Augusta District

 

Augusta District Newsletter

2/12/19

1.  Upcoming Dates

Feb. 24-26  General Conference, St Louis, Missouri

Mar 1           Fresh Expressions Vision Day (Douglasville First)

                             https://www.ngumc.org/freshexpressions

Mar 2, 9     Basic Lay Servant Class

Mar 6         Ash Wednesday

Mar 10       Daylight Savings Time – Spring back

Mar 23       UMW event, Thomson First, see attached

Mar 23, 30  Advanced Lay Servant Class, “Living our Beliefs”

Mar 19        9am dCOM at Thomson First UMC, certifications

Mar 25-29  Cabinet meeting

2.  Annual Conference 2019 to Elect Delegates to General Conference 2020
Self-Nomination Process Opens February 1 for Clergy, Remains Open for Laity and Clergy Through March 4 
Members of the North Georgia Annual Conference will elect delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences during the 2019 Annual Conference Session in June. Clergy are using a new election process in 2019. The new process allows clergy to express their interest and availability to represent North Georgia at the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The clergy self-nomination form will be available in Data Services February 1 through March 4. The Lay Candidate Registration process will remain open through March 4 as well. 
READ MORE
CLERGY ELECTION PROCESS
LAY ELECTION INFORMATION 

3.  General Conference Updates

The North Georgia Conference has adapted a resource "Your 2019 Special Session of the General Conference Communications Tool Kit" for your use. (Find it at www.ngumc.org/gc2019communicationtoolkit.)

Many congregations are utilizing the "One With" Worship Resource developed to be used February 3 through March 3 with a focus on our United Methodist Communion Liturgy. (Find it at www.ngumc.org/OneWithWorship.)  

The conference has also created a special email address specifically for your questions about the session. While we may not have answers to all of them, Bishop Sue will address questions by video. To ask a question, email WayForwardquestions@ngumc.org

Once General Conference begins, there are a host of tools to stay current. 

After General Conference, clergy and laity are invited to District Gatherings. 

Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford, Augusta, and Athens-Elberton Districts
March 17 | 4 to 6 pm 
Greensboro UMC, South Campus

Atlanta-Marietta, Northwest, and Rome-Carrollton Districts  
March 17 | 4 to 6 pm 
Kennesaw UMC

LaGrange, Griffin, and Atlanta-College Park Districts
March 24  | 4 to 6 pm
Cascade UMC

Atlanta-Emory, Atlanta-Roswell, and Gainesville Districts
March 24  | 4 to 6 pm
Buford First UMC

4.  Job Posting

St. Mark United Methodist Church on Washington Rd. is in search of a Choir Director.

The position will be a part time position.  The Choir Director reports to the Senior Pastor as well as the Staff Parish Relations Committee which acts as the Human Resources Department for the church.

Job duties are as follows:

Lead all music programs at the church.

Lead the choir during worship services.

Work with the Senior Pastor to select the hymns for all worship services.

Create seasonal music programs such as Christmas and Easter and any additional music programs to follow the liturgical calendar as requested by the Senior Pastor.

Arrange special music such as solos or special musical accompaniment periodically for worship services.

Lead weekly choir practice.

Be available to assist with funerals and weddings when needed.

Recruit new members to the choir as the opportunity presents itself.

Desired Qualifications:

Candidate should be a Christian.

Candidate must be able to read music.

Candidate must be able to lead choirs as well as musical ensembles.

Candidate should have degree in music or equivalent years of experience in the field of music.

Candidate should be able to lead in an inspirational manner.

Knowledge/experience with hand bells is desired but not required.

Familiarity with multiple musical instruments is a plus.

Contact PPR chair Russell Wilder at russell@topshelfcigarshoppe.com

5.  A New Name for the Children’s Home – Wellroot Family Services

Well-Rooted and Firmly Planted

Like all organizations that have navigated over a century of change, your United Methodist Children’s Home has long embraced, and effectively responded to changes in the child welfare field through many creative innovations to our ministry. These innovations have not been driven or shaped by whim—they have been driven and shaped by a steadfast focus on our mission to serve children, young adults and families in need.

As we look toward our future, we are proud to introduce a new name that reflects both our tremendous growth and our unlimited potential, while preserving our deep foundations in The United Methodist Church. This new name, Wellroot Family Services, was borne out of the same steadfast focus on our mission, and was the result of an intense process of research and planning. To be well-rooted is to be firmly planted, to feel stable, and to feel taken care of and secure. To be well-rooted is to have the support and love you need to become the person God intends for you to become.

Now, as Wellroot Family Services, The United Methodist Children’s Home continues to grow with a name that embodies our commitment to the children, young adults and families we serve together as an agency of the North Georgia Conference—a commitment that has not wavered since the day we opened our doors.

6.  From The DS

Over the last several weeks I have heard multiple sermons and devotions from Luke 5:1-11 (the lectionary from Feb. 10th).  I have heard this passage speaking to me under the backdrop of our denomination’s woes, both from our current decline in attendance AND the fact that we are dancing on the precipice with General Conference.  So here is what I hear the Spirit saying to me in this passage.

Luke 5:1-11 

1.  Empty Boats

These fishermen loved their old way of life.

For generations, this was the way they had filled their boats with fish

 and filled their family’s tables with food

Fishing had a rhythm of its own – daily casting nets and reaping the sea,

 Repairing hulls and mending nets,

  Wind and wave, wood and rope, anchors and oars.

They inherited this model of life from previous generations.

 The constancy was reassuring.

But this morning they were exhausted – Simon’s word, not mine.

 All their labors were futile.

  The boats were bare - fishermen without any fish.

As a DS, I see our denominational decline spelled out in sinking morale

 And stark numbers.

(Since 2000, UM churches in the US have lost

 one million in worship attendance!)

