News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 Wesley UMC in Evans consecrates new sanctuary

      It was a grand celebration in Evans, Ga., recently when Wesley UMC held a consecration service for its new $5 million, 1,000-seat sanctuary.
     Bishop Mike Watson delivered an inspirational sermon at a service which was attended by former pastors of Wesley UMC as well as Augusta District Superintendent Rev. Terry Fleming and the Rev. Charles Barnes, who was Director of Church Development when Wesley began in 1990 in the cafeteria of a local middle school.
      Wesley UMC, under the leadership of senior pastor the Rev. Greg Porterfield, is a mission-minded congregation with 2,700 members. Before coming to Wesley, Porterfield was senior pastor of LaGrange First UMC and was founding pastor of Hillside UMC in Woodstock.
 Gainesville UMC: Host to secretaries gathering
     The Georgia Chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold their annual conference at the Gainesville UMC on September 13-16.  This conference, and membership in the organization, is open to all secretaries, administrative assistants, financial secretaries and other administrative personnel from UM churches, district offices, or UM agencies, whether full time, part time or volunteer.  You do not have to be a member to attend the conference. 
This year’s conference promises to be an excellent opportunity for continuing education, spiritual growth and a time of fellowship and networking with others from UM churches around the state of Georgia. Workshop topics and leaders include:
“God’s Call for Us to Lead” – Dr. Terry Walton, Sr. Pastor at Gainesville First.
“Cultivating People Skills in Your Leadership” – Rev. Wendy Cordova, Pastor of Evangelism and Lay Ministry at Gainesville First.
“Email Marketing” – Rebecca McClain, award winning coach, strategist, author and speaker.
“Making Social Media & Websites Work for Churches” – Dave Schroeder, expert in Social Networking.
“Vital Congregations” – Rev. Jasmine Smothers, Associate Director of the North Georgia Connectional Ministries Office.
“Finding Joy in the Hectic Days” – Rev. Kathy Lamon, Pastor of Congregational Care, Older Adults and Outreach at Gainesville First
 Registration deadline is Aug. 20.
Roswell UMC: Consignment sale Sept. 14-15
      The Roswell United Methodist Church Preschool and Kindergarten (RUMCK) will host its semi-annual children's consignment sale 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 14, and 8 a.m.-noon Sept. 15 in the  Fellowship Hall of the church, located at 814 Mimosa Blvd. in historic Roswell. Proceeds benefit the church's preschool and kindergarten. Donated items will be given to the Foster Care Support Foundation. 
     There will be three overflowing rooms with more than 200 consignors and great prices on gently worn fall and winter children's clothing and accessories (newborn - size 14), as well as maternity clothing, baby equipment, nursery décor, play sets, books, videos, toys, and much more. Strollers are not allowed on Friday morning, and many of the items are half-price on Saturday. All consignors must pre-register, even those who have consigned before. Go to to register to consign or volunteer.
 Online training for Volunteers in Mission
      United Methodist Volunteers in Mission is offering a mission team training session online. The cost is $25 and all you need to participate is a computer with an internet connection and a telephone. The training is 9 a.m.-noon August 25. For more information, contact Dalton Rushing at Register at 
Turners UMC celebrates 190th year
 Turners United Methodist Church will be celebrating its 190th anniversary on Sept. 23.  Turners has been in active ministry since it began with Mr. Wade Hampton Turner in 1822 making it, according to our records, the oldest church in Henry County. The first services were held in Wade Turner’s home until a brush arbor was erected on the current site of the church.  
    In 1836 Mr. Turner deeded approximately one acre of land for a permanent structure.  The brush arbor was soon replaced with a log church building.  Two framed buildings eventually replaced the log church.  The first church burned and material from the second was sold to make way for the present church, which was built under the inspiration and leadership of Rev. R. A. Edmondson and W. J. Turner, chairman of the building committee, in 1904.  Along with lumber donated by both A. W. Turner and C. J. Turner for the building and contributions from members, $1,009.50 was raised to construct the church, which is still in use today.
