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ACTS OF THE AUGUSTANS

an account of the ministry and mission
of the Augusta District UMC

A word from District Mission Specialist Beth Sanders
Recently I listened to an interesting episode of The TED Radio Hour called “Shifting Time.” All the stories and interviews in this episode are about how we live our lives by the calendar and the clock, but time is also abstract, even impossible to describe or capture.  For all its predictability – 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute – those same measures and units of time can feel so different depending on where you are or who you are.  An hour takes forever when you’re five years old.  For grade school children, summer seems to stretch out before you like a vast ocean of play, while for adult teachers it’s gone in the blink of an eye. At a certain point as you get older, the days, months, and years, seem to move faster. That’s because we all experience time the same, but we remember it differently.
 
In the “Shifting Time” episode, psychologist Dan Gilbert says that the human brain doesn’t know how to think about time.  Ask most people what’s real – the present, the past, or the future, and they choose the present.  Actually, according to Gilbert, the past and the future are both real, but the present is a psychological illusion. It’s just the wall between yesterday and today. The beach is water and sand, and it looks like there’s a line between them, but that line is not a third thing. There’s only water and sand.  Likewise, all moments in time are either in the past or in the future… which is to say the present doesn’t exist.
 
But listen to what Jesus taught us about time in the Sermon on the Mount:  
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? …34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-27, 34)
 
If the psychologists are on to something that the present is only the line between the past and the future, maybe that makes it God’s gift to us of an opportunity to experience eternity outside the existence of time.  Jesus is inviting us to immerse ourselves fully in God’s eternal presence right now, not trying to skip past it by rushing to the future nor bogging ourselves down in regret clinging to the past. 
 
In this present moment for our United Methodist Church, we are very worried and anxious about the future.  It’s human nature to want to skip ahead to choices we anticipate being called upon to make in the future.  We can also feel weighed down by regret for how we got to this point.  Either way, we are missing the present moment God has given us and diverting energy from the mission entrusted to us of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  No matter how we have failed to offer our best witness in the past or how our opportunities for witness may change in the future, what has not and will not ever change is God’s eternal presence with us… right now and the eternal significance of our mission… right now.  Let us not be distracted from the gift and the calling of RIGHT NOW!
 
And in the meantime… Call me…let’s welcome God’s presence and mission today!

We have two Basic and two Advanced classes on the calendar.  The Basic class is required to take the Advanced classes.  The registration brochures are available on our website at https://www.ngumc.org/agstlayservant 
All classes will be held at Young Memorial UMC in Thomson
and will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Basic Lay Servant Classes
March 7 & 14, 2020 
September 12 & 19, 2020

 

Advanced Lay Servant Classes

Polity ~  March 21 & 28
Prayer ~ October 3 & 10 

Disaster response training is offered at a number of locations around the conference. Details & registration are listed at https://www.ngumc.org/disasterresponseministry. This all day training is the entry point for churches to be part of the UMCOR and North GA network for disaster response. This also helps churches to be ready when needed for their community and district, as well as being available beyond the local community.  At least 16 participants are needed for a class to make.  
On Thursday, February  27, our Conference will host a one-day event featuring Rev. Matt Miofsky, pastor of The Gathering United Methodist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, an author and contributing writer to several influential books on church leadership, congregational development, and revitalization.

This event will allow attendees to go deeper with him on his two latest books:  “Let Go: Leaning Into the Future Without Fear” (Abingdon, May 2019) and “8 Virtues of Rapidly Growing Churches” (Abingdon Books, October 2018) 

Our day with Rev. Matt Miofsky will begin at 9 am and end at 4 pm at Marietta First UMC and is open to both laity and clergy. The cost is $10, lunch included. Advance registration is required.  https://www.ngumc.org/eventdetail/leading-into-a-future-without-fear-a-day-with-matt-miofsky-13184877
Workshop: 7 Practices of a Church on a Mission
March 5
This one-day workshop featuring David Fitch and J.R. Briggs will give you concrete methods for organizing your church to join God's mission in the world.  The workshop will be held from 9 am to 3:30 pm on Thursday, March 5, at Mount Pisgah UMC in Johns Creek.  Participants will explore seven tangible practices for embodying Jesus' faithful presence that are rooted in the model of Jesus and designed for the changing cultural landscape.  Tickets include lunch and a copy of the book by David Fitch, "7 Practices for the Church on Mission"
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/7-practices-for-the-church-on-mission-tickets-80286658557
Local Pastor's Summit:  Vital Tools for Ministry
March 14
The North Georgia Conference Black Church Development Committee will offer a Local Pastor's Summit on March 14 from 10 am to 2 pm at Warren Temple UMC in LaGrange.  With a theme of equipping local pastors with vital tools for ministry, workshops topics will include pastoral leadership, missions, and tending to your soul.  Facilitators are Rev. Samuel Townsend, Rev. Elvira Rogers, and Rev. Bobby Church.

