News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


Make plans now to visit the Holy Land in 2012
 It's not too early to start planning for the Best of the Holy Land trip! Join Bishop Watson and North Georgia Conference members on a 10-day trek to the Holy Land, February 12-21, 2012. Travel to Jerusalem, Galilee, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Caesarea Philippi, Jericho, Masada, and many other places where Jesus walked.  Round-trip travel from Atlanta is provided through Educational Opportunities at a cost of $2,948.  Please contact Beth Barnwell at or 678-533-1372 if you would like to order copies of the trip brochure. 

Young student sets example for others
     Ashley Bautista is only 5 years old, but she’s known since age 3 that she wanted to donate hair to help children who lost theirs to cancer. She made that decision after watching a television program about how Locks of Love ( helps kids going through treatments. And Ashley had that chance at Cherokee County’s Give a Kid a Chance back-to-school outreach, a ministry started six years ago out of Liberty Hill UMC in Canton.
    The rising Kindergartener is one of 2,800 Cherokee students who received filled backpacks, haircuts, clothing and medical screenings at this year’s July event.
     Ashley’s mom said her daughter was very happy and proud after the haircut, and wants to inspire children to do what they can to help others.
     For more information about Give a Kid a Chance, visit
Three-church newsletter has final publication
     There's a saying that "all good things must come to an end." Sadly, a very good thing has come to an end because of Father Time and new postal regulations.  After 53 years of service, the newsletter that served Anvil Block, Ellenwood and Mount Zion-Ellenwood United Methodist churches has stopped publication, with its last edition printed in June 2011.
      Editors of the AMEN newsletter published the first copy in 1958, typed on a stencil and printed with a hand-cranked mimeograph machine.  News from all three churches was submitted to Dot Bond, the first editor. With the help of volunteers, the AMEN was printed, assembled, and mailed each month.         
      Over these last 53 years, many of the same women continued to print and distribute AMEN, but recently Bond and her sister Pat Mitchell formed the entire staff.
    The last issue ended with a poignant line: "It's with sadness and yet with joy that we have been able to share this ministry with you over the years, and we say goodbye."
Grace UMC: Bible bowl may be new tradition
     The youth of Grace UMC participated in their first Bible Bowl.  The 12 students, in grades 6-11, were drilled with 120 questions from the four Gospels and the book of Acts. Church members offered study groups to help prepare the youth, who also had been reading the New Testament in their Read Through the Bible program this year. Plans are to participate each year, and encourage other churches in the district to participate.
Young Harris College: Candidate for Division II status
     Young Harris College President Cathy Cox has announced that the college has been formally accepted as a candidate for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level.   
     “Our athletic department has worked diligently in leading this endeavor, and this achievement is a significant milestone in our on-going transformation to a four-year college,” said Cox. “We know that NCAA membership will attract many talented student-athletes to Young Harris College.”
     Obtaining full membership will be a three-year process, which should be completed in 2014-15 if all goes well, according to Director of Athletics Randy Dunn. The school will participate in the Peach Belt Conference. For more information on Young Harris, visit
 Roswell UMC site of youth rally
     A District Youth Rally is planned for 6-8 p.m. Aug. 28 at Roswell UMC. The Oswald Brothers will be in concert. The $5 tickets are available at the door. Contact the new Atlanta-Roswell District Youth Coordinator, Matt Parker, for advance purchases or 770-441-2181 ext. 305.
Atlanta First UMC: Peace in Sudan
      A Study on Sudan and Preparation for Just Peace workshop is planned for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 16 at Atlanta First UMC, featuring the Rev. David Anderson Hooker, who worked with the Christians of South Sudan to plan for the establishment of two nations and to bring reconciliation and peace. His efforts are a part of the peace initiatives sponsored by the Mennonite and United Methodist churches.
      The $10 registration is due Aug. 12. The church is at 360 Peachtree Street, NE, in For more information or questions, call Rev. Frank Windom at 404-524-6614.About Rev.
 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. Hooker
Small church makes big donation to relief efforts
    Members of Mt. Zion- Ellenwood UMC collected 150 health kits and delivered them to Annual Conference to help in disaster relief efforts. The United Methodist Women sponsored the project for the small church, which has an average attendance of 64.
     One item for the health kit was collected each month, until enough items were gathered to fill the buckets. Members are so excited about the accomplishment, they plan to make this an ongoing project. 
Training for Mission Team Leaders
   The United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is offering team leader training 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 20 at Gainesville First UMC. Participants will learn the ins and outs of organizing a mission trip from recruiting the team, picking the location, getting support and staying safe. The church is in Gainesville at 2780 Thompson Bridge Road. For more information, visit
Church secretaries prepare for conference
     “Building on Your God-Given Strengths” is the title of the annual conference for Georgia Chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) being offered Aug. 25-28 at Epworth By The Sea. Workshop leaders include the Rev. Charles Adams, Rev. Marcia Cochran, Dr. Phil Schroeder, and Rev. Doreen Smalls. Cost is $75. For more details, contact Denise Wilson, president of PAUMCS, at or 706-882-3343.
Scholarship available for future leaders
    The Cal Turner, Jr. Center for Church Leadership of Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, Tennessee, awards two or more Ben Alford Scholarships to students showing exceptional promise in the area of church leadership. These are full scholarships that include tuition and basic room and board costs for an entire academic year, renewable for up to three years. For information phone the Turner Center, 931-363-9898 or Lisa Smith, Director of Admissions, 931-363-9805, or .
 Endowment dinner to fund scholarships
     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
Golf tournament open to Georgia pastors
     The 48th annual Georgia Preachers Golf Association Tournament will be held Aug. 29-31 at Mountain View and Lake View courses at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. Special rates are available for lodging at the Callaway Gardens Lodge and Spa. For a brochure and registration form, contact Jan Thrift at, or one of the three Methodist directors: Wayne Monroe at, Don Martin at or Malone Dodson at 
Retreat added to district confirmation calendar
     A fall Confirmation Retreat has been set for Oct. 7-9, and is available for groups of all sizes. Chaperones of the same gender must register at the ratio of one adult to six youth. Cost is $125 per person due upon registration. The fall retreat is in addition to the annual February gathering.
     “Pieces” is the theme for the weekends as we look at the pieces that come together in our journeys of faith as United Methodists, focusing on Romans 12:4-5. Worship, learning, fun and fellowship, as well as small and large group experiences, will be components of the weekend as we discover our part in the Body of Christ, experience some of the history of the Christian heritage, and celebrate the diversity and the connection that makes us who we are as United Methodists.
      The confirmation retreats, designed for 6th-8th graders, can include senior high youth not yet confirmed. To register, visit

