Annual Conference Recap: Opening Worship

By Jessica Brodie

GREENVILLE—Annual Conference 2017 opened with a Spirit-filled word on Pentecost Sunday tonight, June 4.

“It’s time for us to celebrate!” Bishop Jonathan Holston proclaimed to wild applause in his message, titled “A Double Dog Dare.”

Holston urged the thousands of South Carolina United Methodists gathered at the TD Convention Center to walk boldly with Christ as they live out the Savior’s call.

“When we walk by faith and not by sight the spirit begins to work through us,” Holston preached. “When we cast aside the fears that hold us hostage … God works within us to make us the people that we need and ought to be!”

Holston talked about how a courageous life in God is the ultimate of testimony to faith.

“Walking and living by faith means moving ahead with confidence even when you can’t see around the next corner,” Holston said. “When we dare greatly, it is the difference between thriving and surviving.”

He said the first Christians didn’t worry about fear when the Holy Spirit entered them; they did what God called them to do. That’s exactly what we, The United Methodist Church in South Carolina, need to do, he said.

The service opened with a welcome and prayer led by the Rev. Suzanne Walker, who led the responsive call to worship. Then, as the body sang the hymns “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” and “Come, Thou Almighty King,” a procession of clergy and others entered and stepped to the stage. Conference Lay Leader Barbara Ware gave the Prayer of Invocation, and then the Chancel Choir of Buncombe Street UMC, Greenville, performed the anthem, “Let Everything.” The Rev. Daniel Griswold gave the Prayer for Illumination.

When Holston took to the microphone, he called for a full-fledged celebration of the saving power of Jesus Christ.

The service concluded with Holy Communion.

Check back tomorrow night for a recap of Day Two of Annual Conference (Monday, June 5), and be sure to read the Daily Advocate.

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