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2016 Annual Conference

AC2016LogoThumbThe 2016 South Carolina Annual Conference
will be held June 5-8, 2016 at the Civic Center in Florence, SC.


A More Excellent Way:
Making Space for God to Work.


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2016 SC Annual Conference Worship/Bible Study/Session DVD order form

2016-2017 Clergy Appointments

Complete Coverage of the 2016 Annual Conference

The Minutes of the 2016 SC Annual Conference

2016 Annual Conference Evaluation


Bishop Jonathon Holston


I am excited about our upcoming 2016 Annual Conference Session. Our theme, “Making Space For God To Work,” continues our faith journey in seeking a more excellent way to make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform our world. I am delighted to welcome Bishop Lawrence McCleskey to share with us in praise and worship as well as Dr. Luther Smith to lead us in bible study. Also, you are invited to participate in an awesome Imagine No Malaria event as we celebrate our goal of raising $1 million. So, come and share in a glorious time of celebration, generosity and worship.

– Bishop Holston

2015 South Carolina United Methodist Conference

Hotel Information
(The following hotels are already full)

  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton Inn – Florence Civic Center
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Florence Civic Center

Pre-Conference Information

Event Information

The Digital Age: Tuesday June 7th @ 7pm (Florence Civic Center)

A big-name benefit concert will not only celebrate South Carolina’s efforts to eradicate malaria but also help raise final funds for the campaign. Read more:


Featured Speakers

Luther SmithDr. Luther E. Smith Jr., to serve as 2016 Conference Bible Study Leader

Dr. Luther Smith, professor Emeritus of Church and Community at Candler School of Theology will serve as the 2016 SC Conference Bible Study Leader.

Dr. Luther Smith, professor Emeritus of Church and Community at Candler School of Theology will serve as the 2016 SC Conference Bible Study Leader.

Ask colleagues, students, and former students to describe Luther E. Smith Jr., and three words surface repeatedly: wise, passionate, and humble. This trademark combination of traits has left an indelible impression on Candler and the world—an impression whose echo will resound long after Smith retires this August as professor of church and community.

An activist, scholar, and teacher, Smith has spent the past 35 years

at Candler shaping ecclesial and societal leaders, impressing upon them the need for justice and inclusivity and teaching them how to actively work toward

transformation in the world around them. Above all, he is a champion of community.

“One of the things I’ve stressed with students over the years is that concern for the community is not an elective,” Smith says. “It’s not an option. It’s fundamental to what we see as the call for faithfulness.”

True to that call, Smith has worked as a humanitarian and activist everywhere from homeless shelters and welfare agencies to boardrooms and government buildings in his effort to create meaningful change. He has dedicated his time and energy to groups including the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty and L’Arche, an international organization that promotes intentional faith communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together.

In his work with communities, Smith has modeled how passion for social justice can be turned into action. When he noticed in 2001 that the church was nowhere to be found among the social service agencies in Georgia advocating for children on issues such as poverty and sexual exploitation, he worked with others to form the Interfaith Children’s Movement to mobilize people of faith to address the challenges facing children.

Dr. Smith written numerous articles and speaks extensively on issues of church and society, congregational renewal, Christian spirituality, and the thought of Howard Thurman. His current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman, advocacy on behalf of children, and a spirituality of hope. Dr. Smith is an ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.


  •   PhD, Saint Louis University, 1979
  •   MDiv, Eden Theological Seminary, 1972
  •   BA, Washington University, 1969Publications
  •   Howard Thurman: Essential Writings (Orbis, 2006)
  •   Intimacy and Mission: Intentional Community as Crucible for Radical Discipleship (Wipf & StockPublishers, 1994)
  •   Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet (Orbis, 1981)

Bishop McCleskeyBishop J. Lawrence McCleskey to serve as preacher for 2016 Service of Commissioning and Ordination

Former Resident Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey will serve as the preacher for the Service of Commissioning and Ordination at the 2016 SC Annual Conference. Born in Atlanta, Georgia and reared there and in Tampa, Florida, Lawrence McCleskey is a graduate of Duke University (A.B.), Duke Divinity School (B.D.), and Princeton Theological Seminary (D.Min.). An emeritus trustee of Duke University, he has been awarded honorary degrees by Claflin University, Wofford College, Hood Theological Seminary and Erskine Theological Seminary.

Bishop McCleskey was elected to the episcopacy by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference in July 1996, and assigned to the Columbia Area (South Carolina Conference), where he served for eight years. Prior to his election, he served for thirty-three years as a member of the Western North Carolina Conference, where he was appointed to churches from 35 to 3700 members. He served six years as Superintendent of the Winston-Salem District, and at the time of his election he was Senior Minister of the Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte. In 2004, he was assigned to the Charlotte Area (Western North Carolina Conference) where he served until his retirement in 2008.

In retirement he is the Executive Vice President for Development in the Africa University Development Office. In this volunteer position Bishop McCleskey works with local churches, annual conferences, and individual donors to raise funds for scholarship endowment and capital projects at Africa University, the United Methodist Church’s pan-African university located at Old Mutare, Zimbabwe.

He has been married to Margaret Fowler McCleskey for 53 years. She is retired from teaching and a career as Development Director for UMAR, a United Methodist ministry in Western North Carolina providing residential services for persons with mental and developmental disabilities. Lawrence and Margaret have three children: James has his own consulting business in Washington, DC, working with non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, and economic consortiums in the areas of federal relations and educational and economic development. Sarah is Director of Access Services for the Hofstra University Library in New York. Matthew is the Morning Edition Local Host at WAMU, the National Public Radio affiliate in Washington, DC. The McCleskeys have four grandchildren ranging from three to eight years of age.

The Rev. Patricia J. Parrish to serve as preacher for 2016 Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving

The Reverend Patricia Jean Parrish was ordained a Deacon in 1981 and ordained an Elder in 1985. She was educated at Spartanburg Methodist College, Winthrop University and graduated from Candler School of Theology, Emory University in 1982. She has served the St. Matthews Circuit, the Butler-Shiloh Charge, Belair, Shandon Associate, Boiling Springs (Lexington County) and Beulah, Gilbert. She was appointed to serve the Charleston District in 2008. She served on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry as Secretary, Director of The Covenant in Ministry Program, and as Chair from 2000-2008. She has held other positions at the District and Conference level including serving as a Co-Director of The Phoenix Camp of the Salkehatchie Summer Service Project from 1986-1989. She is married to The Reverend Gary D. Phillips who serves John Wesley United Methodist Church, Charleston. They have one daughter, Rebekah Grace Parrish Phillips, who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work at The University of South Carolina.