Denominational News


Welcome to the Denominational News page of our website. Our hope is that over the next year we will share news and offer updates on this page, recognizing that we all benefit from a shared common understanding. Please know that our goal is to help everyone move through this period of transition with the least amount of disruption and distraction to our mission of fishing.

We are offering an online “Methodism 101”  that will describe some of the fundamental elements within the denomination that are at the core of the disaffiliation discussion; our Methodist Book of Discipline, the UMC Connectional structure and the Trust Clause. You can watch that video to the right.

Methodism 101 – Understanding The United Methodist Church

0:00 – Introduction | 1:35 – Church Structure | 5:22 – The Book of Discipline | 10:37 – The Trust Clause | 11:56 – Closing Remarks and Town Hall Dates

2016 Book of Discipline:

Town Hall Updates

Every so often, we have Town Hall Meetings to offer our congregation the chance to see presentations, hear from leadership, and learn more about challenges that may face our church family.

Our first Town Hall occurred on Sunday, April 23rd at 3pm. Our second Town Hall occurred on Wednesday, April 26th at 6:30pm. The link to view a recording of this Town Hall is posted below.

In the beginning of 2024 we had 2 Town Halls with Rev. Jim Dennis preceding the denominational vote on February 4th. Our first Town Hall occurred on Sunday, January 21st at 3pm. Our second Town Hall occurred on Wednesday, January 24th at 7:00pm. The link to view a recording of these Town Halls are posted below.

News and Articles

As a follow up to our town hall sessions and our continuing efforts to help members gain clarity around denominational issues, here are some educational resources that were offered in the June, 2023 South Carolina United Methodist Advocate:

What to learn more about staying in the UMC?
A number of resources abound for wanting to “stay UMC” or learn more about what this might look like. Resources include the following:
• Is The United Methodist Church Really … ?:
• BeUMC: • Committed to The UMC:
• UMC’s Discipleship Ministries:
• Fresh Expressions, a subset of Discipleship Ministries:
• Resource UMC:
• That We May Be One:
• Adam Hamilton: A Future with Hope:
• Beginning Again, A Guide for Remaining in the UMC: beginning-again-guide-v3.ashx?la=en

Want to learn more about the Global Methodist Church?
The Rev. Keith Boyette, transitional connectional officer for the Global Methodist Church, has shared five articles he believes people would find to be very helpful to read to learn more about the GMC. These articles are as follows:
• “The Local Church in the Global Methodist Church”:
• “What We Believe Matters”:
• “Hopes and Aspirations”:
• “The Spirit of a New Connection”:
• “Leaning Into Our Mission”:

People Need Jesus has organized a compendium dating back to 2013 to share relevant articles related to the UMC and ongoing news from across the United States and the church on a worldwide scale. This site is updated frequently with articles, tweets, blogs, and videos to present a more complete picture of what is happening with the UMC, GMC, and others. Visit the Compendium here:

During the SC Annual Conference held June 4-7 in Florence, the Conference approved the separation of 113 churches across the state who have chosen to separate from the The United Methodist Church.  The following article offers more details and a list of the churches involved:

Advent formally entered a discernment period this past Wednesday, September 20, with an end date of Wednesday, January 31, 2024. The purpose of the discernment process is to provide an opportunity for church members to engage in dialogue, express different viewpoints, and hear reasons that separating from the United Methodist Church is being proposed. Most importantly, we engage in discernment with the reminder that God and neighbor are in the midst of every part of this process. We encourage all church members to use this time for study and prayer, as we ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to our next faithful steps.

During this period, information will be provided each Friday in the eNews that will be designed to help the professing members of Advent be prepared to take part in a congregational vote about the future direction of our church, and a potential separation from the United Methodist Church. The materials provided each week will be added to the Denominational News page of the church website for your reference. Today we are offering an overview of the process.

We will be providing practical and theological information from both perspectives: reasons that lead some to believe that Advent should stay in the United Methodist denomination and reasons that lead some to believe that Advent should leave the United Methodist denomination.

