Rev. Julie Songer Belman delights in her new appointment to Bethel UMC in Columbia! For the past four years Julie has pastored at First UMC Winnsboro. She previously served as Minister of Evangelism and Outreach at Shandon UMC in Columbia.
While Julie relishes the opportunity that leading a congregation like Bethel presents – setting a vision, preaching and teaching God’s Word, cultivating the mission of the church – her deepest passion is walking with people as they discover the depth of God’s love for them in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Julie grew up in Irmo, South Carolina and is an honor graduate of Winthrop University in Rock Hill. After college she moved to New York City to pursue a career on Broadway. Following three years of leadership in her Manhattan church, Julie felt the call to ordained ministry. She graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from The Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta and is an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.
Julie is certified in “Women and Theology” and traveled with the World Methodist Evangelism Institute to Chile and Paraguay, South America. Julie is passionate about connecting the Gospel story to the everyday lives of extraordinary disciples. She feels most joyful when serving others and sharing God’s love with all. Julie is excited to see what God has in store for Bethel Church and the Forest Acres community!
Julie enjoys performing in community theatre and spending time with her family. Her husband Travis is an avid tennis player and an executive with AT&T. They have been blessed with three children: a son, James (3) and boy/girl twins, Ray & Marlow (1).
A native of West Columbia, Jason Barrs attended both Airport High School and Midland Technical College. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Allison McCormick Barrs, and has three children: Foster (13), Will (10), and Caroline (5).
Jason has been involved in Music Ministry since he was 18 years old and for the past 8 years has been in Youth Ministry. Recently, he was the Director of Music and Youth Ministries at Platt Springs UMC in West Columbia.
Jason has a passion for leading people in worship, singing about the love of Christ, and a desire for youth to grow in their knowledge of and relationship with Christ. He is excited about the opportunity to serve here at Bethel.
Marian has attended Bethel since 1967, when her family moved to Columbia and has been actively involved in the music programs of the church since high school. Her love of music has been nurtured at Bethel, in high school, and as a member of the University of South Carolina Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Árpád Darázs. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from USC and a Master of Science in Education with a Specialization in Educational Media from Nova Southeastern University.
By day, she is Marian the Librarian at Forest Lake Elementary NASA Explorer School. Her husband John, daughter Elizabeth, and father Jack are all active members of Bethel, as well.
Bethel Church holds a special place in Elizabeth’s heart. She grew up going to church here and she also attended the Preschool. She is an active member of the adult choir and handbell choir. Elizabeth graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Elementary Education. She spent some time teaching 5th grade, but ultimately felt a call to not only have Bethel as her church home but also her place of work.
Elizabeth continues to pursue her love for education by teaching English online to children in China. In her spare time, she loves to garden, play with her two dogs, and experiment in the kitchen.
Bill has served churches in the Columbia area for over 30 years as organist, choir director, and handbell director. Following a successful career in retail bookkeeping and auditing, he answered a higher call of service at Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community where he serves as Activity/Music Assistant. Bill holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of South Carolina and is Board Certified with the National Association of Activity Professionals.
Sylvia Hulbert served as Bethel’s choir director/organist for 21 years and as organist for an additional 27 years. She began Bethel’s handbell choir in the mid 1970s. Though retired as organist, Sylvia continues to direct the handbell choir.
Sylvia has a Bachelor of Music degree from Converse College, where she majored in organ performance. She is a member of RHO Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda honorary music society.
Prior to coming to Bethel, Sylvia was choir director/organist at Trinity UMC in Spartanburg.
Carol graduated from Clemson University in 1982 with a BS in Administrative Management. She was raised in Bethel United Methodist Church, married here, and is currently an active member.
She is married with a daughter and a son, both of whom attended Bethel Preschool. While her daughter was attending in 1994, Carol began working in the preschool and has been the Preschool Director since 1999.
JB has previous experience as a Floor Tech in a nursing care facility and has worked in the food service and maintenance areas at St. Johns. He describes himself as a “servant”. He loves sports and has coached children’s sports. He loves the Gamecocks!