All lay and clergy members are encouraged to register now for the 2021 South Carolina Annual Conference, which will convene as an all-virtual session to ensure the health and safety of everyone amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Registration deadline is June 1.
The June 6-7 meeting will be the 50th session of the South Carolina Annual Conference, which was organized in 1972 after the uniting of two conferences – the predominantly white South Carolina Conference (1785), and the predominantly black South Carolina Conference (1866).
The Florence District and Cumberland United Methodist Church in Florence will play host to AC2021 at the Florence Center, where in-person attendance will be limited strictly to those who must be on site to conduct the business of the Annual Conference.
“This year’s theme – ‘Seeking A More Excellent Way: Taking the Next Faithful Step’ – calls us to courageously go where God is leading us, entrusting God with each step that we take,” said Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, who will preside at AC2021. “Miraculous things can happen when we leave our place of comfort and allow God to stretch us in new and different ways.
“We look forward to engaging with you virtually as we live into a broadened definition of what it means for God’s people to gather celebrate the mission and ministry of devoted South Carolina United Methodists who are answering God’s call and taking the next faithful step.”
Good News TV – our Annual Conference media partner – will host the virtual gathering and help coordinate participation via Zoom video conferencing and voting on a separate, secure platform. In the spirit of transparency, Annual Conference is traditionally open to the public. AC2021 will be live-streamed so anyone can observe the proceedings online. A live-stream link will be posted at umcsc.org/ac2021.
All materials members need to prepare for AC2021 are available at umcsc.org/ac2021, including:
- Registration Link
- Detailed Schedule
- Video Reports
- Action Items Report
- Other Pre-Conference Documents
“In a matter of a few days, the people of the South Carolina Conference will gather to celebrate our life and ministry together,” said the Rev. Ken Nelson, the conference secretary. “In our gathering, we bear witness to the truth that our strength is our connection. The 2021 Annual Conference will serve as a celebration of the resilience of our clergy, laity, and congregations.
“And while Annual Conference serves as a time of celebration, it also serves as a springboard to the next chapter of what God is doing in our midst. Together, we will take the next faithful step in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Forward in faith!”
The Rev. Terry Fleming, superintendent of the Florence District, acknowledged how all of our lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring us to find new ways to do things that once seemed so routine.
“These past 15 months feel like a lifetime in some ways,” Rev. Fleming said. “We’ve prayed and asked, ‘God, where are you in all this?’ We’ve endured COVID-related isolation and sickness, the deaths of family and friends, political divisiveness, racial unrest, and lost jobs – not to mention a bit of denominational stress. This definitely doesn’t feel like the world God intended for us.
“What has been inspiring has been watching churches and pastors adapt as they leaned into hope and living out the Gospel. They have found new ways to be in ministry in their communities, with many adding an online presence for the first time.
“Even though it will be virtual, I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to this year’s Annual Conference, to hearing people’s stories and seeing the faces of friends and colleagues I love.”
Annual Conference preachers
- Commissioning, Ordination and Retirement Recognition Service – Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, resident bishop of the North Alabama Conference, 7 p.m. Sunday, June 6.
- Sending Forth Service – Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference, 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 7.
- A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving – The Rev. Joe N. Long Jr., pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Newberry, 7 p.m. Monday, June 7.
Sunday, June 6
2 p.m. – Clergy Session
7 p.m. – Service for Ordination and Commissioning
- Will include recognition of retiring clergy
- Offering: S.C. Conference Seminary Students Scholarship Fund
Monday, June 7
10 a.m. – Annual Conference Session begins
7 p.m. – Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
View Full Conference Program
Register for AC2021
All lay and clergy members are encouraged to participate in one of two virtual training sessions scheduled for June 1 at 6 p.m. and June 7 at 9 a.m.