Preparing for MLK Day 2020

Prepare the Way for MLK Day

MLK Day can’t be a “one and done” experience.   We need to open our hearts and minds in preparation for our District Virtual MLK Service, 12:00 Noon, January 18, 2021.  We invite you to use one of the following resources, to prepare the way for MLK Day.


Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 256 pages (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman, 128 pages (Before MLK)

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, 128 pages (During and after MLK)

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 176 pages (Millennial)


Movie:  Selma (2014) PG-13 | 2h 8min | Biography, Drama, History (Movie)


Internet:  I Have a Dream Speech  (YouTube)


Podcast:  1619: The 1619 Project is an ongoing project developed by The New York Times Magazine in 2019 which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States’] national narrative”.


Light of the World

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.   John 1:1-5

As I’ve gotten older, I find it more difficult to drive at night.  I wear mono-vision contacts, which means one contact is for distance and one for reading.  In the dark, I need my progressive lens glasses, which give me distance and reading vision in both eyes.   It’s also hard to do yoga in dim lighting.  Balancing poses are impossible.   Even in a brightly lit room, if the yoga instructor asks us to close our eyes in a balancing pose, I fall.  It’s also impossible to read in the dark.  I really don’t like those energy-saving light bulbs.   Ever try walking in the dark without a flashlight?  I meander like a drunk sailor.  The bottom line is that without light, we are lost.   This has been a very dark year, a global pandemic, political divisiveness, racial injustice, and economic crisis.  Perhaps that’s why we all were excited about the merging of Jupiter and Saturn, revealing the Christmas Star on December 21, the longest night of the darkest year.   We long for brighter days, free from brokenness and suffering.  We hope that 2021 will be a better year, but I hate to tell you, there will always be brokenness and suffering in our lives and in the world.  That’s what it means to be human, and to live in the imperfect world.   Into the brokenness and suffering, Jesus shines His light, offering hope, love, grace, peace and joy.   God chose to come to earth, to enter into our brokenness and suffering, and even use brokenness and suffering upon the cross, to bring us abundant and everlasting life.    L.R. Knost wrote, “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of this world.  All things break.  All things can be mended.  Not with time as they say, but with intention.  So go, love intentionally, extravagantly, and unconditionally.  The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”   May the light of the world, Jesus Christ, be born anew in you this Christmas.   And may you reflect His light.

Namaste, the light in me honors the light in you.


Virtual Leadership Training, Jan 24, 2021

Excellence in Ministry Virtual Training, January 24, 2021, Sunday 

Opening Session: 3:00pm                                          Workshops: 3:30-4:30pm

This will be a Zoom training.  You will receive an email with the Zoom link AFTER you register on-line (registration link at the bottom of this post).  You will attend only one workshop.   

  • “How to Reach New People in a Pandemic and Beyond” – Rev. Martin Quick, Assoc. Pastor, Journey UMC
  • “Taking Care of God’s Money:  Finance and Stewardship” – Beth Westbury, Conference Treasurer
  •  “Taking Care of Business:  Trustees” –  Kay Crowe, Conference Chancellor
  • “Congregational Care in the Pandemic and Beyond”- Rev. Alston Lippert, Assoc. Pastor, Washington St. UMC
  •  “Resolving Conflict in the Church” –  Rev. Millie Nelson Smith, Director of Connectional Ministries & Congregational Specialist 
  • “How to Start and Grow Special Needs Ministry” – Rev. Shannon Bullion, Assoc. Minister of Evangelism & Outreach, Shandon UMC
  • “Enhancing Worship: Live Stream and in Person” – Rev. Gary Phillips, Senior Pastor, Salem UMC & Rev. Scott Smoak, Trinity UMC, Blythewood
  • “Epworth Local Church Representative: Be the Face and Voice” – Rev. Kathy James, Director of Church Relations, Sherry Mims, Associate Dir. of Church Relations and Assistant to the President; Lisa Livingston Fusco, Senior Director of Development 
  • “Strengthening Youth Ministry in a Pandemic and Beyond” – Chris Lynch, Congregational Specialist, Rock Hill and Spartanburg and Ministry with Young People
  • “Strengthening Ministry with Children” – Ashley Reynolds, Director of Children & Youth Ministry, Red Bank UMC               

District Events and Meetings Calendar


Dec  1           Hunger Ministries and Belin requests due               Due to Connectional Ministries

Dec  15         Church/Pastor Profiles due                                       District Office

Dec  15         PPRC/Pastor Advisory forms due                              District Office

