Preparing for General Conference 2019 and SC Annual Conference 2018

Dear Pastors, Council Chairs, Lay Leaders and SPRC Chairs, Lay Delegates:

hands4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:4-6


I cordially invite you to a

What:  Training Seminar

Why:  To equip pastors and church leaders, as we face both  General Conference 2019 and SC Annual Conference 2018.   As a leader, you can be an instrument of peace, a conduit of information, and a facilitator of discernment and prayer.   This training will provide highlights of the work of the Commission on the Way Forward.  Lay Delegates and pastors may stay at the end of the General Conference presentation, to watch the orientation video about the S.C. Annual Conference.

When: May 20, 3:00pm, Trinity UMC, 90 Boney Road, Blythewood

Who:  Pastors, Council Chairs, Lay Leaders, SPRC Chairs, and Lay Delegates.  PASTORS – Please share this email with your Lay Delegates (we lack sufficient email addresses on these leaders).

Facilitators:  Rev. Kathy James, Director of Connectional Ministries;  Rev. Cathy Jamieson, DS

To read more about recent news from the Council of Bishops, see the link below –



Council of Bishop Acts on Way Forward

The following article is from the S.C. UMC Conference website –

Bishop Holston’s statement on UMC Council of Bishops’ Way Forward decision

May 4, 2018

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, issued this statement following the April 29-May 4, 2018, meeting of the Council of Bishops:

Over the past week, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church met in Chicago and made a decision about what to forward to the called 2019 General Conference.

Using the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the council is forwarding to the General Conference three possibilities for moving us forward through the impasse on human sexuality. The legislation will offer three plans for the General Conference to consider.

There will be a Traditional Plan, a One Church Plan, and a Connectional Conference Plan. All three models received significant support within the Council of Bishops, with the One Church Plan being recommended as a preference. The legislation itself will be available for the whole church to see once it is translated into all of the official languages of the General Conference.

In this time of uncertainty and anxiety, it is important to remember that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church is the only body that can speak for the denomination and make changes to The Book of Discipline. The task before the General Conference is challenging and the delegates will need our fervent prayers as they prepare to act on the legislation before them.

As we enter this season of discernment and debate, I invite you to remember these things:

  • Prayer is our first and best response to what is before us. Let us continue to earnestly seek God’s will in this matter.
  • Let us engage in our discussions, conversations and debates in ways that bring honor to God and allow the fruit of the Spirit to be visible in our lives.
  • Let us practice our Three Simple Rules: to do all the good we can, to do no harm, and to stay in love with God.

Finally, the decisions to be made at the called 2019 General Conference might impact our local churches, districts, annual conference and denomination. And still, as these matters are being considered, there are persons in each and every community who need to know the saving love of Jesus Christ and who need a relationship with God’s people, the Body of Christ.

We have much work to do in South Carolina for the kingdom of God. Let us not grow weary in our good work.

Grace and Peace,

L. Jonathan Holston

Council of Bishop’s Press Release

Lay Servant School Great Success

Columbia District – Lay Servant Training School

Debbie Watford, Director

“Humbled by the Cross – Empowered by the Spirit – to Drive On in service to our God”

The Columbia District Training School was held the first weekend in March and was a tremendous opportunity for our Lay Servants to learn, grow and experience Christ in new and special ways as our well-prepared teachers led the way.  The participants got to know, in a more profound way, our Lord and what service to Him and others can look like – how we can fulfill the Great Commission each day.

Thanks are in order: Betty Void and Veronica Williams for the many ways in which they helped me organize and get ready for the Training School. To our fabulous teachers:  Sharon Allen, Gay Hawkins, Kathy Hart, Brenda Hook, Marlene Sipes, Herman Lightsey, and Chuck Sovick. To Gena Turner and Amy Cooley for providing accompaniment as we worshipped. To Rev. Gerald Watford for the powerful message sending us out at the conclusion. Lastly, to Washington Street UMC and Rev. Alston Lippert for providing a great location and all the amenities needed to make our Training School a success.

We took the opportunity to express our appreciation and honor of Mr. Francis Hipp for 22 years of faithful service as the former Columbia District Director.

Our District looks forward to providing another set of classes in the fall as we see the critical needs around us and we seek to be as equipped as possible to share the Good News of Christ in ways and in places we may not have thought of before.  May God lead the way!

Praying and Working for Unity of the Body

handsEphesians 4:1-6:  I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

As we contemplate, pray and work for unity in the Body of Christ, both locally and globally, let us be informed about the Commission on the Way Forward.   Below is a link to an updated report, which the Commission gave to the Council of Bishops recently.  Please know that the report is in no way final, and the Commission will give an update again in May.    Be on the lookout for information about the Commission on the Columbia District web and the Columbia District Facebook.


Facing the Future with Faith: Awaiting General Conference 2019

On JanJeremiah 29 11uary 23 and January 30, I offered 2 opportunities for pastors to participate in a training related to General Conference 2019.  Mark Tidsworth, church leadership consultant, pastor and author, assisted me in the training.  Basically, we presented resources to equip pastors in their leadership during this season of our denomination.   Those resources included a review of small group curriculum on the topic of human sexuality and the UMC, conflict mediation skills, and updates on Commission on the Way Forward.  Mark addressed the role of the pastor in this particular time, and how important spiritual disciplines, prayer and discernment are.  Mark described the various ways a pastor can choose to lead, such as directing his/her church toward a particular side, or being  a neutral facilitator to foster conversations among different viewpoints.

At 3:00am today (2/2/18), I woke up to a nudging to write a poem about this season.   I share this with you, hoping we will all stay rooted in faith as we face the unknown.                                                                                                                                                                                Facing the Future
By Cathy Jamieson

I’m not sure where we’re headed
The future is unknown
But why should it be dreaded?
For we are not alone

The God who made the past
Is with us even today
He’ll carry us to the last
He always makes a way

He parted the Red Sea
Turned water into wine
Carried you and me
When all was not fine

The church is fed by wine and bread
Held together 2,000 years
The risen Jesus is the head
So let go of all your fears

Remember disciples on Pentecost
Hiding in a room
Thinking all was lost
Full of doom and gloom

The Spirit came in wind and flame
All was changed on that day
Nothing was the same
God had made a way

In the Spirit let us trust
As we face the unknown
From the day He made us from dust
We have never been alone



Help for Pastors: How to Lead Respectful Conversations on the Homosexuality Issue

No doubt, our pews are filled with persons who have varied opinions on the homosexuality issue.  The General Conference in 2019 is getting closer, and some Methodists are getting more anxious.  Pastors have the challenge of discerning their own viewpoint, and facilitating respectful conversations within the church.   How can you as pastor lead effectively in this time?  What resources are available to help your church?  Here’s an opportunity for training led by Rev. Dr. Cathy Jamieson, D.S., and Rev. Mark Tidsworth, President of Pinnacle Leadership Associates.  Mark has experience as a pastor, counselor, leadership consultant, clergy coach, and author.

Pick a date that fits your calendar.   Lunch will be provided.

  • January 23, Tuesday, 12:00-1:30pm – Methodist Center, 2nd Floor Conf Room
  • January 30, Tuesday, 12:00-1:30pm – Methodist Center, 2nd floor Conf Room

Sign up at this link by January 17 deadline.