News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


Young Harris College receives $22 million gift
      In celebration of the launch of its Investing in the Future Capital Campaign, Young Harris College announces a $22 million gift from the Atlanta-based O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the largest foundation gift ever received by the 126-year-old institution located in north Georgia. This significant gift has enabled the campaign to reach more than $46 million to date, or 84 percent of the $55 million campaign goal.
      “The Rollins Family has been an integral part of the history and growth of Young Harris College for more than four decades,” said YHC President Cathy Cox. The Investing in the Future campaign resulted from a 2007 vote by the Young Harris Board of Trustees to become a four-year liberal arts college. The following year, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the College to begin offering four baccalaureate degrees in Fall 2009. 
       Today, the College offers 16 baccalaureate majors, 13 minors, and an array of teacher certifications, with plans to add new programs each year into the foreseeable future. Enrollment has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, growing from 605 students in fall of 2007 to almost 900 in fall of 2011, and the college has more than doubled the number of faculty and staff to support those students.
      The campaign’s goal is to raise $4 million for endowment, $5 million in annual support, $2 million in restricted support and $44 million for a new 125,000-square-foot campus center.
     For more information about Young Harris College’s Investing in the Future Capital Campaign, contact Vice President for Advancement Jay Stroman at 706-379-5173.
 New website and logo part of Wesley Woods’ strategic plan
     Wesley Woods Senior Living and the Foundation of Wesley Woods are launching a new website, which displays the new logo and tagline, “leaders in senior living.”  
       In 2011, the Wesley Woods Board of Directors developed a new strategic plan with the new website to link all of the Wesley Woods retirement communities along with the Foundation of Wesley Woods, the fundraising arm of Wesley Woods. In addition, the board modified the mission statement: “To help people age with grace;” and vision, “To be a leader in senior living housing, services, information, education and research support.” The new logo, a circle with a descending dove, carries forward the theme of the circles in the current logo with the dove representing the connection with the United Methodist Church and the mission “to help people age with grace.” The tagline, “leaders in senior living” reinforces the historical role of providing leadership to the field of senior living.
      All of these changes give Wesley Woods a new look and connectivity while reinforcing its long-time historical commitment of our caring ministry to elders and by providing leadership to the senior living field. This caring ministry and leadership is possible because of talented, committed supporters in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
     Plans are underway for the annual Mother’s Day offering, set for May 13. Details can be found at 
 Peachtree Road UMC: Members honored
     The Friendship Class at Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta, Ga., was honored with the John Wesley Clergy Award at Reinhardt University's recent Talon Awards Gala. The Wesley Award was established in 1991 to recognize a layperson who had made a significant contribution to United Methodist institutions of higher education and ministries. Two years later, the clergy award was added. These awards are named for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The Rev. Dr. Ron Flowers, president of the Reinhardt Ministerial Association, presented the award to Class President Gloria Landreth.
 Easter Bunny helpers pack baskets
     East Cobb UMC’s Twilight Circle recently prepared 78 Easter baskets for donation to MUST Ministries to help within the community as well as 20 small adult-oriented baskets for the church’s homebound members. Pictured with part of the results are (left to right) Glenda Bell, Nancy Straughan, Nan Hughes, Jackie Grogan, Ann Johnson, Janet Belote, Becky Simpson, Judy Kelley, Susan Harden, Ellen Richards, and Marilyn Brooks. Easter bunny assistants missing from the picture are Eileen Forrester, Jennifer Gilman, and Carolyn Deering.
 Golf tournaments popular fundraisers:
              For Murphy-Harpst: May 19 at Stonebridge Golf Club, 585 Stonebridge Dr., Rome GA 30165. The 4-person scramble format tourney is sponsored by the Rome Carrollton District UM churches. Prizes for longest drive, closest to pin and putting. Hole in one prize is new vehicle, sponsored by Bob Williams Dodge Chrysler Jeep. Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., start time is 8:30. Shotgun start.
