News and events from across the conference


Faith UMC: Family fun night
A family fun night of bingo and a chili dinner is planned for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Faith UMC in Smyrna at 4336 King Springs Road. 770-435-9722.
Roswell UMC: Marriage enrichment dinner
     Bring your spouse and a framed wedding photograph to the Marriage Enrichment Dinner at Roswell United Methodist Church, 5-6:30 p.m. Feb. 13. The dinner includes a comedic host, an Andy Stanley sermon on marriage, and take-home discussion starters for you and your spouse. Cost is $20 per couple, including childcare if you register by Jan. 30. To register, e-mail or call 770-993-6218. Roswell UMC is located at 814 Mimosa Blvd. in the heart of Historic Roswell.
Harmony Grove UMC: Blood drive location
     The Lilburn church is hosting a blood drive 3-7 p.m. February 14 in Pollard Hall. The church’s address is 50 Harmony Grove Road. 770-921-7747.
Athens FUMC: Bestselling author to speak 
     Bruce Feiler (“Walking the Bible,” “Abraham,” “Where God Was Born”) will be at the Athens church at 4:30 p.m. March 27, 2011, to bring a message of hope amidst cancer survival, and the value of family. Online tickets will be available at in January. Seating will be limited, general admission. Feiler will sign books after he speaks. The church is at 327 North Lumpkin Street.
Lake Junaluska site of Caring for Creation
       Participate in informative workshops, visit a sustainable community, worship and share green ideas with others at the 2011 Caring for Creation experience March 31-April 3, 2011, at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.
       The conference will feature more than 38 guest speakers, including a special appearance from One More Generation (OMG) founders Carter Ries, 9, and sister Olivia, 8, who will present “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir.”
       Other speakers include: the Rev. Sally Bingham, founder of Regeneration Project; Jonathan Merritt, author of “Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet;”John Hill, the Director of Economic and Environmental Justice from the General Board of Church and Society; Rev. Dr. Katy Hinman, formerly Director of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light; Michael McClain from NCC Eco-Justice; Ralph Hutchinson from Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance from Knoxville, TN, and many others.
       Incentives are available for early registration before January 1, 2011. Ethnic scholarships are available online soon. For registration, workshops, and more information visit or call 828-454-6656.
Women’s conference to start new year
    A New Year, A New You … Embracing God’s Heart is the theme for a women’s event at Gainesville FUMC, set for 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 and 8:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 29. Featuring Paula Rinehart author of “Strong Women, Soft Hearts & Better Than My Dreams”
 $30 includes registration, meals and childcare. For more information, call Rebeccah Damon at 770-536-2341 or e-mail
Spring break alternative that helps others
      Harvest of Hope, a program offered by End Hunger, is offering a hunger relief mission opportunity March 6-12 in Orlando. Cost is $150, not including travel. During this year’s spring break, the college students participating saved and distributed 18,000 pounds of fresh produce, and boxed and shipped 34,000 pounds of canned goods. For more information, call 800-333-4597, e-mail or visit
Foundation for Evangelism gets interim director
      The Foundation for Evangelism board of trustees has appointed Jane Boatwright Wood as interim executive director. Wood succeeds Executive Director Dr. John "Jack" Ewing, who has become executive director for Lake Junaluska Assembly, Inc.
     Wood has served as vice president at the foundation, providing leadership in the areas of development, technology, grants, and operations over the past six years.  Prior to that time, she served as chief operating officer for Crescent Preferred Provider Organization and vice president for Haywood Regional Medical Center.
     The Foundation for Evangelism has formed an executive director search committee. 
The Foundation is an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church, with a focus to provide resources, primarily grants, for the development of leaders with a passion for evangelism who will have a multiplying impact on The United Methodist Church.
Hunger-relief ministry offers Lent devotionals
     The Society of St. Andrew, a domestic hunger-relief ministry, is offering spiritual nourishment a Lent devotion called “We’ve a Story to Tell.” The daily devotions are written by writers from different denominations who share how their personal walk with Jesus has impacted their lives.
      Materials are available at no cost, but a donation of $47 ($1 a day during Lent) would help the society continue its mission of salvaging fresh produce for the hungry. Last year’s Lenten Devotions program funded more than 2 million servings of food to families in need in the U.S. An optional Good Friday Fast booklet also is available to use with the daily devotions or as a separate program.  
