News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 Camp Glisson: Register open for Summer 2013       

      Registration to attend Camp Glisson for Summer 2013 is now available for members of United Methodist churches. On Jan. 1 registration will open for everyone else. Plan ahead to make sure you get the camp week that works best for you and your camper.  
     For more information or to register go to:
    Lithia Springs UMC: Drive-through pageant
      "How Far to Bethlehem?" will be presented 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7-9 at Lithia Springs UMC, 3711 Temple St. Lithia Springs. In the comfort of your own car, drive through the pageant with 11 beautifully painted scenes depicting events from the annunciation to the birth of Christ. Live animals, hundreds of actors and luminaries. No admission charge. Call 770-948-5429 or 770-943-3820 for more information.
 Mountain View UMC: Bethlehem Walk in 20th year
       Church members are re-creating the sights and sounds of the city of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago on the night Jesus was born with the 20th annual Bethlehem Walk, 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7-8.
      “For 20 years, Mountain View has recreated the shops, the townspeople, the census takers, the Roman soldiers, all going about their business while an unnoticed miracle takes place in a small corner of the city,” said Rev. Bill Burch, senior pastor. “This wonderful holiday event provides everyone with a superb opportunity experience the goodness of the season with our neighbors and the members of our congregation.”
     The annual production involves more than 175 church members and area volunteers who begin setting up the “city” the week after Thanksgiving. Admission is free, but contributions are encouraged.
       The church is in Marietta at 2300 Jamerson Rd. 770-928-0050.
 Christ UMC: Market offers holiday shopping
      The Christmas Market, sponsored by the church and Cornerstone Preschool, will be open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 8, offering homemade crafts, bake sale, games, crafts and entertainment for children. All events will be inside. The church is at 1340 Woodstock Rd., Roswell 30075.
 Winter’s Chapel UMC: Organ music featured
     Misha V. Stefanuk will present an evening of Christmas theatre organ music on a unique, one-of-a-kind instrument at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 The program will include a mix of traditional theatre organ favorites, light classics, popular music and Christmas music from years passed as well as an old-fashioned sing-along and guest musicians. The church is in Doraville at 5105 Winters Chapel
 Dunwoody UMC: Choir, brass ensemble concert
    The Chancel Choir and Brass Ensemble will present John Rutter’s “Gloria!” at 4 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Dunwoody UMC sanctuary. Also featuring Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata and new and familiar carols. The church is at 1548 Mt. Vernon Rd., Dunwoody 30338. 770-394-0675.
  Peachtree City UMC: Nehemiah study offered for women
       “Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break” by Kelly Minter is a seven-session Bible study that will meet 9:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays beginning Jan. 9, 2013.  Nehemiah's heart was so broken for those in need that he left the comfort of his Persian palace to help them. The study features authentic Bible teaching, recipes, and a relational approach. Cost is $16.  The church is at 225 Robinson Rd, Peachtree City . Register by November 28th on-line at or call the church office at 770.487.6499.
 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 a.m.-2:30 p.m. including lunch or 3-8 p.m. 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 two sessions (9:30-2:30 and 3-8) with clergy participating in one of the two, except as noted:
• January 24, 2013- Gainesville – Gainesville First UMC, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville
• March 9, 2013 (Saturday) – Atlanta Roswell, TBA - 9:30-2:30 only
 Ebenezer UMC: Photos, cookies with Santa
    Cookies With Santa is planned for noon-3 p.m. Dec. 8 at the historic Ebenezer UMC, 12900 Arnold Mill Rd., Roswell 30075. No charge! Bring your camera and take plenty of photos.
 Hillside UMC: Choirs combine for musical
    “Sing We Now of Christmas” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 6 p.m. Dec. 16 in the sanctuary, 4474 Towne Lake Parkway, Woodstock 30189. Featuring the chancel and chamber choirs, Above & Beyond (vocal ensemble), the orchestra, and handbell choirs (Hillside Ringers & Echoes of Joy). A variety of festive music will be on the program, along with the presentation of Dan Goeller’s “The Word Became Flesh.” Pre-concert music provided by the Hillside Ringers at 7:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
 Jan. 10 is deadline to apply for grants
     Human Relations Day grant: This grant supports ministries that respond to non-violent young offenders through education, advocacy or leadership training and development, and is sponsored by the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society. Grant funds are raised through The United Methodist Church’s Human Relations Day Special Sunday each year. Special Sundays are an opportunity for United Methodist churches to celebrate the denomination’s connectional work. This day of social action and raising awareness supports the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program.
      Human Relations Day happens the Sunday immediately following the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday: Jan. 20 next year. The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes Human Relations Day as a call to "the Church to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other."
     GBCS, which receives 10% of Special Sunday offering, has distributed nearly $300,000 in the past three years.
To qualify for a Human Relations Day grant, the applicant must be either: a United Methodist local church, district, annual conference or other affiliated group/organization; or an ecumenical group/organization working with and through at least one United Methodist agency or organization, whose program affects at least one United Methodist local church.
