South Carolina Disciples of Christ:
Our Strength, Our Need, Our Hope
Beyond statistical information that can be secured from our Disciples of Christ Year Book, you will find in our South Carolina Disciples of Christ congregations, sincere women and men seeking to be faithful to Christ and the Church. Listen closely, and you will hear pastoral leaders faithfully preaching the Gospel, teaching the faith and calling all to serve God and neighbor. Look closely, and you will see gifted congregational leaders serving sacrificially to assure that the ministries that respond to the needs of youth, families and aging persons, remain strong and move forward. A closer look, will reveal Disciples serving beyond our local contexts as Regional and General Church leaders.
We are in discernment. As a regional expression of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), understanding the covenant relationship between our congregations, and cultivating it, is a priority need for us. We are committed to growing into a shared vision that will keep us faithful to the Gospel as we cultivate a ‘whole church’ mindset in our congregations.
“History, what was, flowing into what is and what shall be.” (From Disciples Historical Society Newsletter)
The rich cultural expressions within our South Carolina Regional Church, as well as the relational challenges before us, cannot be understood apart from the historical impact of racism on our country. Our recent regional church history reveals admirable efforts to bring together, as one regional church, two distinct church movements shaped by slavery and segregation- two ecclesiastical universes with marked differences in cultures, worship styles, traditions and organizational approaches. Present within our regional church are African American congregations called “Convention congregations” and European American congregations called “Assembly congregations”. These two groups of congregations have taken collaborative actions to become one regional church, but there is still unfinished relational and organizational work necessary to achieve the unity envisioned.
As Disciples of Christ, we refuse to be prisoners of history. We, as African American “Convention congregations” and European American “Assembly congregations”, are committed to learning from our past in order to honor and celebrate what is worthy and to embrace our future as one regional church healed from racism, hate and bitterness.
The welcoming spirit of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has for years led our South Carolina Regional Church to receive Christians and Pastoral Leaders from a variety of denominational traditions. Our traditional Disciples commitment to Christ-centeredness, Biblical grounding, Free-Thinking and Christian Unity, allows for diverse theological perspectives as we do mission together. However, we are challenged in our work by pastoral and congregational leaders whose faith formation happened in other denominations and need to acquire a deepened understanding of our Disciples of Christ denominational tradition. Teaching the tradition and ways of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a pressing need.
As a regional church, we have discerned a need for transformational thinking and leadership. Some areas of regional ministry need to be re-created and some need to be eliminated as we seek brand new ways to be regional church. Our expectations from a Regional Minister, a Regional Church Board, our Governance Documents and our Regional Church Gatherings, need to be evaluated and re-imagined. Together we need to welcome a spirit of compassionate accountability as we consider what we need from our Districts, our Commission on Ministry, our Camp Property and Programming, our Finance Team, our Fellowship Groups, etc.
As South Carolina Disciples of Christ we are grateful for the circle of leaders, past and present, that have brought us to this kairos moment – God’s moment – when everything is made new. We are listening for God and listening to each other seeking to discern what God is leading us to and how God will lead us there…
Ephesians 3 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.