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Advocacy, lay leadership, discipleship, outreach: CCM meeting brings together 140 to share ideas, activities, concerns

By Allison Trussell

COLUMBIA – Clergy and laity from every district in the S.C. Conference headed to Columbia Oct. 6 for the twice-yearly Conference Connectional Ministries meeting.

Divided into the four ministry areas – Advocacy, Lay Leadership, Discipleship and Outreach – the approximately 140 CCM members came together for education and awareness as one big group before dividing into their specific areas to share district activities and concerns. Other business rounded out the meeting, which was held at Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church.

“The CCM is in the process of learning how to care for the existing ministries of the conference and also look to the future for new possibilities,” said the Rev. Kathy James, director of Connectional Ministries. “We are in transition, and we made a good step forward in this meeting. Based on evaluations, people have moved from being completely disoriented to beginning to settle into a new rhythm. I believe the general tone is hopeful about new possibilities and we will begin to see more of that at the next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 9, 2013.”

South Carolina’s three mission interns offered the devotion, speaking on the effect youth events and mission work, such as Salkehatchie Summer Service, had on their spiritual lives. Erica Oliveira is currently serving in L’viv, Ukraine but was able to send a video to the meeting. The other two – Hillary Taylor and Rebekah Phillips – are waiting for visas before beginning their missions in South Africa. All three said they are “immensely grateful” for the support of the conference and local churches.

Matt Brodie, conference communications director, demonstrated the newly updated conference website, www.umcsc.org. Brodie reminded the crowd that the site is a work in progress and that the information presented is what he had received at the time of the redesign.

“This group is responsible for the content,” Brodie said. “If you have information, give it to me.” He also discussed how to promote events within the conference and emphasized the need to communicate information in a timely manner.

During the post-lunch wrap-up session, Convener Cynthia Williams proposed that a nominating committee for an assistant convener be created. The group agreed.

The Rev. Steven King, pastor of St. John’s UMC, Batesburg, offered a change to the conference Standing Rules that would affect the CCM. In 2006, the Annual Conference defined the relationship between the then-Conference Council on Ministries and the Advocate. However, that relationship was never incorporated into a standing rule and is not valid beyond 2006. Both the Advocate and the CCM have continued to operate under the relationship, and the proposal would merely formalize the relationship. The group agreed to the proposed changes to the appropriate standing rules.

James said her office is beginning to plan for quadrennial training, which is held every January following General Conference. This year, a team of 18 will be sent. While the general boards and agencies will pay for the training, each annual conference is responsible for travel costs. The CCM voted to fund that travel from the CCM’s Emerging Ministries account.

The next CCM meeting will be Feb. 9, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Virginia Wingard. See the Advocate for coverage.

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