News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


Grace UMC: Pocket change donations given to Haiti project
     The Dance Ministry of Grace UMC has completed a project of collecting pocket change to support the Global Health Action’s Haitian Goat Project. After conducting twice monthly collections in October and November, the team gathered enough money to buy one goat and donate toward purchasing a second goat. The project focus is to help the youth understand supporting Global Ministries.
     More than a quarter of Haitian children suffer from chronic malnutrition and a large percentage of adults also are undernourished. Adding goat milk to their diets gives them additional protein. 
     Goats use land to feed on and are tough, hardy animals. Each family that receives a goat uses it as their source of dietary protein and income. With the extra money they are able to purchase more nutritious foods to feed their families, buy necessary medicines, send their children to school, and repair their homes. As the farmers are able, they return a goat back to the project to help another farmer. More than 4,000 Haitian families have benefited from this project. 
 Mt. Bethel UMC: Academy students adopt Stop Hunger project
     On Feb. 3, 160 middle school students at Mt. Bethel Christian Academy, a private K – 8, Christ-centered school in East Cobb County, will attempt to set a record by packing 50,000 vitamin-enriched meals in two hours (11 a.m.-1 p.m.).
According to the Stop Hunger Now organization, which will be providing the meal contents and packaging material, this is unprecedented.  Never before has any student organization attempted or accomplished such a goal.
     The Academy will fund this program at a cost of $13,500.  To offset the cost of purchasing the supplies and meal contents, all students, staff, and faculty have volunteered to collect $10.00 each in rolled quarters.
Villa Rica FUMC: Groundbreaking a well-attended event
Members of Villa Rica FUMC have broken grown on a new facility that will be built on property known as “The Garden” along Highway 61 north of the city. Until it’s complete, the congregation of the 150-year-old church will meet at Bay Springs Middle School.
A crowd of more than 100 people — including members of the congregation, church and civic leaders, and representatives of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church — were in attendance for the historic occasion. 
“It was overwhelming,” said Pastor Derek Porter. “It was beyond expectations. We had high expectations going in, but the church turnout, as well as the community turnout was amazing. We were excited, but I don’t think we were ready for the excitement of the community. We had people there we hadn’t seen before, but also there were people there we hadn’t seen for awhile who were there to show their support, and that was pretty awesome.”
Among the dignitaries were keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Joe Bowen, a retired Methodist minister and district superintendent of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bowen, who grew up at Villa Rica First United Methodist Church, provided a short sermon for the occasion.
   Villa Rica Mayor J. Collins also spoke during the event, complimenting the congregation on their vision and hard work.   
“It’s a historic day in Villa Rica because the First United Methodist Church worked hard to plant a seed and I look forward to the fruit that tree bears down the road for the city,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of growth in Villa Rica the last 10 years and it’s nice to see that not only do we get rooftops and businesses, but existing churches are expanding to meet the needs of the community. It’s always nice to have a ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting for a new business, but when you have a church that is as ingrained in our community as First United Methodist Church of Villa Rica is expand and grow it really means a lot to the town.”
 Still Waters UMC: Reservations due for relationship seminar
       The Atlanta church is presenting a relationship seminar called “First Love,” set for 7-9 pm. Feb 10 and 1-10 p.m.  Feb. 11. Tickets are $10 per person and includes dinner on Saturday night. RSVP by Feb. 4. Contact assistant pastor Jamie at 678-481-6951. The church is at 2650 North Druid Hills Rd.
 Avondale Pattillo UMC: Retreat to focus on prayer
     On February 11, all are invited to share an interactive retreat and experience different ways of personal and communal prayer. The retreat starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. at The Gathering Place building, Avondale Pattillo United Methodist Church, 3260 Covington Hwy., Decatur. Lunch will be provided. Registration deadline is Feb. 5. For more information, contact the church office by e-mail or by phone: 404-294-4063.
 Cokes Chapel UMC: Hosting concert for area praise bands
     Praise bands from Union UMC and Lighthouse Ministries from Cokes Chapel UMC are teaming up to offer another free worship concert, 5-7:30 p.m. Feb. 12.  We are offering music on the theme "Infinite Love" and have taken inspiration from Romans 8:38-39.  Cost of admission is a handmade or store-bought Valentine which we will deliver to the Methodist Children Home and other ministries.  Free food and drinks will be provided and everyone will be invited to take part in Holy Communion during the service.  For directions, visit  If you are planning to bring a large group, please RSVP to so we can prepare enough food. 
 North Georgia Conference-wide events
       Social Media, Communications and Evangelism, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 7 at Reinhardt University. Registration Cost: $35. This continuing education workshop will explore how social media can be used, how it helps connect with varying demographics, including young adults, and how it can be an effective evangelism tool. Includes lunch and a beverage. Register online at or call 770-720-5546.
