News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 Griffin District: Feed the Hungry mission project
     Forest Park UMC is hosting the United Methodist Men’s annual Feed the Hungry mission project, set for 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Nov. 19. Donations of cash or supplies (paper plates, utensils, cups, napkins and desserts) are needed. Make checks payable to Griffin District, P.O. Box 13,Griffin, GA 30224 and marked UMM Thanksgiving Meal, or to Andrews Chapel UMM, Attn: Howard Turnipseed, PO Box 1437, Jonesboro, GA 30236 marked Thanksgiving. For more information, call Turnipseed at 404-597-7492 or Charles Hoke at 770-914-1135. 
  Johns Creek UMC: Broadway caliber production set
        The Forgotten Carols, a Christmas stage musical performed by Broadway actors along with Johns Creek United Methodist Church Choir and Simpsonwood United Methodist Church Choir, is coming to the John’s Creek church at 7 p.m. Dec. 11-12. 
      This is a new, heartwarming family musical about the hope and promise of Christmas, which has been playing to sold-out audiences on the West Coast for the past 20 years. This stage play will soon be made into a movie.
     Tickets are $22 and can be purchased at or as well as Johns Creek United Methodist Church, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek, 770-497-8215.
     Warren Memorial UMC: Lost Boy of Sudan at Warren Memorial
       Lino Momo, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, was a special guest at Warren Memorial on October 29 for a screening of the documentary, “God Grew Tired of Us.”  The film chronicles the journey of thousands of young Sudanese boys who fled their country to escape civil war.
      Lino captivated the audience as he shared the experiences of his journey across the barren dessert with the Lost Boys. He described how they walked more than 1,000 miles in three months, existing for days at a time without food or water. Those who didn’t die from starvation, wild animal attacks and bombing raids eventually found shelter in a refugee camp in Kenya.  In recent years, the U.S. has resettled nearly 4,000 of these young men.
     Lino talked of the pain of the boys leaving their homeland, not knowing the fate of the families left behind.  It was 20 years before he was able to reunite with his mother and siblings. Many of the boys’ entire families were killed in the war. Lino now lives in Atlanta and is in school at Westwood College studying graphic arts.  He hopes to one day return to his homeland to care for his family.
     Lino’s story is one of incredible courage, tenacity and faith in God. Warren Memorial is in southwest Atlanta near the Atlanta University Center complex.  The Rev. Donald K Reed, Sr. is the Senior Pastor.
    McEachern UMC: Co-Author to Present to Community
          Unite/Cobb and McEachern Memorial UMC will join to host award-winning co-author Dr. Brian Fikkert as he presents from his book When Helping Hurts - How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself on January 24, 2012. The book combines sound theology, solid research, foundational principles and proved strategies for transformational ministry among the poor, both locally and abroad. When Helping Hurts addresses the assumption that ministry strategies may cause considerable harm to poor people as they try to help and offers principles and strategies for poverty alleviation, including the distinction between relief, rehabilitation, and development, the difference between asset-based and needs-based strategies, and the advantages of participatory over blueprint approaches.
          The event is is open to the community and includes a luncheon for pastors, church and ministry leaders. It will be held at McEachern Memorial UMC. Registration is For more information, contact Renee Abernathy at (770) 943-3008 ext 6044 or by e-mail at
      Lithia Springs UMC: Interactive nativity planned
     A drive-through Nativity will be presented 7-9 p.m. Dec. 2-4. The church is at 3711 Temple St. across the tracks in downtown Lithia Springs. From the comfort of your car, drive through 11 beautifully painted scenes with hundreds of actors in period costumes, music and live animals depicting from the annunciation to the birth of Christ.
      For more information or to participate, call Margaret Arnold at 770-943-3820 or e-mail
     Marietta FUMC: Cafe satisfies hunger, raises cash for missions
     On October 16, the United Methodist Women at the Marietta church opened their UMW Cafe for lunch. More than 210 people were served and $1,700 collected for missions for women and children. For $8, each person received a sandwich, soup, dessert and drink.
     Faith-based TV station featuring churches
      The Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting (AIB) is featuring churches in a special program called “Faith Community of the Month,” consistent with the station’s mission to enhance the spiritual, intellectual and social well-being of viewers by delivering exceptional faith-based, educational and community programming to more than 19 counties. 
      The station is asking for churches to provide a 30 minute program that will air at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night as well as four weekend primetime airings, a 30-second promo, inclusion in the monthly eNewsletter and website. For details, contact Swain Watters, director of AIB business-to-business, at  
     Annual women’s meeting a busy one
     A group of 165 women attended the Atlanta Decatur Oxford United Methodist Women’s annual meeting at Ousley United Methodist Church in October. Diane Spencer, Southeastern Jurisdictional Secretary, led the group in a litany dedicated to being good neighbors. The Rev. CeCe Nickolich, pastor of Newborn UMC, gave an inspirational message. New officers were elected and installed, outgoing officers were recognized and members who passed away in the past year were honored
       A booklet, prepared by Vice President Alma Garrett, listed many of the accomplishments of the local units in the district. President Juanita Mullins praised this work, and called on the district to be a leading force for the United Methodist Women in the conference as we continue to stir into the flames the gift of God which is within us. 
