Bishop’s Barbecue Bash to foster closer connection between bishop, churches

By Jessica Brodie

This fall, the bishop is hitting the road and traveling to each district in South Carolina again—this time to more intentionally connect with clergy and their church leadership teams.

Calling it the Bishop’s Barbecue Bash, Bishop Jonathan Holston will do much of what he did last year with the Bishop’s Road Shows, except instead of spending a Saturday with lay servants and lay leaders in all 12 districts, this year, he’ll get to know pastors better. All clergy are also encouraged to bring along three to five members of their lay leadership team.

The event is designed to be a good way for the bishop to get to know people better—and for him to taste barbecue from every region in the state.

“The bishop began the road show in order to get to know the laity in the life of this conference,” explained the Rev. Cathy Joens, congregational specialist for the Anderson and Greenville districts. “He wanted to spend time with them and get to know them where they were, and it has made a huge, huge difference. Now he wants to continue that with the clergy, so what he’s doing now is tasting barbecue from all over the state, from Lowcountry barbecue to mustard-based in the mid-country and then the upstate barbecue.

“He’s just tasting barbecue all the way around!”

Joens said the events are intended to be festive but learning-packed. Attendees will spend the morning taking about Vince Molinaro’s book “The Leadership Contract” and what it means to be a leader in the culture and atmosphere we have today in the life of the church, with tangible takeaways for the local church.

The bashes begin Oct. 3 in Florence and go through the fall and winter, with the final event Feb. 27 in the Walterboro District. Many of the districts are still finalizing location; check the Advocate for further information.

Conference Lay Leader Barbara Ware said she hopes the district “bashes” will begin to lay the groundwork for future discussions between lay and clergy.

“Perhaps these discussion will result in connecting people and churches so they can continue to work as teams with the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Ware said. “I am optimistic that local church leaders and their pastors will participate in conversations with other local church leaders and pastors that produce fruitful and positive relationships. I expect it will be interesting for folks to join in dialogues and discussions with others they may not know that well. We are a connectional church, and these events will go a long way in strengthening this connection.”

Laity interested in attending should contact their pastor. Pastors will receive information about the bashes from their district office.

Bishop’s Barbecue Bashes

Oct. 3—Florence (To be determined)

Oct. 17—Charleston (Bethany UMC, Summerville)

Nov. 7—Orangeburg (Beulah UMC, Gaston)

Nov. 14—Anderson (St. Mark, Seneca)

Nov. 21—Rock Hill (St. Johns UMC, Rock Hill)

Dec. 5—Hartsville (TBD)

Dec. 12—Marion (TBD)

Jan. 9—Greenwood (St. Paul UMC, Saluda)

Jan. 23—Columbia (Shandon UMC, Columbia)

Feb. 6—Greenville (Advent UMC, Simpsonville)

Feb. 13—Spartanburg (TBD)

Feb. 27—Walterboro (Sand Hill UMC, Ridgeville)

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