     The Society of St. Andrew is a national nonprofit program that rescues about 25 million pounds of excess produce each year that would otherwise go to waste. The salvaged food is distributed to critical feeding agencies across the country at no cost to the agencies or people served. For more information, visit
Seminar offers “Rx for a Healthy Church”
Ministers and church members of all denominations are invited to “Rx for a Healthy Church,” a continuing education seminar that explores how to transform churches into vibrant and healthy centers of faith. The seminar is being hosted by the Reinhardt University Ministerial Association on Feb. 22, 2011, on Reinhardt’s Waleska campus. 
Jim Jernigan, Reinhardt’s coordinator of ministerial relations, is enthusiastic about the event. “Every year we look for a current topic that will help pastors. The seminar leaders -- Dr. Ron Flowers, Rev. Jim Hollis and Rev. Jim Burt -- will bring more than 100 years of effective ministry experience to this event. All have pastored growing churches and have a clear understanding of what it takes for a congregation to get healthy and grow significantly.”
Hollis is the founder and executive director of Proactive Ministries, a not-for-profit ministry organization that has led training with more than 900 congregations across 40 states and 42 Annual Conferences in America. He sees a critical need for this type of teaching. 
“Many of our pastors and congregations are frustrated over an absence of serious growth, both spiritually and numerically,” said Hollis. “Too often churches are not healthy and whole or prepared to grow. I’ve found that there are ministries, specifically prayer, worship, nominations and leader development, relational initiation of new friendships and strengthening stewardship, which should be major priorities, but in reality they end up as minimal priorities. We’ll address these five areas as baseline ministry priorities for church health and growth for all congregations.”
Hollis also hopes key church members will get involved. “Healthy and growing churches have laity and clergy working in harmony to build a foundation of excellent ministry both in the church and in the community. It would be wonderful to have not only the clergy present but key laity leaders as well. The priorities that will be shared will impact both the laity and clergy of every congregation.”
Flowers, also Reinhardt’s ministerial association president, is looking forward to dynamic discussion and learning. “Events like this are important opportunities for clergy continuing education and are a chance for clergy and laity to come together and learn from each other. This seminar will provide a laboratory for developing practices to strengthen all types of churches."
During the morning session, participants will review the five key ministries and how they fit together in a healthy church. After lunch, from 1 to 3 p.m., attendees will choose three ministries to explore in-depth. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., an optional bonus – a 30-minute individual consultation session with a seminar leader - is being offered free of charge for pastors. The slots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis as advanced reservations are received.
Flowers spent 41 years in service in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, including 20 years in campus ministry at Reinhardt, Emory and Georgia State, and 15 years as the minister of program and administration at Northside UMC. 
Hollis is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and has 36 years of ministry experience in the North Georgia Conference. He was a pastor for 18 years before being appointed as a general evangelist of the United Methodist Church and starting his work with Proactive Ministries.
Burt graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana with a Master of Divinity and served as a pastor for 27 years. He started successful new churches in Illinois and Indiana. For the past four years, he has been the director of ministry development for Proactive Ministries.
The event will be held in the Falany Performing Arts Center from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Box lunches and beverages are included in the $35 per person registration fee. Participants are encouraged to sign up by Feb. 18, but walk-in registrants are welcome. Register online at or by phone at 770-720-5546.
Inman Park UMC: Unique baptism for new pastor 
     The Rev. Matt Nelson took part in Inman Park’s chilly New Year’s Day tradition – the Polar Bear Jump. Close to 50 polar bears of all ages, cheered on by as many spectators, took the plunge in the community pool. “We’re sure Matt’s jump was chilly, but only added to the warm love the church and neighborhood feel for Matt and Anne and their children Caleb and Sarah,” said church member Kris Dwyer.
Lake Junaluska planning family conference
     Registration is open for the Rekindling the Flame of the Laity Conference, set for June 30-July 3 at Lake Junaluska Assembly, Lake Junaluska, N.C. The theme is Christ’s Mission and Ours.
    The conference purpose is to provide an opportunity to experience Jesus Christ and to grow in the Christian faith and relationship through great preaching, Bible study, inspirational singing, special music and Christian fellowship of families in attendance.
     Speakers will be: Dr. Eddie Fox,Director of World Evangelism for the
World Methodist Council; Dr. Reginald W. Ponder,former Executive Director
SEJ Council and LJA: Dr. Evelyn Laycock, Bible teacher, and Rev. Jan Brittian, pastor of Christ UMC in Greensboro, N.C.  
     Activities are planned for children, young adults and families. To register for the event, visit For details, contact Pam Naplen at 828-454-6656 or