News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 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.
First Action Dash a $100,000 success
     More than $100,000 was raised during the first Action Dash, sponsored by Action Ministries. The fundraiser consisted of simultaneous 5K run/walk events in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville and Rome. The money will be used to provide the hunger, housing and education solutions that help people move toward independence. Next year’s event will be held Sept. 2.
      Organizers encouraged participants to dress like their favorite superhero, enforcing the idea that Action Ministries believes “an Action Hero is an ordinary person who goes out of their way to help someone in need or is someone in need who works through adversity toward self-sufficiency.”
   “Action Dash 2012 was definitely an effort worthy of Superman,” said John R. Moeller, Jr., president and CEO of Action Ministries. “We are grateful that so many people from all across Georgia joined us for a new Labor Day tradition and supported Action Dash in a way that truly made the event a success. Thanks to their support we can help even more people transform their lives.”
      Many racers heeded the organization’s call and wore their favorite Action Hero costume as they and ran, walked or strolled to raise awareness about Georgia’s poverty-related challenges. They were joined by real-life sports heroes including Olympian Tim Hornsby, 12-time U.S. national champion and the nation’s #1 ranked paddler, who served as grand marshal of Action Dash in Atlanta. Olympian Andrew Gemmell, American long-distance freestyle swimmer and 2012 Olympian, served as grand marshal of Action Dash in Athens
       Donation information for those who were unable to attend is available at Join Action Dash online and follow it at and
 Mt. Zion UMC – Ellenwood: Collected kits for UMCOR
     The United Methodist Women at Mt. Zion UMC-Ellenwood collected items and assembled 151 health kits for UMCOR. The small church has an average Sunday attendance of 65-70, and has met the goal of 150 kids for the last three years. UMW members (from left) are Cathy White, Rachel Neal, Diane Hollingsworth, Carolyn Barber, Judy Cheatham, Jeanne Dunaway, Killian Smith, Barbara Vincent, Winnie Whiteman and Mary Alice Johnston.
 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 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
 The Springs UMC: Fall kickoff event at local festival
       The Springs UMC’s OUTRAGEOUS OCTOBER is planned for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Downtown Flowery Branch Fall Festival. On Oct. 13, the church will host a free youth concert 5-8 p.m. On Oct. 20, shop the Fall Bazaar and get barbecue places 10 a.m.-2 p.m. On Oct. 28, a free fall festival is planned for 5-8 p.m. The pumpkin patch will be open Oct. 8-31. The church is at 6553 Spout Springs Rd., Flowery Branch.
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 
 Montpelier UMC: Funds donated to pregnancy center
           The Milledgeville church donated $1,323.00 recently to Crossroads Pregnancy Center, the local crisis pregnancy center, to be used to purchase a new ultrasound machine. The money was collected from a special offering: collections from the children, United Methodist Women and the United Methodist Men, yard sale proceeds, as well as their budgeted mission fund. 
 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 Oct. 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, Ga.
 Classic Race Services will time the 5K/Fun Run
    Families can visit the pumpkin patch to take photos. Field trips  include story telling, face painting, games, viewing a video on how to grow a pumpkin, and a walk through the patch.
 Covington FUMC: 5K/Fun run, pumpkin patch
      The church’s 3rd annual Steeple Chase 1-Mile Fun Run and 5K will begin at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 13. The professionally timed race is held to raise money for local missions and Relay for Life. Register at or Starting line is in front of the church at 1113 Conyers St. SW, Covington.
     The church’s pumpkin patch is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday. Featuring large selection of jack-o-lantern pumpkins as well as novelty decorative ones. For more information or to ask about school tours, call 770-786-7305.
 St. Andrew UMC: Fall Into Crafts marketplace
        The women of St. Andrew UMC of Marietta will present the 11th annual Fall Into Crafts marketplace 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 12 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Keheley Building. Featuring a silent auction, breakfast, lunch, desserts and more than 40 exhibitors selling handcrafted jewelry, decorative painting, handmade soap, hand-knitted items, woodcrafts, photographer, floral designs and more.
     The church’s first truckload of pumpkins will arrive on Oct. 4. Patch hours will be 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sundays. A Chili Cook-Off and Trunk or Treat will be held 4-6 p.m. Oct. 20. For more details, visit
Sandy Springs UMC: Presentation by Lincoln scholar/actor
       Sandy Springs UMC will present “The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln” at 5 p.m. Oct. 21, featuring Dr. Gene Griessman. The actor’s portrayal takes guests back to the Gettysburg Address and moments before Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre, sharing the secrets Lincoln learned for dealing with the challenges we face in our everyday lives, including: leadership, communication and personal achievement. Adults $10, students/children $5, family max $30. The church is at 86 Mt. Vernon Hwy., Sandy Springs. 404-255-1181.
