News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 Camp Glisson: Open house for new families
      Families of first-time campers are invited to tour Camp Glisson facilities, meet staff members and have their questions answered by members of the Program Team during an open house 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. May 12. An agenda is available at RSVP requested for lunch accommodations.
   While on site, families can visit the EcoEternity Forest and learn more about this new ministry opportunity. EcoEternity offers an environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional burial. For more information, visit
     The summer staff commissioning ceremony will take place May 26. This is a chance for anyone impacted by the Glisson ministry, including parents of current and former campers, former staffers and all friends of Glisson, to be part of the passing of the torch of leadership from the former staff to the next one.
Sugar Hill UMC: Volunteers honored at dinner
    Sugar Hill United Methodist Church honored all those who have served during the past year with a special dinner on April 22. The celebration was attended by more than 330 people. The church staff dressed in black and white uniforms served the volunteers during the festivities. All the food and beverages were graciously supplied by the local Publix, which also barbecued the food on site. Following dinner all were treated to a musical concert by Michael O’Brien, former lead singer of New Song.    The pastors at Sugar Hill UMC have always emphasized the priesthood of all believers. For this reason the volunteers at the church are referred to as servant ministers called to minister not only to the local church, but the community, and the whole world through the gifts given by God to all those who profess Christ as Lord. The church leaders also realize that God has wired all believers for service and that serving others not only benefits those who are served, but enhances the life of the servant. They always encourage all who attend to use their natural talent, God given gifts, life experiences and their passions to serve both God and others. 
Calling all UM men to make a donation
    The United Methodist Men of the North Georgia Conference has received a $2,500 grant to be used as a matching funds challenge to all men. For each dollar donated through May 19, up to the $2,500 limit, a matching amount will be given. Send checks to the UMM office at P. O. Box 923266, Norcross, GA, 30010-3266.    Description:
Children’s Home fundraiser a success
     Thanks to all who shopped the great bargains at the United Methodist Children’s Home Auxiliary Flea Market and Bake Sale. The Auxiliary raised more than $35,000 to use to meet the needs of the children, youth and families at the Children's Home, to help them find healing peace and meaningful change in their lives.
     The next flea market and bake sale is planned for July 20-21. Donations of gently used items can be left on the right side of the porch of Atlanta Cottage, which is behind the Administration building (the main building in the center of campus). Receipt slips are available for your tax records.
    The UMCH Auxiliary is always looking for new members to help sort, price and move items for the flea markets. Membership is open to all - call or e-mail Jane Howland (404.327.5832) for more information on volunteering.
Roswell UMC: Job ministry gets a donation
       The Rotary Club of Roswell has donated $4,000 to the Roswell UMC Job Networking ministry, a program that has received national attention in recent months for its success in getting people in the community back to work. In addition to the donation, Rotary will provide volunteers who will serve as table hosts, greeters, workshop leaders at four dinners, and as employers in the Mini-Job Fairs. 
     The Mini-Job Fair is a recent addition to the Job Networking meetings. "We have up to 11 employers offering real jobs to these Job Seekers," said Katherine Simons, who recruits employers for the Mini-Job Fairs. "These employers have up to 200 jobs that they are trying to fill. The response from employers is overwhelming!"
     Job Networking meets at Roswell UMC on second and fourth Mondays. Meetings include afternoon workshops, dinner, Mini-Job Fair, a keynote speaker, and an opportunity to connect to an industry guide volunteer. Schedule/directions/dates for Mini-Job Fairs: Employers, to be part of the May 12 Mini-Job Fair, contact Katherine Simons,
Northside UMC: Hosts Shining Lights Awards dinner
     Georgia State University Head Football Coach Bill Curry will be the keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Shining Lights Awards Dinner on May 10 at Northside United Methodist Church, 2799. Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta. The 7 p.m. dinner celebrates the accomplishments of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia State and its supporters while raising money for the ongoing expenses of the ministry.
   “We have students who are reading the Bible for the first time,” said Tyler Strange, the Wesley Foundation Director. “They are not only reading the Bible, but they are responding to its call to be active participants in God’s work of redemption.”
    Ten students went on a mission trip to Alabama aiding in tornado recovery work in December 2011. The group meets regularly on Monday nights for worship in addition to weekly small group meetings. “We have students who have experienced the need to be a part of a spiritual community and we are providing that community,” Strange said.
     “Wesley Foundation is a place where people from different backgrounds can come together and talk without worry of judgment or reproach,” said Daminga Porter, a freshman Journalism major from Jonesboro, GA. “Wesley is welcoming. I think the thing that makes Wesley different from other church organizations on campus that I have experienced is that Wesley doesn’t throw Christianity down your throat. We are learning and growing stronger into our faith.”
     The Wesley Foundation at Georgia State University, the United Methodist Church’s presence on campus, provides students, faculty and staff an opportunity to deepen their faith through vital worship, small group discussion and meaningful mission. They hold weekly meetings where issues such as "Christianity's Family Tree" are discussed.  The Foundation has supported the efforts to organize the GSU chapter of International Justice Ministries [IJM] and is working with the GSU Office of Civic Engagement to create a food pantry for GSU students beginning in Fall 2012.
    The architect and builder of the Georgia State University football program, Bill Curry has coached at Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky. Curry spent more than two years developing, directing and promoting the football program in preparation for Georgia State's inaugural season. When his Panthers took the field for the first time in 2010, the city of Atlanta and the football world took notice. Not only did his fledgling squad post a winning record at 6-5, but also the program exceeded all expectations in terms of attendance, excitement and media exposure. Curry has called his current post at Georgia State “the highlight of his storied career.”
