News, notes and events from across the conference


UM leaders urge tobacco ban in major leagues
      Three United Methodist organizations are among 25 faith groups calling for the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to agree to Commissioner Bud Selig’s proposed prohibition on tobacco use at games. The faith leaders join a growing coalition of medical groups, public health officials and fans urging baseball to prohibit smokeless tobacco use in the contract that is to take effect next year.
      Jim Winkler, chief executive of the General Board of Church & Society, Gil Hanke, top officer of United Methodist Men, and Julie Taylor, chair of United Methodist Women’s Children, Youth & Family Advocacy, have signed a letter directed to Michael Weiner, MLBPA executive director. Winkler also serves as chair of Faith United Against Tobacco.
     Other faith traditions represented in the letter include Baptists, Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, Lutherans and Presbyterians. The leaders point out that smokeless tobacco use among high school boys has risen 36 percent since 2003, and said big league ballplayers have a responsibility to be better role models for young fans.
     Smokeless tobacco use causes oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions. Its use by young people also may serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking, the nation’s number one cause of preventable death.
     United Methodists have been committed to tobacco prevention advocacy for many years, according to the Rev. Cynthia Abrams, who directs GBCS’s Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care work area.
      “United Methodists have advocated for stricter regulation, including Food & Drug Administration regulation of tobacco, state and local smoke free ordinances, and raising tobacco taxes in many states,” she said.
      For more information on the smokeless tobacco campaign, visit
Desire to help drives new Bethlehem ministry
    When Philip Robertson went through a difficult time recently and needed a good car to enable him to search for a new job, God was already working in that direction.
      Jared and Laci Clark had joined Bethlehem First UMC and prayed that God would give them a ministry where they could serve others. They began MIA (Mechanics In Action) ministry, which uses Jared’s talent as a master mechanic to repair and overhaul donated automobiles to be given to people who need transportation.
     The first vehicle was given by a church family that wants to remain anonymous. That donation coincided with Philip’s need.  It turned out to be a perfect fit and wonderful gift.  Both the giver and receiver were blessed by this new ministry.
     Philip continues in his job search and Jared and Laci are looking for more volunteers to supply used vehicles to help others with similar needs.
     For more information about Bethlehem FUMC, visit
Conference to guide leaders in casting ministry nets
      Lake Junaluska’s Transformational Leadership Conference August 7-9, "Fishing on the Right Side of the Boat," will help congregational leaders cast new nets of ministry into living water through principles that are biblically based, organizationally effective, and spiritually nourishing.
      Based on the Leader’s Guide and Bible Study from Does Your Church Have a Prayer? In Mission Toward the Promised Land, participants will learn and discuss biblical and organizational principles of congregational transformation and the characteristics of transformational leaders. 
      The seminar’s content is appropriate for annual conference, district, and local church leaders who want to move their congregations from maintenance to mission.   For more information or to register for the Transformational Leadership Conference, visit or call 828-454-6656.
Choirs invited to 2012 General Conference
      United Methodist choirs and ensembles are invited to apply to share in worship at General Conference in Tampa, Florida April 24-May 4, 2012. Please submit a letter of application to, including a brief bio and a link to a YouTube video of your group. The deadline for applications is July 31, 2011. 
Golf outing raises scholarship funds for Reinhardt
      Reinhardt University, a United Methodist-affiliated institution, hosted
its 18th annual United Methodist Scholarship Golf Outing last month, raising more than more than $25,000 to support scholarships for United Methodist students attending Reinhardt students and students pursuing a fulltime ministry career.
      This year’s event attracted 30 more players – adding up to more than 100 - and nine more churches than last year.
      “One of our strongest selling points for support of the golf outing is that 100 percent of every dollar raised goes directly to student scholarships,” said the Rev. Dr. Ron Flowers, golf tournament chairman and retired pastor. “The success of the golf outing is certainly due to the hard work of the University staff and the support of the local churches and ministers. People know a good cause when they see it, and they want to support it and make a difference in the lives of these outstanding students.”
Free calendars available for church planning
    Church staff members who are planning worship and music schedules for the next year may be interested in downloading free 2011 and 2012 PDF calendars available at The calendars contain liturgical, sacred, secular and civil holidays and observances as well as all of the Revised Common Lectionary citations for each Sunday and many special days.
Dinner to fund Bishop Watson scholarship endowment
     The Bishop B. Michael Watson Scholarship Endowment Dinner is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. The goal is to raise money for a scholarship program for undergraduate students in the North and South Georgia conferences attending United Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities in Georgia. The evening’s events will include music from ensembles from each of the eight UM schools in Georgia. Sponsorships are available by calling Sheila Graham, United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, at 800-811-8110 or emailing her at

Gammon activities include inauguration events
    The Gammon Theological Seminary Presidential Inauguration Installation service has been set for 10 a.m. Oct. 18 at Cascade UMC, 3144 Cascade Road in Atlanta, with the Rev. A.D. Mosley, inaugural address, and Bishop Julius Trimble, Preacher. The inaugural banquet will be held 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel, 265 Peachtree Center Ave., NE. The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III will be speaker for the black-tie event.
      The 128th founders’ day activities include a 12:30 p.m. Oct. 18 alumni luncheon, lectures at 2 p.m. Oct. 18 and 9:30 a.m. Oct. 19 by Dr. Rosetta Ross, and a closing worship service at 11 a.m. Oct. 19.