2022 Lay Servant Academy draws in-person crowd at Trenholm Road UMC

COLUMBIA—South Carolina Conference Lay Servant Ministries held it 2022 Lay Servant Academy (Train the Trainer) on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church.

This was the first in-person conference Lay Servant Academy in three years because of the pandemic.

This year’s academy was organized by a team from the Conference Lay Servant Ministries Committee consisting of the Rev. Kris Bergmann, Betty Void and Sha’Rome Henry.

At this year’s academy, Conference LSM Co-Directors Becky Green and David Salter welcomed the group of lay servants. Henry, Hartsville District LSM director, provided the devotion, titled, “Assembly Is Required.” Conference LSM Co-Director David Salter played the organ for the assembled lay servants to sing the rousing hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

The Rev. Cathy Joens, congregational specialist for Anderson and Greenville districts, led the morning session on “Teaching Adults.” While the lay servants were in the required morning session, the LSM district directors met in a separate session to discuss certified lay ministry, certified lay speaking and other topics of interest and concern to the directors. Salter, Green, Henry and Lynne Tyner facilitated the directors’ discussion.

During lunch catered by Fancy That! Bistro & Catering, and provided by Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company, attendees heard from Jim Ellis, senior marketing agent of Southern Mutual.

The afternoon breakout sessions consisted of “Faith Sharing: Refresh your Witness,” facilitated by the Rev. Susan Maddox; “Leading Public Prayer,” facilitated by Florence LSM Associate Director Emma Martin; “Ministry with the Forgotten: Dementia Through a Spiritual Lens,” facilitated by the Rev. Steve Holler; “Discipleship Begins with Relationship: Creating a Spiritual Growth Plan to see All the People,” facilitated by Tony Watson, Greenwood District lay leader; “For the Common Good: Discovering and Using Spiritual Gifts,” facilitated by Rock Hill LSM Director Lynne Tyner; and “Soul Reset: Relearning the Rhythms of Grace Through Daily Life with God,” facilitated by Orangeburg LSM Director Rosa Kennerly-Dance.

Three of these are new courses from Discipleship Ministries and may now be offered in the various lay servant schools throughout the conference.

The day ended with a closing ceremony and awarding of “Certificates of Completion in Teaching Adults” to those who had attended the entire day.

This year four persons retired from service on the Conference Lay Servant Committee. These four were recognized and given a plaque to honor their years of service to Lay Servant Ministries: David Lovell, former Marion District co-director; Ann Sowers, former Marion District co-director; Rev. Cynthia Williams, former Florence District director; and Bergmann, former Academy coordinator.

For information on lay servant schools throughout the conference, go to and find Upcoming Training. Contact information for the district directors will also be found on this page.

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