     Grants are awarded on two funding cycles. Jan. 10 is the deadline for March funding; Aug. 10 for October. Grant decisions are made by GBCS’s Board of Directors at the spring and fall meetings. To be considered for funding, a project must be initiated by or developed in partnership with a United Methodist church. The project must focus on needs of non-violent juvenile youth offenders as they address one or more chronic social problems or concerns, such as housing, employment, health care, human rights, education, the environment and racism.
      Applicants must have a supervisory board consisting of a majority of members of The United Methodist Church that shall make all policy decisions. All funding from GBCS must be used for programmatic components and not for salaries, purchase of equipment, purely administrative costs, and direct delivery of services or building construction.
     The intent of the grant is to provide start-up money. Applications are available at Human Relations Day Grant, or by contacting Marvlyn Scott (, in the office of Education & Leadership Formation, 202-488-5643. For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie (, assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, 202-488-5611.
     Peace with Justice Grant: Also sponsored by the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). One of six Special Sundays in the denomination, this grant helps those who witness to “God’s demands for a faith, just, disarmed and secure world.” Peace with Justice Sunday is May 26 in 2013. In 2012, $60,000 was allotted to 22 Peace with Justice ministries around the world.
       Grants are awarded in two cycles: spring and fall. Applications must be received no later than Jan. 10 for the spring funding cycle and Aug.10 for the fall. Applications are evaluated by GBCS’s Board of Directors.
Grant applicants must be either a United Methodist or other affiliated organization, or an ecumenical group working with and through at least one United Methodist agency or organization.
      Applicants must work toward achieving at least one of the following objectives:
Assist United Methodists in understanding and responding to violence and militarism, and in moving and leading nations and peoples to reconciliation, transformation, and redemption.
Involve and develop principal leaders among United Methodists and enjoin the general public in efforts to end conflicts, human rights violations and violent aggression around the world;
Promote just national and international policies and actions (governmental and non-governmental) seeking to address poverty and restore communities; or
Support policies that promote systematic economic justice and the self-development of peoples, in particular to respond to the disproportionate effect of injustices on racial, indigenous and ethnic persons.
       Preference will be given to institutions related to The United Methodist Church, then to first-time requests and, finally, to those including an advocacy component in their program or project. Applicants may seek assistance in filling out the form, which is available on the GBCS website or by contacting Marvlyn Scott, 202-488-5643.
For more information or to request an application form, contact the Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant vice president, Education & Leadership Development, 202-488-5611.
 Gammon Theological Seminary receives gift
       Gammon Theological Seminary, the United Methodist constituent seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, has received a $100,000 gift to strengthen the institution’s scholarship aid to students.  
     The Honorable Charles R. Stith, former Ambassador to Tanzania under the Clinton Administration, and a 1975 graduate of Gammon, recently visited with Gammon’s President, Dr. Albert Mosley, and heard of the many positive ways this historic institution continues to influence the community.  In particular, Dr. Mosley made Ambassador Stith aware of Gammon’s Racial Justice Institute, a newly initiated summer-long program that examines systemic issues related to healthcare reform, immigration policy, housing fairness, etc. and the institution’s recent Voter Registration/Voter Education Campaign throughout the Atlanta University Center.
      Stith indicated how pleased he was with Gammon’s increased enrollment and with Gammon’s involvement in the socio-political arena, thereby living up to its historic moniker the “School of the Prophets.” Stith, who is the founding director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University, presented Dr. Mosley with an initial check of $10,000 toward the total $100,000 gift.  
      Stith recalls with fondness his days as a student at Gammon, and in particular the influence that Gammon’s former President Dr. Major Jones had on his personal and ministerial development.  In his own words, Stith sees this gift as a way of “paying it forward,” making sure that future generations of Gammon students will receive the level of support he received during his time at the institution.
 Encounter Weekend offered for clergy/spouse couples
      Marriage Encounter United Methodist has seven weekends planned across the United States, with an Atlanta weekend set for April 26-28, 2013, at the Atlanta Marriott Norcross, 475 Technology Parkway, Norcross 30092. The goal is to support married clergy and church staff by helping them grow in their marriages. Clergy who attend also can earn 1.5 CEUs. To apply, visit For more information, contact Dana & Mark Turpin at or Gary & Lisa Morris at 678-819-8885
  New Church Development gets new staff member
     The North Georgia Conference Office of New Church Development has added Josue Quintanilla to the staff.  Josue will work part-time with the NCD staff as the Hispanic Youth Coordinator. He, along with the Hispanic Leadership Team, will work with the Hispanic congregations to develop a meaningful program of ministry for their youth. They will also conduct seminars and workshops to train leaders as well as plan enrichment and spiritual formation events for all the youth of the Hispanic congregations. Josue will also work closely with Sam Halverson to develop strategies to integrate the Hispanic Youth activities into the ongoing Conference youth program and events.
 Reinhardt University dedicates three new facilities
      The Fall Family and Alumni Weekend at the school’s Waleska campus featured the dedication of three new buildings.  The Athletic Field House, Glenn H. and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard Residence Hall, and the Ken White Music Center were each highlighted and introduced with a ribbon-cutting and open house/dedication during the event.
