Bible study leader: ‘We ought never disagree about love’
Cheryl Elaine Yates Offering The $13,127.25 offering at Monday night’s Ordination Service will go to the South Carolina Conference Seminary Students Scholarship Fund, and endowment of the Foundation. Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
The Rev. Dr. Mike Alexander, senior minister of Belin Memorial Murrells Inlet, spoke directly to the family of those in the Connection who have lost loved ones in ministry over the past year. (Photo by Matt Brodie)
His message was inspired by the story of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, in the 11th chapter of John’s Gospel, in which Jesus promises life to all of those who believe in him, even after they die.
“I know some of you don’t want to be here today,” Rev. Alexander said. “You would prefer to be in some moment in the past; to have one more conversation; to say, ‘I love you,’ one more time. Maybe you need to say thanks, or maybe you need to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Maybe you just need to share one more laugh, one more tear, one more sunset.
“Jesus holds your loved one at this moment. All really is well. At this moment, your loved one lives with Jesus, and Jesus lives with your loved one. Jesus does come to you. You don’t have to lose your zest for life. You don’t have to give up and throw in the towel. You just have to keep saying over and over during the difficult times, ‘Give me Jesus, because Jesus is the resurrection and the life.”
He reminded the families and delegates that God’s love doesn’t mean we are spared from suffering and death in this life.
“Do not measure the love of God for you by the amount of health, wealth or comfort in your life,” he said. “Know how much God shows up in your grief and pain.”
Rev. Alexander closed his sermon by recalling the words of his “favorite philosopher:” Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it ends. Smile because it happened.”
Bishop Holston then read the names of 52 of those in ministry who have died over the past year. A bell tolled after the name of each, followed by a stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace” from soloist Carol Strasser. Those recognized in Monday’s service
Barbara Ann Gowan Alley April 17, 1939 – January 9, 2018
Charles Jeffery “Jeff” Altman April 21, 1951 – December 22, 2017
Jean Anne Amick Bobo August 24, 1937 – November 15, 2017
Jean Casey Brittain February 13, 1928 – February 7, 2018
Rev. John Deleon Boone Jr. August 11, 1919 – April 26, 2018
Birdadean Jamison Calhoun October 17, 1929 – February 25, 2018
Rev. James Boyd Chewning September 5, 1938 – November 1, 2017
Rev. Paul Milton Cheezem Sr. February 13, 1957 – July 1, 2017
Elizabeth Burnett Christopher April 17, 1915 – September 14, 2017
Caroline Anne Owens Clary April 24, 1930 – May 26, 2018
Rebecca Massabeau Parrot Colvin February 8, 1936 – January 24, 2018
Jane Wilkerson Covington February 22, 1937 – March 6, 2018
Rev. William Kelly Cross III February 7, 1935 – October 18, 2017
Delphia Blankenship Fizer December 2, 1927 – October 30, 2017
James Soloman Gadsden Sr. June 12, 1930 – June 19, 2017
Rev. William Murray Gibbons January 3, 1933 – April 1, 2018
Rev. L. Junior Graham August 5, 1932 – August, 27 2017
Rev. James Allen Grigsby September 10, 1920 – November 5, 2017
Rev. Eugene James Harper August 7, 1928 – October 25, 2017
Rev. James Otis Harper April 14, 1957 – January 18, 2018
Rev. Doris Nordan Hovis March 13, 1938 – January 15, 2018
Rev. James Elmo Hunter III August 25, 1935 – July 30, 2017
Elizabeth Candler Johnson May 25, 1935 – May 4, 2018
Geneva Allen Jones June 27, 1932 – August 5, 2017
Rev. Norman Lee Knight October 2, 1929 – November 12, 2017
George Victor Kulik June 7, 1934 – November 2, 2017
Emily Claire Funderburk Love February 22, 1922 – February 4, 2018
Rev. Patricia “Pat” Caldwell McCain January 12, 1940 – February 6, 2018
Rev. Edward Homer Lee McDowell Sr. October 27, 1927 – November 11, 2017
Rev. Jerry Paul Nelson August 30, 1936 – December 23, 2017
Rev. Cecil Ernest “Ernie” Nivens May 29, 1947 – November 4, 2017
Margie Elizabeth Jones Page August 28, 1922 – December 7, 2017
Brenda L. Parker July 4, 1947 – March 15, 2018
Queen Elizabeth Cooper Pinckney December 26, 1933 – March 13, 2018
Rev. Clarence Odell Pittman October 14, 1928 – December 26, 2017
Madora Holder Pittman December 22, 1929 – July 3, 2017
Barbara Jean Rollins July 3, 1938 – April 26, 2018
Rev. Caroline Adams Salmans February 13, 1945 – October 20, 2017
Rev. Dr. Talmage B. Skinner Jr. April 2, 1934 – May 31, 2018
Margaret Perry Smith April 13, 1922 – December 15, 2017
Rev. Thomas Raymond Smith June 27, 1947 – October 15, 2017
Rev. Edward James Stiltz September 18, 1930 – January 12, 2018
John Daniel “Danny” Summey May 10, 1947 – January 12, 2018
Rev. Robert Williams Tanner March 12, 1932 – December 20, 2017
Jennye Ellis Taylor February 10, 1924 – August 27, 2017
Rev. Paul Y. Thomas September 16, 1959 – March 28, 2018
Anne Whitehead Bassford Townsend January 20, 1938 – June 24, 2017
Lois Watts Harper Vaught September 7, 1924 – February 12, 2018
Dawn Elizabeth “Dee Dee” Albig Warwick September 6, 1956 – February 17, 2018
Geneva Belton Williams August 2, 1928 – February 23, 2018
Mary Leslie Williams March 29, 1934 – August 4, 2017
Rev. Clark Thomas Wilson May 8, 1936 – February 14, 2018 Connectional Ministries Report
The Rev. Ross Chellis, convenor of Conference Connectional Ministries, reported that Connectional Ministries exists to equip and empower local churches for vital and effective ministry. Rev. Ross Chellis (Photo by Matt Brodie)
“It is my opinion that the uncertainty of tomorrow can often produce a fear that limits and dissuades us from living faithfully and obediently in the present,” Rev. Chellis said. “We have learned that living faithfully into our purpose will require Connectional Ministries to be ever developing skills for listening to the voices from local churches and hearing their needs expressed.”