Messy Church is a monthly intergenerational worship experience that explores God’s love in an accessible way. At Messy Church, today’s busy households of all shapes and sizes are invited into a welcoming space to experience faith. Everyone is welcomed as they are. Whether you are single or partnered, young or old, tidy or messy, have questions or doubts are filled with joy or struggling with life, you will be welcomed with open arms at Messy Church. 

This training will give your team the vital tools to begin your own Messy Church. You will learn about the history, values, format and best practices to get your Messy Church started. If you’ve already begun Messy church, this is an opportunity to share best practices and gain new ideas for sustaining your Messy Church in your local setting. 

North Georgia attendees receive $10 off the normal registration fee of $40.  
https://www.ngumc.org/eventdetail/messy-church-regional-training-event-13148030

Upcoming Events for 2020


February 24-26              
Cabinet Meeting
 
March 7 & 14             
Basic Lay Servants Class at Young Memorial UMC, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
 
March 8                      
Daylight Savings Time - Set Clocks forward one hour.
 
March 21 & 28           
Advanced Lay Servant Course on Polity at Young Memorial, 9-4 p.m.
 
March 22                
Madison First UMC at 3:00 p.m.  -  Town Hall Meetings with Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson 

March 28                 
UMW Spring meeting at Mistletoe State Park

March 29
Fresh Expressions Roundtable, 2:00-6:00 p.m., tentatively at Lewis Memorial UMC 
 
June 18-20              
Annual Conference at The Classic Center in Athens

September 12 & 19
Basic Lay Servants Class at Young Memorial UMC, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

October 3 & 10       
Advanced Lay Servant Course on Prayer at Young Memorial, 9-4 p.m.
Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation


A diverse group of 16 United Methodist leaders from around the world has collaborated on a proposed path forward for The United Methodist Church that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved.  The agreement is the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.

There are several places you are encouraged to turn for information and insight on this Protocol that can help as you articulate this work to your congregation and discuss with your colleagues.

The Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation
Video of the Panel Interview of the Participants in the Mediation Process
Press Release
Frequently Asked Questions about the United Methodist Mediation Team
Podcast: At The Table With Bishop Sue - Episode 3  

Town Hall Meetings with Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson on the future of The United Methodist Church in North Georgia and Beyond

Clergy and laity are invited to attend. 

March 22        The AUGUSTA DISTRICT will meet at Madison First UMC,
                        3:00 pm, at
  296 S Main St, Madison, GA 30650
FEBRUARY 27-29, 2020

Campus Crawl is a bus tour designed to introduce 9th through 12th grade students to United Methodist campus ministries featuring our Georgia United Methodist Colleges and Universities. In one weekend high school students will meet representatives from our United Methodist Colleges and Universities in Georgia, as well as, meet several Wesley Foundations on public university campuses. This year we're visiting the following campuses and ministries: KSU, Young Harris, Reinhardt, Georgia Tech, Clark Atlanta, LaGrange, West Georgia, and Emory. Cost is $95. To register go to umcommission.org, click on Campus Crawl at the top of page and fill out registration.
The United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union will award four $1,000 college scholarships again this year. Four winning applicants will be chosen one from each of our four conferences Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida.

To apply, you must be a member of United Methodist Connectional FCU between the ages of 17-35. If you are not currently a member, select "no" on the first question and follow the instructions. Application deadline is April 30, 2020. Winners will be announced at each Annual Conference of Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida.  Click on this link to apply https://www.unitedmethodistcu.com/form/
Clergy Spouses Retreat 
 
We have been invited to a joint retreat with the South Georgia UMC Clergy Spouses at Epworth by the Sea! The dates are March 13-15, 2020.  A $15 registration fee can be paid when you register with the S.Ga. spouses on their web link, and you are to make your own reservations with Epworth by the Sea, contacting Tiffany who is handling the clergy spouse group rate. Attached is the brochure with all the information; and below are the links you can follow to register online.  If anyone can not attend due to finances, please contact Ashley Martin at mrsashleymartin@gmail.com regarding the Mildred Smith Scholarship Fund.
Hope you can come!  
Blessings,
Connie Cash
conniemaccash@gmail.com
 
 2020 North & South Georgia Joint Clergy Spouses Retreat
"We Live By Faith Not By Sight"
March 13-15, 2020
Epworth By The Sea | St. Simons Island
 The retreat is set for March 13-15, 2020, at Epworth By The Sea. Our theme is "We Live By Faith Not By Sight" and our guest speaker is Rev. Fran Magoni, Associate Pastor at Martha Bowman UMC in Macon. 

