AC2024 closes 10 churches, changes 31 charge lines

By Allison Trussell

GREENVILLE—In one of its last actions, the South Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church approved the closing of ten churches.

“It is always a solemn and sacred season when a church decides it must close,” said the Rev. Fran Elrod, secretary of the Cabinet. “Today we recognize those churches whose season of faithful ministry has come to an end.”

Elrod invited those related to each church to stand as she read the names of each church. The following churches were closed ad interim and approved by the conference June 12: Moore’s Chapel UMC, Pelzer; Claflin UMC, Branchville; Ashland UMC, Bishopville; Victor UMC, Greer; Cummings Chapel UMC, Ridgeville; Belvedere UMC, Belvedere; Hebron UMC, McBee; Friendship UMC, Hartsville; McBee UMC, Conestee; and Hebron UMC, Clio.

Victor UMC, Greer, was transferred to the Village Church of the Nazarene. The two churches have been partnering and growing a new congregation.

The Rev. Jerry McManus, pastor of Hebron UMC, Bishopville, asked for personal point of privilege. “Fifty-two years ago, a 13-year-old was asked to read the Christmas story. It was the first time I spoke in the church and it changed my life,” he said. To all the churches, “we are closing your buildings. It’s a loss and a shame, but not a waste. These churches will live on through this annual conference.”

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston offered a prayer for these communities, for those who pastored and those who participated in the ministries and activities of each church.

“Church is more than a building,” Holston said. “It is the memories, the sermons preached, the opportunities it had. … We thank you, Lord, for the beacon of hope these churches were …

“And we remember that these congregations of faith were never a waste, but always a place where your grace and mercy were felt.”

Charge Line Changes

In the Anderson District, The Trinity-Donalds Charge was dissolved. Trinity becomes a station church. Homeland Park was attached to Latimer Memorial to form the Latimer Memorial-Homeland Park Charge. Moore’s Chapel was closed ad interim effective Jan. 19, 2024.

The Charleston District had one change. The Lebanon Charge was dissolved and Spring Hill was made a station church.

The Columbia District had two changes. The Fairfield Circuit was dissolved with Monticello becoming a station church. Main Street and Greene Street merged and became Columbia UMC.

In the Florence District, the Jordan Charge was dissolved with Jordan and Bethlehem to continue as the Jordan Charge. Bethlehem-Pamplico was attached to Johnsonville to form the Bethlehem-Johnsonville Charge.

In the Greenville District, the South Greenville Charge was dissolved, with Bethlehem and Laurel Creek becoming station churches. Victor was transferred to the Village Church of the Nazarene effective Oct. 27, 2023. McBee Chapel was closed and is to be made an historic site.

Greenwood District had four changes. Mount Lebanon-Kinards Charge was dissolved with Kinards becoming a station church. The Mount Pleasant-O’Neal Street Charge was dissolved with O’Neal Street becoming a station church. Trinity-New Chapel was dissolved with Trinity becoming a station church. Belvedere was closed effective June 2, 2024.

Five changes occurred in the Hartsville District. Ashland UMC, Bishopville, was closed effective April 15, 2024. The McBee Charge was dissolved with McBee becoming a station church and Hebron closing effective June 30, 2024. The Mount Olivet-Pleasant Grove Charge was dissolved as was the Friendship-Mount Croghan Charge with Friendship closing. Pleasant Grove was attached to Mount Croghan to form the Chesterfield Charge.

In the Marion District, the Tatum Charge was dissolved and Hebron was closed effective June 30.

The Orangeburg District had five changes. Claflin, Bamberg, was closed effective Feb. 9, 2024. Mount Carmel, Franklin and Orange Grove were attached to form the Bamberg Cluster. The Branchville-New Hope Charge was dissolved with Branchville attached to Bethel, Orangeburg, to form the Branchville-Bethel Charge. The Cameron Charge was dissolved with Shady Grove becoming a station church. The Jackson Charge was dissolved with Wesley Chapel becoming a station church.

In the Rock Hill District, Tabernacle was attached to Grace-Lynnwood to form the Grace-Lynnwood-Tabernacle Charge.

The Spartanburg District had three changes. The Trinity-Enoree-Patterson Chapel Charge was dissolved with Trinity becoming a station church. The Gaffney Charge was dissolved with Limstone Street becoming a station church. The Mesopotamia-Asbury Charge was dissolved, making Asbury a station church.

In Walterboro District the only change was closing Cummings Chapel effective Nov. 17, 2023.

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