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.




Let’s Talk Theology


Bishop L. Jonathan Holston has invited everyone in the South Carolina Conference to engage in study of “Wonder, Love and Praise” – a document produced by the Committee on Faith and Order of the United Methodist Church to discern how we as United Methodists understand what it means to be the Church.

“South Carolina United Methodists daily live out the call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in powerful ways,” Bishop Holston said in an open letter to all church members. “As a conference, we model connection and collaboration at the local, district and conference levels.

“I hope you will add your voice to that of other United Methodists in shaping this theological statement about how God brings us together as Church, the Body of Christ.”

Read more here about Bishop’s invitation


Excellence in Ministry Training for Pastors and Laity

Excellence logo

Excellence in Ministry Training for Pastors and Laity 

Washington Street United Methodist Church

November 12, 2017

Gathering: 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Opening and Workshops: 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.


 Taking Care of God’s Money– Church Finance Committee chairperson, treasurer, or other finance committee members will learn how to have effective finance policies, how to help prevent embezzlement, how to do an effective audit, and how apportionments are calculated.   Facilitator – Beth Westbury, Conference Administrator/Treasurer

 Congregational Care isn’t only the Pastor’s Job – Information will be shared on how to start (or re-start an inactive) Stephen’s Ministry.  This is a wonderful program for lay people to give one-on-one Christian care to those in need.  Facilitator – Rev. Tresco Shannon, Pastor, Ashland UMC

Show me the Money” – What kind of District and Conference grants are available and how do you apply?   PanelRev. Lex McDonald, Chair of District Congregational Development; Rev. Sara White, Director of Conference Congregational Development; Rev. Steve Gaither,  Chair of the Conference Board of Global Missions

You’re Never Too Old – Learn how to engage older adults in the church and from the community in activities, spiritual growth, education, trips, and more!  Facilitators – Flo Johnson and Rev. Kathy Griffin, Leaders of Older Adult Ministry

 “Dare we use the Word – Evangelism?” Why are Methodists so afraid of Evangelism?  What can you as pastor or Evangelism/Outreach Chair do to help your church reach new people?  Facilitator – Rev. Dr. Cathy Jamieson, D.S.

 “Taking Care of Business” – Trustees have important oversight of property, facilities, bequests, legal issues, deeds, and more! Facilitator: Kay Crowe, Conference Chancellor

 “Strengthening the African-American Church” – Ethnic Local Church Concerns exists to provide resources and promote training for leaders, clergy and lay, for the mission of the local church in the areas of local church concerns. The goal is to create a shared vision, improve effectiveness of ministry and participate in the development of practical ways of living out the faith in the church and the world. Facilitator: Rev. Millie Smith, Congregational Specialist for Columbia and Hartsville Districts and  African American Churches

 “A Well-Oiled Machine: The Local Church Mission Team”  – The who, what, when and a bit of how a Mission or Outreach Committee operates in the local church. This is not just for the chair of the committee, but the whole team. We will start with one possible distinction in the difference in Outreach and Mission as they apply to the work of each area. Then we’ll move onto getting a handle on how to start with organizing things.  All along the way there will be time for conversation and exploration of local situations. We’ll end with an introduction to District Mission Specials, Conference  Missions and the UMC Global Ministries.   Facilitators:  Rev. Elizabeth Murray, Lexington UMC & Rev. Gary D. Phillips, Salem UMC  

“Let the Children Come to Me” – As teachers and leaders our role is to provide a foundation of experiences on which children build a life of learning and growth toward a mature and vital faith.  Children need to experience the same Bible stories and Christian concepts at several different stages of their faith journey, because their ability to understand the concepts continues to evolve as they grow. We will discuss using the appropriate resources for the development of each child.  Facilitators: Suzy Speas, Director of Education Ministries, Ashland UMC and Rev. Meg Cook, Epworth Children’s Home.

 Registration:  Deadline: November 6, 2017                                                                 Questions:  Email – Betty Void, District Lay Leader,                       or contact  Columbia District Office, (803) 786-9486

REGISTER AT THIS LINK                                     


District Congregational Development Fund Application

The purpose of the Columbia District Committee for Congregational Development is to assist local churches in fulfilling their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We offer assistance through review and consultation of projects and growth strategies. In addition, we seek to offer funding assistance to those congregations that offer visionary, concrete and measurable plans for growth in Christ in their churches and communities. As a partner with the Conference Committee on Congregational Development, we encourage congregations to be innovative in their staffing, building usage and plans for ministry. Typically, we seek to allocate our funds in the areas of new ministries, leadership development and capital improvements.

While we will consider grant requests that are targeted for repair and maintenance activities, primary consideration will be given to churches where:

  • Funds are being sought for ministry initiatives addressing new and innovative efforts.
  • A defined mission and strategy is in place to reach new people and intentionally make disciples. Please include a copy of your Strategic Ministry Plan.
  • The application articulates how the money requested fits within the church’s mission and strategy.
  • Factors are in place that support continued growth and/or growth potential, including geographic location, surrounding population trends, and church resources and culture.

We ask that churches submitting applications:

  • Notify the Columbia District Office of the intent to submit an application. Please inform the District Office no later than 30 days ahead of deadline for submittal. (November 1 and May 1)
  • Consult with the Chair of the Committee prior to completion of the application to ensure complete understanding of the application process.
  • Complete all sections of the application and include any relevant supporting information and submit the completed application to Veronica Williams in the office of the District Superintendent.
  • Have several representatives meet in person with the Committee to discuss the application.

Please complete this application, including all required signatures. This form is a fillable PDF, so you can complete it digitally, then print and sign it. Use whatever media you need to communicate your plan or other needed information. Be sure to include your MissionInsite report, which is available free online. Any lay or clergy may access this report. For assistance, contact Laura Hill in the Conference Office of Congregational Development. Submissions are received twice each year, with deadlines for applications on November 1 and May 1. Completed forms should be mailed to:

Congregational Development Grant Applications
Columbia District Office
3908 Colonial Drive, Suite 124
Columbia, SC 29203


The Bishop’s Day in Columbia District


Bishop’s Day in the Columbia District:
“By Faith, On Mission, Together”

Saturday, October 21st
9:00am – 12:00pm
Shandon UMC
(3407 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29205)

The one constant in today’s world is constant change. In the midst of that change, God has called us to the eternal work of making disciples for the transformation of the world. Your local church leadership team is invited to spend a morning with Bishop Holston thinking about how we equip our congregations to walk faithfully into God’s vision for God’s church. Teams will have opportunity to hear what churches are learning from the Forward Focus process, and the day will close with Holy Communion as we celebrate our connection to one another and to Jesus Christ.

All pastors are invited to bring up to five (5) elected leaders and/or potential leaders. This may include Church Council Chair, Lay Leader, Vision Committee Chair, and other potential leaders who are enthusiastic and committed. Bishop Jonathan Holston will be leading us in discernment about reaching our full potential and seeking a hopeful future.

At the end of the event, churches will be asked to consider entering into a process designed to guide the local church leadership team in gathering data and information necessary to reflect on the ministry potential and vitality of your church. Expected outcomes of the Bishop’s Forward Focus include: 1. Clear idea of next steps for your congregation, 2. An informed discernment of God’s will for your congregation, and 3. Reclaim a healthy process for the how the congregation should work.

TO SIGN UP FOR THE EVENT, complete online registration here or contact Veronica Williams in the District Office (803-786-9486 or The registration deadline is October 16th. For additional info, contact Betty Void at or 803-447-0626.