An Account of the Ministry and Mission
of the South East District 

The South East District is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom Meeting
All Clergy are invited to this optional meeting to hear updates from the D.S. and share ideas for Lent and Easter.
Topic: District Clergy Meeting
Time: Feb 11, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
or call 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 862 0213 2073
Passcode: 289219
One of the most overused words of 2020 was unprecedented.  Like the admonition to pivot, it became exhausting and discouraging to hear that word with its suggestion of yet another major hurdle or anxiety-producing event to be faced.  Lake Superior State University produces an annual “Banished Words List,” which for 2020 included unprecedented at number 7 of 10, just after pivot at number 6 and before Karen at number 8.  Unprecedented became a particularly (un)warranted refrain in a year full of countless unanticipated, even unfathomable, experiences.
As Rev. Lindsay Geist shared in a recent Wellbeing Wednesday email, we are still experiencing such incredible, unprecedented loss, much of which is “ambiguous,” and we are all grieving. In the face of such overwhelming “unprecedented-ness” it is important for us to take care of body, mind, and soul with rest, rehydration, and rooting ourselves in prayer and gratitude.  Remember who you are, a beloved child of God, who wants to give you everything you need.
Sometimes, in all this “unprecedented-ness” of fear, anxiety, grief, and loss, we lose touch with the incredible gift of God’s love, constantly displayed and always overflowing around us as Psalm 19 helps to express:
Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
    the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
    and one night informs another what needs to be known.
Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
        their voices can’t be heard—
    but their sound extends throughout the world;
        their words reach the ends of the earth. (CEB)
Alice Walker* also helped give expression to the gift of God’s overflowing love in creation with this famous quote from her 1982 novel, The Color Purple:
"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back".
Feel the cold winter air, hear the birds chirping with morning’s first light, notice the color yellow in the daffodils that will soon bloom anticipating the color purple in other blooms to come. In creation’s glorious praise, may you receive assurance that you are loved by God, who longs to bless you. You are enough. You are doing your best even as you are feeling at your worst. With God in every experience of time, we can trust in God’s salvation to “re-precedent” these days and all that is to come.
* February 9 is Alice Walker’s birthday.  She was born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia …part of the South East District! Her parents were sharecroppers who also raised eight children, of whom Alice was the youngest.  Her breakout novel was The Color Purple (1982), which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Lent Begins with Ash Wednesday on February 17
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. Find devotionals, activities for families, inspiring stories and information about our faith for the observance of the Lenten season HERE and
Thanks to the faithfulness of our churches, the South East District collected 91.42% of 2020 Conference apportionments!  We are especially grateful to the churches that paid 100%! In addition, we collected 96.61% of the District Work Fund.  A big thank you to the churches that paid 100% of their District Work Fund!
Thank you for your diligence in completing the annual End of Year Reports!  They represent a lot of number crunching, i dotting, and t-crossing, but also reflect so much faithfulness to God and the witness of the church in an "unprecedented" year of ministry.  We are grateful to all clergy and laity who worked to gather the information and to our team of district statisticians who helped us successfully "herd the cats".
Beth Sanders, District Statistician
John Donaldson, Randy Kanipe and David Wofford
Assistant Statisticians
The start of the new year is a good time to make sure your church's information is correct in the "Church Search" at In 2021, your church has the added opportunity to include links to your online worship service! The Church Search is one of the most visited pages on the Conference website. To add an online worship link and change or correct information such as website or email address, clergy or laity with charge conference access should follow these steps:  1) Log into Data Services 2)  Click the "Church Information Report" button on the main page. It can also be found under "Charge Conference".  3) Enter the correct information.

