Watsons Honored with Gifts and Awards at Annual Conference


Pictured: Bishop Watson receiving the Key to the City from Athens Mayor Nancy Denson
When Bishop Mike Watson returned from the North Georgia Annual Conference, he brought with him a dozen meaningful awards and gifts in addition to those given at a celebration of the ministry of the Watsons

At the Candler Dinner on June 9, Bishop Watson was presented the Dean's Medal by Dean Jan Love.

"Bishop B. Michael Watson, faithful United Methodist, ecumenical and civic leader, philanthropist, and visionary, I present to you the Dean's Medal on behalf of Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in recognition of your extraordinary service," she said. 

The medal is a rare gift, only given three times in Dean Love's tenure.

Another rare gift was given to Bishop Watson, Margaret Watson and the members of the North Georgia Conference -- the Key to the City. Athens Mayor Nancy B. Denson presented Bishop Watson the key during the host committee's welcome to the Conference. "We only give keys to the city to our most trusted friends,” she said. 

Imagine No Malaria representative Ashley Gish traveled to Athens to personally thank the North Georgia Conference and Bishop Watson for raising approximately $800,000 for the initiative to eradicate malaria. She presented a large plaque with the words, "God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. You are the evidence. Thank you North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church."

Noting Bishop Watson's love of music, Dr. Don Saliers of Candler School of Theology, offered the gift of a commissioned hymn. Titled, "Holy Spirit, Come Among Us," a framed copy of the music and words was presented to him.
As a fun token of Bishop Watson’s support of Leadership UMC, Jane Finley presented him with a caricature of himself with some of his favorite things, including the University of Alabama mascot. 

The Northwest District presented Bishop Watson with a hand-carved Cross and Flame from the historic Cartecay UMC. 

Another hand-made gift came from the Classic Center staff, who work closely with North Georgia Conference staff nearly year-round planning our Annual Conference session. They presented Bishop Watson with a large pottery bowl made by an Athens artist with the Cross and Flame in the center. 

A gift still to come is a collection of hand-written notes from members of the Annual Conference. During the Conference session, baskets were placed around the Classic Center to collect notes to the Watsons. Those notes will be given to them by the Episcopacy Committee.

Bishop Watson will retire August 31, and will take on a new role as the Council of Bishops' Ecumenical Officer.