Augusta District



East Georgia Circuit Rider

The Newsletter for the Augusta District


Aldersgate Homes/Collinswood Letter from the Bishop

1.  District Conversations about General Conference 2019

The cabinet has decided to hold these sessions in the fall with two things in mind:  first, to build a degree of empathy in our midst, so that we even if we  disagree, we can do so in love and with empathy; and two, to impart as much information as we have about the three plans which are being put to the general conference delegates.

I have decided to hold two sessions, one in the eastern part of our district (at Quest UMC) and one in the west (at Eatonton First UMC).  We will meet at Quest on Oct. 13th from 10am to noon; at Eatonton, on Oct. 27th from 10am to noon.  These sessions should share the same information, and both clergy and laity are invited to attend.  I have no idea if we will have a large crowd or just enough to fill a table, but I am committed to being there with a “non-anxious presence.”  Pastors, please relay this information to your laity.

I take encouragement from the words of Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai:

“Communicate a calm faith and an absolute certainty that no matter what happens at the called session, God has not stopped calling The United Methodist Church to its mission and has not stopped equipping United Methodists for the carrying out of the mission."

2.  St. John’s Towers Seeks a Full time Chaplain

Rev. Karen Kagiyama, Director of Pastoral Care for Wesley Woods, has announced that they are seeking a “loving, compassionate chaplain to be in ministry” with the residents and staff at St. John’s Towers.  While they are seeking an elder or deacon, it might be possible to utilize two part time people, or a recently retired pastor, or even a local pastor with excellent pastoral care skills. 

Contact Rev. Kagiyama at

3.  Bus for sale

Friendship UMC has a bus for sale.  25 passenger, 2000 Ford Cut away.  Very good condition.  $15,000 or best offer.  Contact Cheryl at

4.  About Charge Conferences

The conference office has issued a NEW version of our one page document to charge conferences; I have attached it to this newsletter.  Basically they have added only one “tweak”– an insurance declarations page. 

PLEASE make sure that your laity understand that this is a new method of doing charge conferences.  Some of them have called me and they are assuming that this year is “the same old same old.”  I rely on you to convey to them our new way of handling this annual business.  If you are confused, call or email me.  I will not be mad; this is NEW and it can be confusing.

How to access Charge Conference folders online:

Go to

Click on the blue “log in” button at the top of the page.

For Username, use your conference e-mail address.

If you do not have one, contact Tina and she can put you in touch with the conference IT team.

Put in your password.

Then select the church from the dropdown arrow.

Click on the top blue “Charge Conference” button to fill in reports.

5.  From the District Retreat

Dr. Watson sent me his PPT slides from our day; I have attached them. 

6.  From the DS

The book I am currently reading is “The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry: Preparing a People for the Presence of the Lord,” by David Rohrer (a Presbyterian).  Here is an excerpt from the Introduction:

“When I was ordained twenty-nine years ago, my mother commissioned a photographic portrait to mark the occasion. As I look at that portrait today, sometimes it's hard for me to believe that I am the one who occupies the frame. It's the kind of photograph you might see hanging in the narthex of some church. It could be very comfortable among a gallery of portraits that detail a congregation's history of pastoral succession. A younger version of myself stares out at me from this portrait. I am wearing a black clergy robe trimmed with red piping. The robe is adorned with the red velvet cowl of my academic hood. My eyes make direct contact with the viewer, and my half smile suggests a confident but humble readiness for the work that is before me. I am seated, and my hands gently rest on the table in front of me, loosely gripping the primary tool of my trade, a Bible. I look at this eight-by-ten glossy, and I see the picture of my hope of becoming a venerable statesman in the church. The work before me seemed clear. I would preach and teach, marry and bury, guide and preside. I would take up a noble profession of providing spiritual leadership to the members of a stable institution. I was ready to embark on a career, and I was confident that the journey would be a steady ascent toward bigger and better congregations. The young man I see in this portrait seems poised to assume his place in that narthex gallery of ministers.

However, after twenty-nine years in pastoral ministry, I must confess that it is very difficult for me to identify with this version of myself. What I realize today is that the image of pastoral ministry represented in this portrait probably hit its zenith sometime near the end of the Eisenhower administration. It represents some expectations about the church that are no longer true. Occupying a venerable role in a stable institution is not at all how I think of my job as a pastor. Rather, I see myself as a crewman on a vessel sailing in stormy, turbulent waters who is grateful for the still points we encounter and the glimpses we catch of our destination on the horizon.

Rocked by the waves of a changing culture, the church in America seems to be dealing most with the question of its institutional survival. As leaders in this church, our primary concerns are shifting to matters of maintaining market share. Rather than being the home of theologians, the church seems more to be a test group for sociologists and statisticians. Massive amounts of our energy are being dedicated to diagnosing our disease and tirelessly working to come up with a cure.

As a part of the declining Protestant mainline, it feels at times to me that we are like the knight in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who, having been mortally wounded in a sword fight, ignores his hemorrhage and confidently declares himself to have "just a flesh wound." Yet clearly, the best that we, who occupy places of leadership within the mainline, can say about ourselves is that we are "not dead yet." Other players have come on the scene, offering potential solutions to the problem of decline. The megachurches with Disneyland-sized parking lots, business-park buildings and a full course of religious and spiritual services waiting to be consumed are the churches that are growing in this country. On the other end of the spectrum are the emergent churches that are flying just under the radar. These stealth churches seek to design and deploy "relevant" worship styles and to work to build "authentic" community. Then there is the cry from our seminaries for us to become missional churches. In a "post-Christendom" culture, we are called to see ourselves not as static institutions but as outposts for the rejuvenation of disciples who are being sent into mission. The eight-by-ten narthex-glossy pastor has little hope of surviving in this brave new world. He is about as relevant in today's church as a typesetter is to today's printing industry.

…I believe that John the Baptist can give us guidance in these matters. He called for both personal renewal and institutional reform He spoke into a world that was awash with religion but disconnected from authentic relationship with God…John was wildly popular in his day and respected by people as diverse as Jesus, Herod and Josephus. Why? Because he spoke the truth with integrity. Because his ministry was about something bigger than himself or the reform of a religious institution. Because he affirmed what people already knew: that they were in desperate need of something more than the mundane practices of a religion that had been cut off from its source of life.

….I hope to contribute to the conversation concerning the things that give shape to the way we do pastoral ministry in this age. In these days when we are spending so much money, time and energy in the task of healing or growing the church, my hope is that we will see that our work is less about saving the church and more about proclaiming the presence of God to both the souls who compose it and those who dwell outside it.”



 Yours for the Kingdom,


Terry Fleming

Augusta District Superintendent

PO Box 204600
Augusta, GA  30907

Office:  706-651-8621

Fax:  706-651-8622

Cell:  678-447-6034


"Jesus is not coming back for the buildings." - Anon.



District Superintendent

Terry Fleming
(706) 651-8621
View Bio

Administrative Assistant

Tina Lancaster
(706) 651-8621

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