There will be a “quiet period”, starting November 18, and extending through January 4, when the church will not be sending out information related to this issue. We realize that private conversations will be taking place during this period, but it is our hope that during this time we can primarily focus on preparing for and celebrating the birth of our Lord.

During the month of January there will be at least one congregation-wide meeting at which all of the requirements for separation as defined by the annual conference will be shared.

The Greenville District Superintendent has been asked to schedule a church conference for early February, at which all professing members of Advent will be invited to attend and cast a vote either to stay in the UMC or to separate from the UMC. The motion to separate from the United Methodist Church must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the professing members of the local church present and voting at the church conference. Since church members must be present to vote, there will be no proxy voting or absentee voting. Those with medical conditions which would make entry into the building difficult, or make being in crowds dangerous, may vote in their cars in the Advent parking lot.

A prayer for Advent has been prepared and is included at the end of this message. We ask that every member of Advent pray this prayer daily, as we seek God’s presence and guidance in the days and months to come.

Discernment Prayer Card Individual

Each week, we plan to provide materials to help in understanding the issues facing our denomination. The information for this week is below.

Rev. Rob Renfroe explains why he believes that United Methodists should consider leaving the denomination. You can read about his reasons below.

Rob Renfroe’s Perspective

Rev. Adam Hamilton explains why he believes that United Methodists should remain in the denomination. You can read about his reasons below.

Adam Hamilton’s Perspective

Stay UMC

Dr. John Robbins explains his understanding of the proper interpretation of scripture. You can watch his sermon below:

John Robbins Video

Leave UMC

Dr. Preston Sprinkle presents three reasons for believing in a historically Christian view of marriage.You can watch his presentation below:

Preston Sprinkle Video

Church Vote Scheduled for February 4

Greenville District Superintendent Jim Dennis has set the date of the Advent Church Conference, at which members will vote on a motion for Advent to separate from the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, for Sunday, February 4, 2024, at 12:00 Noon. Please reserve this date and time on your calendar.

Who Can Vote

The Local Church Discernment Process created by the South Carolina Conference, which is the process that local churches are required to follow, states that, “The decision to separate from the United Methodist Church must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the professing members of the local church present and voting at the church conference.”

Professing members are those people who have been baptized, have made a public profession of faith in Christ, and have taken the membership vows of the local church. For most of the past decade Advent has required that all prospective members complete the seven-week course, “A Disciple’s Path”, before joining. Anyone who is taking part in and completes the current Disciple’s Path course, or who has completed the course in the past but has not yet joined, may join Advent as a professing member prior to February 4 and participate in the vote.

The church office is currently checking the roll for accuracy. A copy of the roll will be made available in the connecting space during the Sundays in January so that professing members can check to make certain that they are correctly included in the list. Professing members may also call the church office in January to make certain that they are included in the membership roll.

How the Vote Will Be Taken

The church conference has been set for the specific day and time of Sunday, February 4, at 12 Noon. Those professing members choosing to vote must be present at that time to be part of the balloting that will take place during the church conference.

Balloting is limited to the professing members “present and voting”, which means that there can be no proxy or absentee voting. However, those with mobility or health concerns may remain in their car in the church parking lot and have a ballot brought to them.

The Local Church Discernment Process also states that, “The vote of the church conference to pursue or not to pursue separation shall be by anonymous (paper/written) ballot. The District Superintendent or their designee shall preside. The ballots shall be counted in the presence of all those in attendance, and the report of the vote announced before the church conference is adjourned.”

The ballot will allow for a “Yes” or a “No” vote. “Yes” will be a vote in favor of separating from the United Methodist Church. “No” will be a vote against separating from the United Methodist Church.

