The 2008 session of the South Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church meets Monday-Wednesday. Most events will be at the Columbus Civic Center.
About 1,400 lay and clergy members, plus their guests, will gather this year around the theme "Glorifying God — Bearing Fruit.”
The last time members met in Columbus was in 2001. As is tradition, the Annual Conference will gather a second consecutive year in the same location, next summer at the Civic Center.
Highlights include a day of service on Tuesday, with Conference members working on various service projects throughout Columbus. They include knitting prayer shawls to baking casseroles for the Ronald McDonald House to painting walls at a women's shelter.
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A second highlight of the session is a concert featuring the Hope for Africa Children's Choir at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Civic Center. (The choir will also sing at the 8 a.m. service Sunday at South Columbus UMC and at 11 a.m. Sunday at St. Peter UMC.) South Columbus is located at 1213 Benning Drive. St. Peter United Methodist is at 6507 Moon Road.
Twenty-three children from Uganda, East Africa, who make up the choir, are on their first international tour. The choir performed at the United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas in late April. The children are also singing in churches, in addition to Georgia, in Arkansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee until the end of July.
Additionally, a delegation of about 40 people from the East Africa Annual Conference will attend. Bishop Daniel Wandabula will lead this group from the East Africa Annual Conference on a United States visit spearheaded by an invitation from the South Georgia Annual Conference.
The Rev. Denise Walton, Conference mission secretary, and members of The Open Hands Partnership, are coordinating the East Africa delegation trip. The Hope for Africa Children’s Choir is part of this delegation. The schedule includes: • Opening worship: 8:30 a.m. Monday, Columbus Civic Center. Kentucky Bishop James King will preach. • The ordination service: 7:30 p.m. Monday at St. Luke, 1104 Second Ave., where nine people will be ordained. • The Conference will conclude with the “Setting of the Pastoral Appointments” and a Service of Sending Forth at 11 a.m. Wednesday with South Georgia Bishop Mike Watson preaching. The South Georgia Conference extends from Columbus as the western edge, east to Macon and southeast to Savannah, and all cities and towns south. The northern-most boundaries are Columbus, Macon and Waynesboro. It's divided into nine districts. For more information, see www.sgaumc.org.