Winter 2020 online CEU courses for UMC Clergy
 

Winter 2020 online CEU courses for UMC Clergy is now available at clergyeducation.com (http://clergyeducation.com/).

All classes are one hour in length. A CEU certificate is sent to each participant following the session. The fee for each class is $25. Clergy who can't attend a webinar at the scheduled time can receive a video of the session by registering for the class. A recorded video is sent to each registrant, along with a certificate of attendance:

The following is our schedule of classes for Winter 2020. Additional classes may be added later.

Feb. 5: Jim Robey - What is Coaching and How Can It Help
Feb. 10: Rebekah Simon-Peter - Dream Like Jesus
Feb. 12: Susan Groseclose - Making Your Personal Preparations for Lent
Feb. 18: Ken Willard: Time Management for the Christian Leader
Mar. 04: Wil Cantrell: Looking Ahead to General Conference
Mar. 09: Kelly Brown & Ken Willard: Creating a Leadership Pathway for Your Church
Mar. 10: Cathy Townley & Gary Step: Starting a New Worship Service in an Existing Church

Scout Sunday is of particular importance this year as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the formal relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and The United Methodist Church. The original agreement was signed on February 20, 1920. 

Each church in the North Georgia Conference is encouraged to recognize this milestone event. 

The United Methodist Church is the #1 sponsor of Scouting BSA units with more youth and more adults than any youth group in the United States!

There are many ways to include Scouts in worship:

  • Scouts can usher
  • Present performing arts
  • Read scripture
  • Sing
  • Be presented PRAY/ God & Country awards they earned
  • and more
This year, Boy Scout Sunday is officially on February 9, and Girl Scout Sunday is March 8. Churches can schedule each whenever works with their church calendar and can combine them for maximum effect. 

Please contact North Georgia Annual Conference Scouting Coordinator Chris Karabinos (chriskarabinos@comcast.net) with questions or if you would like someone from the Conference Scout team to participate in your Scout Sunday service
Webinar:  Clergy, Get Smart about your Taxes!
Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like social security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. Your corner tax preparer may not understand the unique situation of clergy, and finding a preparer who does can save you substantially in money and aggravation. Join us as the Rev. Don Joiner, a certified financial planner, helps us navigate the preparation of taxes and planning for a sound financial future.  The webinar will be Monday, February 17, at 11 am.  
https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/clergy-get-smart-about-your-taxes
Fresh Expressions Roundtable
Our District will host a roundtable discussion on Fresh Expressions on Sunday, March 29 from 2:00-6:00 p.m., tentatively at Lewis Memorial UMC.  The discussion will be led by Rev. Heather Jallad, the Fresh Expressions Cultivator for the North Georgia Conference.  Bring your ideas for how to do ministry outside the walls of the church and come and learn how you can make those ideas a reality.
2020 Housing and Homeless “We are called to serve” 
offering February 23rd


In the past three years the North Georgia Housing and Homeless Council has awarded multiple grants amounting to over $24,000 to these organizations based in the Augusta District:  Family Promise of Augusta, Salvation Army of Augusta, Habitat for Humanity Greene County, Mosaic UMC, Augusta Urban Ministries, Greene County Christmas Stocking Fund, and New Bethlehem Community Center.
 
Your continuous support has and will touch the lives of thousands of individuals in the Augusta District.  These agencies have provided food, clothing, shelter, and employment assistance, along with the gift of dignity and respect with a healthy dose of HOPE. 
 
Please join hundreds of other churches around the North Georgia Conference participating in our 2020 Housing and Homeless “We are called to serve” offering scheduled for Sunday February 23rd.  However, you are welcome to collect the Homeless Offering on any Sunday that works for your congregation.  Your generosity will enable the Housing and Homeless Council to continue support these vital organization in the Atlanta/Marietta area with their mission.
 
Howard R. Cox
Vice-Chairman
N. Ga. Housing & Homeless Council
Email
770.366.6629
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