Local Pastor Course of Study Resources

The Board of Ministry has not lowered the expectation on Local Pastors, and they are expected to complete their two course per-year. Michelle Levan, Center for Clergy Excellence, was kind enough to pull together the information from each of the conference schools for Course of Study to help as you complete your educational requirements. Below you will find information on each of the schools and their course offerings including courses in the online format.  YoLanda Jones Colton, the Chair of the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members, also sends information to our LPs frequently about COS.
  • The TN-ALPS program postponed their March/April 2020 session and moved it into May 2020 online, they offered all 20 classes in 2020 but had to cancel one due to low enrollment.  The entire 2021 program is online. Here is a link to the school: and it looks like the registration deadline is 30 days prior to the first session.
  • GBHEM Online: Created a new online session and offered 11 courses during June 2020.  They had their regular August session and offered 7 classes but canceled one due to low enrollment.  During winter 2021 they have offered 7 online classes, their May session will have 9 classes and the August session has 5 classes. Registration opens March 1 for the May session, and June 1 for the August Session. Here’s the link to their program:
  • Alabama COS:  they had fall 2020 classes online, but they did have to cancel some spring and summer 2020 classes in the pivot to online. Winter 2021 is online, additionally, their website has a schedule for spring and summer and notes a decision will be made in January about classes beyond Summer 2021. Here's the link to their schedule:
  • Emory –  they cancelled Summer 2020, but they pivoted the spring classes into online as well as the fall 2020.  They are offering a lot of classes during 2021 and everything is online.  The registration dates for Summer and fall are coming up quick: Summer opens on 2/15 and closes 3/15 and then the fall registration is open from 5/15-6/15. Here’s the link to the course offerings It is hard to find specific class dates for the sessions on their website.
  • Duke, they managed to pivot their Summer school in 2020 from in-person to online very quickly and offered 15 of 20 classes. Additionally, they offer Advanced Course of Study and it is very affordable! They have one remaining weekend session before summer, it looks like they have offered everything in years 1, 2, and 4 during the weekends, and two 3rd year courses since fall 2020. The registration deadline has passed for spring, but they were really gracious with their deadline in the past, and allowed for late registrations.  The final spring session starts March 1, and registration closed 1/22, but if someone needed in and there is space, hopefully they could register.  We don’t believe they would be able to register much past early February and be able to prepare for the 3/1 start date.  They have not posted their summer 2021 schedule or opened registration, but considering their 2020 pivot to online, I think they will be offering classes online again this summer and the registration deadline has been May 15th in the past. Here’s the link to their program:
BASIC Lay Servant Class - Join us via Zoom.
Choice of dates and times:
Saturday at 10:00 a.m. February 20 - March 20. Instructors: David Knauft and Amanda Padovano
Monday at 7:00 p.m. February 22 - March 22. Instructors: Kay Haugen and Mary Williams
Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. March 2 - March 30. Instructors: Jeanie Enyart and Jay Wansley
The cost of the class is $42. Contact the district office at or 706-651-8621 for the Lay Servant book (it will be mailed to you).
The link to register online is not yet available. Please email Kay Haugen, District Director of Lay Servant Ministries for Northeast District at to let her know you are interested and the time that is most convenient for you. She will send you the link to register as soon as it is available. The link will also be posted on the district and conference websites when it is created. 
March 20 & 27 Advanced Lay Pastoral Care Giving Course
Classes will be held from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (with one hour for lunch) at Young Memorial UMC in Thomson, Georgia (conveniently located one mile off I-20 and close to numerous restaurants).  Please register early so we will know how many textbooks to order. Contact Terry Hale (South East District Director) about Lay Servant Ministry or classes (706-860-8186 -  
Thank you all so much for your support of the Housing and Homeless Council. 2020 was a strange year for the council (and for everyone!). We made the difficult decision in March to postpone our Spring Cycle to Fall 2020, due to all of the uncertainty regarding the pandemic and safety. All of our Spring applicants were moved to the Fall Cycle, which meant we didn't accept any new applications in the Fall of 2020, but considered all of the Spring applicants in that cycle. The great news is that we were able to award just over $100,000 in grants in November. Your support, and your congregation's support of the Homeless Offering, made that possible! Thank you so much! 

2021 Application Update: 
We are now accepting applications for the Spring 2021 cycle. Keep in mind that our guidelines state that you may only receive funding every 12 months, so if you received an award in the Fall of 2020, you will be eligible again in Fall 2021. 

We have changed our application process! We will no longer be using paper applications - instead, you may submit everything electronically via our website. Please click here for all of the information, and of course you may reach out to me with any questions. I hope this will streamline the process for you and will save lots of paper too! 

 Thank you so much for your support of the Housing and Homeless Council. Your gifts make our work possible. If you are interested in contributing to the NGHHC, you can make a gift here. Please know that 100% of your donation goes to supporting ministries in North Georgia that are working to end the cycles of poverty. 


Laura Rappold 
Many among us, clergy and laity alike, are ill or recovering from the COVID-19 virus.  Please continue in prayer for all these, and especially Rev. Tim Savelle (Bowman; Stinchcomb; and Francis Asbury, Elberton) who is now under critical care after a week in ICU at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital.  Rev. Rick Nevard, whose son will have surgery for an intestinal blockage in Charleston, SC. 

Happy Birthday to all our clergy born in February!
David Sisler 2/17
Bryce Behnke 2/23
Melissa Reynolds 2/23
Greg Porterfield 2/24
Chris Huskins 2/26

District Calendar
All Clergy in the North Georgia Conference are assigned a '' email address and are expected to maintain and check this address for messages from the district and/or conference offices.  You may roll this address into your church or personal email or check it independently through the gmail system. 
For more information go to:
Copyright © 2021 The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.