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

In the News - A word from your District Superintendent
The United Methodist Church was reported in the news this last week by Fox, CNN and the New York Times.  Only the church can bring these institutions together.  Unfortunately in this instance, that wasn’t particularly good news for our denomination.  As your District Superintendent some of you have asked what I think of all this.  Here are some preliminary thoughts.

     First, the deal is only a proposal and will likely go through some process of amendment before it comes to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, set for May 5-15th.   At the General Conference all proposals will be subject to modification or even outright rejection, though because of the parties involved this latest iteration of a plan has more weight than others.  Only the General Conference may decide for the church.

     Second, many of you have asked how I feel about this plan.  To be candid I am not enamored with it.  I resent that there are those that try to identify my faith with labels like Traditionalist or Progressive for these labels are insufficient to what I believe.  I am a follower of Christ and the only label I seek is to be a disciple.  All other designations wither when placed before God.  At times this means, I would hope, that I would be seen as a wild eyed radical (though all of you know I’m not) for I follow Jesus who went anywhere to meet with anyone and would stop at nothing, even the cross that meant his death, to bring God’s love.  I know of no exclusions to this rule.  And yet it was also Jesus that recognized that ours is a faith steeped in tradition, “I have come not to abolish but fulfill the law.”  In truth both impulses ought to be at work in us as our lives are refined before God.    
     Thirdly, I come from a family that has always appreciated dissent.   My parents were married for 66 years.  Never once in that time did they participate in a vote in an election when their vote did not cancel the other out. “Why do you even bother?!” I would say to them in utter exasperation.  They would always respond the same way. It is more important to participate than to win.  And second, our love and respect for one another is not conditioned on unanimous opinion.  We who would follow Christ should know it is only God who provides outcomes; it is our privilege to serve in that work.  And, we are better because we think differently and resolve to see the best and not the worst in each other.  I do not understand nor accept that we have to divide. 

     Finally, I am a United Methodist.  I was born a Methodist and I will remain one.  The Wesley congregation is the product of the United Methodist Church that sustained its first pastor and helped purchase the land on which we sit.  That does not mean that I agree with everything our denomination does. The foibles of our church are not unknown to me. However as my church has chosen to accept me and all my idiosyncrasies so I appreciate all the good it has and continues to do however imperfectly it is sometimes expressed.  My life is better because I am part of this church.  I am blessed to be a Methodist and will always be grateful for it. I know times of uncertainty such as these are difficult.  I am still more certain that Christ has and is working through our church and so faithfully I seek to serve it.  

Greg Porterfield


Left to Right: Mary Cranford, Sonny McDowell, Jane Young

Leadership UMC is a groundbreaking year-long program identifying, recruiting and training lay people for successful church leadership. The Augusta District is proud to be represented by these three faithful leaders in the 2019-20 class.

Learn more about the Leadership UMC program

Elders Day Apart with Bishop Sue
The North Georgia Conference Order of Elders invites all Elders in Full Connection to a day apart at Glisson Camp and Retreat Center in Dahlonega on Thursday, January 16. The theme is "Joy in the New Year!" and the day will include worship, dialogue with Bishop Sue, breakout activities and fellowship. There is no charge for the event, but registration is required.
Today, January 6th, is the last day to register.
From Washington First:

Our UMW Circle is having a Women’s Conference on January 25.  Rev. Beth Sanders is one of our guest speakers.  It is from 9:30 to 2:30 in our fellowship hall.  Cost is $10 which includes lunch.  Please RSVP the church at 706-678-7116. 

Upcoming Events for January 2020

Jan. 8
Apportionments due to the Conference Office by 4:00 p.m.

Jan. 13
End of Year Reports Workshop, 11:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. at the District Office.
Jan. 18                      
Igniting Faith Men’s Retreat at Lewis Memorial UMC (Saturday)
Jan. 20                     
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – District Office Closed

Jan. 31
End of Year Reports due
Mar. 7 & 14             
Basic Lay Servants Class at Young Memorial UMC, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
March 28                 
UMW Spring meeting at Mistletoe State Park

The registration link for the Southeastern Regional Gathering, hosted by the Augusta District is open. Please click on the link below for more information.

In Episode 3, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson addresses the recently released Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation. She is clear that this is not just another plan and calls United Methodists to be in prayer and to do the hard work to see this agreement through. 