              For United Methodist Men: April 24 at Rivermont Country Club. Team and individual prizes, gift cards and giveaways, lunch and buffet at the awards reception, play on a gorgeous private country club, a great day off during the week, and a Bible! Register online at by clicking on Spring Golf Outing. $125/per player. Hole sponsors at $100. Donations of door prizes are needed. For more information or to register offline, call Don Cline at 770-871-8157.
              For holiday ministry at St. Andrew UMC: May 21 at Eagle Watch Golf Club in Woodstock. Ft. Lauderdale Scramble format. Cost $95 individual, $15 individual lunch. Registration takes place 8-9 a.m. Shotgun start at 9 a.m. Proceeds to help families in need during the holiday season. For information, call Gordon Mosley at 404-667-3221 or email
 Dunwoody UMC: Discussion for young adult leaders
     A young adult round table discussion is planned for 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. April 26 at Dunwoody UMC. You may want to attend if you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions. Do you minister to young adults in your church? Do you want to know ways to increase the young adults in your church? Are you concerned about the growing gap of high school students leaving church and not returning? Do you want to reach out to young couples, young singles, and young students just graduating from college?
    Ministers, lay leaders, Sunday school teachers, or volunteers are welcome. Lunch will be provided. For more information, contact Ashley Fitzpatrick at or Meg Morrison a To register, go to
 5th annual Wesley Speedway Walk for Others
      The walk is planned for April 21 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. For 110 years, Wesley Community Centers has been helping meet the needs of the poor in Atlanta. Support this ministry in "giving feet to the faith of the church" by walking or volunteering at the Wesley Speedway Walk for Others or by pledging to support a walker or worker. Proceeds support Project Extend, Bethlehem Senior Center, and Project SOAR. For more information, please call 404-872-0086 or
 Session geared to help create safer lives for seniors
     Participants in this April 24 session, set for 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Methodist Children’s Home in Macon, will learn how to safely launch and enhance a wide variety of low-cost volunteer projects in your community to help older adults successfully age in place. Featured services include home modification/repairs and volunteer driver-escort programs, plus volunteer opportunities related to nutrition, chores, telephone reassurance, and more. This risk management event is for Faith-Based Volunteers and is presented by The Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services. $10 registration fee includes lunch. To register, please visit
 Roswell UMC: Hosting ‘Believe Benefit Celebration’
      Roswell’s entertainment-based Believe Ministries will host the 2012 "Believe Benefit Celebration" at 7 p.m. April 26 at Roswell UMC. This fund-raising event will be filled with magical illusions, music, multi-media, and message featuring "Magic Boy" Greg Davidson – master illusionist and funny guy. Featuring special guest, monster-guitarist, and vocal recording artist Tony Sims.
     "So far in 2012, we’ve already seen God change thousands of lives through this ministry, and our work continues,” said President of Believe Ministries, Greg Davidson. “Next up for Believe Ministries? We’ll be on the road to the Appalachians of West Virginia, central Mississippi, Georgia, Canada, and wherever God leads us. For this year’s benefit event we’re not charging for tickets, but this is a fundraiser. The donations from this evening will allow us to reach even more for Jesus Christ."
      Reserve seats by April 20. Call 770-587-1292 or email
Roswell UMC is in the heart of historic Roswell at 814 Mimosa Blvd., 30075.
 New network to gather vital data from churches
     VitalSigns is a new weekly dashboard ministry of the United Methodist Church, designed to keep track of the following information about UM congregations: total worship attendance; number of new members and baptisms; how many persons actively engaged in small groups; local, national and international missions and outreach; numbers of people served by your congregation; amount given to other charities, and total offerings.
     Each Sunday, churches in the conference will receive invitations to answer these questions. Add to your email contacts to prevent the emails from going to a Spam folder.
     Churches are encouraged to create a ministry team to contribute to the VitalSigns network. When you fully participate in the second quarter (April-July), your District superintendent will remove the requirement for your church’s second quarter Evangelism report.
