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Bishop’s secretary to retire

By Allison Trussell

Bettye RiversCOLUMBIA—Bettye Rivers, the cheerful face and voice of the South Carolina United Methodist Conference’s episcopal office, is retiring at the end of March.

“I’m leaving eight years too late,” she laughingly said, noting her plan was to retire eight years ago. But she stayed on for “just a short time,” and eight years had passed before she knew it.

Rivers joined the conference staff in 1995 as the receptionist to the building, greeting everyone with a hello and bright smile. She made the move to the Congregational Development Office under the Rev. Harlan Wilson before joining Bishop Lawrence McCleskey’s office in 2002.

When McCleskey retired, she stayed through Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor’s eight-year appointment and welcomed Bishop Jonathan Holston with open arms in 2012.

“Bettye has continually given herself in dedicated service to those of us who have had the privilege of serving as bishops in the South Carolina Conference,” Holston said. “She will be greatly missed for her unassuming, kind, quiet and resourceful presence in the episcopal office.”

“The bishops have all been wonderful,” she said, noting that she continues to stays in touch with each of them.

Rivers is also an accomplished artist, and many of her creations adorn the walls at the South Carolina United Methodist Conference Center.

“My studio is set up at home, and I hope to enjoy more time with my paints and canvasses,” she said.

Beyond that, her plans are fluid.

“I know I want to wake up when I want to. And I want to sit on my front porch in the morning in my pajamas with my coffee and dog and watch people go to work.” She laughed, adding, “But that’s as far as I’ve planned!”

She expects that she’ll find a way to keep busy, whether that’s sitting on the porch with Reba, her miniature schnauzer, and her husband, Joe, or in her studio.

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