Birmingham UMC: Brad Sherrill performance set
    Off-Broadway actor Brad Sherrill will perform “Red Letter Jesus: What did Jesus Say?” at 4 p.m. Sept. 23 at Birmingham UMC. Sherrill’s 600 live performances of “The Gospel of John” have touched the hearts of more than 200,000 people worldwide. His 2011 adaptation of Jesus’ words from Matthew, Mark and Luke are communicated through a live performance and multimedia imagery from Israel and Jordan. The church is in Milton at 15770 Birmingham Hwy.,
 Action Ministries wins $1 million grant to help veterans
      Action Ministries has won a competitive grant of $1 million from The Department of Veterans Affairs to provide aid to homeless veterans. "We have teamed up with Hope Atlanta and this grant will allow us to help house nearly 400 veterans and their families," said John Moeller Jr., president and CEO of Action Ministries. "We are very excited about this and can’t wait to begin serving those who have so gallantly served our country." The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a total of $100 million in homeless prevention grants to 151 non-profit community agencies in 49 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia as part of its expanding Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.
 Great Starts: Senior And Associate Pastor
      Susan Gary Ashe and Adam Roberts will hold a Great Starts session 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 23 to help new pastor and associate pastor teams to begin a great start together through guided conversations and co-mingling experiences while learning colleague’s expectations, styles, and preferences. The session will be held at the Methodist Center at Simpsonwood. For more information, To register, visit
    A Great Start workshop for new pastors and church musicians is planned for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 27. The workshop will be led by Dee Shelnutt and Beth Shugart, Sept 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Atrium at Simpsonwood. Cost is $20 per person. Register
 Epworth By The Sea: To host church historians
     A new Church Historian Workshop is planned for September 18-19 at Epworth By The Sea’s Arthur Moore Methodist Museum, Library and Archives. Cost is $275 for a single room, $200 for a double room, or $100 for workshop only. (Lodging includes meals, workshop only does not.) For more information and to register, call 912-638-4050 or
Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural Gathering 
      Clergy and Laity are invited to the next Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural Ministries Gathering, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 22 at the United Methodist Center at Simpsonwood. This event is for clergy and laity who are currently engaged in a cross-racial or cross-cultural (CR/CC) appointment, those who are preparing for such appointments and those interested in this ministry of the church. This will be a working session to gain practical tools for effective CR/CC ministry. Register at 
Ministry around funerals for small membership churches
     “Offering Grace When Life Offers Loss: The Small Membership Church and Its Ministry to Families When a Loved One Dies” will be offered 3 p.m. Sept. 23 at Gainesville First UMC. Clergy and lay leadership of small membership churches are invited to this seminar exploring the ministry around funerals. Keynote Speaker: Dr Tom Long. Register at: or call 770-536-2341. 
Oxford College to host Stop Hunger Now
     First-year students at Oxford College will participate in a Stop Hunger Now project during orientation on Aug. 27. The college also is partnering financially with Allen Memorial UMC and Covington First UMC; the two churches are holding fundraising moments for the effort. Other UM churches are invited to donate funds that will help increase the amount of food packaging on Aug. 27. A total collection of $5,000 will make it possible for 20,000 meals to be packaged. The effort is part of a larger project, in which all of the North Georgia UMC colleges and universities working through the fall semester to package 155,000 meals collectively. For more information, call Oxford College Chaplain Lyn Pace at 770-784-8392.
Discernment event for United Methodists 
     An Oct. 5-7 discernment event in Pensacola, Florida, will allow laypersons of the United Methodist Church living in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to gather and learn whether the deaconess or home missioner calling is for them. Deaconesses, who are laywomen, and home missioners, who are laymen, are called by God to a vocation serving with those who are marginalized and in need in the world today.