Dec  23-Jan 1     District Office Closed (Christmas)

YEAR 2021

Jan  1          District Office Closed (New Year’s)

Jan  14        Last day to pay Apportionments due by 4:00            Treasurer’s Office

Jan  18        District Office Closed (M.L. King Holiday)

Jan 18Noon   MLK Virtual Service (on Facebook and Youtube)

Jan  19     11:30-1:00am              Pastors Monthly Meeting              Zoom

Jan  24      3:00-5:00pm               Excellence in Ministry Training       Zoom

Jan  TBD    Granville Hicks Lecture Series             Claflin University

Jan  31       Trustee Nomination Form for Claflin, Columbia, Wofford        Due to Connectional Ministries

Jan  31       Recommendation for Nomination to SC Boards/Agencies      Due to Connectional Ministries

Feb  1        6:00 District Connectional Ministries                                        Zoom

Feb  7        3:00-5:00pm    SPRC Training (for Pastors & Committee)         Mt. Horeb UMC, Lexington

Feb  8         9:30     District Committee on Ordained Ministry                     TBD

Feb  9-11       BOM, (Provisional Member Interviews)                                 TBD

Feb  16  11:30 -1:00  Pastors Monthly Meeting                                           TBD

Feb  22             District United Methodist Men’s Fish Fry                            Rehoboth UMC, Columbia

Feb  28                                                                                                         Tables I & II Statistical Reports due (instructions sent by Treasurer’s Office)To be completed online


Mar  11   9:30-2:00      Clergy Orders Gathering                                           TBD

Mar  15   5:30              District Congregational Development

Mar  31                        Annual Church Audit due                                        District Office

Apr    2                        District Office Closed (Good Friday)

Apr    4                        Easter Sunday

Apr    5   6:00              Committee on Superintendent                                  Methodist Center

Apr    6   11:30-1:00     District Pastors Meeting                                           Epworth, Barnes Learning Ctr.

Apr    22                        BOM (Provisional Member Interviews)                   TBD

Apr    23-24                   School of Pastoral Ministry-Weekend I                   TBD

Apr    26-May 1             School of Pastoral Ministry-Week long school        TBD

May   7-8                       School of Pastoral Ministry-Weekend II                   TBD

May    1                         District Congregational Development Grant deadline            District Office

May    3    6:00              District Connectional Ministries                     Methodist Center

May   17   5:30              District Congregational Development           Methodist Center

May   18                       Pastor Send-off Luncheon                             Epworth Barnes Learning Ctr.

May 20-21                    Ordinand’s Retreat                                         TBD

May   31                       District Office Closed   (Memorial Day)

Jun   6-9           (Sun – Wed)      SC Annual Conference                                   Florence Civic Center

Jun   30                                     Moving Day

Aug 29-Sep 10                          General Conference 2021

MLK Day Service, January 18, Noon

Date:  January 18, 12:00noon  – Virtual service, broadcast on Columbia District FaceBook

and Journey UMC Youtube

Sponsor:  “CFRE: Clergy for Racial Equality”  (a group of Columbia District clergy dedicated to racial equality and justice) 

Theme:  “Truth, Accountability, Reconciliation”

  • Voices from around the district sharing thoughts on truth, accountability, reconciliation   
  • Panel Discussion: Moderator:  Rev. Lex McDonald;  Panel: Rev. Dr. George Ashford, Rev. Tiffany Knowlin Boykin, Rev. Jeff Kersey, Rev. Elizabeth Murray, Rev. Kenneth Middleton
  • Music
  • Voices from around the district sharing their hopes and action steps for race relations 


Clemson Carolina Challenge

The Wesley Foundations at Clemson and USC will be competing in our annual Clemson Carolina Challenge until November 29th. Although the two football teams will not be playing on the field, the spirit of the rivalry continues between our two ministries as we wait to see which campus ministry wins the highest donations and is declared the “winner.” Obviously there is no real loser as all the money goes to two great ministries!

We have a simple website that we would love to be potentially promoted on the SC website, UMCSC social media and in the Advocate. We are encouraging all our traffic to be directed to to learn more and to donate.

You can also donate through Venmo to @ClemsonWesley. Simply write in the note which school and campus ministry you are supporting.

This is only a week-long challenge and will primarily be promoted on our social media platforms due to COVID-19 impacting local church involvement.

Please let me know if I can provide any more information and thank you for the support!