    Emory Clergy Care director takes new position
      Dr. Fred Smoot, director of Emory Clergy Care, is leaving to take another position as Manager of Clinical Pastoral Education at Methodist Hospital of Southern California. The change will be effective January 5, 2012. 
      “My wife Carol and I are excited to reconnect with her family and friends at this right time in our lives,” said Smoot. “Emory Clergy Care will continue to serve ministers, their families and other clients as it has for the past 25 years.” 
       A transition plan has been developed so that all services will continue uninterrupted. Continuing programs include all the psychological testing, pastoral counseling, Emory Healthcare access (including Stiles Bradley Fund administration) and clinical pastoral education services currently in place.
      Clergy and their families can make their appointments with the Emory Clergy Care office as usual by calling 678-924-9260 or 866-394-9330.  Information on Emory Clergy Care can be found at    
     Harmony Grove UMC: Nativity, breakfast with Santa
    Breakfast with Santa is planned for 9-11 a.m. Dec. 10 at the Lilburn church. Includes visit with Santa, making crafts and enjoying pancakes. Breakfast is free for children, $5 for adults.
    A drive-through nativity will take place 6-8 p.m. Dec. 16-17. The trip through their rendition ofBethlehem will include angels, shepherds, village people, soldiers, and kings. Hot chocolate, coffee and cookies will be available. Free. Donations accepted.
    The church is in Lilburn at 50 Harmony Grove Road. 770-921-7747.
     Mount Pisgah UMC: Christmas festival returns 
      The North Atlanta Christmas Festival (NACF), which will be presented Dec. 9-11, was created six years ago to bring an unparalleled Christmas experience to members of the North Atlanta community and their families.  
      The full-scale musical tribute incorporates Broadway style music and theater to bring the best of Christmas songs together with a dramatic presentation of the birth of Jesus. 
        More than 400 people will participate in this year’s event, including the renowned 150-voice Mount Pisgah Worship Choir and a magnificent 40-piece orchestra. Set to a brand new musical score and sprinkled with stunning special effects, the 2011 North Atlanta Christmas Festival is truly a holiday treat for the entire family and people of all ages.
      Show times are 7 p.m. Dec. 9-11. Ticket costs are $5 to $10, depending on seating. To get the best seats, order early at www. The performance will take place at the Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church North Campus location, 2850 Old Alabama Road in Johns
     Seminars required for pastors seeking reappointment
      Over the next 18 months, the North Georgia Conference will be offering a number of Sexual Ethics Seminars to be held in each of the 12 districts.  Every clergy person in North Georgia, full time and part time, must complete one of these seminars in order to be reappointed. 
      The date for the LaGrange District seminar is August 23, 2012.  However, you do not have to attend the seminar in your district. Below is a list of dates and locations where seminars are being held. Unless otherwise indicated, each date and location will have two sessions, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Choose the one that is most convenient for you.  Cost is $10 and includes a meal.  All registration is done online through the conference website.  Clergy should check this list and be sure to register for one of the seminars.
·        January 26, 2012Rome Carrolton- Moore’s Chapel UMC, 120 North Park Street, Carrollton
·        March 1, 2012Athens Elberton- Bogart UMC, 1201 Atlanta Highway, Bogart
·        March 15, 2012- Atlanta College Park- East Point First Mallalieu UMC, 2651 Church Street,  East Point
·        July 23, 2012- Epworth by the Sea before Pastors’ School- (9:30-2:30 only)
·        August 23, 2012- LaGrange- Cornerstone UMC-Newnan, 2956 Highway 154, Newnan
·        October 2, 2012- Atlanta Marietta and Northwest- Sam Jones Memorial, 100 West Church Street, Cartersville
·        October 18, 2012- Augusta- Wesley UMC Evans, 825 North Belair Rd, Evans
·        November 1, 2012- Atlanta Emory and Atlanta Decatur Oxford- Oak Grove UMC Decatur,  1722 Oak Grove Rd, NE, Decatur
·        January 24, 2013Gainesville – Gainesville First UMC, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville
·        March 9, 2013 (Saturday) – Atlanta Roswell, place, address TBA – (9:30-2:30 only)
   Dunwoody UMC: Dickens holiday classic is back 
      “A Christmas Carol” with Scrooge and all the other characters, will be performed at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Fellowship Hall by the church’s drama group. Donations will support the CAC Christmas Fund. The church is at 1548 Mt. Vernon Road.
    First UMC, Union Point: Heart for missions
    There is a saying that goes like this: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.” This is very true.  On October 23, First UMC, Union Point held a Mission Celebration Event that highlighted all that God has done through this church in missions through giving and involvement in various mission avenues.  First UMC, Union Point gives to seven UMC agencies and five local agencies. Members are also involved in a local food distribution program, battered women’s shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and the local hospital and nursing home. 
     Terry and Sue Raymond spoke on national and international missions and United Methodist Women’s missions. This small church of 21 members has a large heart for missions.