Day 1 Wrap Up

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The North Georgia Annual Conference, convening under partly cloudy skies and a superbly renovated Classic Center, opened its 2013 session by celebrating Holy Communion and connections to the global community.
For the 14th time in 15 years, United Methodists from more than 900 churches across north Georgia gathered in downtown Athens. But the 2013 event featured a dramatic new look as well as new energy. A $24-million renovation to the Classic Center has virtually doubled the size of the Grand Hall, which now encompasses 55,000 square feet.
But it was the addition of a climate-controlled atrium, an 8,500-square-foot, gathering area between the Grand Hall and the Theatre, that seemed to attract the biggest accolades from lay and clergy members. Tables in the expansive atrium were quickly employed during breaks.
At the start of the day, Timothy Miller, a United Methodist and singer with the Atlanta Opera, opened orientation with praise and worship through song. After a welcome by the host committee, Mathew Pinson, Conference Lay Leader, led the session as the lay members of the Annual Conference were introduced to the Board of Laity and received introductions to three laity led programs: Leadership UMC, Lay Revitalization Ministry, and Lay Servant Ministry.
Joe Whittemore, former Conference Lay Leader, reviewed the four constitutional amendments which will be voted on during the Annual Conference.

Session One: 2 p.m.
Service of Word and Table and Renewal of Your Baptism.

  • Sermon brought by Bishop Teresa Snorton of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, who reminded the gathering that we have a spiritual account and we have to keep our faith renewed 
  • Holy Communion and a remembrance of our baptism followed

Session Two: 3:35 p.m.
The 147th Annual Conference was officially called to order by Bishop B. Michael Watson, followed by the singing of the traditional opening hymn, “Are We Yet Alive?”
Annual Conference members were welcomed to Athens by the host committee, the President of the University of Georgia, the Director of the Classic Center, and the Mayor of the City of Athens.
United Methodist Publishing House       
“Cokesbury is alive and well,” said Joe Kilpatrick, UM Publishing House board member who presented on behalf of the UM Publishing House/Cokesbury/Abingdon Press/Common English Bible. Though Cokesbury stores have closed, two representative have been assigned to North Georgia. Find resources at 
Bridges to Mission
Logo and theme of the Conference were presented, Bridges to Mission, representing North Georgia's eight ministry Bridges: El Salvador, Bahamas, East Africa, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Action Ministries, World Methodist Evangelism. Tomorrow's Annual Conference special offering will go toward the work of these Bridges.
BRIDGE: Bahamas 
Presentation made by the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church. Hurricane Andrew led to the development of the recovery programs of the Bahamas Conference and their ministries of peace and justice. The Bahamas Conference asks that we pray with them, serve, learn, share and love. God is there with them. Learn more about this Bridge in the Wednesday night sessions.
BRIDGE: East Africa
Presentation made by the East Africa Bridge to Mission partners. They introduced their clean water program in Kenya, Preventable diseases are rampant in Kenya. Learn more about this Bridge in the Wednesday night sessions.
“As a long time advocate of young adult and youth participation at Annual Conference sessions across the denomination, I'm glad to see that we are encouraging under 35 participation. I pray that we adjust the days of conference to include a weekend day so that young adult participation is not only encouraged in word but in action as well.” 
-Lay member John Peterson

"Really thankful for the global presence of our Bridge countries at Conference. Too often North American churches do not know the courage and suffering of other Christian churches where persecution is the norm. Praying we will deepen our partnerships with our brother and sisters all over the world!"
-Rev. Sondra Jones

"Had a blast this morning in Athens singing some hymns at #NGAC13."
-Timothy Miller, Glenn Memorial member, via Twitter

Session Two: 7:30 p.m.
Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination

Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso Juan of the Manila Episcopal Area reminded the congregation that It is not about what we can do, but what God can accomplish through us. 

The North Georgia Conference commissioned six provisional deacons and 12 provisional elders, ordained two deacons in full connection and 18 elders in full connection, and recognized orders of two clergy from other denominations. 
Provisional Deacons
Emily Bagwell
Elizabeth Marie Butler
Taylor Eugenia Driskill
Blair Bosta Setnor
Kathleen Stalker Stasko
Leslie Lyons Watkins 
Provisional Elders
Joshua James Amerson
Kelly K. Beckley
Andrew Richard Cunningham
Lane Edward Davis
Claudette Farmer
Deborah S. Holloway
Marvin McKinney Mason
Lori Clayton Osborn
Hee Chul Park
Joel Rodriguez 
Wesley Charles Sanders
Travis Gavin Sneed 
Full Connection Deacons
Brent Stephens Bohanan
Mark Brantley Danzey 
Full Connection Elders
David Scott Blackwood
Michael Stephen Broome
Andrew David Erwin
Amanda Ruth Garvin
Katharine Hinman
Allen James Hoskyn
Andrew Bradley Lett
Rick Marson
S. Kathleen Mattox
Erik Ashley Mays
Jason Bryan Mincey
Joshua James Roberts
Dalton Troy Rushing
Stacey Jean Rushing
Paul A. Thibodeaux
Elaine Kelly Wilder
David Anthony Wofford
Blair Boyd Zant 
Orders Recognized from Another Denomination 
Tom E. Fish
Brent A. Strawn