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The South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church ordained 10 new elders and commissioned eight provisional elders and two provisional deacons August 8 at St. John’s UMC in Aiken.

Attendance at the 2020 Service for Ordination and Commissioning was restricted to candidates for ordination and commissioning, two guests each, and the conference leadership and staff needed to make it happen safely and in compliance with The Book of Discipline. Good News TV, the conference’s media partner, provided a live-stream of the service.

Watch the replay

Everyone in attendance wore a facemask and practiced social distancing and other safety protocols, in accordance with COVID-19 guidance from state health officials.

Bishop Holston

“We wish that we could all be in one big arena where we could all hug each other and congratulate each other, but this time does not present itself for us to do those things,” said Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference, who led the service. “I’m grateful for your willingness to participate in this service, whether online or in person.

“We pray that God’s grace has been with you and that you have been filled anew with what God can do with us and through us.”

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference, centered his sermon on the lesson of The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-10) – telling the ordinands and provisional members to model their ministry as “Life Givers” on the symbiotic relationship between shepherd and sheep.

Sheep provided milk and wool to the shepherds, their families and the community, he said, while shepherds provided their flocks with protection, food and water.

Bishop Swanson

“Sheep are skittish; they like calm water,” Bishop Swanson said. “It’s your job as a shepherd not to get caught up in a lot of the stuff that’s going on, but to be a non-anxious presence.

“At night, when it was time for the sheep to rest, shepherds found rock formations where the sheep could huddle safely. Most of the time there was no gate to keep them inside, so the shepherd would become the gate and lay himself prostrate across the entryway so that if a predator tried to get to the sheep, it had to cross over the shepherd to get to the sheep.

“Sometimes, we let predators in among our folks, because we are not willing to sacrifice ourselves on behalf of our people. That’s why you need power beyond yourself, because some predators are more powerful than you. You provide the protection so that they cannot get to your people.”

The Service for Ordination and Commissioning came a week after the Clergy Session of the 2020 South Carolina Annual Conference convened virtually on August 1 – approving and electing all 20 candidates.

Ordained as elders

Kenneth David Freeman Jr.
Emory UMC | Nazareth UMC
(Duke, ACOS)

Cynthia Wolfe Muncie
Bethany UMC
(United, M.Div., 2018)

Sammy Omar Juma Pazi
Greater St. Paul UMC
(Gammon, M.Div., 2017)

Nathan Smalls
Mount Carmel UMC
(Asbury, M.Div., 2016)

Elizabeth Fulmer Sullivan
Point Hope UMC
Mount Pleasant
(Asbury, M.Div., 2015)

Frances Hillary Taylor
Bethany UMC | Zoar UMC
(Candler, M.Div., 2018)

Brenda Joyce Thomas
St. Matthew UMC
(Lutheran, M.Div., 2016)

Carole Anne Walters
Mountain View UMC
(Lutheran, M.Div., 2017)

Lisa Montque Way
Voluntary leave
(Hood, M.Div., 2017)

Cheryl Elaine Yates
Ruffin Circuit
Bethel UMC
St. John UMC
Tabor UMC
(Lutheran, M.Div., 2017)

Commissioned as provisional elders

James Thornton Brown II
Associate Pastor
Belin Memorial UMC
Murrells Inlet
(Candler, M.Div., 2020)

William Douglas Herlong
Associate Pastor
St. John’s UMC
(Boston, M.Div., 2020)

Cameron Thomas Levi
Pomaria Charge
Caper’s Chapel UMC
New Hope UMC
(Lutheran, M.Div., 2020)

Tae Suk Park
Associate Pastor
Lyttleton Street UMC
(Candler, M.Div., 2020)

Bryan Wray Pigford
Stallsville UMC
(Lutheran, M.Div., 2019)

Woongchul Daniel Ra
Columbia Korean UMC
(Garrett, M.Div., 2013)

Andrew Warren Sizemore
Lebanon UMC
(Asbury, M.Div., 2018)

James David Taylor III
Beulah UMC
Sandy Run
(Candler, M.Div., 2020)

Commissioned as provisional deacons

Emma McClain Murphy
Director of Congregational Care
Mt. Horeb UMC
(Duke, M.Div., 2019)

Soon Suck Nix
Associate Pastor
Korean Church of Atlanta
North Georgia Conference
(Candler, M.Div., 2020)

Seminary Key

Asbury: Asbury Theological Seminary

Boston: Boston University School of Theology

Candler: Candler School of Theology

Duke: Duke Divinity School

Gammon: Gammon Theological Seminary

Garrett: Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Hood: Hood Theological Seminary

Lutheran: Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary

United: United Theological Seminary

M.Div.: Master of Divinity Degree

ACOS: Advanced Course of Study

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