The Rev. Jonathan Holston, new bishop of the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, will deliver the keynote address at the 143rd Claflin University Founders’ Day Convocation at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center.
Holston was senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Atlanta prior to being elected bishop by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July. A United Methodist bishop is elected for life and serves as church leader of an Episcopal area for a term usually lasting eight years. Holston began his term as bishop of the S.C. Annual Conference in September.
Holston holds a B.A. degree in religion from the University of Georgia and a masters of divinity degree from Gammon Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
Claflin has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since its founding in 1869. The United Methodist Church and Claflin continue to forge a strong relationship, says President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale.
“The United Methodist Church has always been strongly interwoven into the rich history of Claflin University,” he said. “Because of this long-standing tradition of mutual support, it is only fitting that we welcome the next visionary leader of the United Methodist Church — Bishop Jonathan Holston — to our campus for our 143rd Founders’ Day Convocation.”
Before arriving at St. James, Holston was the district superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford district for eight years. He was also an associate director for the North Georgia Conference Council on Ministries. In addition, Holston was a minister at Clifton United Methodist Church in Atlanta and Marietta Street United Methodist Church in Cedartown, Ga.
A native of Griffin, Ga., Holston served as a member of the General Council on Finance and Administration, chaired the General Conference Finance and Administrative Legislative Committee and was on the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. His role in the United Methodist Church also called upon him to serve on the Southeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy, Hinton Rural Center, Appalachian Development Committee and the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association for Native American Ministries.
Holston has been an active missionary, traveling to Uganda, Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, China, Hong Kong and South Korea.
He and his wife, Felicia, have two children, Karlton Maurice and Brittany Jene’.
During the ceremony, the 2012 Bythewood Award, named after former trustee Thaddeus Kinloch Bythewood Sr. in recognition of outstanding contributions to Claflin and the community, will be given to Gregg N. Frierson. Frierson is the senior vice president and senior credit products manager for Bank of America based in Columbia. He served on the Claflin Board of Trustees for 15 years and was chairman of the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee for 12 years.