LogoReport from the 156th Regional Assembly
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia

November 11 - 12, 2005
Ray of Hope Christian Church

Report

The theme of the 2005 Regional Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia was
"Behold there is a new Creation".

Friday Night began with a delicious dinner in the Family Life Center of the Ray of Hope Christian Church.  Delicious baked chicken, salad, vegetables and good fellowship made this a great start to a wonderful assembly.  Members and staff of the Ray of Hope made everyone feel so welcome.  The entire assembly ran like clockwork thanks to the hard work and talents of the staff and volunteers at the Ray along with the Regional Staff.

At dinner, certificates were presented to those congregations, by size category, CWF and Youth for top Mission Fund giving in the previous year.   Ray of Hope was presented a special certificate by General President Dr. Sharon Watkins for being the top congregation in Mission Fund giving in the denomination.  Well done Ray!

Also at dinner Rev. Ralph Smith was presented a Regional Ministers pin by Rev. Ken Moore, representing the College of Regional Ministers.  The outgoing regional board was also presented with gifts and our thanks.

After Dinner, the opening session convened in the sanctuary.  After an opening sing, Rev. George Bennett called the assembly to order.  Our host, Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale welcomed everyone and moderator Bennett made announcements.

Ray Miles Rev. Dr. Ray Miles, regional minister gave his State of the Region address.  Miles pointed out that we are a wonderfully diverse region but at times we feel disconnected from each other and from the region.  He pointed out that in some towns our congregations work closer with other denominations than they do with other disciples congregations in their own town.  He pointed out that we are a region with needs, such as the need for ministers in 14 of our congregations.  But he also pointed out that Georgia has 28 seminary students.  There are congregations within the state that need renewal and they need the regions help.

Miles pointed out that this would be a challenging year for Regional Finances.  The proposed budget is a deficit budget.  He plans to call a conference early next year to develop a plan to finance the region from a broad sources of funds.  Miles said that by keeping strong programs like Camp, Conferences and Youth, by involving congregations in more programming, by building leadership and developing ministers (including licensed ministers) we will grow the region.

Friday nights worship also included special music from the First Christian Church of Lawrenceville's choir, 1 Corinthians 5:16-21 read by Rev. Erin Iobst who pointed out that there was no 1 Corinthians 5, jokingly accused Miles of "new minister hazing" and read 2 Corinthians 5 instead.

Dr. Sharon Watkins Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Disciples of Christ preached an inspiring sermon.  Following an introduction by Rev. Michael Weeks, she began her message with a Hopi Indian saying: "We are the ones we have been waiting for."  Watkins pointed out that "God does not call the equipped, he equips those he calls" and she asked "so what are we waiting for - now is the time to move forward!"

Following Dr. Watkins sermon and a wonderful prayer by Rev. Betty Brewer Calvert, Rev. Dr. Ray Miles was installed as Regional minister by Watkins with members of the clergy, laity, regional staff and his wife, Rev. Wendy Miles participating.  Rev. Ken Moore presented him with his regional pin.

Communion was led by Dr. Miles with Dr. Roger Sizemore and Buddy Ray serving the table.  The hymn "Ours the Journey" formed a fitting close to Friday.

Dr. Rick LowerySaturday Morning opened with a fascinating bible study by Dr. Richard (Rick) H. Lowery, Professor of Old Testament, Phillips Theological Seminary.  Lowery continued the theme of the Assembly, setting the stage for 2 Corinthians by teaching on Isaiah 65:17-25 where Israel is looking forward to a new Jerusalem.

Following a break, the assembly was presented with reports describing several mission projects.  Danny Gulden,  Sandy Springs Christian Church described the Andros Mission Project in which Sandy Springs and Winder have participated.  Tom Stephenson described Central Christian Church Columbus' participation in vision Builders.  Ray Miles told the assembly about Global Mission Partners Phyllis M. Boyd (who will be in Atlanta in 2006) and Xuyen T. Dangers.  Helen Branch, Minister of Outreach at Ray of Hope described their mission trip to Nairobi Kenya.  Medie Still talked about the Miracle Day at Hiltonia this year and how much work still needs to be done - resulting in Rev. Hale pledging the offering from Saturday afternoons worship to this work.  John Novikoff described the work of Mission for Biblical Literacy in Russia, Armenia and Nicaragua.

Business Session

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The business session was called to order by moderator George Bennett.  The minutes of the previous Regional Assembly were approved.  The nominating committee report was presented and officers were elected.  The 2005 financial statements were presented.  The 2006 Budget was presented and discussed.  It was pointed out that the Conference center budget is in the black for the first time since it opened.  The Regional budget is a deficit budget but plans are in place to raise a bridge fund to close the deficit.  The new budget also counts on an increase in the Christmas offering and donations from individuals.  Dr. Miles explained that $3,500 had already been received for the bridge fund and another $40,000 had been pledged.  He said there were expectations of another $5,000 above those amounts.  It was also pointed out that the disciples mission fund is split 60%to the Region and 40% to the global church - and this split will continue but the bridge fund will not be included in this split.

The budget was adopted.

The new officers and board for 2006 were installed.

Rev. Dr. Cynthia HaleWorship - Ray of Hope Style!

Following box lunches by Chik-Fil-A, Rev. Dr. Hale, Rev. Derrick Hill, other staff and the Ray of Hope Music and choir and movement arts ministries led us in an inspiring, spirit filled worship of music, dance, praise, scripture and The Word.

Dr. Hale challenged the region to "Dream Dreams."  Using Isaiah as her text she explained that we can't dwell on the things past because God is Creating a New Thing!

This Assembly will be remembered for its energy, its spirit and sense of diversity and fellowship.  It was a wonderful experience for all.

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