Being South Georgia’s nominee for the episcopacy has been many things but most of all it has been a journey in discernment. Many people have asked, “How’s the campaign for bishop going?” They are either bewildered or incredulous when I respond, “There is no campaign.” I am not so naïve as to think that there are not individuals and groups planning, plotting and posturing to influence the selection of bishops at Jurisdictional Conference in the middle of July. But the United Methodist Church is at a life and death crossroads. Slick and effective campaigning for the episcopacy is not only inappropriate, it is useless. Only spiritual discernment will do.
The South Georgia Annual Conference Delegation for General and Jurisdictional Conferences continues to meet in its preparation for General Conference. Central to our preparation is a careful study of The Call to Action. This Call to Action will be the center around which most proposed legislation before this General Conference revolves. Some proposals seek to implement the plan and others seek to modify the plan, but there is no comprehensive “alternative” plan of action to be considered. The true alternative to the Call to Action would be to leave our United Methodist structure for ministry and mission the way it is and seek to implement the call for spiritual renewal in all of our lives, churches and conferences.
The South Georgia Annual Conference Delegation for General and Jurisdictional Conferences met in Macon on October 21. Dan O’Neil and Peter Hang from the General Board of Pensions offered the delegation a detailed briefing on three legislative proposals being sent to the General Conference. Past General Conferences have generally approved recommendations coming from the Board of Pensions as presented or with minor editorial changes. In 2012, however, delegates will have to decide on one of three corrective options to ensure the financial sustainability of the church’s pension program. All current pension commitments will remain unchanged by the proposals; however, decisions made at next year’s General Conference will impact all pension benefits for both clergy and lay employees after 2012. Any corrective option chosen will result in reduced future benefits. The question before the General Conference will be the question of how to most fairly balance those reductions in benefits while still preparing clergy and laity for retirement.
Your South Georgia Conference delegation will meet on Friday, October 21, for an overview of General and Jurisdictional Conference issues. We have invited representatives from the General Board of Pensions to brief delegates on the significant changes proposed for our current clergy pension plan.
It is an honor to serve in the 2012 South Georgia delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference. As Larry Price and I lead the delegation’s work and preparation for these conferences, we want to stress the representative nature of our delegation. It is our responsibility to faithfully represent the churches of the South Georgia Annual Conference. In order to be faithful in our representation,
As an extension ministry of the South Georgia Annual Conference, Magnolia Manor first opened its doors in December of 1963 offering basic retirement living to 44 residents in one facility on one campus located in Americus. It is amazing to see how God’s grace has enabled this ministry to grow in response to the growing needs of older adults.
Older adults know about change. In our community, most residents have been through more change in the last five years than any other time in their lives. Retirement is a big change! Residents move from the active involvement and vocational engagement that have shaped and molded their life for decades to a whole new world that must be defined by different standards.
Magnolia Manor is pleased to announce the release of Dr. W. Aubrey Alsobrook’s newest book, “Life with God.”