By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
The 2020 South Carolina Annual Conference Session is quickly approaching, and it will indeed be a blessed time to virtually gather.
Based on the smooth and successful virtual execution of both the clergy session and the ordination and commissioning service, we are confident we can accomplish the necessary and important business of Annual Conference in a virtual space.
There are many people working behind the scenes who are caring for important details, and we are grateful for the efforts of GNTV as they have diligently prepared to be our hosts for this virtual experience.
We are incredibly grateful for everyone’s efforts and hospitality as we move in this new direction in consideration of the safety and wellbeing of all clergy and laity.
This year’s theme, “Seeking A More Excellent Way: Beyond the Bounds of Expectations,” encourages us to trust God with each step that we take.
It is a continuation of our faith journey as we seek a more excellent way to make disciples of Jesus Christ while transforming our world. Miraculous things can happen when we leave our place of comfort and allow God to stretch us in new and different ways.
We will come together with hope, remembering who God has called us to be and what God wants for us.
Because this virtual session will be abbreviated from our traditional multiday Annual Conference, I encourage you to prepare ahead of time by visiting http://www.umcsc.org/ac2020 so you can review the conference presentation videos and reports available online.
There will be opportunities to participate in training so you are acclimated to the online platform when the session begins. All of the details can be found on the conference webpage.
As we prepare for the 2020 Annual Conference, we also recognize that there is tremendous anxiety, grief and uncertainty being experienced by persons throughout South Carolina and the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the realities of racial injustice, have disrupted our rhythms and impacted us all in a variety of ways.
We continue to pray for all those affected by the coronavirus, for those experiencing stress, anxiety and financial uncertainty, for medical professionals treating and caring for patients and for those working to ensure a healthier and more just future for all of us.
While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to come together in the same physical space at this time, we look forward to celebrating a remarkable year of vital ministry.
South Carolina United Methodists have indeed gone beyond the bounds of expectations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I fully expect the 2020 Annual Conference to be a glorious time of celebration where the graciousness of God and the generosity of God’s people called United Methodist will be experienced in excellent ways.
Let us unite our hearts in prayer that we will be open to the presence of God’s Spirit and respond faithfully with our time, talent, gifts, service and witness.
By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston