After Athens: North Georgia Conference enjoys spirit of hope and optimism


        The North Georgia Annual Conference enjoyed a nearly glitch-free three days at the Classic Center in Athens and left with a renewed spirit of hope and optimism. The event was blessed by favorable weather, helpful volunteers, and a busy agenda that managed to keep remarkably close to its planned schedule.
      Bishop B. Michael Watson presided over the 146th session, which gathered under the banner, “Seeing the World Through the Waters of Baptism.” Dr. Eddie Fox, Director of World Methodist Evangelism, served as keynote speaker. 
     The North Georgia Conference commissioned 21 provisional members, ordained 1 full connection deacon, ordained 12 full connection elders and recognized 37 persons who are retiring from active ministries.
       On the final day of the event, delegation leader Sharma Lewis moved, and the conference unanimously endorsed, Rev. Jonathan Holston as its candidate for bishop. The Annual Conference also adopted a motion, followed by a standing ovation, to request "in the strongest terms possible" to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Episcopal Committee that Bishop Watson be returned to serve for 2012-2016.
              Bishop Watson shared his vision for the mission of the conference, emphasizing, among other things, strengthening ministry to children and youth, camping and campus ministries, strengthening lay and clergy partnership, and expanding our global impact by building Bridges of partnerships between North Georgia and Uganda, El Salvador, Bahamas, Israel, Portugal, Russia, the Philippines, locally with our own Action Ministries organization, and to the entire world through World Methodist Evangelism.  The Bishop also explained the continued effort towards efficiency and effectiveness at the United Methodist Center.
Conference Mission Offering collected $135,496 toward World
Methodist Evangelism.
A budget of $24,036,338 was approved by the conference.
Approved a realignment of the Connectional Ministry teams to
support the Vital Congregation effort. The five teams are: Witness,
Outreach, Resourcing, Leadership, Discipleship (or W.O.R.L.D.)
Passed a resolution in support of repealing the Georgia
Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011
Acknowledged the 2012 Conference Denman Evangelism Award winners:
Youth - Kayla Ingle of Center Valley UMC; Lay - Dallas and Terilynn Ivey of University Heights UMC;  Clergy - Rev.
Dr. John Beyers of Conyers UMC
.Celebrated 20 years of new church development and
revitalization and the 87 churches that have been launched.
85 pints of blood were given at the Red Cross Blood Drive
A resolution was passed designating Epworth, Georgia, UMC as a
historic site.
Membership is at 358,800, up 1,070 from last year; average worship
attendance was 127,413, up by 1,198 from the previous year; there were
5,821 professions of faith last year; total apportionment funds
received were $25,068,897; 674 churches gave 100 percent.