Men shift into high gear as they prepare for retreat
By Jessica Brodie
The last time United Methodist Men gathered en masse in South Carolina, it was two weeks before the pandemic shut down the world as we knew it for a while, wreaking havoc on worldwide health, education, finances, travel and even the way we gather in worship and community.
Now, two years after COVID-19 reared its head, South Carolina’s United Methodist men are hoping for a reset.
On Feb. 25-26, they are planning an in-person gathering for the first time in two years.
The retreat will focus on using lessons learned in the pandemic to propel men’s ministry into an ever more powerful tool for God’s kingdom here on earth.
Hosted at Mount Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington, the theme for the annual Men N Ministry spiritual retreat is “Resilient: Timely Truth for Troubled Times,” focusing on John 16:33.
In that verse, Jesus has just explained some important truths to his disciples to help them hold fast to faith, for he is about to be arrested and crucified. He’s promised the Holy Spirit, the absolute love of the Father, the hatred of the world toward them and the transformation of their grief into joy.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace,” Jesus said in John 16:33 (NIV). “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
That’s exactly the message Men N Ministry President Marvin Horton is hoping men will seize as they approach their 2022 spiritual retreat.
“The theme is really about what we’ve come through and where we want to go, which is to help men grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and help other people to grow,” Horton said.
While the pandemic has been hard and change has been a constant, Horton said, there is peace and empowerment in knowing Christ brings peace, for he has overcome the world. And through Christ, we can, too.
“We are resilient,” Horton said.
The Rev. Trevor Miller, one of the pastors at Mount Horeb and a member of the Men N Ministry design team, said he is excited about the event, which will feature three elements: a golf tournament, an oyster roast and a daylong teaching session.
On Friday, Feb. 25, men will have the chance to play golf together. A Men N Ministry golf tournament will be held at Indian River Golf Club, West Columbia. Teams will play Captain’s Choice, with range balls before the tournament and lunch after the tournament, plus drinks and dessert. The event starts at 11 a.m. Organizer Kenny Bingham said he hopes the day will bring an opportunity for fellowship and a good game of golf. Cost is $80 per player, and mulligans can also be purchased.
On Friday evening, men will gather at Mount Horeb for the church’s annual men’s ministry oyster roast.
And on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., they will return to Mount Horeb for a full day of inspiring worship, breakout learning sessions and a main speaker, as well as a strong word from South Carolina UMC Resident Bishop Jonathan Holston. Cost is $60.
While there will be opportunities for people to experience the event online, the push is for men to gather in person so they can learn together and from each other, Miller said.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for the men of South Carolina to come together in person to be equipped for ministry for a brand-new year,” Miller said.
Registration will be online at https://mennministrysc.org. Men can register for one event or all three. Sponsorships are also available, and church sponsors receive a number of free tickets to the event.