April Issue of Greenwood District Newsletter

2015_04_01 - front pageThe April issue of the  District newsletter is now available.

Items of interest include:

  • April Clergy Meeting
  • Sending Forth Service, May 22
  • Disaster Response Training Information
  • Local Mission Fair at Annual Conference
  • Conference UMM Ministry Recognized
  • 100 Mighty Men of Faith
  • Wightman UMC Golf Tournament

Young People’s Mission Trip to Honduras with Bishop Holston

SCMYP logoThis summer SCMYP and Bishop Holston will be returning to the Agalta Valley in Honduras for a week of mission work with HOI (Honduras Outreach International).  The trip is open to young people age 16-22; limited space is available.  The dates for the trip are June 26-July 5.

The trip last year was a powerful week of mission that was life changing for those that attended. The trip will be organized and work will be done with HOI, inc.  HOI has years of experience and has developed a meaningful relationship in communities in Honduras. We are excited about what God will do to make this trip a powerful experience for young people in our conference.

If you, or someone you know, are interested in being a part of this mission experience please complete the Honduras Trip Application 2015 and return it to the address below as soon as possible.

Chris Lynch – Honduras Mission Trip

4908 Colonial Dr.

Columbia, SC 29203

Social Media and Pictures of Your Parishioners

How often do you think of the consequences of posting photos of church activities on your church’s web page, Facebook page, Instagram feed, or other social media sites? Probably not often enough to ensure that your actions are protecting the persons in the pictures while publicizing activities and events in the life of your church.

A recent discussion on a moderated listserv centered on this very issue. The original question asked if any church that listserv members were affiliated with had any kind of release statement or form that church members had to sign in order for the church to use their pictures on any social media site, including the church’s web page. Many comments and suggestions were offered by members of this listserv. Several responded that a statement was included in the newsletter and bulletin giving adult members the opportunity to “opt out” of having their picture included. Such statements as, “If you do not wish for any pictures of you to be a part of the XXXXX website, please contact the church office immediately by calling xxxxxxxx, ext10.  Thank you” or “I do not give permission to XXXX Church to include my photo on any social media outlet and in any print publications from the church.” You should always have permission from parents before posting pictures of children and youth on your social media sites, whether or not you use names.

The best answer to this question was posted by Bryan L. Mills Associate General Counsel GCFA:

“Generally, we are not aware of anything that would require your church to receive the permission of the adults featured in photos to be used in such manners. However, we do know that many churches make available a statement or policy regarding such uses of photos, either in a bulletin or on the church’s website. Here are several examples of such statements/policies:






The above examples vary in level of detail and incorporated procedures, but there are some general concepts that emerge:

· The church reserves the right to use photos of large groups without receiving specific permission, especially if no names are used.

· Pictures of smaller groups of adults may require receiving permission first, especially if names are used.

· Pictures of minors will only be used with permission, and often without naming them.

· Regardless of the church’s policies, an individual church member can specifically request to not be featured in any photos.

We are hopeful the above examples and concepts will provide a starting point for your church to develop its own guidelines. (Searching the Internet for “church photography policy” or something similar will produce lots of other useful examples.) Please let us know if there is any other way in which we can be helpful. Thank you.”

If this is a topic you and your church leaders have not discussed in the past, perhaps now is the time to add the use of photos on social media sites to the agenda for your next meeting. . Better to be prepared and be proactive than have to react at a later date.


A Stewardship Intervention Counters Fundraiser Dependence

Rev. Dwayne Bruce , pastor of Beulah AME Church in SumteBruceDwayner, SC, published an article in the Lewis Center for Church Leadership on how his church changed the mindset and tradition regarding stewardship.

His thesis is a congregation’s giving pattern can be redirected from one of appeal and response to one of spiritual and covenantal stewardship when they understand how their giving expands and builds from their relationship to God.

Rev. Bruce developed a stewardship intervention that “…consisted of a series of midweek Bible studies and Sunday sermons exploring the human-Divine relationship, focused on the following topics: 1) Connection to God: Understanding the connection between God and ourselves; 2) God’s Property: Determining what belongs to God and what belongs to us; 3)Worshipping God: Cultivating an understanding of the covenantal importance of worshipping God; and 4) Giving to God: Connecting the essential element of worship with sacrificial giving.

He reports positive results both in giving and in attendance following this “intervention.”

Read the entire article here.

Epworth Children’s Home Annual Mother’s Day Offering

A message from Rev. John Holler, Executive Director of Epworth:

Dear Colleagues in Ministry,

Whether this is the first or eighty-second time your congregation has ordered Mother’s Day Offering materials, we know that you will find that encouraging your congregation to give generously to God’s ministry to children will deepen your congregation’s level of discipleship and extend its ministry beyond its walls.

The annual Mother’s Day Offering is the first of two special Sundays designated by the Annual Conference of our church to support the ministry of Epworth. Epworth is not an apportioned item. It relies heavily on the  offerings received on Mother’s Day to provide the quality care God calls us to provide to the more than seventy-five children who currently call Epworth home. Order your materials by clicking here.

 As the pastor of your congregation, your visible passion and intentional voice in support of the ministry and the offering play a direct role in the success of the offering. In other words, if you make a sincere appeal, your people will respond. What better way is there to support the conference campaign to combat illiteracy and poverty than to support children who have tasted both?

 As you actively participate in promoting the annual Epworth Mother’s Day Offering, please remember all gifts received from your congregation will be counted towards your church’s minimum goal of $6.00 per member. Together we can surpass this goal and advance the ministry provided to children by your church and our conference.

Just follow these steps and your congregation’s offering will be a success:

  1. Order and hang posters by Sunday, April 12, 2015.
  2. Print the bulletin announcements on the designated Sundays.*
  3. Make it a priority to say a personal note about your own support of  Epworth and the children.
  4. Draw attention to the offering through announcements by allowing your local church representative a ministry moment.
  5. Order and use bulletin inserts and envelopes in each bulletin on Sunday, May 10th, 2015.
  6. Take time to thank your congregation for their faithful participation by announcing the total amount raised for the ministry.

I thank you in advance for your faithfulness.

John Holler

* The bulletin announcements are available here.