SouthWest News and Updates                                                         View this email in your browser

A Perspective From Rev. Dr. Shannon Karafanda
Full Deacon, Executive Pastor at Peachtree City UMC, and Professional #HolyMischief maker 

5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Calling
November is a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. For many of us, this includes our calling and the blessings that come with it. We've all had our share of discouragement in the past few years but the wonderful news is that God is not finished with us yet! Here are 5 reasons why you should be thankful for your calling:
1. You are fulfilling a purpose that God has given you.
You may have forgotten this but all of us are called. Your calling may be crystal
clear or it may have gotten fuzzy but either way, you are a part of building the
2. You have been blessed with unique gifts and talents.
We need each other. We need the gifts and talents that we each bring to the
table. Our calling allows us to use our unique gifts and talents for the good of
others and the glory of God.
3. You get to share your love with others.
When we are pursuing our calling, there is a deep joy and satisfaction that comes
with it. It may not always be easy but it is worth it when we are living out our
purpose. And the best part is that you get to share that joy and love with others!
4. You are part of a larger community of believers.
The nature of our church is connectional. You don't have to do ministry alone. We
are here to celebrate one another and support each other in times of need. For
example, did you know that Jairo Gay was named teacher of the year at his school? Did you know B.J. Bowers has completed 18 semesters of Course of Study? Did you know Sid Bream was at a Wednesday Night Supper at Griffin FUMC? We have a lot to celebrate beyond our local church. The next time you feel overwhelmed
with the task ahead of you, remember how wide and how deep and how high the love of Christ is in this world.
5. You can make a difference in the world
Making a difference in the world is one of the most rewarding things a person can
do. Whether it's through volunteering, donating money, or just spreading
kindness, every little bit helps. And the great thing is, you don't have to be a
certain type of church or pastor to make a difference. You can start making a
difference today, with whatever you have. All it takes is a little effort and
Thankfulness is one of the most important attitudes we can have as Christians. It
reminds us of all that God has done for us and it opens our hearts to receive
even more blessings from Him. When we are thankful, it changes how we see
the world and how we interact with others. We become more compassionate and
forgiving, and less likely to complain about small things. So this month, let's be
thankful for our calling and all the wonderful blessings that come with it!


2023 HealthFlex Annual Enrollment is Nov 2 to 17

November 2 to 17, 2022 is Annual Enrollment season for HealthFlex participants. During Annual Enrollment, you’ll select your 2023 HealthFlex benefits.

Figuring out what changes to make (if any) isn’t always easy—which is why we recommend doing a quick checkup with ALEX®, the virtual benefits counselor.

ALEX asks you about your estimated health care spending and crunches the numbers to show you which medical, dental and visions plans might cost the least overall and which ones might be most cost efficient if unexpected costs arise. It’s all totally confidential and takes less than 10 minutes to get a full year’s worth of peace of mind.

Before you enroll, give it a try at You can use ALEX today.

If you would like to learn more about the plans and health accounts ALEX recommends, check out the HealthFlex Annual Election webpage.

Then, make your elections at between November 2 and November 17.

Reminder: If you are currently making contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Savings Account (FSA), or Dependent Care Account (DCA), to continue contributing to those accounts in 2023 you must elect them during annual enrollment. These do not roll forward from year to year.


All clergy and SPR Chairs are reminded that the Ministerial Appointment Information forms (Move forms) are due in the District Office by November 15.  They may be emailed (, faxed (770-467-0010) or hand delivered to the office.  Click below to download a copy of the forms.
Fearless Dialogues - Diving Deeper
Last Opportunity for the Year!

Saturday, November 5 will be the final installment of the Southwest District Fearless Dialogues workshops that began in February.  This session will be led by Rev. Brian Tillman, Conference Director of Inclusion and Advocacy, who will lead the group in considering concrete steps as we lead our congregations and communities toward racial healing and reconciliation. Participation in previous workshops is not required.  

Event is free and lunch is provided!

Register for Pre-Retirement Webinars

If you’re eligible to retire in 2023—or if you’re considering retirement in the next few years—don’t miss Wespath’s pre-retirement webinars scheduled this fall.
To register, click on the date and time below that works best for you. If for some reason you cannot attend, your registration will allow you access to the webinar recording.
District Delegates Needed for the 2023 Annual Conference

While local churches are in the process of selecting delegates to the 2023 Annual Conference, the district is seeking At Large Delegates.  The SouthWest District is responsible for the following delegates:
6 Youth (ages 14-18)
8 Young Adults (ages 19-35)
1 LaGrange College Representative
29 Adults

Anyone interested in serving in these positions is requested to submit an application form to the district office by December 10.  You  must be an active, professing member of a UMC in the SouthWest District in order to qualify.  All adult delegates will receive a $300 stipend to help cover expenses.  The district will pay for hotel accommodations for youth delegates and provide money for meals.  All youth delegates will stay together in a designated hotel in Athens.  There is an application form for youth delegates and another form for all other adult delegates.  If you have questions, please contact the district office.

Youth Delegate Application
Adult Delegate Application
Certified Lay Speakers

Seated, left to right:  Ruth Cole, Gene McWhorter, Jan Sherwood
Standing, left to right:  Jeanie Enyart, Barb Combs, Dorothy Johnson, Julia Morrison Morgan, Linda Frano, Cheryl Geystand, Graylin Ward, Fran Boggs, and Andrew Moody, Sr.

This group of Certified Lay Speakers from the SouthWest District recently enjoyed a day of retreat and learning at Linda's Kataluma in LaGrange.  Rev. Ann Mann, Barnesville, also joined the group to share some preaching tips.  If you are interested in becoming a Certified Lay Servant or Certified Lay Speaker or learning more about this ministry, visit the Lay Servant Ministry page of the district website, or reach out to Jeanie Enyart, District Director of Lay Servant Ministry,  
2-4 - Jurisdictional Conference, Lake Junaluska
5 - Fearless Dialogues, Final Session, 9:30-2:00, Madras Church, Newnan (MUST RSVP by Nov. 2)
6 - Charge Conferences, Groups 5 & 6, 3:00 & 4:30, Zoom
7 - Retired Supply Clergy Evaluations with DS, LaGrange First, 9:30-4:00
8 - District Superintendency Committee meeting, 5:30pm, Zoom
10 - Retired Supply Clergy Evaluations with DS, District Office, 9:30-4:00
14-15 - Cabinet Meeting
15 - District Union Meeting, 5:30pm, Zoom
16 - Conference Retiree Luncheon, 11:30am, Dunwoody UMC
17 - District Strategic Growth & Church Location Committee meets, 3:00, Zoom

1  - John Roberts
9  -  Ron Hill
12 - Matt Stone
14 - Tommy Holder
15 - Andrew Chappell
17 - Julian Warner
18 - Palmer Boykin
20 - Lonnie Thornton
22 - Sharon Cooper
25 - Kerry Wright
SouthWest District
P. O. Box 13
430 W. Poplar Street
Griffin, GA 30224
Copyright © 2022 The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, All rights reserved.

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