Upcoming conference to explore 'serving with excellence'

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May 24—Plans are in place for Mercy Church to play host to a June 2-3 conference on "how to serve others with excellence," with a variety of local residents sharing their priorities and principles on the topic.

The event, with a 7 p.m. Friday start and an 8 a.m. Saturday start, is to have such speakers on hand as Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, author Mark Pfeifer, grant writer Kim McNeely and Rick Christman, chancellor of Columbia International University.

"We're just looking at leadership and how we can help each other," said Kay Brohl, an Aiken City Council member who is also on board as a speaker.

Renee Stewart, the conference organizer, said hopes are for attendance of around 250, with for profit and nonprofit organizations alike represented. The idea for the event came from various needs that were expressed with regard to businesses and charitable organizations alike looking to work together.

Tom Johnson, the owner/operator of Aiken's Chick-fil-A, is to be the opening speaker at the Friday session, and Saturday morning is to include two sessions: one on writing grants, led by McNeely; and another, led by Pfeifer, calling on themes from his book "Alignment: A Blueprint for the 21st Century Church."

Following will be a 1 p.m. roundtable discussion of "the benefits of developing partnerships across communities," with input from a variety of professional backgrounds; and a 3:30 p.m. roundtable on "how to get started in outreach and how to grow services," as described in a press release.

Other presenters will be Elvira Holley, a New Ellenton City Council member, and (appearing remotely) film producer Rich Christiano.

The host site, formerly known as South Aiken Church of God, is at 2700 Whiskey Road. Advance registration is required, and registration is $45. For more information, call 803-648-6750, email servingwithexcellencecommittee@gmail.com or visit mercyforaiken.org.