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2017 South Carolina Annual Conference

 

Delegates to South Carolina’s 2017 Annual Conference Meeting convened June 4-7, 2017, at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, South Carolina. About 2,000 people gathered for the event.

Resident Bishop L. Jonathan Holston presided, assisted by the Rev. Ken Nelson, conference secretary, and the Rev. Tim McClendon, conference parliamentarian.

Guest speakers included:

  • Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, resident bishop of the Louisiana Conference, delivered the sermon for the 2017 Service of Commissioning and Ordination.
    • “We have to be willing to get entangled with one another and entangled with God. … Do not allow the things of the world – or worse yet, the things of the church – to paralyze us.”
  • The Rev. John Hipp, superintendent of the Florence District of the South Carolina Conference, delivered the sermon for the 2017 Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.
    • “No one … will ever be left out because of God’s extravagant love. It does not matter color or gender or age or ability or disability. God’s extravagant love is for all. And it never runs out.”
  • The Rev. Dr. Albert D. Mosley, president of Gammon Theological Seminary, was the 2017 Conference Bible Study Leader.
    • “We are people of love who walk by faith, and because we walk by faith, we are not mute. We’re as loud as ever, breathing life into someone, breathing encouragement into someone.”

Annual Conference-connected mission initiatives:

Homes of Hope – The South Carolina Conference partnered with the non-profit Homes of Hope to build six homes for low- to moderate-income residents in Greenville, South Carolina. The Homes of Hope program also features a residential job training and mentoring program for men overcoming drug and alcohol addictions. The congregations of the South Carolina Conference have raised more than $162,000 -- roughly enough to help pay for the construction of six homes, with more donations expected.

Bikes for the World – The South Carolina Conference partnered with the non-profit Bikes for the World to collect more than 1,500 donated bicycles and raise more than $29,000 in financial contributions – exceeding the goal of collecting 100 bicycles and raising $1,000 from each of the Conference’s 12 districts. About 100 of the bicycles were given to children from low-income families in Greenville and Anderson counties. The rest are being distributed through non-profit organizations to low-income people and select institutions in developing countries to enhance their lives and livelihoods through better transportation.

Proposed constitutional amendments:

Conference delegates voted on the five proposed amendments to The United Methodist Church’s Constitution. The results were tabulated and reported to the executive secretary for the Council of Bishops. As per the custom of the South Carolina Conference, the results were not made public.

Resolutions passed:

Resolutions not passed:

  • Resolution against the Dakota Access Pipeline in solidarity with Standing Rock. (failed) (LINK)
  • Resolution for the realignment of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and its disaffiliation from the structures of the United Methodist Church. (ruled out of order) (LINK)

Offerings:

More than $39,000 was given in offerings as part of three services during the South Carolina Annual Conference:

  • $14,189 will go to South Carolina United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministries.
  • $13,908 will go toward the conference’s $1 million pledge to Imagine No Malaria. So far, S.C. United Methodist churches have raised more than $700,000 toward that goal.
  • $10,960 will go to the Seminary Students Scholarship Fund, an endowment that provides scholarships to South Carolina students attending United Methodist seminaries.

Statistical report

Number of retiring clergy: 35

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership: 26

Did your clergy session approve any openly gay candidates for ministry? No

Membership for 2016:  226,270, down 1.4 percent from 2015

Worship attendance for 2016: 82,901, down 3.3 percent from 2015

Church school attendance for 2016:   32,121, down 7.8 percent from 2015

Professions or reaffirmations for 2016:   2,679, down 2.8 percent from 2015

Adult and young adults in small groups for 2016:  55,805, down 4.3 percent from 2015

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2016:  39,976, up 6.9 percent from 2015

Submitted by: Dan O’Mara, communications coordinator