About Dr. Allen Stewart

Dr. R. Allen Stewart was appointed to Hartwell First United Methodist Church in 2003.  His gifts of preaching and teaching are being utilized every Sunday and throughout the week as he leads this dynamic and growing congregation.  Allen is a devoted husband to his wife Tracey and father to three beautiful daughters, Lauren, Taylar, and Ashton.  His vision for Hartwell First UMC is to be the church that God shall have us be.  Nothing more and nothing less.  He is called to help persons to find their role in church and thus, in life.  He works in the community of Hartwell and Hart County on various community support groups and committees.  

REPORT: From the Land-Use Task Force

We were informed during the week that the Surface Transportation Board in Washington has denied our request for the forced abandonment of the railroad tracks east of Athens Street.  This is a disappointment but not the end of the matter.  The Board also ruled that the railroad’s remaining amended lease with TORCH is still improper and gave the railroad  30 days to clean up the lease issues, and the railroad must report to the STB and the church every 6 months on its rehabilitation and utilization of the tracks for legitimate rail service.  If the railroad doesn’t rehabilitate and utilize the tracks as proposed within a reasonable period of time, then the Board has indicated it will entertain a further request from the church for abandonment.  We also believe the STB cleared the way for State court to determine the related property matters.

As previously reported there have been three legal actions pending:

  • Hart County Superior Court injunction stopping the work behind the church
  • Our STB request to abandon the tracks east of Athens St.
  • The railroad request to condemn church property behind the church

Our original objective was to eliminate a walking trail permanently dividing our property and remove the safety threats it posed in our back yard to our members, programs and ministry.  This has been accomplished but other matters surfaced during our work.

Our intent will be to vigorously defend against the condemnation of our church property by the railroad, and to follow closely the implementation of the full STB ruling.  If you would like to see the STB ruling in its entirety go to the Service Transportation Board website and search Case # AB-1242.

Please continue to pray for our work and for all parties involved.

Land Use and Planning Task Force

Joe Whittemore, Jack Edmunds, Flo Brown, Luanne Burgess, Allen Stewart

ONE Service on December 31st @ 10:30am

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”  – Rainer Maria Rilke
On this fourth day of Christmas it might be helpful to point out that our most powerful understanding of the Bethlehem event revolves around the future rather than the past. We get caught up, understandably, in the sentimentality of the season. We can imagine that scene of long-ago: the stars bright, the animals gentle and curious, the Holy Family faithful and at peace. We have vivid personal memories of a past Christmas which seemed perfect. For many of us, it takes only the sound of a carol or the look in a child’s eye to create a spasm of emotion that somehow manages to be both joyful and weepy at the same time. And yet the biblical message is relentlessly about the future; about possibilities not yet perceived; about hope in the midst of all that has gone wrong. It is about what is yet to be.
To Rilke’s line, I would add, “And full of the promise the Angel gave to Joseph: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.’” As we stumble from Christmas into the new year, exhausted and anxious, may we be continually renewed by God’s promise to be with us in all things. My wish for you is not a “happy” new year but a “pregnant” new year, full of things that have never been but also full of God’s presence and grace and love.
From Rev. Don Underwood

Please help your church……….

Hartwell First United Methodist Church needs your help, your letters, and your PRAYERS ……

The Hartwell Railroad (Great Walton Railroad) has filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to condemn a strip of Hartwell First UMC property adjacent to the main line. They claim to need the land for a runaround track to serve one customer on the western outskirts of town who has been successfully served for 10 years without using a runaround.

Under Georgia law, railroads have the power to condemn land needed for their operations but the condemnation must be approved by the PSC. The Church has requested that the PSC not approve this unnecessary, unsafe and unwise taking of Church property.

The PSC hearing is in Atlanta on January 23, 2018. The church is opposing the condemnation. We are asking any citizen, Hartwell, Hart County resident or state of Georgia, desiring to support the Church and oppose the condemnation to write a letter to the PSC and then send to the church so that we can bound these letters to present to the board.
The address and necessary information is below. Please share this with family and friends interested in supporting our church.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support for Hartwell First in this extremely important endeavor.

We need all letters by January 14, 2018, either brought to the church office or mailed to the church so they can be bound and presented together. (Mailing address: HFUMC Letter, 200 East Howell Street, Hartwell, GA 30643)




                 ESTATE BY CONDEMNATION – DOCKET NO. 41607

Dear Public Service Commission:

Write your personal comments here.

(Print Name and Address)

Include one of the following to begin your letter:

  • I wish to express my opposition to the filing made by Hartwell Railroad to the Public Service Commission to condemn an area within the property owned by Hartwell First United Methodist Church, which is a part of our campus.
  • I am asking for your support for Hartwell First UMC intervention against the railroad condemning our property.

You may wish to use one or more reasons for opposition:

  • · Creates an unsafe situation for our church and visitors.
  • · Hartwell Railroad has other alternatives to satisfy its need for a proposed “run around” track.
  • · Proud of our church campus and the construction & even existence of a new railroad line behind the church property would be an eyesore and create a huge inconvenience for all of our congregation.
  • · Due to being in downtown, we are locked in with our parking. There is very limited space to park on the church building side of the railroad tracks. As we know it is very difficult for handicapped persons and the large number of elderly people to cross the tracks to get into our building for worship.
  • · Our church campus is used extensively by the community for different activities and events, the tracks would present a safety issue.
  • · Our Pre School children walk daily to the gym for activities. A train would create a hazardous condition for our Pre-School children.

Include one of the following to close your letter:

  • +Please refuse to allow the railroad to condemn church property.
  • +Please refuse to grant the railroad the condemnation of church property.
  • +Please do the right thing and deny the request by Hartwell Railroad for authorization to condemn our church property.