News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 Cumming FUMC: Bluegrass special music

     At the 8:45 and 11 a.m. services Dec. 23, the church will present the 4th annual Bluegrass Christmas with music by Faculty Grass. The church is at 770 Canton Hwy., Cumming 30040.
 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. 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
 Warren Memorial UMC opens doors to community
      The congregation of Warren Memorial, in the heart of the Atlanta University Center (AUC), held a community Thanksgiving day meal and has launched a contemporary worship service, canvassed the A
UC schools, and become a contextual education site for Gammon Theological Seminary.
     On Thanksgiving day, several members along with the Rev. Donald K. Reed and Gammon students, served a traditional meal with all the trimmings.
     “We are planting seed. We may not see the fruit immediately, but in due time God will give the increase,” said Reed.  “Warren has historically been a presence for the United Methodist Church in this community and especially among the college community.  Several former presidents of Clark College, one of the predecessor institutions to CAU have been members along with faculty staff and students.  It is our hope and commitment to renew those bonds and form a stronger relationship.”
 Cokesbury presence to continue at Annual Conference
     As Cokesbury stores celebrate their final "Cokesbury Christmas," North Georgia Annual Conference officials want to confirm that Cokesbury’s in-person presence will continue at North Georgia Annual Conference, as well as all of the Annual Conference sessions in the United States. 
     "Cokesbury has many ways to serve customers – a toll-free call center, and sales reps serving 45 markets across the country, but we consider our attendance at Annual Conference the high point of our year," said Jeffrey Barnes, executive director of Cokesbury Operations.
      Read more about the final "Cokesbury Christmas" for stores at
 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 percent 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.
 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 or
    Snellville UMC: Cookie giveaway continues
      A holiday tradition continues at the Snellville church as bakers bag one dozen freshly baked cookies in a large zip-lock bag and bring to the church first thing in the morning Christmas eve, for afternoon delivery to local businesses and government offices. Around 20 volunteers work to add ribbon and notes to the bags, and 100 servants show up to deliver the goodies.
Suwanee FUMC: First hunger event a success
     The Suwanee church held its first Stop Hunger Now food packaging event in October, with approximately 35 church members helping package 10, 000 meals for children in Haiti in a little over two hours.  The church raised the $2,500 required to host the event, and is well on its way to hosting another sometime in 2013.
 Roswell UMC: Forms job networking alliance
     The Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce (GNFCC) is partnering with the nationally-acclaimed Roswell UMC (RUMC) Job Networking Program toward the mission of lowering unemployment and matching job seekers to openings in North Fulton.
      The grassroots, volunteer-led program has a long history of success. RUMC Job Networking and its stellar lineup of sponsors, including Roswell Rotary, have been providing the resources and volunteers to help job seekers for 24 years. This powerful alliance with the GNFCC will provide a strong link between employers and all levels of job seekers in the community. In the months to come, the GNFCC will rally its membership base and other strong resources to expand this new alliance.
     Al Nash, executive director of Progress Partners North Fulton Atlanta, the GNFCC’s economic development initiative, spearheaded the collaboration.
       “This alliance is a great example of how organizations can collaborate to address the needs of the community,“ said Nash. “It’s important to our economic development strategy that we have a vehicle to match up qualified candidates with jobs that are being generated in North Fulton.”
      North Fulton businesses with job openings are encouraged to send information to Jay Litton, volunteer leader with the RUMC program, via     
     “Employers are always looking for the right candidate and job seekers are ready for the right opportunity and the most up-to-date search skills. This alliance will bring the community together for a most pressing issue – jobs,” said Litton.
      In addition to its job matching services, the program teaches cutting-edge techniques to help job seekers keep resumes up to date and interviewing skills sharp. Job Networking meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at the church. 
Dates for upcoming job fair events and information about the initiative can be found at: |