The members of the Annual Conference, pastors and laypersons representing every church in South Georgia, also made history. On Tuesday the Annual Conference voted by a 397 to 363 margin to reduce the number of districts in South Georgia down from 9 to 6. After 50+ years with 9 districts being the norm this change will begin in June 2014. The churches of the Columbus District will likely become members of the slightly larger North West District. Our District Superintendent, the Rev. Dr. Edwin “Buddy” Cooper, wrote two days afterwards,
When major changes in the status quo are approved by our Annual Conference, the designation “historic” is attached. The South Georgia Annual Conference of 2013 was truly an historic one. Our journey has become even more dependent upon one another. Each of us must dedicate ourselves to making this transition the blessing our conference envision. The cabinet met with Bishop King on Wednesday morning and began making plans for the reduction in districts. The conference has spoken and we are servants of our Annual Conference. This will be a year of transition and major adjustments. Since we have only a year, the transition becomes our central mission, as we prepare for the change in June, 2014. We are not fearful or anxious. What has been approved is good. Pray for the Bishop and Cabinet as we implement what will be the future God is leading us to enter for the sake of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ in South Georgia. This is a time for prayer and unity. The vote was close, but now we move forward as the mighty army of God that we are.
Finally, miles away from the above actions of the Conference, Epworth is in the final days of preparing to hosting Vacation Bible School this coming week, June 10-14. It is not the most important thing we will do all year but, it is a part of the most important thing we do: partnering with families of all sizes and shapes to shine the light of Jesus into the lives of children! I encourage every person to pray each day for the children and volunteers. I encourage you to come and serve, and to consider a small gift to support the cost of meals and materials that are used to show the love of Jesus to these precious children.
Grace and Peace, Scott