     Application deadline is Aug. 25. Contact Deaconess Becky Louter at or Home Missioner Scott Vickery at
 Mt. Bethel UMC: Funding 32nd Habitat house
      The 19th annual Habitat Road Race, to raise funds to built Mt. Bethel UMC’s 32nd Habitat house, is set for Oct. 6. 5K begins at 8 a.m., 1-mile fun run at 9 a.m., followed by a Habitot Trot for ages 5 and under. Other activities include music by The Kingsmen, a silent auction, moonbounce, refreshments and awards ceremony. The start/finish will be at the church’s Christian Activities Center at 4385 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta. The race is a Peachtree Road Race qualifier. To register, visit
 Commerce churches unite for Great Day of Service   
       Commerce First UMC and Warren Chapel UMC are combining efforts for a Great Day of Service on Sept. 8. Participants will make and bag lunches for the homeless, cleanup the grounds at a camp for the disabled, cleanup and work at a thrift shop that supports abused children and battered women, write notes to veterans and shut-ins, help local shut-ins with work around the yard or home.
 Action Ministries presents 5K fundraiser
      The Action Dash will take place at 8 a.m. Sept. 3 in five cities – Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville and Rome. The Family 5K Run/Walk & Fun Run will benefit Action Ministries and help families in need. Participants are asked to wear their best super hero costume. Churches are encouraged to join the challenge. Personalized fundraising pages are available. The 5K courses are USATF certified and Chip Timed. Participants receive a T-shirt. Prizes for racers who raise $150 or more, and award are given top three finishers in each category. Additional “super power” awards for best adult, child and pet costumes.
 Applications accepted for Leadership UMC
       Leadership UMC is a program of the Conference Board of Laity designed to equip emerging laity leadership from throughout the annual conference for service in mission and ministry within the local church, district and conference.  We are now taking applications for the 2012-2013 Leadership UMC.  If you or anyone in your church is interested in participating in this excellent program, please contact the District Office or go to the Board of Laity page on the conference website (  Applications must be received in the District Office by September 15.
 Schedule set for required training seminars
     Registration is open online at for the Clergy Sexual Ethics Seminar, required training for all effective and appointed clergy in North Georgia between November 2011 and June 2013. Cost is $10/person. Click on Registrations at the conference website.  Your payment is your registration.   .5 CEU will be given for participation in a seminar.  At each location there are two sessions, each with up to 50 participants: 9:30-2:30 including lunch or 3-8 including dinner.  You may participate in any one of the times or places. All North Georgia clergy who are appointed must have participated in one of these seminars by June, 2013.  
     The following is a list of dates and places for seminars.  All will have 2 sessions (9:30-2:30 and 3-8) with clergy participating in one of the two, except as noted:
August 23, 2012- LaGrange- Cornerstone UMC-Newnan, 2956 Highway 154, Newnan, GA 30265
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, TBA - 9:30-2:30 only
 Seeking travelers to Russia, Portugal
      Bridges, the North Georgia Conference mission partnership emphasis, offers 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.
     A mission partnership with 13 Methodist churches in El Salvador is another Bridges project, and an Oct. 15-18 trip is planned there. Cost will be around $1,100.  
     For more information, contact Mike Selleck at 678-533-1442.   
 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.
 2012 African-American Women's Leadership Conference
     African-American female clergy and laity are invited to Lake Junaluska Aug. 23-25, where they can strengthen their leadership skills for living their faith and to promote and practice self-care, specifically as it related to living as female African-American Christians. Come away with new insights to help you use your gifts for even greater glory to God. Draw even closer to God and to your sisters in Christ. For more information, and to register, please visit 
 Roswell UMC: Yancy Not Nancy Worship Training
     A large group/small group session will begin at 11 a.m. Sept. 16, with Yancy’s training at 1 p.m.. Cost is $200 per church, and includes as many participants as you’d like. For churches looking to enhance an existing children’s praise team or those that want to start one. To register, email Elizabeth Nall at or call 770-261-1710.