     Georgia State University, the Southeast's leading urban research institution, is one of the 35 institutions of the University System of Georgia. Its enrollment is 35,000. It is on the list of the top 100 public universities for doctoral
degrees awarded. More than 250-degree programs with 100 fields of study are offered at the bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral levels.     
Tickets are available by calling 404.606.1024 or email for more information.
Winters Chapel UMC: Parish Life, G.E.M., Connections 18:20
    The Doraville church is holding a 9-11 am. meeting May 19 for all members of Parish Life, and anyone interested in Growing Effective Ministries (G.E.M.), a small membership church initiative, and Connections 18:20, a support group for children and youth workers. The church is at 5105 Winters Chapel Rd., Doraville 30360. For more information, contact Jeaninne Singleton at
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 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, callGordon Mosley at 404-667-3221 or email
    For Nehemiah Project: Liberty Hill UMC is sponsoring the 5th annual Carpenter’s Cup Golf Benefit May 10, with 8 a.m. registration and 9 a.m. shotgun start at the Callahan Golf Links. Various sponsorship levels available, including $100 individual golfer with breakfast and lunch, and $400 team foursome. The Nehemiah Project is a four-day youth event that features worship and service opportunities. For more info, call Daniel Roberts at 678-493-8920 or e-mail
   For missions at Hillside UMC invites golfers to participate in the fifth annual charity tournament set for May 14 at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club.  The $100-per-player registration includes a fajita buffet following the round of golf.  Proceeds will benefit the Youth Detention Center, Kairos Prison Ministry, Papas Pantry, Turn Around Ministries, Benevolent Fund, and more.  To register, visit and click on 2012 Golf Tournament.
Trinity UMC: Members extend mission internationally
    The downtown Atlanta church is known for its urban mission work throughout the North Georgia Conference.  Trinity’s ministry with the homeless and underprivileged has been a source of light and hope for
more than 200 years as thousands of people have come through Trinity’s doors to receive physical and spiritual sustenance.
     Recently, Trinity members stepped into the international mission field, with seven adults from Trinity, and two from Main Street UMC in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The group travelled to Cochabamba, Bolivia, at the end of March to serve with the staff of T’iu Rancho, a mission of the Methodist Evangelical Church of Bolivia.  T’iu Rancho serves the native Quechua people through after school programs, health education, and continuing education for lay and ordained pastors throughout the region.
      Trinity team members were Lil Bolster, Paul Bolster, Carrie Finegan, Gretchen Kaney, Dianne O’Neal, Kathey Stubbs, Tasso Tasioudis. Main Street members were Kelly O’Neal and Michael O’Neal.
      “The staff at T’iu Rancho has done a phenomenal job reaching the most underserved persons in the Payocollo community, and the Trinity-Main Street team just came to lend a hand,” said Trinity associate pastor Rev. Carrie Finegan. “We offered expertise in the form of a small medical team, cooking classes, self-esteem workshops,
and interior maintenance.  One of the most memorable days for the team was at 7:30 one morning when a local 95 year-old-man walked up to the ranch to see if the doctors could examine him early—he explained that
they needed to do their exam quickly because he needed to get to work. The staff told the team that his only source of income is a modest $30 a month pension from the government that is enough to purchase
some rice, oil, and potatoes.  If he needs any meat, produce or medicine, it means continued labor in the fields.  In fact, the team saw many men and women well into their senior years who continued to labor in order to feed themselves and their families.”
     In addition to the medical visits, the team assisted the staff with teaching reproductive health to high school students, holding a Q and A session with the doctors for a young mothers group, making crafts and playing baseball (with newly donated equipment) with the Quechua children, leading a cooking class for women of the community,
preparing an apartment for two of the staff persons whose current adobe home is in disrepair, and—most importantly—building relationships with the staff of T’iu Rancho.  Despite great language barriers, team members and staff members were each assigned a prayer partner and met with their partner each day of the trip to pray for
and with each other.   
     “The medicine the team brought will be used up.  The baseball gloves will wear down.  The apartment will fall into need of repair. But the impact of our relationships with one another—and the love and
hope we shared together—will last a lifetime.  And that is what mission is all about,” said Finegan.
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.
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
Georgia Preachers Golf Association Tournament
   The Golf Tournament is planned for Aug. 27-29 at Callaway Gardens.  For more information, call the Rev. Don Martin, senior pastor at Alpharetta First UMC, at 770-475-4476.
 Beyond These Walls mission conference Oct. 11-13     
Looking for means to transform your congregation and equip them for effective, life-transforming ministry? Moving people from self-centered to Christ-centered is often the result of an effective missions program and this is the purpose of the Beyond These Walls 2012 Mission Conference, Oct 11-13 in Powder Springs. “Best of the best” missions teaching and training will help you and your leadership mobilize, revitalize, and equip your congregation so that they can fulfill their divine calling – making disciples of all the nations.
     Keynote speakers will be Dr. Mark Beeson, Founding Pastor at Granger Community Church (5,500 attending congregation in Indiana), and Dr. Reggie McNeal, author and Missional Leadership Specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas. As before, you will have the opportunity to tailor your learning time by selecting for multiple workshops. The growing list of offerings, along with other conference details, can be found at Registration opens June 1.
    Attendees requiring overnight accommodations should contact the Holiday Inn & Suites-Austell, 770 349-8000. Be sure to identify yourself as being with  BTW.