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

So how are you doing?  I've spent most of the morning, in utter futility it turns out, setting up a home office.  It was great, except that after I had it all set up, moved chairs and tables upstairs, I turned on my computer and realized that I was out of reach of my wireless connection.  What a happy moment that discovery was.  I sounded like a Baptist preacher on the last night of revival.  So now I am next to the kitchen, the lifeblood of any home, and adjacent to the refrigerator.  No longer able to go to the Y, and next to the fridge, I'll be lucky if I only gain twenty pounds by the time this is all over.   All of us are doing a good bit of reconfiguring in our lives and ministries.  

I am grateful to Beth for sharing resources like Zoom that you can access through the district and pointing out resources available on the Conference website.  Most of all, I am glad for the devotional she shares, I know I needed it this morning.

Some of you have noted the seeming difference between our Georgia, Shelter-in-Place guidelines, and the more rigorous statement from the Bishop and cabinet. We shouldn't be surprised.  Legislative decree is seldom as demanding of us as moral authority.  The State explains our minimum expectations towards one another.  Our Conference statement is reminding us that we are leading our people in a time of trial and that is how we demonstrate our faith. Times like these carry enormous weight in the congregations and communities in which we serve. 

Finally, there was an interesting piece by David Brooks (3/26) in The New York Times.  Brooks reminds us that this virus attacks us, as do all viruses, at our weakest point both physically and morally. Physically we know the elderly and infirm are most at risk.  However, the virus has exposed other weakness as well.  Globally we have responded clumsily to this threat.  For a lot of reasons, but mostly because we have decided that is was more beneficial to divide and pit ourselves against one another than to recognize our common origin.  This disease and its eventual cure will not recognize the differences we think we have.   

Impulses to see differences first in each other seldom reflects our best self.  Holy Week starkly reminds us of this.  Pilate stood before the crowd and asked, "which one?"  Jesus died to save us all.  

We are so blessed to be able to share Easter in this time of such need.
Dear Friends,

I write this on Day 15 of my sheltering in place practice, what I prefer to call “compassionate retreat.” I’m counting the days, mostly to keep a Sabbath every seventh day of the challenge of social distancing, because Sabbath is a reminder that God is with us. I pray daily for you, for your congregations, and for our communities, that we will stay safe and healthy, be kind and good neighbors to one another, keep hope alive, and emerge from this season with renewed perspective on what it means to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Read more:
4.3.20 Message
Now more than ever, we need to stay connected with one another for support and encouragement.  The Augusta District office has a Zoom Pro account that is available to you for church meetings or support gatherings.  Please contact Beth (404.285.7207 or to arrange a Zoom meeting with other clergy or with a leadership team from your church or group of churches in your area.  Zoom Pro allows for some features beyond Zoom’s free option, such as longer meetings and privacy controls.  We want to help you keep connected as part of staying emotionally and spiritually healthy and to keep sharing ideas for ministry. 
We are in an unusual time. One in which we are trying to lead others through uncertainty and the unknown. We often ignore our own emotions and feelings as we try to care for others. It's a lot to carry alone.  Rev. Allen Hoskyn, Rev. Jeff Ross, and Rev. Lindsay Geist with their backgrounds in missional leadership, clergy coaching, and clinical crisis intervention offer help to pastors and congregations naming and processing complex emotions in the midst of uncertain futures.  If you or a clergy colleague could use a space to process with others the complexity of this season, join them for one of the following Zoom call sessions.  Each meeting is limited to 5 participants and you will receive a meeting link the morning of the meeting.

If you would like to participate in one of these sessions, please contact Allen Hoskyn at

Easter Worship video resources that churches can add to their own recorded services or use stand-alone.

The videos include a word from Bishop Sue.
Please see the CARES Act section of the COVID-19 Resource Hub for information about how it could benefit your church.  Check this page frequently for updates and contact the District Office or Beth Sanders if you have questions.
Copyright © 2020 The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, All rights reserved.

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