News, notes and anecdotes from across the conference


 Mother’s Day offering benefits Wesley Woods
    On Sunday May 12th, Methodist church members across North Georgia will be asked to give to the Mother's Day Offering, which will benefit the residents of Wesley Woods. As the scripture “Keep loving each other like family” HEBREWS 13:1 CEB reminds us, we have a responsibility for caring not only for our own parents, but also for those who have nowhere else to turn. More than 75 percent of Wesley Woods residents are dependent on financial assistance. Even more poignant is the fact that 40 percent live below the poverty level, which for one adult is about $10,000 per year.
     The annual Mother’s Day Offering is used for charitable care for those residents who need this assistance to pay for housing costs, meals or skilled care. Thanks to your generous support, Wesley Woods has never had to ask an older adult to leave simply because they ran out of resources. As older adults live longer, more are exhausting their financial resources and relying on Social Security as their only income. Some experience health problems that go far beyond what Medicare benefits will cover. Many struggle to afford simple necessities. That is why your support of the Mother’s Day Offering is so critical.
       Donations can be made through your local church, by mailing a check to our offices or by donating online at
YOUTH 2015 Design Team Application Deadline
     YOUTH 2015 will be a large-scale gathering of United Methodist youth from across the denomination. This will be the “must attend” discipleship conference for United Methodist youth and their leaders June 24-28, 2015, at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla. Now, YOUTH 2015 is looking for passionate and skilled leaders to assemble as part of the Design Team. This Design Team will bring together volunteer youth, adult workers with youth, General Board of Discipleship Staff, and other UMC General Agency staff. Together this team will plan and execute all phases of YOUTH 2015 before, during, and after the event. Find details and download the application at
 Safe Sanctuaries training offered
     Set for 11 a.m.-noon May 4 at Bowen UMC, this training is intended for congregations and church leaders, and is designed to help you get started on, update or improve your identification as a Safe Sanctuary church.  Jasmine Smothers, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries, will be leading this session. There is no charge for the workshop but seating is limited so please be sure to register at
Monica Kaufman Pearson to deliver commencement address 
      Monica Kaufman Pearson, retired veteran anchor of WSB-TV’s Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta, will deliver the commencement address at Young Harris College’s Commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. May 4 in the Recreation and Fitness Center on the YHC campus.
      Pearson retired in July 2012 after a 37-year career with WSB-TV. She joined the Channel 2 Action News staff in 1975 as Atlanta’s first woman and first minority to anchor the 6 p.m. news. She ended a run of more than 30 years as the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat anchor in May 2011 when WSB-TV launched its 4 p.m. newscast. Pearson is also well known for her long-running “Close-Ups,” in which she interviewed nationally known celebrities and world leaders.
       The University of Louisville English graduate was a reporter with The Louisville Times for five years.
For her professional work, Pearson has received some of journalism’s highest honors including 30 Emmy Awards, the Women’s Sports Journalism Award for Local Television Reporting, and two National American Women in Radio and Television Awards. She also was inducted into her home state of Kentucky’s Journalism Hall of Fame.
      For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar at (706) 379-5176.
 Commerce FUMC: Learning the ropes
            On May 4, Commerce FUMC third-fifth graders will visit Camp Glisson to experience some of the low ropes elements.  Details are on the church website on the Children’s Program announcements page or call the church office at (706) 335-4018.  The church is at 16 Cherry St.
 Bowen UMC: Congrats to a special couple
      Congratulations to Carel and Barbara Jones who recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  They met in high school and have been together ever since.  They share and live by the bible passage from Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 as a representation of their years together.  Carel and Barbara are the parents of three adult children and grandparents to four.  The Joneses are vital members in the Bowen UMC family.  They are role models and mentors to many of the members at Bowen and they truly exemplify a couple of faith.  For 60 years, their marriage has been filled with love, faith, a commitment to family, church and lots of laughter.
 Glisson Camp and Retreat Center open house
     Families of first-time campers are invited to Glisson’s May 11 Open House, which is a great opportunity to become familiar with the property, tour camp facilities, meet the staff, and have your questions answered by the Camp Director and Program Team. Find out more and RSVP at
 Action Ministries’ Night of Champions
      The Night of Champions, set for May 16 at Northside UMC, celebrates the spirit of endurance in those who are working hard to achieve their dreams. For the event, Action Ministries brings together athletic coaches from around Georgia for an evening of conversation and inspiration about being a champion in life – whether on the playing field, in the neighborhood, or on the job. This year’s event features Coach Bill Curry and his wife, Dr. Carolyn Curry, as Honorary Chairs, along with Coaches Mark Richt, Ron Hunter, and Paul Johnson. For table and/or sponsorship information, please contact Rebecca Whicker at
 Chatsworth, Ringgold churches vying for grants
     As part of their Fighting Hunger Together initiative, Walmart is giving out $3 million in grants for the most innovative and effective programs that help alleviate child hunger. First United Methodist Church of Chatsworth and Ringgold UMC are in the running to each win one of 100 grants. The churches are asking for votes, which will help the chances of winning. 