Helpful Documents
Press Release  
Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation  
FAQ About the United Methodist Mediation Team


Please note that the last day to submit apportionment payments for credit in 2019 will be Wednesday, January 8th.  The deadline to receive payments at the North Georgia Conference office is 4:00 PM.  Checks must be IN HAND at that time.  Please check your balance at the Apportionments & Payments page of the Conference Website.  Note: Any outstanding apportionments dropped off at the District office dropbox by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday will be carried to the Conference Office on Wednesday.
End of Year Report Workshops 
Beth will hold two workshops on completing End of Year Reports.  Both are on Monday, January 13, one at 11 a.m., the other at 6 p.m.  Any interested clergy or laity who have responsibility for completing these reports are invited to participate, especially if this is your first time doing so.  You may participate either in person at the District Office, or via Zoom video conference.  
For 11 am:  NGA Congregational Excellence is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Augusta District End of Year Report Workshop-11 AM
Time: Jan 13, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 938 434 815

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For 6 PM: NGA Congregational Excellence is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Augusta District End of Year Report Workshop-6 PM
Time: Jan 13, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 327 106 134

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Meeting ID: 327 106 134
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The United Methodist Church offers numerous loans and scholarships for UM college students, especially those students attending United Methodist-related schools. One of the most common programs is Dollars for Scholars, offering $3K a year plus a $1K grant from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. Students considering a United Methodist institution should complete the simple application prior to making a final college choice. For persons applying for loans for fall of 2020, applications open January 3. Visit for more information.
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 regarding the Mildred Smith Scholarship Fund.
Hope you can come!  
Connie Cash
 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. 
January 11th | 9am-3:30pm | Roswell UMC
Fresh Expressions wants to equip you with best practices and principles to help you in this mission. A Fresh Expressions Accelerator is for anyone who is ready to start experimenting with fresh expression initiatives or is in the early stages of a new mission in their community. Beginning with a Launch Day full of training, conversation, and real-life examples, you will leave with a mission action plan for your unique setting.
Register by December 15th at


Mission Insite Training Dates Set for 2020

What is MissionInsite?

MissionInsite is a demographics program that provides churches with instant access to community information. You’ll get desktop, web-based access to demographic data for a variety of geographic levels. Discovering your church’s ministry opportunities has never been easier.
Learn More

2020 Mission Huddle


We'll focus on strong presentations & great networking with 50 of the missional churches of North Georgia, plus offer a great lunch and fabulous door prizes.

We'll have TED Talk-style presentations on a variety of topics important for a congregation to build up their mission portfolio on topics including:

  • Mission as "Crossing Boundaries,"
  • Long Term Disaster Response in South Carolina,
  • A Case Study of a Large Church Inheriting a Dying Church & Resurrecting it as a Mission House,
  • High Impact Transformation Through Empowerment

NOTE: This training is intended for church staff whose responsibility is Mission & Outreach.

Learn More and Register

The Conference-wide Confirmation Retreat set for March 6-8 will focus on the five vows United Methodists make when agreeing to follow Christ -- prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Youth spend time at Glisson Camp and Retreat Center learning more about what it means to be a United Methodist, to be in a district and a conference, and how being a "connectional church" is a blessing. Registration is now open for Confirmation Groups. Register by clicking on this link:
Rock Solid 5th Grade Children's Ministry Retreat
January 25-26
Children's ministries are invited to bring their 5th graders, soon transitioning from elementary school to middle school and from children's ministry to youth ministry, to a retreat just for them.  The retreat will be held at Glisson Camp and Retreat Center. 
Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea
January 26-29
Len Wilson, Creative Director at St. Andrew UMC in Plano, Texas, and compiler of the annual list of the Top 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches, will be keynote speaker at this year's Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea. You'll leave with insight to help you effectively communicate your church's vision, improve clarity and creativity, and implement strategies for growth.
The One Board: Simplified Accountable Structure with Kay Kotan
Join us for an afternoon with nationally-known United Methodist author, coach and speaker Kay Kotan as she presents a workshop on the Simplified Accountable Structure.  Attending this workshop will give you some Discipline-approved options for restructuring your committees into a single board and help you re-imagine how your church can focus more on fulfilling its mission and less on running meetings.
What is Coaching & How Can it Help?
Free introduction to coaching webinar
Wednesday January 22, 2020 10am - 11:00am via zoom
Coaching is a vital ministry tool that can bring clarity, encouragement, focus, support and discovery.  It can be a powerful resource in dealing with a staff, committees, groups and individuals. If you want to know more about coaching or are interested in becoming a coach plan to connect on January 22, 2020
The workshop is free!
Leaders: Dr. Jeff Ross and Dr. Jim Robey
REGISTER and get the zoom link by emailing

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson invites all North Georgia United Methodists to read the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts in 2020, beginning with Luke 1 on January 1, 2020. Subscribe to receive a weekly reading prompt and reflection each Wednesday by choosing "Reading the Gospel of Luke" at

IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2020
The IRS has issued standard mileage rates for 2020.  Find the rate information at
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