     The 22,000-square-foot Athletic Field House sits between a new artificial turf field and grass practice field.  Located among the Ken White Fields, the building features a 4,800-square-foot weight room, locker rooms, coaches offices, an athletic training area, meeting and storage space, public restrooms, a concession stand, an outdoor plaza and a garden area. 
     The Hubbard Residence Hall, named after alumni the late Glenn H. and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard, houses 72 male students with four students to each two-room suite.  The building is located next to the Fincher Visual Arts Center overlooking the Falany Performing Arts Center and Lake Mullenix. Plans are already under way for adding a second 72-bed wing to open fall 2013. 
    The Ken White Music Center was named after C. Ken White, ’61, for his longtime dedication and loyalty to the University as an alumnus, donor and Reinhardt trustee.  The center is an addition to Reinhardt’s growing music program, now the largest at any private institution in Georgia. The 4,000-square-foot space connects with the west wing of the University’s Falany Performing Arts Center and includes six faculty studios, eight practice rooms and a classroom.
 Action Ministries is part of Publix 'Food for Sharing' program
     Action Ministries announced that it joins the Feed the Hungry Foundation in support of the 2012 Publix "Food for Sharing" program, which provides food for hundreds of hungry families through generous donations from shoppers, a major portion of which goes to Feed the Hungry Foundation for distribution throughout the year.
     Action Ministries is supporting this effort to help feed more Georgians in their time of need by both promoting the opportunity to give and later helping with distribution of the food to hungry families. 
     Now through January 5, Publix Super Markets in the Atlanta area will accept donations to the Food for Sharing Program. When you check out, hand the cashier the Food for Sharing donation slip with your selected donation, and the cost will be added to your grocery bill. As a thank you gift, Publix is giving a reusable grocery bag with every donation.
 Young Harris College Participates in Operation Christmas Child
     United Methodist-related Young Harris College recently contributed 83 shoe boxes filled with Christmas presents and a check for $245 to Operation Christmas Child, an international outreach project facilitated by Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that aims to provide worldwide spiritual and physical aid. 
      “Operation Christmas Child provides a perfect opportunity for the college’s students, faculty and staff to offer a tangible gift of love to a child they will likely never know,” said YHC Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Rev. Dr. Tim Moore. “Such giving is our own incarnation of love, packaged in a shoebox bursting at the seams with love. In this simple way, we are able to connect our faith to how we live and make that faith real in a new way for us and for those who receive these little gifts.”
      Young Harris College’s involvement in Operation Christmas Child began in 1999. Each year, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to make individual contributions or participate in group service projects within organizations or teams. The shoe boxes were presented during a special service in Susan B. Harris Chapel on the YHC campus. 
       According to YHC Baseball Head Coach Rick Robinson, participating in Operation Christmas Child is an annual tradition for the YHC baseball team. This year, 38 of the team’s players prepared shoe boxes and utilized an EZ Give barcode on the label that will allow the team to receive e-mails revealing the destination of some of their gifts.
       “I really enjoy putting together the shoe boxes each year because it allows us to step back and see the importance in the things we fill the boxes with that will benefit children in need,” said YHC baseball player Taylor Topping, a junior biology major from Virginia Beach, Va. “It also brings us together as a team, and it’s a perfect time for us to give back to the global community during the holidays.”
 Cokesbury stores to close, focus on website
     The Board of Directors of the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) has announced the closing of all 38 of its full-line stores and 19 seminary stores including North Georgia's Lawrenceville Hwy. store and both the Candler and Gammon Seminary stores. UMPH will launch a new initiative, CokesburyNext, for its retail division.
    CokesburyNext will redirect focus and resources toward expanding and enhancing products and services at, the Cokesbury Call Center (1-800-672-1789), and through a team of Cokesbury Sales Representatives. 
     A steady increase in sales through and through the call center operation has been noted over the past 10 years, while traffic in the store locations has declined. Cokesbury offers resources for congregations, seminaries, church leaders, study groups, and individuals.
      “A shift toward all things digital and the convenience of placing orders at any time is the reality of Cokesbury today. It is difficult to see the closure of Cokesbury local stores, but doing so will allow us to make a greater investment in the ways of shopping with Cokesbury that customers increasingly prefer,” said UMPH President and Publisher Neil Alexander.
     CokesburyNext involves the enhancement of four distinct purchasing channels. The Cokesbury Call Center (1-800-672-1789) will be extending its hours to 10 p.m. Eastern Time and increasing staffing to better suit busy customer schedules. will be continuously improved to serve customers and will regularly feature special offers and products. The scale and frequency of Cokesbury’s presence at local conferences and meetings will increase, and Cokesbury will work with church partners to host many of its most popular events. To better serve customers who require personal attention, we will deploy more than 40 Cokesbury Sales Representatives who will bring information about a full complement of products directly to customers at their churches and other ministry settings.
      Cokesbury is taking steps to help ensure the well-being of store personnel following the closure of the local stores. The ministry will assist them in the transition, providing both severance packages and job search services.
CokesburyNext will be rolled out throughout 2013, and the last Cokesbury local store is expected to close by April 30, 2013. More information on CokesburyNext is available at