News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 St. Mark UMC: Bicyclists take part in fundraiser

     The Bicycle Team of Saint Mark UMC in Atlanta just completed the AIDS Vaccine 200 Bike Ride and raised just more than $18,500 for AIDS Vaccine research. Team members trained for many weeks to prepare to complete the two-stage ride from Atlanta to Rock Eagle and back.
 Ball Ground UMC: Presenting Faith and Freedom Festival
     Ball Ground United Methodist presents the first Faith and Freedom Festival beginning at 1 p.m. June 30 at the Lion’s Club baseball field on Gilmer Ferry Road in Ball Ground. Featuring live music by Lost and Found, Surrender, Rock of Christ from Atlanta, and Against the Downpour from Madison. Children’s activities will include waterslide, dunk tank, and a jump zone.
     Activities include old-fashioned competitions like a three-legged race and horseshoe toss. Arts and crafts, petting zoo and an appearance by Congressman Tom Price. Chili cook-off and homemade ice cream competition. Pizza, barbecue and snacks available all day. A nondenominational worship service led by Rev. Jared Lathem begins at 8 p.m., ending with the town’s first fireworks show.
      For more information, visit  For vendor information, contact Tera Ertz For church info, contact Lathem at
 Urgent need for foster families
     On any given day in Georgia, more than 7,000 children are in foster care.  Last year, more than 13,000 children moved through the foster care system in Georgia and each week the Children's Home turns away children who need a safe place to stay because of a lack of foster family homes. 
     More and more children are entering the foster care system in Georgia every day, and the need is great. These children are escaping abusive or neglectful situations and need a safe place to stay while their future is determined. Could your home be that safe place for children who are hurting and vulnerable?
     If you are interested in becoming a foster family, you are invited to an informational meeting, held at different locations on the first Monday and Tuesday nights of each month at 7 p.m.  To find out locations and RSVP, contact Denise Peacock at 404-327-5864. Gainesville area residents can get more information about becoming foster parents by contacting
 Seeking travelers to Russian, Portugal
      Bridges, the North Georgia Conference mission partnership emphasis, offers two mission exploration opportunities.  The first trip is planned to Moscow Sept. 24-Oct. 1. The second opportunity will take travelers from Atlanta to Lisbon and Porta Oct. 10-16 to establish a mission partnership between the North Georgia Conference and the Methodist churches of Portugal.  The cost of each trip is approximately $2,000. Space is limited.  
     For more information, contact Mike Selleck at 678-533-1442.   
 Bethlehem First UMC: Taking car donations
     The church’s GO Team (Global Outreach) and M. I. A. (Mechanics in Action Ministry) are looking for donated vehicles to be refurbished and given to worthy recipients.  All donations are tax deductible. Please direct all inquires to Stephen Smith at 678-227-3318. Bethlehem FUMC is located in Bethlehem at 709 Christmas Ave. (Hwy. 11).
 Winters Chapel UMC: Patriotic organ concert
    Misha V. Stefanuk presents an evening of patriotic theatre organ music at 6:30 p.m. June 30 at Winters Chapel UMC, 5105 Winters Chapel Road, Atlanta 30360. Suggested donation $5. 770-396-4550.
 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.
 Harmony Grove UMC: A busy summer
      Vacation Bible School June 18-22 and Kids Camps for preschoolers will fill the summer weeks. VBS theme is “Operation Overboard: Dive In!” 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. with art and crafts, snacks, assemblies, recreation and Bible stories. $10 per child.
     Camp themes are: June 25-29, Fables and Folktales; July 9-13, Going GREEN; July 16-29, The Circus. Sessions are 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuition $100 per child. Camp Explore is set for 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. June 25-29, $150 per child, featuring Art/Photography, Fun with Food, Music, Fencing and Recreation. Campers rotate among the sessions.
     Theater Camp is 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. July 9-20 for ages 5-15. The two-week camp will help each camper reach performing goals. Campers participate both on and off-stage aspects of theater, and will audition, rehearse and perform for parents an special guests on the final day of camp. Tuition $175 per child. 
     The church’s preschool is accepting registrations. Open daily 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Online registration For more info on the preschool, email or call 770-564-0135. For camps, email or call 770-921-7747. The church is in Lilburn at 50 Harmony Grove Rd. 770-921-7747.
It’s summer, so it’s campmeeting time!
     Salem Campmeeting, founded in 1828, will convene July 6-13, featuring guest speakers Dr. Winston Worrell, director of World Methodist Evangelism Institute, and Dr. John A. Huffman, minister at large after serving St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in California who has preached on every continent.
     Worrell has served in ministries in 54 countries around the world, and has experience in Billy Graham crusades. Dr. Huffman has traveled internationally on more than 80 trips, visiting 100-plus foreign countries on all seven continents. In 1975, he spent two weeks at the Vatican in consultation with Roman Catholic leaders. For more details on the schedule and information on each preacher, go to
    Holbrook Campmeeting in Cherokee County will convene July 13-22 at 2415 Holbrook Campground Rd., Alpharetta 30004. This is the 174th year.
    Marietta Campmeeting is celebrating the 175th year with services July 13-22, featuring Dr. Ike Reighard, Dr. Gil Watson, Rev. Charles Sineath and Dr. Jim Lowry. An anniversary celebration will be held 12:30-10 p.m. July 14 with free pork and chicken barbecue, hamburgers and hot dogs, watermelon, sno-cones and games. Demonstrations will feature the style of living 175 years ago, including erecting an authentic Lakota tipi and fly, stone cooking, arrowhead making, ancient musical instruments and spinning and weaving. At 7:30 p.m. July 16, Brad Sherrill will perform The Gospel of John. The campground is at 2301 Roswell Road, in Marietta, across from East Cobb UMC.