By Jessica Brodie
GREENVILLE—In two more months, 2,000 United Methodists will head to the TD Convention Center for Annual Conference ready to worship, serve God and vote on a host of business items concerning the denomination in this state.
Set for June 3-6, Annual Conference is South Carolina Methodism’s once-a-year business meeting and fellowship opportunity. This year’s theme, “A More Excellent Way: In Mission from Anywhere to Everywhere” embraces local and global mission efforts, a key focus of Methodism.
Details are still finalizing for the gathering, but the conference has released plans for the 2018 Annual Conference Mission Project, as well as information on speakers, pre-conference trainings, offerings, resolutions, meal plans and more.
Mission project: Health kits
This year, South Carolina United Methodists will focus its mission efforts on producing health kits, which the United Methodist Committee on Relief uses to help survivors after a disaster, such as last year’s hurricanes.
Before Annual Conference, UMCs across South Carolina are being asked to donate money to raise a total of $122,400 ($10,200 per district). The funds will be used to purchase supplies for 10,200 health kits. Materials for the kits cost $12 apiece, and the goal is 850 kits per district.
“We are receiving financial donations only,” said the Rev. Ken Nelson, conference secretary. “Do not bring health kits to Annual Conference.”
Then, on Tuesday (June 5) of Annual Conference, United Methodists will gather in a room to assemble and package the 10,200 UMCOR health kits.
The deadline to submit financial donations is May 15.
Please send all donations to the UMCSC Treasurer’s office, designated to “Annual Conference Mission Initiative 2018,” at 4908 Colonial Dr., Columbia, SC 29203.
The project is a partnership between the conference and UMCOR and the Abundant Health Initiative of Global Ministries of the UMC. For more information: umcsc.org/acmission.
Annual Conference organizers have also just released information on the speakers for this year’s gathering. Opening worship will be preached by Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference.
The ordination preacher will be Bishop Mildred Hines, resident bishop of the South Atlantic Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
The Bible study leader will be Dr. Herbert Marbury, associate professor of Hebrew Bible, Vanderbilt University.
The memorial service preacher will be Dr. Mike Alexander, senior pastor, Belin Memorial UMC, Murrells Inlet.
Like last year, attendees at Annual Conference will again be able to purchase advance meal tickets so they can have all their meals onsite at the TD Convention Center.
Nelson said the meals plans are designed to offer “convenience and affordability.”
There are three tiers for the meal plan:
- Option 1 offers six meals covering the whole conference for $100 (Sunday dinner, Monday lunch and dinner, Tuesday lunch and dinner, and Wednesday lunch);
- Option 2 offers people the chance to purchase meals only for a single day for $39/day (either Sunday dinner and Wednesday lunch, Monday lunch and dinner, or Tuesday lunch and dinner); and
- Option 3 allows people to purchase meals individually ($19 lunch and $25 dinner).
People must register and pay for the meal plan online in advance. Nelson said people should explore the menus and register online at ac2018.umcsc.org.
A key part of Annual Conference will be the opportunity for clergy and laity to vote on resolutions before the body. Nelson said the conference received a number of resolutions, which are currently under consideration. A full story on the resolutions will run in the May edition of the Advocate, and they will also be posted on conference website prior to preconference trainings (slated for April 29, May 6 and May 20; specific locations coming soon).
Offerings will be collected at each worship service during Annual Conference to help various ministry efforts.
On Sunday night, June 3, the offering will benefit Strength for Service Inc., an initiative of the United Methodist Men that seeks to provide daily devotionals to military troops and first responders around the world.
On Monday night, June 4, the offering will benefit the conference Seminary Students Scholarship Fund, an endowment of the South Carolina United Methodist Foundation that awards scholarships to candidates for ministry from South Carolina attending UMC seminary and theological schools.
On Tuesday night, June 5, the offering will benefit the Global Health Advance #3021770, which supports Global Ministries in reaching 1 million children with health interventions around the world. The United Methodist Church is working to bring better health to people in every place, both locally and globally. Every year, nearly 6 million children younger than age 5 die from preventable and treatable diseases.
Checks should be payable to Treasurer, South Carolina Annual Conference, with the recipient designated in the memo line (Strength for Service, Seminary Students Scholarship Fund or Global Health Advance).
For more about Annual Conference 2018: ac2018.umcsc.org.