Bettye Rivers, the cheerful face and voice of South Carolina’s United Methodist bishops, is retiring at the end of March.
Rivers has worked for 15 years in the episcopal office of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, where she was executive assistant to three bishops.
“I’m leaving eight years too late,” she said with a laugh, noting that her plan had been to retire eight years ago. But she stayed on for “just a short time” – and before she knew it, eight years had passed.
Rivers joined the conference staff in 1995 as the Conference Center receptionist, greeting everyone with a cheerful “hello” and a bright smile. She made the move to the Congregational Development Office under the Rev. Harlan Wilson before joining Bishop Lawrence McCleskey’s office in 2002.
When McCleskey retired, she stayed through Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor’s eight-year appointment and welcomed Bishop L. Jonathan Holston in 2012.
“Bettye has continually given herself in dedicated service to those of us who have had the privilege of serving as bishops in the South Carolina Conference,” Bishop Holston said. “She will be greatly missed for her unassuming, kind, quiet and resourceful presence in the episcopal office.”
Rivers said she has continued to stay in touch with each of the bishops for whom she has worked.
“The bishops have all been wonderful,” she said.
Rivers is also an accomplished artist, and many of her creations adorn the walls at the Conference Center.
“My studio is set up at home,” she said, “and I hope to enjoy more time with my paints and canvasses.”
Beyond that, her plans are fluid.
“I know I want to wake up when I want to, and I want to sit on my front porch in the morning in my pajamas with my coffee and dog and watch people go to work,” she said. “But that’s as far as I’ve planned!”
Rivers expects to find a way to keep busy – whether that’s sitting on the porch with Reba, her miniature schnauzer, and her husband, Joe, or spending time in her studio.