North Georgia United Methodists Arrive in Athens


(Photo of Young Adult Coffee House attendees by Rev. Joseph McBrayer)

Monday, June 9, members of the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church began once again to converge at the Classic Center in Athens for its Annual Conference Session. Many of the expected 2,000 attendees took advantage of afternoon registration and attended pre-conference meals and meetings, including the Deacon's Dinner, Covenant Bible Study leader training, and the annual Young Adult Coffee House. 

"I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide everything that we do," said North Georgia Conference, Bishop Mike Watson, to many of the Conference young adult members as the evening came to an end. "You are not observers; you are participants."

The theme of Annual Conference is "Together We Make Disciples" and presentations throughout the meeting will focus on integrating ministry to children and young people age zero to 25.

A highlight of this year's conference will be hearing from guest preacher Bishop L. Jonathan Holston at Opening Worship and the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination.

Currently serving the South Carolina Conference, Bishop Holston is returning to his hometown of Athens and his home conference. Before being elected bishop, Holston served in the North Georgia Conference as a pastor and as superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District.

“I am thrilled to join my friends and colleagues at the North Georgia Annual Conference, but also to be coming home to Athens,” said Bishop Holston. 

While the Classic Center has been the site of 15 of the last 16 North Georgia Conference Sessions, there are many new features. Among them is GROW Day Camp, which includes children of Annual Conference members and children from the Athens community. The camp will include activities such as archery, nature study, and belayed tree climbing and is being hosted by Young Harris Memorial UMC.

There will be the addition of a sign language interpreter at the Ordination Service and Service of Remembrance. Please let a volunteer or usher know if you would like to be seated to best take advantage of the ASL interpreting.

Registrants are being issued a voting card to use during electronic voting on Thursday. An orientation will be held Thursday morning before using the devices for voting during the day. 

The NGUMC Annual Conference will also host a 5K race, a blood drive and a collection of disaster response kits. In 2013, 67 units of blood were collected and 518 disaster response kits were assembled on site at the Classic Center.   

For more information on Annual Conference 2014 or to watch live streaming, please visit