Memorial Service for The Rev. Albert AsKew

More than 200 people attended a memorial service for the late Rev. Albert AsKew, who died on May 25. A member of Oconee Street UMC, AsKew was a retired pastor who spent 46 years in the ministry. Read his obituary here.

The service, held June 10 at Oconee Street UMC, was officiated by current OSUMC pastor Joe Gunby, retired OSUMC pastor Lisa Caine and retired Athens-Elberton District Superintendent Dr. Gary Whetstone.

The full audio of the service is available below. Video of the service is available on the Oconee Street UMC Facebook page.

Albert AsKew memorial service


VBS to be held July 10-14

Oconee Street UMC will be helping “children discover the qualities that make them heroic in God” at its annual Vacation Bible School from July 10-14. This year’s theme is “Hero Central: Discover Your Strength in God.”

VBS is open to children ages 3 through rising 5th-grade students. Sessions will be held each day, July 10-14, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Participants are divided into age-specific groups and each day cycle through classes including science, story time, arts and craft, music, and recreation.

Registration is open at

Volunteers are also needed to teach classes, guide student groups, setup, cleanup and other activities. To volunteer, click on the registration link and select “Volunteer.”

For more information about VBS, email Jamie Clark.

Talents to be on display at OSUMC Coffeehouse

Oconee Street UMC is hosting its annual open-mic coffeehouse night on Friday, Feb. 3 from 7-9 in the fellowship hall.

Musical performances, poems and comedy acts will be performed by church members, and desserts and coffee (of course) will be served. The event is open to the public and is being sponsored by the church’s neighborhood outreach committee.

If interested in performing at the event, email <a href=”” target=”_top”>Lew Allen</a>


VIDEO: “The Work of Christmas”

The Oconee Street UMC Chancel Choir performed “The Work of Christmas” to more than 150 audience members on Dec. 6, 2016 in the sanctuary. The choir performance, directed by Amanda Martin, featured 11 instrumentalists, six actors and a narrator. Click here to see photos from the event.

PHOTO GALLERY: “The Work of Christmas”

The Oconee Street UMC Chancel Choir performed “The Work of Christmas” to more than 150 audience members on Dec. 6, 2016 in the sanctuary. The choir performance, directed by Amanda Martin, featured 11 instrumentalists, six actors and a narrator. Click here to watch the performance.

All photos by Jaydon Dennis



Athens Holiday Benevolence Market Dec. 4


For more than 20 years, Athens-area faith organizations (including Oconee Street UMC) have hosted the Holiday Benevolence Market, offering a single location to select gifts – in the form of donations – that support local non-profit organizations. Kind-hearted shoppers can select symbolic gifts ranging from $5 to $150 and make a single payment at checkout (cash, check, or Square). All donations are tax-deductible.

This year’s market will be held in Fellowship Hall at First Presbyterian Church on Hancock Street from noon-2 pm on December 4. A light lunch will be served and musical entertainment will be provided by participating congregations.

For more information, see Athens Holiday Benevolence Market Facebook page

Detention and Deportation: A Christian Response

On September 18 from 9:45-10:45 am a panel will lead us in a discussion of ongoing detention and deportation in the Athens immigrant community, and how our church might respond. This is the handout we’ll share, in case you want to study it ahead of time to formulate your own thoughts, experiences, and questions.

 When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Leviticus 19:33-34

 Carlos, a proud and responsible father of 5 Clarke County School District children, was rear ended while driving to work. The police arrested him for driving without a license; Georgia denies licenses to undocumented immigrants.  Soon after that, as he was leaving for work, ICE arrested him and detained him indefinitely in a prison with nearly 2,000 other immigrants in South Georgia. His wife was horrified at having to tell her children when they came home from school that they might never see their father again.

Compared to national averages, undocumented immigrants in Georgia are

  • more likely to be detained and deported
  • more likely to be picked up by ICE for traffic offenses and other minor infractions. “Immigration judges and ICE attorneys are more harsh and aggressive…they classify as criminals those with arrests for driving without a license, or on 10-20 year old DIU arrests where the person has paid the fine and fulfilled the legal obligations…” (FULTON COUNTY, CBS46))
  • less likely to receive bond (5%vs. 10.5%k ) or more likely to pay a higher bond ($13,714 vs. $8,200)
  • more likely to be deported (87%versus 60%)
  • more likely to be denied parole (.7% vs. 5.8%)

 In June 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to Department of Homeland Security, which includes ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), to express its concern that detention exposes asylum-seeking families to unnecessary mental and physical health risks (depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress), while exacerbating the trauma they fled in their countries. Similar negative health outcomes have been found for children who are not detained, but have a parent at risk of detention or deportation.

How is our church currently involved with our immigrant neighbors?

  • We give $250 a month for families who have been affected by deportation
  • We funded several DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications
  • We donated rice, beans, diapers, clothing, and Christmas presents
  • UMM helped restore the family home of a man killed in a storm last year
  • We provide space for U-Lead Athens weekly meetings; several members are actively involved as tutors, dinner providers, and donors to the Scholarship Fund

What are additional ways our church can respond? 

  • Provide support for families who have lost a parent to detention/deportation by building financial support into the church budget, and by individual contributions
  • Work with the Athens Banner Herald, Flagpole, and/or our North Georgia Conference Undocumented Partnership Task Force blog to publicize stories every time there is a raid
  • Join the support system in place at Pinewoods – become a buddy, provide rides, find support for legal advice, food, temporary housing
  • Organize a coalition of faith-based organizations in the Athens Area to provide legal, financial, emotional, and other needed support for families going through the deportation process with the goal of preventing deportation, not only caring in the aftermath.
  • Provide transitional housing when a family has lost a member to detention

 Provide Sanctuary to an individual in immanent danger of deportation. The New Sanctuary Movement is a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and congregations, called by faith and conscience to respond to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters facing detention and deportation.

 Initial steps:

  1. Expand partnership with our undocumented neighbors to learn needs
  2. Enter into a time of prayer and discernment
  3. Create a coalition of congregations in advocacy efforts, legal and logistical support, vigils, and financial support
  4. Work with an immigration lawyer. Most Sanctuary cases begin when a lawyer identifies someone working to stop their deportation order without success.
  5. Make a public Declaration of Sanctuary at a press conference

Submitted by JoBeth Allen

Who cares about the lost sheep?


Photo by @gracillius,

The parable of the lost sheep makes no sense to many of us. Why would the shepherd put so much effort into that one sheep, when he has 99 sheep to account for? In God’s eyes, everyone is important. And God seeks every single person. And like the joy the shepherd had when he found the lost sheep, God is joyful when we are found. We are all lost, and we come to church to share in the joy of being found.



“From Raised Eyebrows to Rejoicing (with a Little Risk and Repentance in Between)”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Luke 15: 1-10
Sept. 4, 2015

C.S. Lewis Bible Study

751830A Tuesday night Bible study examining renowned author C.S. Lewis and his relationship with God will begin Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

The study, titled “C.S. Lewis: Reluctant Disciple: Faith, Reason and the Power of the Gospel,” will be the weekly college Bible study class for the semester. However, the class is open to anyone interested in attending.

The class will meet at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall each week for light snacks, study and discussion. For more information,  email <a href=””>Allison Floyd.</a>