March 2021: A Word from your DS

February 28 2021


March winds are blowing and spring is in the air. I’m fine with a little wind - enough to fly a kite or sail a boat - but I would rather not see the severe stuff! Here are some updates and highlights for March in the Northwest District:

New District Website: I want to give special thanks to Kelly Roberson, Director of Communications for the South Georgia Conference, for updating our NW District website with a fresh new look and user-friendly features. It is a great place to go for district and conference news.

Congratulations, Dr. Adriane Burgess! One of the articles you will see on our NW District site features Adriane Burgess, pastor of St. Mary’s Road UMC, and her recent video devotional series, “Dessert. Devotion.” United Methodist News Service picked up the story from our Conference Communications and included it in their denomination-wide communication under the title, “Pastor mixes baking with Bible Study.” Congratulations, Adriane, and thank you for representing South Ga. and the NW District!

Appointment Making: The Bishop and Cabinet will be making appointments this month, prayerfully seeking to match pastors and churches for faithful and fruitful ministry. Please continue to keep us, and this process in your prayers. I think it is important for you to know that Bishop Bryan has led us in discussing each church and each pastor in the conference, regardless of move status. Every church of every size and location; every pastor, from Ordained Elders to Lay Supply; has been given our prayerful consideration. The new appointments for 2021-22 will be announced in April.

A Word on General Conference: The General Conference for the United Methodist Church has now been delayed until August/September 2022. (For more details, visit our conference website at sgaumc.org). I was disappointed with this news, but not surprised. The safety and logistical problems of having either an in-person or virtual conference with delegates from all around the world in 2021 proved to be too difficult. I accept the decision, but remain frustrated that we will not be able to consider the Protocol for Separation this year and to have a real opportunity to resolve our long-standing division within our denomination over human sexuality.

For those of us who feel we are hearing the proverbial “can” clatter further down the street yet again, I suggest patience and confidence based on the following:

  • The language in The Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality has not been changed. Marriage is between a man and a woman and celibacy in singleness is the norm. Anything else is incompatible with Christian teaching. That is biblical. That is the position of a large majority of Methodists in South Ga.
  • We will act as an Annual Conference. As Bishop Bryan likes to point out, “No one is going to come down to South Georgia and force us to become something we are not.” We in South Georgia will decide what we do and what we will be.
  • No church conference, board or agency can make or prevent you and me from being a disciple of Jesus or making disciples for Jesus. We can be faithful now!
  • Jesus Christ loves the people called Methodist, and He, the Lord of the Church, is ever ready to help those who humbly seek His face and seek His kingdom here on earth.

So be confident and have patience. The Lord is near! He is actively at work drawing new people to Himself. And nothing - not Covid19, not failed policies and politics, not Big Tech or even a postponed General Conference - can keep Jesus Christ from building His Church. And wonder of wonders, you and I get to be a part of it!

Grace and Peace,
Steve