     For more information, contact your district office or the Rev. Jasmine Smothers in the Office of Connectional Ministries ( or 678-533-1387) if you have questions or need assistance.
 Hickory Flat UMC: Concert benefits care ministry
      A concert to benefit the church’s Cares Ministry will be held 5 p.m. May 12 on the lawn at the church, 4056 East Cherokee Dr., Canton 30115. Featuring 5:30 p.m. performance by Power Taps Clogging Group and 6 p.m. performances by the Heart Family, all for ONE, and Daily Bread. Hickory Flat Cares provides GED prep programs, job ministry, Good Samaritan Assistance and budget training. Event is free, but donations accepted. Food vendors onsite. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. 770-345-5969.
 Methodist Center staffers gather for reunion
      When did the Methodist Center in downtown Atlanta open and when did it close? (Answer: 1967 and 2001.)
     In what year was the first health insurance program for North Georgia clergy approved, and what was the monthly premium? (Answers: 1957. The premium was $5.34 for an individual clergyperson and $6.66 for a clergy family.)
     My, how things have changed, including the fact the United Methodist Center is now located on the grounds of Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center.
     These were two of the questions in “Methodist Center Jeopardy,” a game that was played at the 11th annual reunion of those who worked at the center in downtown Atlanta. This year’s reunion took place March 22 at Oak Grove UMC in Decatur. About two dozen people, mostly now retired, attended the event. Those present had a cumulative service of 177 years at the Methodist Center.
      Included in the photo are, standing, from left: Clyde McDonald, Jim Roberts, Diana Roberts, Ann Marney, Shirley Tondee, Alice Smith, Charles Barnes, Wimbley Hale, Herchel Sheets, Deborah Maddox-Turman and Valerie Henry. Seated, from left: Norton Campbell, Jo Ann Campbell, Alberta Settles, Sharon Shirley, Joyce Chewning, Myrlene Barnes, Jo Dinkins, Gladys Sheets and Irene Davis. The photo was taken by Paul Settles, son of Alberta Settles.
     The oldest person present was the Rev. Norton Campbell, husband of Jo Ann Campbell who worked in the Advocate office. The youngest person there was Valerie Henry, who still works in the conference insurance office.
 District flood bucket project planned for summer
     Peachtree City UMC will conduct its annual cleaning bucket drive this summer, June 1-July 12, and invite other churches within the LaGrange District to participate. Along with the buckets, they will be collecting UMCOR Relief Supply Kits, such as health kits, layette kits, and school kits. You can donate any of the UMCOR kits or just the buckets or any combination thereof. To ease the logistical requirements involved, volunteers will deliver the empty buckets to participating churches, and pick up the filled buckets and UMCOR kits at the end of the drive. A 5-gallon empty bucket (with lid) will cost $1.75 and participating churches will need to submit an order and payment by June 1. The supplies to fill a cleaning bucket cost approximately $55. The approximate costs for the other kits are: health kits - $12; layette kits - $35; school kits - $11; birthing kits - $8; sewing kits - $18. For details on the lists and how to order them, visit
 June retreat planned for Hinton Center
     “Pathways through Loss” featuring the Rev. Harold (Hal) W. Bruen is set for June 8-10 at the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, N.C. The retreat is open to pastors, laity, or anyone who would like to study the experience of loss. For more information, visit
 Bethlehem FUMC: Hosting day for seniors
    An Older Adult Day of Fellowship is planned for May 17 at Bethlehem First UMC, starting at 8:45 a.m. with gathering and registration. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Gary Whetstone. The theme is The Grand Ol’ Opry. $12 per person includes catered lunch. For details, call 770-867-3727 or visit
 Music & Worship Arts Week planned for Junaluska
     The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts is sponsoring the June 24-29 week at Lake Junaluska. The week is a multi-generational event of arts, praise and renewal in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, especially designed for those who want to sing, ring, dance or act all week, as well as for those who lead these ministries in local congregations. Regular registration ends April 30, when rates increase. For details, visit