Rev. Chellis recalled Bishop L. Jonathan Holston’s words from his opening worship sermon, that the church is founded upon Jesus Christ and does not belong to us.
“Rather, by God’s favor, we have been invited to participate in the beauty of the kingdom’s fulfillment,” he said. “In a world of uncertainty, you and I can rest safely and securely in the certain hope of God in Jesus Christ. By grace and stabilized by hope, we live in faith.
“Conference Connectional Ministries will strain toward this end. Our continued effort will be to faithfully live in the certain hope of God revealed in Jesus Christ by serving the purpose extended to us.”
He introduced a video report that touched on just a few of the ministries under the Connectional Ministries umbrella: South Carolina Ministries with Young People; Disaster Recovery Ministries; Come, Follow Me; Native American Ministries; Forward Focus and the Connectional Quilt effort.
“My hope is for you to see the effort of Conference Connectional Ministries to serve local churches,” Rev. Chellis said, “by providing resources and opportunities that equip and empower them for ministry in their local communities.” Click here to watch the Connectional Ministries video report . Committee on the Episcopacy
Chairperson Holbrook Platts reported that the committee is responsible to engage in annual consultation and appraisal of the bishop’s relationship and responsibilities to the annual conference.
“The Committee on Episcopacy fully agrees that during the past year Bishop Holston has continued to lead this conference by example and provided insight, encouragement, and motivation for our congregations to grow both spiritually and physically,” Platts said.
“During the past year, he continued ‘The Bishop’s Road Show,’ completing the 2016-17 Forward Focus tours and starting the 201718 ‘By Faith, On Mission, Together” tour, holding meetings in all 12 districts with our local church leadership teams to inspire faithful vision and mission work. The bishop and his wife, Felecia, traveled over 50,000 miles in 2017 visiting his church family.” Bible Study
The Rev. Dr. Herbert Marbury’s spoke on “A More Excellent Way In Our Love” during Monday’s Bible Study session, drawing on Matthew 18:1-7, and Matthew 19:13-15. Rev. Dr. Herbert Marbury leading the Monday Bible Study session. (Photo by Matt Brodie)
“In 2019, our church will face a major question, maybe even be a crisis – but it ought not be a crisis of love; we ought never disagree about love,” Rev. Marbury said.
“Right now, look to the person on your left and say, ‘Neighbor, the world may say you are the wrong person to love.’ Now turn to the person on your right and say, ‘But Jesus says that loving the wrong people is the right thing to do.’
Rev. Marbury advised delegates to spend as much time preparing themselves spiritually for mission as they do preparing themselves physically and medically.
“When we leave the country on a mission trip, we go to the doctor and get a checkup, to make sure we are healthy enough before we go out and start helping someone else,” he said “But how many of us get a spiritual checkup before taking that trip?
“In missions, there is something more important than where you go and what you do. It is who you are. It is about when you look at yourself in your spiritual mirror, who are you? Who are you bringing to the mission field?”
Rev. Marbury then turned to Matthew 7:16.
“Jesus said, ‘You will know them by their fruits,’” he said. “When was the last time you checked on the fruit of your tree? We have to look at ourselves first before we reach out to the world.” Organizational Session Rev. Michael Hood (Photo by Matt Brodie)
Day 2 of the 2018 South Carolina Annual Conference got down to business at the TD Convention Center in Greenville with an Organizational Session that established a few parliamentary ground rules and made changes to four standing rules designed to expedite the business of the conference, and a fifth that brings the conference into compliance with the South Carolina Age Discrimination in Employment Act.