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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Thanks to each of you for giving me the privilege of being Alive Together in Christ with you. I have kept you in my heart and in my prayers while I have been in St. Louis, and I thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and support.

This has been a long week for us as United Methodists. I am traveling today and, as many of you are, still processing all that occurred. I will share more in the coming weeks, but right now I want you to know that I care deeply for you. This is the time for us to move from focusing on plans to truly focusing on people. Whatever you are feeling right now, there is a place for you in the South Georgia Conference. Move toward those around you, let them know you care for them, and give them the opportunity to care for you.

I want to tell you again how thankful I am that our local churches know how to be the church. I have been reminding us that on the Sunday after General Conference we are going to be the local church God has called us to be - and you are ready to do just that in the context which you so faithfully serve. Thank you for your strength and for the confidence that you give me that what defines us is the strength of our local churches.

I am praying for you.

Alive Together in the World,              

Lawson Bryan

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WATCH VIDEO

As you talk to your congregation in the coming days, I hope this video and the following words will be helpful to you.

What was the outcome of the 2019 called General Conference Session, and what does this mean for my local church?
A majority of the delegates (438 to 384) approved what it is known as The Traditional Plan. The Traditional Plan keeps the current language around sexuality and increases accountability by streamlining the processes to enforce penalties for violations of The Book of Discipline related to marriage and ordination of LGBTQI persons. The delegates also voted to ask the Judicial Council to review the constitutionality of the approved legislation. We will talk further about the outcomes at our March 9 information meeting. The Traditional Plan is what our local churches have been operating under for many years, and normal operations will continue without interruption.

What are the next steps?
Care for One Another
First, let us take time to care for each other. Since 2016 we have prayed, studied, held district meetings, and taken many other actions to consider the various Way Forward plans that were proposed. After three years, it is understandable that many of us may feel somewhat drained. Some are feeling relieved that it is over and a decision has been made. Others may be a bit confused and need time to reflect on the outcome. And there will be others who were hoping for another of the plans to be approved and therefore are experiencing grief over the outcome. This is the time to move from focusing on plans to truly focusing on people. Whatever you are feeling right now, there is a place for you in the South Georgia Conference. Move toward those around you, let them know you care for them, and give them the opportunity to care for you.

Be the Church
Second, remind those in your congregation to make a conscious effort to be in worship this Sunday and the seven Sundays from March 10 to April 21 (Lent and Easter). Something happens to us when we are together with brothers and sisters in worship, when Jesus is present as he has promised to be, that we can't make happen any other way.

Come Together on March 9
Finally, be present on Saturday, March 9 at the UGA Conference Center in Tifton for an informational gathering of people from all over the South Georgia Conference. This is a meeting for the entire South Georgia Conference. You don't have to be a delegate; it's open to everyone. We will hear from our delegation, and we will learn the specifics of how we will journey together for the 12 weeks leading up to Annual Conference. As we continue to plan for the March 9 information session, we invite you to submit questions you would like to see addressed. We want to get the most out of our time together, and your input will help achieve that goal. Click here to provide input.

 
 
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