. On the post-Conference survey, one or more areas resonated with nearly every person we heard from! Connect below with resources and inspiration from these values and focus areas. The Core Values As United Methodist Christians in North Georgia, we value: Integrity: We will walk with integrity in Christ and ...
Ages 5 to 84 Participate in McEachern UMC's Family Mission Trip
Follow Along on a Family Mission Trip to Camp Collinswood this Summer! By DeDe Bull Reilly I have been praying for a space and place where little people WITH their big people could stay and serve in developmentally appropriate ways, not too far away, overnight, and inexpensive so the whole family could attend. Those prayers were answered in July as McEachern UMC families participated in our Family Mission Trip. During 11 a.m. worship, a returning Youth Mission Team from Key West gave their ...
Housing and Homeless Council Welcomes Stacey Rushing as Director
The North Georgia United Methodist Housing & Homeless Council is pleased to announce that Rev. Stacey Rushing will be the organization's next director. The Housing & Homeless Council is an agency of the North Georgia Conference and was created to help churches and other non-profit organizations minister to people experiencing poverty and homelessness. The Council awards grants to churches and non-profits that provide housing, food pantries, rental and utility assistance, clothing closets, and ...
Disaster Response: NGUMC Early Response Teams Serving in Kentucky
Trained Early Response Team members from Northside UMC, Alpharetta UMC, Acworth UMC, Northbrook UMC, Canton First UMC, Zoar UMC, and Mountville UMC are responding to the devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky. On invitation from the Kentucky Annual Conference, our North Georgia Conference teams have been removing trees, mucking out (removal of drywall, debris removal, mold mitigation), tarping, and clearing sites where homes were destroyed by the flood waters. "We have heard so many ...
Academy of Leadership & Innovation Launches 2022-2023 Season
The 9-session North Georgia Academy for Leadership & Innovation launched last week with an opening session on Pastoral Innovation for Our New Day at UMC Global Ministries headquarters. Offered by the Center for Congregational Excellence, the annual training opportunity is open to pastors, ministry staff, students, and laity interested in learning about launching new faith communities and innovative ministries.  The purpose of the Academy is to develop a pipeline of laity and pastors who are ...
New Hope UMC Celebrated as a 'Bronco Backer' by Community School
By Sybil Davidson Just over a year ago, New Hope UMC in Gainesville welcomed a new neighbor: A brand new high school was opening in the church's backyard.  "We had this opportunity to have a presence in our community school," said Rev. Andrew Covington, New Hope's pastor. "I reached out to the principal and shared that the church really wants to be there for the teachers, students, and administration." The congregation was clear that the purpose of partnering with the school would never be ...


Blair Zant
Director, Center for Congregational Excellence
(678) 533-1399
Brian Tillman
Director of Inclusion and Advocacy
(678) 533-1441
Lindsay Geist
Director of Clergy Wellbeing
(678) 533-1387
Richard Hunter
Associate Director of Congregational Excellence
(678) 533-1442
Scott Parrish
Missions Specialist
(678) 533-1374