Mackin Wall, Campus Ministry Associate

Methodist Student Network at USC


Will our denomination split?

With the pandemic postponing May 2020 General Conference, many Methodists are wondering, “Will our denomination split? Will the pandemic inhibit the November 2021 General Conference from happening?  What is going on with the potential Separation Protocol that was to be reviewed by General Conference?”   

I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do encourage you to stay informed by signing up for United Methodist News, an email that comes each day with important updates on regional and global issues of our church.   

The link below will take you to a recent article about the Judicial Council and it’s review of the Separation Protocol.

Lessons from a Yogi-Preacher: Strength, Flexibility, Balance and Stillness

I’ve been practicing yoga since 2007, when the demands of a growing church were stressful.  We were in a building planning process at Trinity UMC, Blythewood, and good minds were involved.   But it was arduous.  I needed something to help me not only in the pulpit, but also in the saddle, where my body wasn’t listening to my brain.

I did my first class, and the next morning woke up feeling like a million bucks.  I was hooked.  Eventually I learned that practicing yoga didn’t just transform my muscles, but it transformed my mind and spirit.

Yoga teaches strength.  When you are in a one-legged, downward dog, with one leg high to the sky, you find strength.   If you don’t, you fall on your face, literally and figuratively.   These days, we all need more strength.   Living in a divided country, with a pandemic, is sapping our strength, but God can strengthen us.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”   Psalm 46

Yoga teaches flexibility.   This one is hard for me.  I like structure, plans, and routines.  After all, I’m a Methodist, and we follow “The Book of Discipline.”   Yet, when I’m in forward fold and lay my head all the way on the mat, there is a letting go, a release.  In the documentary about famous horse trainer Buck Brannaman, there is a line, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”   One of my yoga teachers says, “What doesn’t bend, breaks.”  These days, we all need more flexibility, more letting go and letting God.

Yoga teaches balance.  Standing on one leg, arms stretched to the sky, I was doing tree pose in an outdoor class at Lake Junaluska, and a bird pooped on my arm!  I must have truly looked like a tree.  Life can easily knock us off-balance.  The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word “yoga” is yoke or unite.  Yoga fosters unity and balance in mind, body, spirit, and promotes unity with God and others.   These days, we all need more balance and unity.  “…..lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:3

Yoga teaches stillness.   I rarely sit still.  Even at work, I have a stand-up desk with a yoga mat underneath.  I swim, ride horses, and do yoga – about 6 days a week.  At the end of yoga class is Shavasana, corpse pose.  You lay completely still, arms and legs outstretched.   The lights are dim and the room is silent.  You melt into the mat and breathe.   Finding stillness and silence on the mat helps me find stillness and silence in the noisy world.  These days, we all need more stillness and silence.  Turn off the news.  Silence your phone.   “Be still, and know that I am God!”   Psalm 46:10

Namaste, the light in me honors the light in you,


Lay Servant Virtual Training November 7-8

Columbia District Lay Servant Virtual Training Event on Zoom.    Time to join in learning and fellowship with fellow lay servants.  If you are a returning lay servant or a new lay servant, this is for you.  If you registered for March classes that were cancelled, contact Chuck Sovick ( to register for November (don’t use this registration link because it will ask you to pay, and you already paid in March).  After you register, you will receive an email with a Zoom link for the training.


Registration deadline is November 4.


November 7:

9:00 AM: Opening Prayer and Introduction of Executive Board

9:15 AM: Break out in Classes:

  1. Polity
  2. Spiritual Gifts
  3. Basic Lay Servant 101

November 8:

1:30 PM: Opening Prayer

1:35 PM: Breakout Classes

4:00 PM: Return to Main Room

4:00-4:30 PM: Recognition Ceremony & Closing Prayer

Course Books

Course – Lay Servant Ministries (The Basic Course)

Participant: Lay Servant Ministries, Participant’s Book (Basic Course) –  by Sandy Zeigler Jackson and Brian Jackson Participant’s Book – Paperback – March 13, 2013

ISBN-10: 0881776262
ISBN-13: 978-0881776263

Course – Spiritual Gifts

Participant:  Each One a Minister: Using God’s Gifts for Ministry by William J. Carter – Paperback – October 1, 2003

ISBN-10: 0881773751
ISBN-13: 978-0881773750

Course – United Methodist Polity

Participant:  The Method of Our Mission: United Methodist Polity & Organization by Laceye C. Warner – Paperback – July 15, 2014

ISBN-10: 142676717X
ISBN-13: 978-1426767173