News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


    A summons to ministry: Is God calling you?    
Is God calling you to use your gifts for ordained ministry? If you want help in answering that critical question, make plans to visit St. Simons Island in January.
         A special weekend event, Jan. 11-13, is designed to help men and women, aged 21-and-up, to consider God’s call into ordained ministry. 
          Each person feels called by God in a different way. This event provides an opportunity to explore the call to ministry through worship, prayer, workshops, small groups and networking.
      The weekend is sponsored by the North Georgia, South Georgia, Alabama-West Florida, Florida, and South Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church, along with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church
Tucker First UMC: The Century Men in Concert
     The 100-voice men’s chorus, made of professional Christian musicians who are ministers of music, concert artists and college faculty members, will be in concert at 6:30 and 8:15 p.m. Sept. 21 at Tucker First UMC, 5095 LaVista Rd., Tucker. The group’s leader is composer, arranger and producer Dr. Buryl Red. The group has 12 recordings and has been featured on radio programs like “The Baptist Hour,” and “Sounds of TheCenturyMen.” NBC has broadcast three CenturyMen programs and broadcasts have been shown around the world. The concert is free. No reserve seating. 770-938-3030.
 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 
 Covington First UMC: Community united in prayer
       A joint prayer effort with 14 other churches and community leaders was held on Aug. 13 in Covington. Called “Community on Our Knees,” the square filled with people from our community praying and singing together for a great school year, the students, school administration, teachers, employees and staff for all public, private and home schools as well as community leaders, officials and civil servants.  
  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.,
 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.
Bethel UMC: Ministry goes abroad
      Representatives from Bethel UMC and the Atlanta College Park District traveled to Costa Rica July 28 through August 4 in support of “Rice and Beans Ministry.”  Done with the support of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, the short term missionaries shared food and spiritual hope.  The team included a medical doctor, Dr. Charles Scott, and a dentist, Dr. Curtis Dilworth.  Both men worked with persons who seldom had the benefit of a doctor or dentist.  
 Dunwoody UMC: Pianist in concert
      The Dunwoody church presents pianist and composer Ola Gjeilo in concert at 4 p.m. Sept. 23: “Piano Improvisations.” $10 suggested donation. The church is at 1548 Mt. Vernon Rd. 770-394-0675.
 Great Starts: Workshop for new pastors, musicians.
    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 at
 Reinhardt University: Camp meeting service
      Meridian Herald will present its 15th annual Higher Ground: Camp Meeting Service at 4 p.m. Sept. 29 at Reinhardt. The camp meeting, featuring old-time preaching, prayer and singing, will be held in the Falany Performing Arts Center. After the service, attendees can enjoy fellowship and refreshments in the Ken White atrium. Admission is free. A love offering will be taken.
 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:
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
Snellville UMC: Hosts conference UMW meeting
       The 40th annual meeting of the conference’s United Methodist Women will be held Oct. 6, with registration at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting at 9:30 at Snellville UMC. The theme is “All Things Made New.” Guest speaker Rev. Jasmine Smothers is the Associate Director of Connectional Ministries of the conference, a church consultant and staff liaison for the Conference Ministry Teams. Register online at 
 Dunwoody UMC pastor to preach on Day 1
     The Rev. Dr. B. Wiley Stephens, currently in his 22nd year as senior pastor of Dunwoody UMC, is the featured preacher Oct. 7 and 14 on “Day 1,” the nationally syndicated ecumenical radio program also accessible online at
      Stephens has served UM churches for 48 years. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Athens, and Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill. He has preached regularly on “Day 1” over the past eight years.
     “Day 1” has been broadcast every week for more than 67 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” Featuring outstanding preachers from the mainline denominations, “Day 1” is currently distributed to more than 200 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta.
 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 at McEachern Memorial UMC 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.
 Harmony Grove UMC: Members offer safe Halloween event
      Trunk or Treat – Spider Beware! is planned for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Lilburn church, 50 Harmony Grove Rd. The festival takes place in the church parking lot and gymnasium. Participants encouraged to decorate the trunk of their cars, or bring costumed children for games, food, and prizes. To register your trunk, call 770-921-7747 or email
 East Point First Mallalieu UMC: Christmas excursion planned
     It may only be September, but church members are planning a Dec. 4-6 Christmas excursion to Biltmore Estates in Asheville, N.C. The church is in East Point at 2651 Church St. 404-761-3183. Trip costs $300 for double occupancy. A $75 deposit due at sign-up, and final payment due Oct. 28. For more information, call 404-761-3183.
 Mt. Zion UMC: Casserole pool part of craft show
      The 27th annual Mt. Zion Craft Show will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 9 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 10 at Mt. Zion UMC, 1770 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta.  The show features 52 arts and crafts vendors, silent auction, door prize, bake sale, casserole pool, (Saturday only), quilt drawing, pictures with the REAL SANTA,  and fresh baked apple pies and cookies prepared throughout the show.  The show is sponsored by the Mt. Zion United Methodist Women; proceeds benefit charities that help women and children. No admission charge. 770-971-1465.
Conference honors Marlowe for 10 years of pro bono service
       The North Georgia Conference recently honored Deborah Marlowe, a lay person who has given countless hours of pro bono legal counsel to the conference in the area of immigration, with a luncheon at Simpsonwood.
      It has been more than 10 years since the attorney -- and active United Methodist -- first provided invaluable assistance to then District Superintendent Jim Thompson who was helping a Korean pastor serve an immigrant community. 
      Since then, she has provided pro bono immigration counsel and services to seven of North Georgia's Korean pastors, seven Hispanic pastors, one Jamaican pastor, one Kenyan pastor and more than 50 family members of clergy.
       Marlowe and her staff have worked with the office of Ministerial Services on issues regarding immigrant law and visa issues. Most recently she has served as a consultant to the Conference on the new Georgia immigrant law and changes in the federal government immigration policies.
      "I was truly overwhelmed by the wonderful luncheon," said Marlowe, a long-time member of Glenn Memorial UMC. "It was fabulous for me to see so many of the pastors and family members I have worked with over the past years. Hearing their stories was very meaningful to me."
      Disaster response update: Reponding to Isaac
     The Louisiana Conference is ready to schedule trained ERT teams to help with Hurricane Isaac clean up. Please visit the link below to register and find more information online at
      The cost per person for five nights is $225. This includes orientation, housing, one meal per day, water and insurance coverage. Your willing hands are most valuable, but for those teams choosing to work on a construction project, we request that $2,000 be supplied by the team to assist with construction materials needed to complete projects. Teams are also needed for general cleanup and gutting of houses.
    Most teams can expect to be scheduled after Oct. 1.
     Other ways to help:
Churches can put together UMCOR cleaning buckets to replenish supplies that have already been sent or will be sent soon. For information on how to put together a cleaning bucket, visit