Leave UMC

Rev. Rob Renfroe addresses several issues related to the issue of separation. You can read his article below:

Our Side of the Street Article

Stay UMC

Author Justin Lee and Dr. Preston Sprinkle engage in a discussion about homosexuality. You can watch the video here:

Video Discussion with Justin Lee and Preston Sprinkle

Stay UMC

Rev. Tyler Richardson explains why he believes the United Methodist Church has a bright future. You can watch the video here:

Why The UMC Has A Bright Future Ahead

Leave UMC

Rev. Tom Lambrecht discusses the future of the United Methodist Church. You can read his article here:

Centrists Describe Future UMC Article

Leave UMC

In an article from February of 2021, Rev. Tom Lambrecht explains reasons to leave the UMC. You can read his article here:

Tom Lambrecht Article

Stay UMC

In an article also from February of 2021, Rev. Adam Hamilton responds to the article by Rev. Lambrecht with reasons to stay. You can read his response here:

Adam Hamilton Article


This week church council heard plans for the remainder of the discernment period leading up to the church conference vote on February 4th.

The “Quiet Period”, when Advent will not be sharing any information about the discernment process, will begin on November 18 and will end on January 4. The purpose behind the “Quiet Period” is to allow our congregation to focus on celebrating the birth of our Lord during the days leading up to, and following, Christmas.

On Sunday, January 21st and Wednesday, January 24th, a church-wide information meeting will be held in the sanctuary. The meeting on January 21st will begin at 3:00PM, and the meeting on January 24th will begin at 7:00PM. Rev. Jim Dennis, the Greenville District Superintendent, will be present to lead both meetings. Childcare will be offered for both.

The agenda will be the same for both meetings. Rev. Dennis will open with prayer. Information will be presented by one or more representatives of Advent to explain the cost of separation, the voting process on February 4, and other practical information. There will then be an opportunity for those present to ask questions. The final portion of the meeting will provide an opportunity for those present to speak from the heart about the decision facing Advent. Each speaker will have 3 minutes to share, with opportunities for 10 people to speak for separating from the UMC and 10 to speak against separating from the UMC.

On Sunday, January 28th, the sanctuary will be open for prayer from 3:00PM until 5:00PM. At the beginning of the time there will be a brief prayer service led by Pastor Tim, as we continue to ask for God’s peace and God’s guidance in the discernment process and the decision on February 4. During the remainder of the time until 5:00PM, the sanctuary will be available for those who wish to pray in silence.

On Sunday, February 4th, following the 10:30 service, Rev. Dennis will again be at Advent to oversee the church vote on possibly separating from the United Methodist Church. In that meeting a motion will be presented for Advent to separate. If 2/3 of the professing members present and voting cast a “Yes” vote, then the motion will be approved and Advent will move toward separating from the United Methodist Church at the end of June. If more than 1/3 cast a “No” vote, then the motion will not be approved. In that case Advent will remain a United Methodist congregation and the process will end.

Members of church council and the denominational communication team have heard from a number of congregation members asking about the future of Advent if the vote to separate is approved. The church council has no recommendation about separation from the UMC. Each church member is encouraged to study the information provided, talk to others, and spend time in prayer in order to form their own belief and vote accordingly. A majority of church council agreed, at a called meeting on Tuesday night, that if the motion to separate is approved by the congregation, then aligning with the Global Methodist Church would be an appropriate next step. However, any final decision on a new denomination would not take place on February 4, and would be decided by a vote of the congregation at a later time.

Discernment Information and a Quiet Period

On September 22, Advent used the eNews to distribute its first information about the current discernment period. There have now been nine eNews editions, including this one, that have provided information about the process as well as information and opinion that represent both sides of the discussion about the issues facing our denomination and church. The purpose has been to provide resources that will enable the professing members to be fully informed as they participate in the congregational vote on February 4.

In addition to the information provided by Advent, two informal groups made up of members of Advent have formed to advocate for a decision either to stay in the denomination or leave the denomination. These groups have communicated through Facebook, emails, letters and in-person meetings (both at on-campus and off-campus sites), as well as personal conversations. By organizing they have been able to express their opinions and contribute to a robust discussion of the issues involved. But some questions have come to the staff of Advent, asking why information about meetings sponsored by these groups has not been shared by the church. Please understand that these groups were not created by Advent, their communications and events are not sponsored or advertised by Advent, Advent does not decide who they communicate with, and their views are not an expression of the “position” of our church. 