     SEJ Disaster Academy, Feb. 20-23 at Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center.
Jurisdictional leaders will teach participants about the ministry of disaster response. For a complete listing of classes, prices, and for registration information, visit
      "Kindle the Fire" Lectionary Reading Week, Feb. 27-March 1 at Camp Glisson.
Register by Feb. 14. This reading week will encourage quiet time as you develop themes, objectives, and images for each Sunday of the upcoming lectionary year. There will also be ample time to give and receive helpful insights with other preachers and facilitators.  Lectionary texts are read aloud by guest readers like Carol Cook, Dana Everhart and Coy Hinton.  For more information, e-mail Phil Schroeder at Register at
 Conyers FUMC: Workshop addresses staying safe
       “Helping Your Church be a Good Samaritan in Uncertain Times” is a three-hour workshop set for Feb. 8, led by Dr. Cindy Elrod, at Conyers FUMC.  Topics include:
·         Tips for developing a safety plan for your workplace and personnel,
·         Skills for communicating with people in distress,
·         How to de-escalate tension with body language,
·         Guidelines for developing an Emergency Response Plan.
     This is a fast-paced, interactive workshop with many of the demonstrations taken from audience suggested scenarios. $30 per person, or $20 if three or more from an organization attends. The church is at 921 N. Main Street, Conyers. For reservations, contact Gail Haney at 770-483-4236 or ghaney@fumcconyers.
Denman Award celebration set for Feb. 10-11
      “Spark 2012” is the theme of the Denman Award for Evangelism Celebration weekend at Northside UMC Feb. 10-11. Free online registration available at
  St. Andrew UMC: Silent auction, bake sale
      Youth members of the Marietta church will hold a fundraiser auction and bake sale after the 10:45 a.m. Feb. 26 service.
     “We will have a large variety of items up for sale at the auction,” said Lisa Springer, director of youth ministries. “Last year, there were over 200 items on the auction floor. So we hope that everyone interested in finding great bargains and supporting an even greater cause will join us for this highly popular event.”
      The prizes at past auctions have included weekend cabin trips, meals in local restaurants, a weekend in Florida, artwork, and services including painting, yard work, pest control, and car wash.  Attendees have also gotten great deals on things like books, games, household items and decorations, plants, jewelry.
     Money raised support ministries at Cobb church, located at 3455 Canton Road.
 Confirmation, spiritual life retreats at Glisson
       The confirmation retreats at Camp Glisson, held February 17-19 and Feb 24-26, are designed primarily for 6th-8th graders, but can include senior high schoolers who have not yet been confirmed. The goal is to enhance the confirmation experience of churches who might not have their own confirmation retreat for those young people who are learning more about what it means to follow Christ and to make a profession of faith. It will be a weekend of learning from a variety of educational experiences and presentations by leaders in the conference, inspiring worship, some fun and games, and times for the youth to reflect on their faith and their desire to follow Christ and join the United Methodist Church. Cost is $130. 
       Glisson also will host spiritual life retreats, with the theme “B-On Fire,” March 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, and 23-25.  The theme is based on Luke 24:32 – "And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened us to the Scriptures?" The weekends are stocked full of spiritual kindling that will help spark a scorching passion in you and your youth group’s faith journeys. Worship, small groups, fun and games, experiential activities and much more will get you “fired up” as you join in building a lasting “B-On Fire” with other youth groups from across the conference.  Cost is $130.  To register, please visit  For more information, contact Meg Morrison via email
 Seminars required for pastors seeking reappointment
      The North Georgia Conference is 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.
·         March 1, 2012- Athens 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, 2013- Gainesville – Gainesville First UMC, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville
·         March 9, 2013 (Saturday) – Atlanta Roswell, place, address TBA – (9:30-2:30 only)
 Lake Junaluska: Site for retreats, environmental workshop
    Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center and the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association for Native American Ministries (SEJANAM) presents the “Native American Leadership Retreat, Dispelling Myths and Stereotypes: From Green Corn Ceremony to Communion” February 17-19. Freeman Owle offers comparative Bible Study to traditional Native American Ceremonies and includes Native American worship resources and an INFUSE youth track. 828-454-6697.
     Caring for Creation 2012, planned for March 15-18, will feature Dr. Bill McKibben of Middlebury College along with more than 30 other environmental leaders who will explore ways individuals and churches can become more environmentally conscious and active. Call 800-222-4930 to register. Early registration ends February 15.
    “Innovative Ideas for Planting and Accelerating Church Growth” is the 2012 African-American Clergy Leadership Retreat April 16-18 designed to introduce pastors to key church development and redevelopment principles from members of Impact's lead team, based on Impact's book, “Zero to 80: Innovative Ideas for Planting and Accelerating Church Growth.”
