AC closes five churches, merges three into one

By Allison Trussell

FLORENCE—Five churches were remembered and a new church celebrated during the last business session of the 2022 Annual Conference.

The Rev. Cathy Jamieson, Cabinet secretary, presented the resolutions of merger and closure as well as proposed charge line changes. She reminded the conference that the closing of churches is not something done easily or lightly. The churches themselves cast the first ballots in a series of votes taken to close a church. “We know this is heartbreaking for many, but the seeds that were planted will continue to bear fruit,” Jamieson said.

Brown Chapel, Heaven Gate and St. James United Methodist churches, Murrells Inlet, merged to become The Brook UMC effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Cherokee Place UMC, North Charleston; Lynnwood UMC, Lancaster; St. John UMC, North; College Place UMC, Columbia; and Loree UMC, Wellford, were closed during the conference year.

Cherokee Place’s resolution of closure was approved by the Cabinet Sept. 21, 2021. Lynnwood’s resolution of closure was approved Nov. 30, 2021. St. John’s resolution of closure was approved April 21, 2022. Both resolutions of closure for College Place and Loree were approved May 18, 2022.

Charge line changes also approved

A number of charge line changes were also approved during the final business session by the body. In the Charleston District, Cherokee Place was closed. In the Columbia District, College Place was closed.

In the Florence District, three changes were approved. Bethesda, Kingstree, was changed to Bethesda, Cades; Friendship, Kingstree, was changed to Friendship, Nesmith; and Hebron-Cades was changed to Hebron-Pergamos.

Greenville District had two changes. The Bramlett-Owings-Gray Court Charge was dissolved. Owings becomes a station church, and Bramlett and Gray Court become the Bramlett Charge. The second approved change dissolved the Faith-Francis Asbury Charge and make both churches station churches.

In the Greenwood District, Harris was attached to Trinity to form the Harris-Trinity Charge. The Lamar Circuit in the Hartsville District was dissolved, leaving Elim as a station church. Newman Swamp and Zion were attached to form the Lamar Parish Charge.

Two changes were approved for the Marion District. The Poplar-Salem Charge was dissolved with both churches becoming station churches; and the Brookgreen Charge, made up of Brown Chapel, Heaven Gate and St. James, was merged, forming the Brook UMC. Two changes were approved for the Orangeburg District. The Orange Circuit was dissolved, with the closure of St. John. The two remaining churches, Ebenezer and North, were attached to continue as the Orange Circuit. The second change saw the attachment of Target, Gerizim and Eutawville to form the Eutaw Circuit.

In the Rock Hill District, Lynnwood was closed ad interim and merged with Grace forming Grace-Lynnwood UMC.

Annual Conference approved two charge line changes to the Spartanburg District. The Tyger River Charge was dissolved. Of the four churches, Fairmont becomes a station church; Loree was closed ad interim; and Duncan and Immanual were attached to continue as the Tyger River Charge. The second action was to dissolve the Pacolet-White Stone Charge. St. Luke was attached to White Stone to form the St. Luke-White Stone Charge; El Bethel was attached to Pacolet to form the El Bethel-Pacolet Charge; and Skylyn was attached to Arcadia to form the Skylyn-Arcadia Charge.

There were no charge line changes for the Anderson or Walterboro districts.

Memories ‘remain forever’

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston closed the report with a prayer: “We are grateful for the lives, the memories, the witness, the ministries that are represented in these churches presented to the conference. …

“While the buildings don’t have use at this moment, the memories they encompass will remain forever, and for that, Lord, we give you thanks. As the memories, the legacies, the work of these congregations are remembered, may they be cherished, never forgotten and always lifted up. Amen.”

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