Worship planning help for church leaders
     Marcia McFee, Worship Designer for General Conference, is offering a half-day Worship Workshop at 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at Monroe UMC for Athens District pastors and worship leaders. The session is a follow-up to last year’s Worship Workshop at Bethlehem UMC, but anyone can attend. Cost: $5. To register, please visit 
      A worship design workshop with McFee is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20 at Dunwoody UMC.  Registration cost: $15 for one person; $28 for two people; $35 for three to five people.  Additional team members are $7. Price includes lunch.  
The workshop will focus on planning and creativity. To register, please visit
Bethelview UMC: Men bring church to the firing lines
     A recent Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) match at River Bend Gun Club in Dawson County has been heralded for its success and breaking records. The match also featured something unlike any other GSSF competition in the country. A local group of United Methodist Men served the food - both for the stomach and the soul.
       Bethelview's UMM was on hand to dish out barbeque, snacks and drinks to raise funds to carry out projects that help others in the church and community. "This is a great way to be visible in the community, raise funds and fellowship, said UMM president David Harris. “It gives us an opportunity to talk to people in a laid back atmosphere and tell them about the United Methodist Church."
     On Sunday morning before the day’s match began, Don Garmon, member of the UMM and Head Liturgist at Bethelview, conducted a church service. In his message, titled “What is a Christian Male?” he encouraged men to reclaim the role of spiritual leader in their homes.
    "Hold on! Don't go getting any crazy ideas,” Garmon said. “You are to respect your wives [and family] as if they were yourself. I'm not saying you are the boss of the home. What I'm saying is the media and society has blurred the position of the Christian man, we need to be proud and courageous Christians and lead our families to live the way Christ would want."
      Garmon's message has been carried to three other GSSF matches, one as far away as Nebraska, where Sunday services will now be held.
     "This is the way we can get out into the community and show people what Christians, and United Methodists, are all about," said Bethelview pastor Deborah Griffith. 
LaGrange District supports UMCOR campaign
     On a Saturday in July, a team from Peachtree City UMC loaded the NGA conference Disaster Response Trailer to capacity with donations from 14 churches that included 390 cleaning buckets, 250 health kits and 89 birthing kits.    Participating churches included:  Providence UMC and  Peachtree City UMC in Peachtree City; Bethany UMC, Inman UMC, and Fayetteville First UMC in Fayetteville; St James UMC in Manchester; Trinity-on-the-Hill UMC in LaGrange; Taneyhead UMC, Welcome UMC,  and Roopville UMC in Roopville; Lovejoy Memorial UMC and  Cornerstone UMC in Newnan; Warm Springs UMC and Brooks UMC.  Mike Yoder of the North Georgia Conference Disaster Relief Office will transport the items to the Sager-Brown Depot in Louisiana, where they will be available for UMCOR to use to provide relief throughout the world, and especially to the many flood victims in the Midwest.  
Habitat race a fundraiser for all ages
     The 18th annual Habitat Road Race will be held Oct. 1 at Mt. Bethel UMC, 4385 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta 30068.  Start times are 8 a.m. for the 5K, 9 a.m. for the 1 Mile, followed by the Habitot Trot for ages 5 and under. Families, strollers, walkers and dogs are welcome. More than 820 runners participated last year.
      Cost is $20 through Sept. 29, $25 up to race day. Sponsorships are available. Proceeds from the race will be used to build Mt. Bethel’s 30th and 31st Habitat Houses. The goal is to raise $120,000.
     Register online or print out a form at Registration forms also available at New Balance Atlanta East Cobb, in all Big Peach Running Company locations or at
Cathy Lee Phillips offers humor with a message
      An evening with inspirational speaker Cathy Lee Phillips is planned for 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at Lawrenceville Road UMC, 3142 Lawrenceville Hwy., Tucker. No charge, an offering will be taken.  The Newnan native draws upon her simple and humble life growing up in the South on a farm to help weave a rich tapestry of colorful and poignant stories of her accomplishments, desires and endeavors. For more information, contact the church at, 770-939-3717 or visit