Celebrating service

District service efforts to be showcased at Annual Conference

By Jessica Connor

Forget just one Great Day of Service; this year's Annual Conference will celebrate the many days (and ways) of ministry in every district in South Carolina.

Organizers have decided to morph the several-hour, Florence-focused Great Day of Service event held at Annual Conference into, instead, a grand recognition of the separate service days already being held in districts around the state.

Clergy and laity will have the chance to watch a video presentation during Annual Conference showcasing ministry efforts in Orangeburg, Columbia, Spartanburg and beyond.

It s a way of recognizing that ministry goes on all the time, all over the state, in all the districts, said Conference Secretary the Rev. Tim Rogers.

And members of Annual Conference will reap the benefits of extra time for business in a year when they must decide on delegates for General and Jurisdictional conferences, a new structure for Connectional Ministries, the budget and more. The Great Day of Service occupied Friday afternoon at the 2010 Annual Conference.

The Rev. Mary Teasley, Greenwood District superintendent, said her district participates in Project WARM, which provides home repairs to needy families during the winter months. She is totally supportive of the change from one Great Day of Service at Annual Conference to the celebration of the many days of service held throughout the state.

It's a really good shift, Teasley said. (The increased awareness) gets more people involved rather than just your delegates to Annual Conference. It's something people in large- and small-membership churches can participate in and feel they are being part of the larger church as a whole.

Orangeburg District Lay Leader Bob Barrett, who coordinates his district s One Great Day of Sharing and Service, also likes the idea of honoring the ways each district unites in ministry. Barrett was inspired to create a district day of service a few years ago, after participating in the conference Great Day of Service. He'd wanted to start small, talk about what laity were doing in their local churches, but the idea snowballed into something much grander.

"When I started talking to people, they said, 'Do it, don't just talk about it. Have a day and do it,'" Barrett said of the event that is reaching its third year this fall.

Orangeburg s district service day has gotten so big “ and so well received “ that organizers are considering adding a second day, one in Orangeburg and one in Aiken. Barrett is not surprised by the success.

It's fellowshipping with other Christians while we serve and share in Christ across the district, Barrett said, “a win-win."

Rogers said the conference is not asking districts to create new days of service, just to share photos, video and other information about efforts already going on.

It's just celebrating what districts are already doing, Rogers said.

Districts should send photos, video and other items to Matt Brodie, conference communications director. Brodie requests that districts mail disks of individual images (not a photo video or photo slideshow) to him at 4908 Colonial Drive, Columbia, SC 29203. The deadline is May 13. For question, e-mail Brodie at [email protected] or call him at 888-678-6272.

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