Monday morning began with the Laity Session at 8:30 a.m. in the Coliseum and the Clergy Sessions at 8:30 a.m. in the Monument Room.
Roy Blackwood, conference lay leader, called the meeting to order. Following the opening prayer by Jim Simmons, Savannah District Lay Leader, Nancy Hudson, Macon District Lay Leader, gave the greetings, welcoming lay members to Macon for the 2012 Annual Conference.
Lynn Walker, Statesboro District Lay Leader, offered a devotional.
Laity then heard a report from the United Methodist Women by Sara Bankhead, UMW President, and a report from the United Methodist Men by Chuck Cowart.
Chuck Cowart introduced the incoming UMM President Johnny Hemmingway from St. Mary’s Road in the Columbus District. Chuck was surprised with a presentation by the United Methodist Men Foundation as being inducted as a fellow into the Society of John Wesley by the United Methodist Men Foundation.
Jimmy Outlaw, Americus District Lay Leader, gave a brief orientation to Annual Conference. Afterwards, Roy Blackwood introduced each of the District Lay Leaders.
Shirley Thigpen, Dublin District Lay Leader, gave the closing prayer.
Bishop James R. King, Jr. convened the clergy session. Rev. Dale Thornton led the clergy in singing “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” accompanied by Rev. Tony Crosby on the piano. Rev. Stacey Harwell opened with a word of prayer.
Bishop King welcomed all clergy and lay members of the Board of Ordained Ministry and clarified who could attend, speak and vote at the clergy session.
Bishop King asked the Historic Question regarding the character of all clergy. The Bishop reported on the character of the District Superintendents. The District Superintendents reported on the clergy under their supervision. The character of all clergy was approved.
Dr. Marcus Tripp gave the Board of Ministry Report. Dr. Jay Harris then gave the Report of the Registrars.
Rev. Michael Mobley offered the closing prayer.
The Business Session of the 2012 Annual Conference opened with the historic hymn, And Are We Yet Alive. Bishop King called the session to order. This is Bishop King’s fourth Annual Conference to preside over since becoming the resident bishop of the South Georgia Area.
Rev. Tommy Martin, Senior Pastor at Tifton First UMC, welcomed South Georgia United Methodists to Macon. The Honorable Robert Reichert, Mayor of Macon, extended a welcome from the Macon community.
In the Business Session Monday morning, the conference:
· heard the Lay Leader's Addresses by Mr. Roy Blackwood, conference lay leader. Mr. Blackwood reminded us that “every day our lives are interwoven with people who … need someone to listen. When we are telling others about our faith we are just introducing them to Jesus by telling them how He has changed our lives. Only you can share your stories. Don’t let your stories be lost.”
· celebrated through “commercials” the ministries of The Methodist Home for Children and Youth, Wesley Glen Ministries, New and Revitalized Congregational Development, Open Door Community Centers, Higher Education and Ministry.
· heard two John Wesley Moments given by Rev. Dave Hanson. In the first moment we were reminded of the challenges John Wesley faced in sharing his faith and preaching in the fields. In the second moment Rev. Hanson reminded the Conference of a special day in the life of John Wesley when his mother, Susannah, made the vow that she dedicate her life as a woman of prayer.
· heard the Board of Ordained Ministry report given by Dr. Marcus Tripp, chair.
· recognized those clergy who faithfully serve beyond the local church in an extension ministry appointment
· received clergy into full conference membership. Bishop King asked the clergy the historic questions asked of all clergy since the days of John Wesley. The conference welcomed these clergy into their new relationship.
· heard the report of the conference personnel committee.
· approved the equitable compensation report.
· approved the conference trustees report.
· were made aware of a new program by the Methodist Home for Children and youth to encourage local churches to select Methodist Home advocates.
· were led in a teaching moment by Dr. Brent Strawn, Associate Professor of Old Testament Candler School of Theology, Emory University - “Preach Always; If Necessary Use Words.”
· adopted the items on the consent calendar.
· elected persons presented by the nominations committee.
· approved the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits report.
· heard the report of the General Conference delegation gave their report from the General Conference session held in Tampa, Florida from April 24 - May 4, 2012.
· endorsed Rev. Robert Beckum as the conference candidate for the episcopacy.
· heard from Reverend Dr. Claire Potter, curator of the Epworth Old Rectory in Epworth, England.
· honored 5 Star and 4 Star Pastors for 2011. Five Star Pastors were: Rev. Jim Cowart, Rev. Jason Dickerson, Rev. Jay Hanson, Rev. Matt Hearn, Rev. Bernie Khaw, Rev. Billy Kimbrel, Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed, Rev. Jimmy MclIrath, Rev. Kent Miller, Rev. Gary Minton, Rev. Rick Mitchell, Rev. Wes Moye, Rev. Kenneth Myers, Rev. Janet Odegaard, Rev. Thomas Parrish, Rev. Lee Pettis, Rev. Tyler Plaxico, Rev. Steve Purnell, Rev. Chris Ramsey, Rev. Lynn Roberts, and Rev. Randy Spicer. There were 125 Four Star Pastors.
· took action on the church closings of the following churches, while also celebrating the impact these churches have had on many people in the South Georgia Conference: Cross Keys United Methodist Church, Scotland United Methodist Church, and Oakey Grove United Methodist Church.
· heard a report on the feasibility of reducing the number of districts. The discussion on this will be continued on Tuesday morning.
To close the day, the Conference gathered for the service of Ordination and Commissioning. Bishop B. Michael Watson, episcopal leader of the North Georgia Annual Conference, was the preacher for this service.
“You’ve been chosen – you’ve been elected – for a very high privilege,” said Bishop Watson to the ordinands. “These are high, holy privileges and you’ve been chosen for them.
“We are called holy. What does it mean? We are called out. Set apart. Separate. Different. That’s what we are called to be. We are called to be different in our responses. We are called to respond in faith, hope and love,” said Bishop Watson. “That’s how we are holy.”
Bishop James R. King, Jr. presided over the ordinal rites and was assisted by Bishop Watson and Mr. Roy Blackwood, Conference Lay Leader, representing the laity, and Dr. Marcus Tripp, Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, observed the ordinal rites.
The following individuals were commissioned as Probationary Clergy Members.
Probationary Members Commissioned for Ordination as Elders
James L. Davis
Thomas Patrick Dent
Joshua Lee Duckworth
Sue Ann Jackson
Donald Wesley Merricks, II
Lee E. Pettis
Chance S. Ward
Robert William Wood
Probationary Member Commissioned for Ordination of Deacons
Michael Lamar Mobley
The following individuals were ordained as Full Conference Members:
Full Conference Members/Elders
Mary Ann Braswell
Thomas Willis Carruth
Gordon Allen Cason
Cleo McRae Gilchrist-Conaway
William Jeffrey Cook
Tony Gary Crosby
Michael R. Davis
Precious Sessely Hawkins Lundy
Brett Clifton Maddocks
Carrie Harper Myers
David Tyler Plaxico
Lee Daniel Smith
Daniel Edison Underwood
Full Conference Member/Deacon
Stacey Irene Harwell
The Board of Ordained Ministry processed with the ordinands as a sign of the covenant community into which these newly ordained persons are entering. Dr. John Stephens and Reverend Karen Kilhefner represented the Orders of Elders and Deacon.