 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.
 Understanding Men’s Ministry course available
     Registration is open for the November 16-17 “Understanding Men's Ministry” training course to be held in the Howard Conference Room the United Methodist Center at Simpsonwood, sponsored by the United Methodist Men of North Georgia and the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
      The course is designed specifically to help churches in their ministry to their people, particularly men. Although ministry to men is emphasized in this course, its fundamental model works for growth in Christ, male or female. The strong emphasis on men in the course is due to the great need in our churches for men to learn how to begin and continue a faith journey with Christ, to become better fathers, husbands, and, eventually, lead others into that faith journey. The highest impact is realized when the pastor and the men’s ministry leaders in the church attend together. 
      This is a 12-contact-hour course that counts as an Advanced Lay Speaking course toward becoming a Certified Lay Speaker. This course is required for those pursuing a Men’s Ministry Specialist Certification. Prerequisite is to read the book No Man Left Behind by Patrick Morley, David Delk and Brett Clemmer from Man in Mirror.
      Training limited to the first 40 students who sign up. The course will be taught by Jim Boesch and Bud Sears. Jim is a deployed staff member for the General Commission on United Methodist Men and helps to teach training to men on how to train. Bud Sears is the President, United Methodist Men of the North Georgia Conference. Both Jim and Bud are Certified Men’s Ministry Specialist.
      Cost is $100 before Oct. 11, and $120 after. To register, visit
 Commerce churches work together for day of service
      On Saturday, September 8, Commerce First UMC and Warren Chapel UMC joined in a great day of service called “Beyond Our Doors.” More than 300 families received boxes of food, 58 homeless people were fed lunch, 150 people were sent letters of encouragement and appreciation, 56 women and 40 men were given personal care kits, and 12 children and youth at Willoughby Homes were given a mini-Vacation Bible School.
     Peachtree Village residents were delighted by the children who decorated and ate cookies with them. Church members also supported the staff at Peace Place Thrift Store and Wellspring Camp for disabled children and adults, where volunteers mowed and trimmed 20 acres of grass.
      Commerce FUMC is located at 54 Cherry St., Commerce. and on Facebook at
Clergy sexual abuse response line is open 
      Skilled volunteer clergy listeners of North Georgia can be called to listen, to provide spiritual guidance, and to give information on how to how to contact appropriate authorities regarding alleged clergy sexual abuse. All calls are confidential and can be anonymous.  Call 866-612-2770.
 LaGrange College singled out for black graduation rates
     LaGrange College’s graduation rates for black students have earned the school a spot near the top of a national list. The college placed sixth in the nation for improvement in graduation rates among all private institutions, according to the Education Trust, a Washington-based think-tank that focuses on racial and ethnic achievement gaps. It was the only Georgia school ranked in the top 25.
     LaGrange came in at number eight for diminishing the gap between black graduation rates and those same numbers for the rest of the student population.
     The study looked at graduation rates between 2004 and 2010. The numbers for 2010 showed that 19.9 percent of LaGrange’s undergraduate class was composed of black students, and that their graduation rate improved by 21.3 percentage points.
     The gap between white and black graduation rates narrowed to 4.4 percentage points in 2010. Provost David Garrison said he is especially pleased with the recognition. 
      “The primary reason for this particular success has to do not with special efforts aimed at African-American students but with the institution’s commitment to strong relationships with all students. We are determined to create a supportive learning environment of allegiance to each student, an environment that leads to transforming the lives of our students and the communities in which we live.”
      The college has been recognized in the past for its personal attention to students characterized by a low student-faculty ratio (10-1) and its small class sizes (an average of 12).
       The Education Trust promotes and supports policies that raise student achievement, close achievement gaps and ensure all students can succeed. For more about the study, visit 
 Action Ministries seeks feedback
     The board and staff of Action Ministries are making plans for the future and are looking for input from North Georgia United Methodists. They have developed a survey that will provide valuable feedback as Action Ministries considers the expansion of existing services and the creation of new services in Georgia. 
      "In order to plan well, we need to hear your perceptions of Action Ministries and its programs and services," said Rebecca Wicker, Vice President of Strategic Marketing. 
      Action Ministries is a related agency of the North Georgia Conference and leads communities and volunteers in serving their neighbors in need by providing hunger, housing and education solutions to Georgia's most vulnerable citizens. Action Ministries has offices in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Decatur, Gainesville, Rome, and serves many other communities in North Georgia.  
     To take the survey, click on It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.