Submitted by Rev. Sandra Flemming
EASTOVER, SC – Prayers, praise and pronouncements were offered during the One Hundred Twenty-Fourth Session of The Columbia-Camden District Conference, August 23-24, 2019 at Antioch A.M.E. Zion Church in Eastover, S.C, pastored by Rev. Dr. Robert T. Benton. The very capable visionary servant leader is Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Alvin W. McLamb, supported by his wife, Mrs. Vanessa McLamb. This district is part of the Palmetto Annual Conference of the South Atlantic Episcopal District where Bishop Mildred B. Hines is the Presiding Prelate and Dr. Gwendolyn Brumfield is the Missionary Supervisor.
The District Theme, “Come Alive,” based on Ezekiel 37:1-14, focused on “Disciples Making Disciples.” On Friday evening, we celebrated Holy Communion. In preparation for the meditation, we encountered God through prayer by offering Prayers (with a prayer partner) of Adoration, Healing, and Revival, as well as a time of individual prayers of Confession.
The communion meditation was offered by retired Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Reid R. White, Jr. The text was 1 Corinthians 10: 15-18 and 2 Corinthians 11: 23-25. We were encouraged to “Celebrate” with new life, new zeal and new energy by celebrating love, hope and life. Music was rendered by the illustrious choirs from Antioch and Jones Memorial A.M.E Zion Churches. Special worship music was presented by The Heyward Band, a talented group of siblings, who strive to remind the believer and non-believer of the redemptive power of Christ’s work on the cross! Once the service concluded, we joined the Antioch Church family for a welcome reception.
On Saturday morning, the business session was held and the conference was organized. The Presiding Elder addressed the conference. He reviewed the past and articulated what he believed to be God’s plan for the District with a purpose of writing the vision and making it plain for the people to see. We were reminded that Jesus’ instructions from the Great Commission are for us to go and make disciples. He expounded the “Come Alive” theme is for the District to prophetically speak into the lives of the people within the communities, neighborhoods, cities, schools and businesses where our churches are located.
Just as God led Ezekiel into a dead situation to speak life prophetically to a valley of dry bones, God is calling us to take His message to all the places and people wherever we are sent. Concluding the Presiding Elder’s Report, he gave recommendations which were unanimously received by the District.
We experienced a wonderful conference full of enlightening reports as well as video clips that supported the District’s focus of making disciples. Rev. Dr. Terrance Jones played a heartfelt rendition of Holy, Holy, Holy as the congregation sang in preparation of a sermonette offered by Sis. Clayretha Abernathy during Local Preacher’s Hour. The text was Psalms 46:10 and the message was entitled “Be Still and Know That I Am God.”
Presiding Elder McLamb awarded his second “Come Alive” award to Rev. Rebecca Edwards, Pastor of Zion Hill A.M.E. Zion Church, for her dedication to ministry as she labors tirelessly. Ministerial and Lay Conference candidates for General Conference delegates introduced themselves to the District in preparation of election at the upcoming Annual Conference. The Antioch A.M.E Zion Church Family and Revs. Robert T. and Melissa Benton, graciously hosted the District at this informative and dynamic District Conference. We are thankful to God for a spirit-filled District Conference.