      The funds will be used to support Murray County Saturday Sacks (Chatsworth) or Nourishing Children in Catoosa (Ringgold). Here’s how to vote.  Now through April 30, go to (Chatsworth)   or (Ringgold) to vote. You can vote once a day, so please vote as often as you can.
 Lake Junaluska celebrates 100 years 
      On June 25, 1913, Lake Junaluska wrapped up five years of planning and hosted its first events. At the time, Lake Junaluska consisted of Stuart Auditorium, which was an open-air structure with a dirt-covered floor, a man-made lake, and a small number of homes.
      Over the past 100 years, Lake Junaluska has grown into a much beloved retreat center and residential community. Today, Lake Junaluska looks to a bright future as a place of Christian hospitality, where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind, and body.
      A series of signature Centennial events has been planned for June 30-July 7, including:
•         The Centennial Concert Series, featuring Balsam Range, the Lake Junaluska Singers and singers alumni.
Historical lake crossing re-enactments, and tours of the Lake Junaluska train depot, historic homes and the gardens.
Family Olympics, with field day relays and activities, water competitions, and scavenger hunt.
Replication of the 1913 opening worship service photo in front of Stuart Auditorium. All are welcome to be a part of this historic photo.
July 4 festivities, including the annual parade (“Lake Junaluska Through the Years”), BBQ picnic with bluegrass band, evening performance, and fireworks.
Singers and staff reunions
Charity golf tournament, with proceeds to support the Lake Junaluska Annual Fund.
Special showing of The Swan, starring Alec Guiness and Grace Kelly. Portions of The Swan were filmed at the Lake Junaluska train depot.
      Additional information about Lake Junaluska Centennial Homecoming Week can be found at or by calling 800-222-4930.
 Opportunities at Hinton Retreat Center
    Family weekend has been planned for May 24-26 at Hinton Retreat Center overlooking Lake Chatuge in Hayesville, N.C.  The Christian retreat and conference center builds community through sacred space for retreat, reflection, and renewal. The family weekend will begin with an ice cream sundae get-together on Friday night. Saturday’s activities will end with a lakeside worship service, bonfire and s’mores. Sunday morning’s inspirational worship wraps up the weekend.
    A Pathways through Loss retreat is planned for June 14-16 at the center.  The event offers an exploration of the nature of loss, how we face it or avoid it, and some of the ways that we walk (or run) through it. Beginning with an introductory session on Friday evening and continuing through morning, afternoon, and evening sessions on Saturday, participants will delve into the nature of loss and the human response to it. Included in the workshop will be a discussion of the many kinds of losses experienced throughout life, an exploration of images surrounding them, the emotions they elicit and a variety of pathways through them. The workshop will conclude with worship on Sunday morning.
     For more information on both events, visit
 Resource for children’s ministry workers
      The 2013 Conference on Ministry with Children (formerly FOCUS) is offered by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) of The United Methodist Church to support those engaged in ministry with children. This event is open to teachers, leaders, pastors, children’s advocates, preschool teachers and directors, annual conference staff, and anyone who is committed to faith formation of children. We will offer workshops, panel discussions, networking, engaging worship experiences, and resources for training and connecting leaders in ministry with children while equipping participants with practical applications and practices to use in their congregations.
       Join us as we “Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord” July 22-26, 2013 in beautiful Greenville, S.C. at Buncombe Street UMC. We will celebrate our work with children and connect in ways that will help our children continue to grow in faith
       For more information, please e-mail
 HealthFlex Participants: Schedule Your Screening
     Clergy and Conference staff who are participants in HealthFlex should take advantage of the Quest Diagnostics Blueprint for Wellness® screening ongoing through July 31 at no cost to you. This screening is part of your HealthFlex wellness benefits. Participants and spouses in active HealthFlex plans can each earn $100 HealthCash.* You’ll receive valuable health data to share with your doctor.
     Blueprint for Wellness is a comprehensive biometric screening. Just one blood sample and a few quick measurements analyze 30 health factors. Results are confidential and will be mailed directly to you, to share with your doctor. You must preregister to obtain this screening. 
     To register, call (866) 908-9440.  Employer/group: “United Methodist Church” or “HealthFlex” 
     To register online:  Log into HealthFlex/WebMD and select “Quest Blueprint for Wellness” in left column.