Advent, through the actions of the church council, has not made a recommendation about separating or not separating from the denomination, believing that this decision belongs to the church membership. The information that Advent has provided has been designed to provide information while avoiding advocating for one side or the other. This information has been shared exclusively through the weekly eNews, the Sunday morning bulletin, verbal updates on Sunday mornings, or through information posted on the church website under the “Denominational News” tab. Information or opinions shared in any other manner is personal to that individual or group and has not come from Advent.

Today marks the last day of active discernment for Advent until January. Beginning tomorrow, November 18, until Friday, January 4, we will observe a quiet period in which Advent will not be distributing information related to the denominational discernment process or referring to it during worship. Of course, individuals will continue to discuss, consider, and pray about the decision currently facing our congregation. We encourage every member to continue to pray the prayer of discernment daily. The decision about possibly separating from the United Methodist Church deserves our prayerful attention. However, as a congregation, beginning tomorrow and lasting until the first Friday in January, we will turn our attention to Thanksgiving and Christmas – specifically to focus on the celebration of the birth of our Lord. It is our hope that every member of Advent will determine to live these days with generosity, gratitude, and grace!

Pastor Tim and Pastor Rachel would be happy to talk to anyone with questions about any part of this process or decision. Feel free to call or email the church to be in touch with either pastor.

We are deeply grateful for your love and concern for our church. In a world that has many distractions and concerns, we now invite you into a season that is focused on joyful worship and genuine fellowship as we celebrate the birth of our Lord!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Church Conference Called for February 4

An Advent UMC Church Conference has been called for February 4 at 12:00 noon, to be held in the church sanctuary. The purpose of the conference is to allow the Advent congregation to decide if the church should separate from the South Carolina Annual Conference or remain a United Methodist congregation. All professing members of Advent who are present may vote. Under the rules established by the South Carolina Conference of the UMC, absentee and proxy voting are not allowed.

The question will be presented in the form of a motion for Advent to separate from the conference. A “Yes” vote will be in favor of separating from the United Methodist Church. A “No” vote will be against separating from the United Methodist Church. (A “No” vote has the effect of voting for Advent to remain a United Methodist Church.) The Advent church council is not making a recommendation about how members should vote.

A list of the church membership eligible to vote will be made available at the desk in the connecting space every Sunday in January. Professing members are encouraged to confirm that their name is on the list. Advent intends to also send a letter to every professing member announcing the vote and encouraging members to review the information that is available on the church website under the “Denominational News” tab.

Prior to the day of the vote, three additional meetings are planned.

On Sunday, January 21 (3:00PM) and Wednesday, January 24 (7:00PM), informational meetings will be held in the sanctuary to explain the cost associated with leaving if the congregation votes to separate, and to explain the process for voting on February 4. Those meetings will also provide an opportunity for church members to ask questions, and an opportunity for church members to express their opinions about the possibility of separation.

On Sunday, January 28, there will be a prayer vigil in the sanctuary from 3:00PM until 5:00PM.

Pastor Tim and Pastor Rachel would be happy to talk to anyone with questions about any part of this process or decision.  Feel free to call or email the church to be in touch with either pastor.

Stay UMC

In this article, the Rev. Steve West explains why he is staying in the United Methodist Church

Steve West Article

Leave UMC

Although the deadline referenced in this article does not apply in South Carolina, this article in Christianity Today surveys the state of the United Methodist Church with congregations leaving

Christianity Today Article

Below you will find a link to the letter sent out to those on. Advent’s membership role.

Letter Regarding February 4 Vote

Leave UMC

Rev. Rob Renfroe shares his perspective on the changes with The United Methodist Church:

Good News Magazine Article

Stay UMC

UM News shares the perspective of UM Bishops pushing back against recruitment tactics:

UM News – Bishops Article

Below you will find a link to the Agreement to Separate created by the Conference Trustees.