        SURGE into Missions youth summer camps, weeks and weekends will take place between June 14 – July 22. The theme, Galatians 6:9-10, will help youth explore how serving others impacts their relationships with others. to register. Groups that register by March 12 receive one free leader registration. Limit one free leader per group.
 Norcross FUMC: Musical evening features Beatles music
     “The Gospel According to the Beatles,” set for 7:15 p.m. Feb. 19 in the sanctuary at Norcross First UMC. The Beatles’ tribute band, The Buggs, will transport people back to a time when everyone was searching for meaning, truth and love. In many ways, The Beatles led us on the search, but did they ever find what they were searching for? Have you?  Be our guest. Come, listen to some great music and perhaps find what you have searched for all along. The church is at 2500 Beaver Ruin Rd., Norcross 770-448-4142.
  Korean Church of Atlanta: Women’s event in March
     The United Methodist Women invites women to attend a “20-30-40 Something Event”  on March 10 to make a “U Turn to GOD” through workshops that will bless all women.  A light lunch will be served. The registration fee is $10 and the deadline is Feb. 29.  The registration form is on the NGC UMW website ( or contact the Registrar, Irene Davis, 3651 Tree Bark Trail, Decatur, GA 30034. Her e-mail address is and phone 404-286-8188.   
 St. Andrew UMC: Celebrating 50th anniversary in 2012
      St. Andrew United Methodist Church of Marietta began celebrating more than the arrival of a new year on January 1, 2012. The Canton Road congregation also began celebrating 50 years of doing the Lord’s work, which will culminate with Homecoming for its 50th anniversary on April 29.
     “On Sunday, April 29, 2012, 50 years will have passed since a small group of dedicated Methodists first gathered at Blackwell School to begin their new church,” said Rev. Mack Riley, senior pastor. “We look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with Homecoming services on April 29 and a variety of other special events during the first four months of 2012.”
       Church founders chose the name St. Andrew because the apostle Andrew is considered a “do-er,” doing the work of the Lord. The first sanctuary, completed in 1964, is now the Community Room. The Education Building opened in 1973, the present sanctuary was built in 1978, and the Keheley Center opened in 1999.
       The church family has grown to include more than 350 families dedicated to doing the work of the Lord. Church members accomplish this through various ministries in which we hope all members of our congregation will become involved. These ministries include Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, wellness ministries, the Appalachia Service Project, the Andrew Christian School in Haiti, and ministries for men, women, children, youth, and seniors.
  Event to help caregivers, interaction with older adults
      The North Georgia Older Adult Nurture Team is offering an event 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. March 29 at Simpsonwood Retreat Center. For caregivers, people over age 56, those who work with or advise older adults or even have older parents. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Rick Gentzler, Director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship of the UM Church. Three afternoon workshops will be offered. Breakfast and lunch included in the $35 registration fee, due by March 16. For more information, call Louise Adams at 770-446-2411 or
 Day1 Benefit to honors former Falcons coach Dan Reeves
       The annual benefit for the Alliance for Christian Media and the Day1 ministry, set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28  at the Piedmont Driving Club, will recognize representatives from each of the participating denominations on Day1.
     This year’s United Methodist honoree is Peachtree Road UMC member Dan Reeves. Dan spent 23 years coaching for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons. He played or coached in a record nine Super Bowls – five with the Dallas Cowboys, three with Denver and one with Atlanta. Prior to coaching, he also spent 16 years in the Cowboys organization – five as a player, three as a player/coach and eight as an assistant coach. Dan and his wife, Pam, are active members of PRUMC.
       Day1 is carried nationally by over 215 stations, is regularly broadcast on the American Forces Radio Network and is also accessible by podcast at Tickets for the event are $175 per person. For reservations, call Rebecca Kurziak at 404-418-6772. Proceeds benefit Day 1’s ministry.
Rollins Foundation Gives $15 Million for Theology Building at Emory
     Emory University’s Candler School of Theology has received a $15 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation of Atlanta for the construction of the second phase of the school’s new building program. In recognition of this gift, the first building—a 65,000-square-foot facility completed in 2008—will be named in memory of the late Rita Anne Rollins, the first grandchild of the foundation’s namesake.
      “This gift allows Candler to provide state-of-the-art library and teaching facilities that are critical to fulfilling our mission of preparing faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world,” says Jan Love, dean of Candler School of Theology.
      Opened in 2008, the Rita Anne Rollins Building houses Candler School of Theology classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, community gathering spaces and Emory’s Center for Ethics.  This latest gift from the Rollins Foundation is part of Campaign Emory, the university’s $1.6 billion fund-raising endeavor that combines private support and Emory’s people, places, and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world. As of Dec. 31, 2011, donors had generated $1.39 billion toward the goal.