 “One Family” Musical Celebration 
      Performers from Acworth UMC, Mount Zion UMC, Saint Andrew UMC, and several other local congregations will help Family Promise of Cobb County (FPCC) kick off its effort to help the county’s homeless families when they perform in the “One Family” musical celebration at Unity North Church on  May 17.
      “We invite everyone in Cobb County to join us as we celebrate the launch of Family Promise of Cobb County at this milestone event,” said FPCC President Fred Massey. “We hope this event will not only help us to raise funds for this initiative, but that it will also help to introduce us to the larger Cobb County community.”
      “The theme of the event – One Family … One Promise … One Song – captures the essence of the message that FPCC hopes to convey through this event,” Massey said. “Unity North has graciously agreed to host this event, which will feature performers from many of the area congregations that are supporting our efforts.”
      Musical performers from Acworth UMC, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Mount Zion UMC, Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, Saint Andrew UMC, St. Catherine's Episcopal Church, and Unity North Atlanta Church have already agreed to participate in the One Family event. Musicians and vocalists from other congregations are also expected to join the lineup of performers in the weeks between now and the night of the show.
      Advance tickets are $7 each, and may be purchased from participating congregations or on the FPCC website at Family tickets may also be purchased in advance at a cost of $20 for four tickets. Tickets purchased at the door on the night of the event will cost $10 each. The cost for a family package of four tickets purchased at the door on the evening of the event will be $25.
 Hal Brady to preach on ‘Day 1’
     The Rev. Dr. Hal Brady, a well-known preacher and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries based in Atlanta, is the featured speaker for Pentecost Sunday, May 19, on “Day 1,” with host Peter Wallace. The nationally syndicated ecumenical radio program also is accessible online at
     An ordained United Methodist minister, Brady retired in 2011 after 50 years of pastoral ministry in Dallas, Tex., and in the North and South Georgia Conferences of the United Methodist Church. Currently Brady preaches every week on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting (AIB) television channel in Atlanta. He also serves in a number of church and educational leadership roles around the state of Georgia.
     Brady is a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens, and Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
     His sermon for Pentecost Sunday, based on Acts 2:1-13, is entitled “We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do!” “What do we think of when we think of Pentecost? Many of us think of fire and wind and the onslaught of a violent storm. We think of speaking in tongues and that unusual experience of ‘foreigners’ hearing and understanding the ‘noble things of God’ without the assistance of an interpreter,” he says. “But there is much more to Pentecost. The reality is that the Holy Spirit moved the disciples from sadness to joy and from survival to renewal.”
     For more information, call 888-411-Day-1 or check the program’s website,
 Student Day Offering totals are in
      In 2012, the North Georgia Annual Conference local churches contributed $10,352.23 to the Student Day Offering. Thank you!  Student Day Offering receipts are used directly for scholarships for United Methodist student leaders at our UM schools. Ten percent of each conference’s Student Day receipts is reserved for the Conference Merit Award scholarship program. The North Georgia Conference 2013 Conference Merit Award scholarship recipient(s) will receive a total award amount of $1,000.
  Tate UMC: Snacks for the weekend
     More than 50 percent of the students in the Pickens County Public School system qualify for either free or reduced meals. Some of these students only get sufficient food when they eat in the school cafeteria.  Research has shown that students who are hungry have difficulty concentrating thus making it harder for those students to do well in class, on assignments and in taking standard tests. 
     Beginning with the 2012 school year, Tate UMC joined with the school counselor, teachers and others at Tate Elementary School to ensure that these needy students had a snack bag to take home on the weekends.  Dr. Michelle Stangline, the counselor at Tate, recognized the need for such a program.  Sandy Boling, a church member who works at Tate Elementary, brought the idea to Pastor Louise Elmore to support the program by donating snack foods.  Church members agreed, and provided snacks to help fill the 25 bags sent home weekly with students that need the food.
     After hearing about the program’s success, other elementary schools expressed an interest in the weekend snack program. Tate UMC joined with other churches, organizations and individuals in Pickens County to furnish snack bags for all four elementary schools.  Beginning with the month of April, snack bags were packed in the Tate UMC fellowship hall for all four elementary schools.  Volunteers from Tate UMC, First Baptist Church in Jasper, the Amicalola Garden Club in Tate and others come together to sort food, pack bags and deliver more than 170 snack bags to the elementary schools each week.  Other churches are joining up to furnish monetary and food donations as well as volunteers to keep the program going.
     Even though it is referred to as the weekend snack program, the food is intended to be more than just snacks.  There is enough food in the snack bags for a child to have several weekend meals.  The food packed in the bags includes Vienna sausages, beefaroni, soup, mac and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, stacks of crackers, pop tarts, granola bars, popcorn, chips and other items.  All items could easily prepared by elementary school students with little help.
        Thanks to the support for the elementary school weekend snack program, plans are now underway to expand the program to the two middle schools and the high school.