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Kershaw County Ministerial Association encourages church leaders to join

Posted: September 1, 2011 11:36 a.m.
Updated: September 2, 2011 5:00 a.m.

There are few places you can run into a Lutheran pastor, a Baptist minister and a Roman Catholic priest all at the same time unless of course, it’s the beginning of a bad joke.

However all joking aside, the Kershaw County Ministerial Association (KCMA) has been an instrumental part of bringing religious leaders across Kershaw County together since the 1950s and it is still active in the community today.

Newly elected KCMA President Rev. Dr. Angela Jennings, who also serves as the pastor for St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, said there has been a significant turnover rate with church leaders in the county during the past two years and she wants to reach out to new leaders to let them know the KCMA is available as a professional resource and collegial support.

“The underlying values of this community are an essential part of how we’re all knit together,” Jennings said. “We shouldn’t isolate ourselves within our own ministries.”

Jennings said KCMA church leaders offer support to one another in a way others can’t.

“We’re all in the same line of work,” Jennings said. “Sometimes we’re carrying the burdens of our whole congregation. It can get pretty heavy. This group offers support for all of us.”

Plus, she added, most times problems and solutions are not limited to specific denominations.

“God’s people are God’s people no matter where they worship. Additionally, we also love to hear, share and celebrate those wonderful stories of the gift of healing.

“We run into the same issues and offer each other sounding boards,” she said. “Often times we have the same difficulties and same joys.  As the Scripture says, we (God’s people) are to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:15).  That sums up our collegiality well.”

The Rev. Freddie Wilson, retired pastor emeritus of the First Nazarene Church in Camden, and long-time member (since the 1950s) of the Kershaw County Ministerial Association said he was pleased to announce a new chapter for the KCMA pointing out that Jennings is the first female president the group has had.

“We’re very proud of her,” he said. “She was voted to be our president unanimously much to her surprise.”
In addition to being a support for church leaders, the KCMA also serves the Kershaw County community when there is a need through its “Transient Ministry.”

“From time to time individuals come through our community who need help,” Father Frank Travis, priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church, said. “They don’t qualify for any other assistance within the county because they don’t live here.”

“These people,” Jennings said, “are often traveling due to a death or a sickness in their family and may find themselves in a difficult situation in their travels needing a helping hand.

“It’s basically a ‘good Samaritan fund,’” she said.

KCMA also organizes Community Lenten and Thanksgiving services. For these occasions, a host church holds the gathering with a local guest preacher to bring the sermon.

Jennings said one goal of the KCMA for the upcoming spring is to hold Community Lenten services in downtown Camden during the day, preferably, the noon hour to allow the working and retired community to attend. In the past, these services were held in the evenings.

“It is our hope that by moving the time of service we will be providing a noon time worship opportunity for those working downtown Camden. Additionally, it has come to our attention that a number of the retirees who have attended for years prefer not to drive after dark,” Jennings said.

 She also said the KCMA plans to partner with the Kershaw Concerned Clergy to sponsor a National Day of Prayer Service in May where they will lead the community to pray for peace.

“All services sponsored by the KCMA are open to the whole community whether you have a church family or not,” she said.  “We would love to have a huge gathering to celebrate God’s grace in Jesus Christ together.”

It is not unusual during these events to hear people say “oh, I didn’t know you went to (name of church),” Jennings said.

These services offer church members a chance to mix and mingle with more than just their congregation.

“It’s nice to come together at times other than a funeral,” Rev. Dr. Chip Summers said. Summers is the pastor of

Bethesda Presbyterian Church and an active member with the KCMA.

“Sometimes it is hard to get everyone together,” Summers said. “But we make the effort.”

The main goals of the KCMA are to extend the hand of fellowship across differing Christian faith perspectives through worship and service together; to encourage pastors, especially those new to Kershaw County through prayer and faith-sharing; and to connect pastors and churches with local resources to support the local church.

Any religious leader serving a Kershaw County church is welcome to join the KCMA, Jennings said. The next meeting will be held Sept. 8 at 12:30 p.m. at Old Armory Steakhouse.  For more information contact Jennings at 432-2012.

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