Our boats are not hauling in the fish anymore;

 Yet we refuse to admit that the old ways are not working.

We tell ourselves if we just try harder, young people will flock to our

 Old hymns and staid worship!

I believe with all my heart that our message, our gospel,

 is the hope of the world; but our methods have become leaky boats.

Someone moved our cheese, but we are still returning to the same old

 Place we used to find it.

Our problem is, we like our old brittle wineskins;

 they worked for us and for our parents and for our grandparents.

 

But what if the new wine needs new wineskins?

 What if Christ’s never changing message needs a new method?

John Wesley “submitted to be more vile”

 By leaving the “commodious rooms” of the churches

  And proclaiming his testimony in the open air.

(“On Monday and Tuesday evening I preached abroad, near the Keelman's Hospital, to twice the people we should have had at the house. What marvel the devil does not love field preaching? Neither do I. I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit. But where is my zeal if I do not trample all these under foot in order to save one more soul?”)

But we resist becoming “vile” for the sake of other souls.

Confession - I love the old boat…the “nave” as we used to call it,

 Because our old sanctuaries were built like an upended boat.

I was raised to love traditional, liturgical worship in the nave;

 11am Sunday morning, in a lovely building with pews and an organ

  And stained-glass windows (along with the overhead that comes with

    Maintaining a huge building)…

But what if…what if THIS OLD MODEL will not attract or win

 The rising generation?

What if, in the words of Sheriff Brody in Jaws,

 “we’re gonna need a bigger boat?”

  Or a different size boat?  Or waders or surfboards instead of a boat?

Some churches get it.

 They are willing to blow it all up, to save one soul.

I love the story about the old farmer who plowed with a mule.

As the years progressed, he realized that his sons needed

 Those newfangled tractors or they were going out of business.

He finally gave in, so long as he kept one mule for himself.

Our old ways of “doing church” are about as outdated as mules

 Pulling plows.

Friends, we have got to get some tractors.

II.  Full Boats

The Anointed One of God climbs into Simon’s boat.

 (What an honor!  Is Jesus in your boat?)

While He is proclaiming the Word to the crowds,

 The fishermen are listening…but they are also distracted by the tasks

   of mending the old nets.

(Ouch!  Do we do this?)

Jesus turns to Simon and says, “Cast out into the deep water

 And lower your nets for a catch.”

Simon initially RESISTS Him.

I get it.

 A night of Failure and Exhaustion.  They are tired!

  Professional fishermen who have given it their all;

   “Who are you, Jesus, to tell us what we need to do?”

But because it is Jesus who asks, Simon agrees.

And a miracle follows…the nets gather so many fish it takes two boats

 To haul them in, and even then, the boats are about to sink.

This miracle, this sign of full boats,

 indicates that someone who has authority has arrived on the scene.

The Holy One of God is here, and they did not recognize Him

 Until the miracle signaled His divine power!

In His presence, our sins and our failures are all too evident –

 empty hulls, empty souls, empty churches.

Our boats are empty.

The Nave is empty…or emptying. 

 What won previous generations is now providing a space for funerals

  For those generations.

And then what?

 Will our heirs sell the boats to the highest bidder

  And walk away?

We have demonstrated our inability, our impotence.

 He has just demonstrated His ability to fill the hulls.

The One who can work miracles is in our midst!

I wonder if they thought, thank God!

 Now He is going to join us every day on the boat

 To help us maintain the old ways!

  Maybe He will spy the schools of fish and direct the casting of the nets,

   So that we can be what we always were, world without end, Amen!

No.

The miracle gets their attention and establishes His authority

 …then He speaks a new word of command.

He tore them out of their old frame and gives them a new frame.

III.  Forsaken Boats

Awestruck by the presence of Deity,

 Simon requested that he be removed from Jesus’ presence.

“Go away from me, Lord;

  I am a sinful man.”

I do not belong in your presence, and you should not be tainted

 By the likes of me.

Jesus says NO…I want you even closer to me, following me,

  Into a new task – catching people instead of fish.

“I call you to me and away from the old lives, the old boats, the old fish.

 Everything familiar, cozy, and comfy…let it go.”

Jesus looked in Simon’s eyes and saw fear there.

The people they were going to catch, the souls they are looking for,

 Were in the villages, not under the waves.

Jesus is heading out there…and in many ways the “out there”

 Is more terrifying to Simon than the storms on the sea.

But Jesus says, do not be afraid!

 Follow ME…

The focus is on HIM…the certainty is that disciples must be where He is.

And he is leaving the boats for the highways and hedges

    And towns and villages, seeking souls

In our imagination, we can see the temptation to deny His call.

“No, Lord.

 The cost is too high.

  We like things to stay the way they were.

   We will stay here.

    Bury our bodies under the waves.

      When the last one leaves, lower the flag and torch the boats.”

Instead - the fishermen beached their boats on the shore,

 LEFT EVERYTHING, and followed Him.

There in pain in the leaving, but joy in following HIM.

 He is the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price.

For Him and for His mission we should sell it all,

 And see all of it as rubbish (Phil 3:8) compared to Him.

The leaving and the following are two sides of the same coin.

We must make a choice.

 Either beach the boats and follow Him,

  or deny His call and maintain the way things used to be.

 Whatever we decide, Jesus is not in the boats…He is headed out there.

 

 

District Superintendent


Terry Fleming
(706) 651-8621
terry.fleming@ngumc.net
View Bio

Administrative Assistant

Tina Lancaster
(706) 651-8621
agst@ngumc.net

Contact Information

Office Address:
3332 West Cliffe Court
Augusta, GA 30907

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 204600
Augusta, GA 30917

(706) 651-8621 Phone
(706) 651-8622 Fax

agst@ngumc.net
http://www.ngumc.org/agst