Agreement to Separate Document

Registration for voting in the February 4 church conference will begin that day at 11:15AM in The Zone. The membership roll will be made final next Tuesday, January 30 so that no changes to the roll will be made on February 4. Each professing member who comes to register will be asked to sign beside their name where it is listed on the roll, and will receive a ballot and a wristband showing that they have registered. Each person is responsible to keep their ballot, as no replacement ballots can be provided. Everyone in line by 12:00PM (Noon) will be allowed to register.

In response to several requests, and after investigating what other churches of a similar size have done when voting, we will ask for a picture ID from each person who comes to register to vote. Government, work, or student IDs will be accepted. For youth who do not have a picture ID, a parent can vouch for their identification.

After members have registered they should proceed through the Connecting Space to the sanctuary – which will be opened to people with ballots after the 10:30 service has concluded and the sanctuary reset for the voting. Once registration has been completed, the meeting will begin with a prayer. Rev. Dennis will lead the meeting. When called for, each member will place their ballot in one of the ballot boxes at the front of the sanctuary. When all ballots have been received, the four counting teams of two persons each will proceed to count the ballots and provide the results to Rev. Dennis. The results of the vote will be announced before the meeting is adjourned, and will be distributed through an edition of the eNews.

The estimated cost to separate from the UMC was updated on Wednesday of this week, when Advent received a new number for the “Unfunded Pension Liability” from the conference. This change, and the change to the estimated total, was shared at the Wednesday information meeting, and is reflected in this chart:

The wording of the February 4 ballot will be as follows:

Registration and Voting on February 4th

With our church conference occurring this Sunday, we are sharing a few reminders and updates:

1. Registration will open at 11:15 in The Zone.

2. The list of professing members has been made final and no changes can be made at this point. Only those on the list will be allowed to receive a ballot.

3. Everyone will need to present a picture ID, or have a parent vouch for them, in order to register and receive a ballot.

4. Registration will remain open until everyone in line by 12:00 has a chance to register.

5. After registering and receiving a ballot, please return to the sanctuary and wait until the Superintendent calls for the vote.

6. The Superintendent will not call for the vote until everyone in line by 12:00 has registered.

7. Votes will be counted in the sanctuary. The result of the vote will be announced before the meeting is adjourned.

Dear Advent Family,

Most of you know that our congregation held a church-wide vote earlier this afternoon concerning our connection to the United Methodist Church. The vote came after we held two informational meetings for our congregation in January, numerous Lifegroup meetings, and after we had been providing materials through the eNews since September 2023. After much prayer, discussion, and discernment, our congregation voted 410 (49.8%) in favor of separating, and 414 (50.2%) against separating from the United Methodist Church. Since this was less than the 2/3 majority that was required under the conference process, the motion to separate was not approved.

Clearly there were members of Advent who held different opinions about this issue. And while those who voted to remain in the conference are surely pleased with the decision, we recognize that there are those who are deeply disappointed. Whether you voted for Advent to stay in the United Methodist Church or leave, our prayer is that you will stay at Advent and be a part of its future. It is the people of Advent, each seeking to make disciples, that has made Advent the wonderful church that it has been and is.

Advent will now remain a United Methodist congregation. Pastor Tim and Pastor Rachel will remain as pastors until the end of June. The cabinet will be projecting new appointments for clergy the last week of February. They will decide on a new senior pastor for Advent and will decide if Pastor Rachel will be re-appointed to Advent for another year.

It has felt like a long process. But the universal desire has been to keep Advent, Advent. That is our desire today. It is our intention to remain the church that we have been. There will be no major changes in our worship services, Lifegroups, mission effort, or our committee structure. Our mission will continue to be fishin’. We will still strive to be a church where disciples Gather for Worship, Grow in Groups, and Go to Serve and to Share. Please join us in our continued ministry.

Pastor Tim and Pastor Rachel

You also have the opportunity to ask our Denomination Communications Team questions. Our team will try their very best to answer as many questions as they can.

Questions for Denomination Communication Team

Please let us know what questions you have for our Denomination Communication Team. Our hope is to answer your questions as soon as possible!