By Jessica Brodie
HARTSVILLE—United Methodist pastors and leaders are gearing up for an anti-drug, anti-bullying, higher education program this month designed to bring about stronger unity in the community.
Set for May 6 from 12-4 p.m. at Hartsville High School, “Unity in the Community” is targeted toward children and youth ages 8 and older. It focuses on the communities of Chesterfield, Darlington, Florence and Marlboro counties, though all are welcome.
Organized by Fishers of Men Ministries in partnership with the Hartsville High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes and pastors in various denominations, the program will feature lively entertainment by the New York City Streetballers and the Angel praise dancers, as well as games, prizes and wisdom from a number of guest speakers.
“We’re trying to connect our churches with more people in our immediate community,” said the Rev. Harold Burnell, a retired Baptist pastor who is married to United Methodist pastor the Rev. Mary Burnell, Chesterfield Parish. “We want to get some men in the church, and we need to establish some communication between public officials, local police and sheriff department with the church and community.
“There seems to be a divide between those communities.”
South Carolina House Rep. Ritchie Yow (R-Chesterfield) will speak, along with Herman Lightsey, president of the South Carolina Conference United Methodist Men and several UMC pastors, including the Revs. Bruce Adams, Fred McDaniel, Michael Phares, Richard Toy, Ed Traxler and more.
Children and adults are invited.
“Hopefully the adults will bring the kids,” Burnell said.
Burnell said the program is starting in Hartsville, but Fishers of Men has a goal of bringing the program to all areas of South Carolina through sponsor churches.
Christian Release Time is also working with the group.
Cost is $10, and tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 843-623-1140.