The 2007 South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Greetings from the Bluffton United Methodist Church Lay Delegates to Annual Conference. As your elected representatives and attendees we wanted to share a little bit about this year’s Annual Conference and give you some information about its structure and relationship to the United Methodist Church and to the local church. — Al & Dian Litster
This year the South Carolina Annual Conference was held at the Civic Center in Florence SC. This was a departure from previous years where the conference had been held at one of the Methodist Colleges in SC. The change was made to accommodate the large number of attendees and to provide better accessibility. There were 900 laity, 838 clergy and 75 guests registered. The theme was To Serve the Present Age. Here is the 2007 Annual Conference Report:
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One of the highlights of the conference was the Great Day of Service where members of the Annual Conference participated in community activities such as helping those in need, sending letters to the troops in Iraq and visiting the ill and nursing homes. We all wore yellow T-shirts emblazoned with the conference theme and logo. That got everyone’s attention and many people in the hotel asked what we were doing and wanted to know about the United Methodist Church.
To put things in prospective it would be helpful to briefly describe the structure of the Annual Conference and its relationship to the Methodist Church.
- The Annual Conference is a regional body, an organizational unit and a yearly meeting – presided over by an elected bishop. It is the connectional unit between the Local Church and the United Methodist Church and is described in the church’s Book of Discipline and the “basic unit” of the church. The South Carolina Annual Conference includes the entire state, while other conferences may include several states or parts of states in the US and similar divisions throughout the world. The US has 63 annual conferences, supervised by 50 bishops and there are 59 annual conferences throughout the world supervised by 18 bishops. The Annual Conference has a central office and staff that coordinate and conduct the business of the Annual Conference. The SC Annual Conference is presided over by Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor.
- The Annual Conference is separated into districts presided over by a district superintendent. The districts are made up of churches in a geographic area that provide spiritual and pastoral leadership and oversee the ministry of the districts clergy. The BUMC is in the Walterboro District which is presided over by Reverend Dr. Ernest C. Etheredge.
- The organization of the United Methodist Church creates a structure for connectionalism and is decentralized and democratic in nature. Clergy and laity alike help determine the ministry and workings of the UMC through the petitions and resolutions they send from the Annual Conferences to the General Conference. Bishops are elected at the Jurisdictional Conferences. Each Annual Conference elects delegates to the Jurisdictional Conference and the General Conference of the United Methodist Church This year 20 laity and 5 alternates and a similar number of clergy were elected to both the Jurisdictional Conference and the General Conference alike from some 60 of each laity and clergy candidates. Click on the following link for more information regarding the United Methodist Church Structure.
As your delegates to the South Carolina Annual Conference we participated in the Great Day of Service in Florence SC
A Great Day of Service
with Daisy Frost
About 800 United Methodists spent Wed afternoon in community service and our presence was visible everywhere by our Tee Shirts
We arrived at Daisy’s home, introduced ourselves, and
told her why we were there
Daisy wasn’t sure what to make of this until she talked to her neighbor who assured her everything was alright
We cleaned up her flower beds…
Trimmed her hedges…
Sweated a lot…
Took away the trash…
When we were ready to go Daisy asked us what she owed us – we replied, your love…
We said good-by with hugs, tears and a prayer
and felt very good.