Members of the Scotland County Ministerial Association are hoping to give the organization new life with a broadened outlook.
Having been active in the county for several decades, the association is considering a name change to Scotland County Ministry Fellowship to become more inclusive to all who wish to better the community, including lay leaders and nonprofit organizations.
“Our mission has been to provide fellowship for ministry organizations in the county: churches and other organizations like Habitat for Humanity,” said C.F. McDowell, pastor of First Baptist Church. “It’s so far just been limited to the ministers of the churches, but we’re trying to open that up to other groups to provide fellowship and for us to be a voice in the community for those things that churches and organizations can work together to do.”
The organization’s Tuesday meeting included members from the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Catholic denominations, with presentations from Storytelling and Arts Center director Jan Schmidt and Grace Baptist Church member Valeriana Jute.
Schmidt gauged interest in possibly extending the March Storytelling Festival of Carolina with a workshop on March 20 for ministers and other church leaders on storytelling from the pulpit. The workshop will be led by Robert Jones and Bill Lepp, two of the storytellers in town for the festival and both of whom are ministers. There will be a nominal cost for participants.
Jute presented information on Grace Baptist’s participation in the “Bouncing Baby Bottle Campaign” for the Pee Dee Crisis Pregnancy Center in Rockingham. The center serves Richmond, Scotland, and Anson counties.
“This center gives alternatives to women with unplanned pregnancies,” Jute said. “These are couples that are married and are maybe not financially ready. The problem is that within the first 24 hours, this is when families and teen moms make a decision whether they’re going to have abortions… The health department actually calls and refers to the Pee Dee Crisis Center and they give alternatives.”
The center also provides material support and counseling to struggling parents during their child’s first year of life, as well as counseling to women who have miscarried or had an abortion.
Although the ministry fellowship will further consider its organization in future meetings, its overall goal is to become more inclusive to increase its non-clergy membership.
“The things shared today are the kinds of ways we want to incorporate into our going forward as a ministry fellowship, not just for ministers,” said McDowell. “We need to give ourselves time to see if it can work to not have an organized president and vice-president and secretary and treasurer. We were feeling kind of burdened by the organization and by our bylaws.”
For information about the storytelling workshop, call SACS at 277-3599. For information about supporting the Pee Dee Pregnancy Crisis Center, call 997-3040.