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2010 South Georgia Annual Conference

June 6-9, 2010, Tifton

By Kara Witherow, Kelly Roberson

Fellowship, worship, Bible study and celebration marked the 2010 South Georgia Annual Conference session, held June 6-9 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Ga. Bishop James R. King Jr., episcopal leader of the South Georgia area, presided over his second Annual Conference session in South Georgia.

Meeting under the theme of "Sowing the Word," this year's Annual Conference session allowed the nearly 1,200 attendees several opportunities to open the Scriptures and share in the richness of God's Word. Woven throughout the conference were testimonies that encouraged and exhorted members to sow the Word of God into their lives and into the lives of others.

In his sermon, "So What?" Bishop King proclaimed that clergy and laity are to sow the Word of God to a world that is aching to hear the words of Life.

"Positive persistence pays," he said. "Growing God's kingdom sowing seeds does not just happen; it's not automatic. Every seed you sow will not bear fruit. But the ones that fall on a spiritually mature heart will. Be faithful; be encouraged. Sow the word of God."

One of the highlights of conference was an intentional time set aside to focus on living a healthier lifestyle. During "A Healthier Me: Body, Mind & Soul" members ran and walked, participated in aerobics, body prayer, wellness workshops and health screens, all in an effort to enhance their lives.

In other actions, members:

  • gave over $43,000 to the United Methodist Committee on Relief for this year's special offering.

  • heard powerful messages from Bishop King, Rev. Jim Cowart in the Sunday night service, Bishop Richard Looney in the Ordination Service, Rev. C. Dick Reese in the Memorial Service and Bishop Richard Wilke in two Bible studies.

  • learned more about The Advance and covenant relationships with missionaries from Ms. Rachael Barnett from The General Board of Global Ministries.

  • were greeted by Mr. Charlie Coleman, an ambassador for the Black College Fund, who expressed appreciation for the support The United Methodist Church and the South Georgia Conference gives him and the 16,000 students through the Black College Fund.

  • heard John Wesley moments by Rev. Dave Hanson throughout conference in which these concise and powerful mini-sermons reminded attendees of our Wesleyan roots.

  • approved a $12.4 million budget for mission and ministry for the next year.

Six people were commissioned as provisional elders, one person was commissioned as provisional deacon, one person was recognized as an associate member and six were ordained into the Order of Elders. The average age of those ordained is 36. Sixteen pastors retired, and twenty-one were recognized for achieving their 50th anniversary in ministry. Thirty clergy and clergy spouses who died in the past year were remembered during a service of commemoration.

Membership stands at 133,357, down 1,567 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 52,611, down 31.