Interfaith harmony goal of new coalition

Interfaith partners of South Carolina, a new umbrella organization based at the University of South Carolina, is opening its first Interfaith Harmony Center in North Charleston next week.

An inaugural worship service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Rev. Chris Collins’ Healing Ministries Baptist Church, 5841 Rivers Avenue, where the Harmony Center will be based. The service will feature representatives of multiple religions, each explaining faith traditions and practices.

The goal is to engender understanding and tolerance, says organizer Howie Comen. Regular monthly programming is in the works.

“We want the community to get used to seeing Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians — everybody — working together on a regular basis,” he said.

Various faith leaders are part of a coalition advocating interfaith activities. One of them, Rabbi Doron Aizenman, will sponsor the establishment of another Harmony Center at Chabad of Myrtle Beach later this year.

S.C. United Methodists announce new bishop

The South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church elected L. Jonathan Holston as its new bishop.

Holston, the second African-American to hold this position, assumed his new role Sept. 1. A welcoming service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 7 at Union United Methodist Church in Irmo.

Holston, married with two adult children, served as senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Atlanta for seven years before his election to become bishop of the South Carolina Annual Conference. From 1997-2005, he served as superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District.

He brings extensive administrative and mission experience to South Carolina. Holston served on numerous church boards and committees, and has held the position of conference disaster relief coordinator. He has traveled extensively to Africa, the Caribbean, India and the Far East.

Staff reports