Originally from Urumqi, China, Xiaoya Gao (Sisi) is a pianist and music educator. Gao has performed in Asia, Europe, and the United States, including the Lawrence Chapel in Appleton, Wisconsin, the Blackbox Theatre in New York, and the Palais Corbelli in Vienna. Gao has an extensive music training background.
In 2019, she earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Lawrence Conservatory of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton WI. In 2021, she received a Master’s degree in piano performance and an Advanced Certificate in Piano Pedagogy at New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Gao is currently working towards her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of South Carolina. She is also a dedicated accompanist and piano teacher in the Columbia area. During her free time, Gao likes to cook and take care of her plants.
The UMM wants to send care packages to our military overseas. If you have the names and addresses of any family members (immediate or distant) deployed overseas in any branch of the US military please give the information to either Marlin McPhail or Michael Jennings so that we can send them a care package.
Grace United Methodist Church is currently experiencing a
trend that has been affecting churches all over the U.S. High schools and colleges
are not producing trained singers to volunteer in church choirs in the high
numbers that they once did, even ten years ago. Sadly, some churches have done
away with their choirs altogether. At Grace, it is our goal to strive toward
excellence in our music ministry and worship, led by the Chancel Choir, aided
by choral scholars.
Choral Scholars are music students or in some cases young music
graduates, who lead their respective sections in the choir.
Through a Choral Scholars program, Grace is able to invest
in the lives and careers of young musicians who are either training for a
career in Music or who are underemployed music graduates needing help in launching
a music career. A Choral Scholars program is an outreach ministry to our
community, and can help us achieve Grace’s 2020 vision of reaching out into our
Through this program, we are able to bring young musicians
into our church and minister to them at a time in their lives when many young
adults are unchurched. A Choral Scholars program also helps to train young
musicians to be the church music leaders of the future. In fact, our own Mark
Merritt was once a choral scholar.
We have received some seed money to assist in starting a
Choral Scholars program at Grace. We believe that we could have choral scholars
on all four parts in the choir for $900 per year, per singer.
To contribute to the recovery of national and international areas affected by hurricanes, give to UMCOR disaster response through the following Advances.
I am overjoyed to be a part of the ministry and mission of Grace on Harbison. God has called me to preach the truth of the Gospel so that others might know the love and justice of Jesus Christ and be agents of his grace in their families and communities. I was born and raised in Murrells Inlet, SC and grew up attending Socastee UMC. I earned a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in history at the University of South Carolina. I received my MDiv from Duke Divinity School in May of 2010, began my ministry on July 1, 2010, and was ordained an Elder in June of 2012 at the SC Annual Conference. Prior to serving at Grace, I served as associate pastor at St. John’s UMC in Rock Hill. I enjoy spending time at the beach. The salt water always restores me. I am a gym rat, but that is mainly to support my love of good food.
I share my life and ministry with my wife, Lollie, and our sons, Wyatt and Thomas. Lollie is a South Carolina native as well, having grown up in Marion, SC. She has a deep call to lay ministry in the administration of the church at the denominational level. Wyatt and Thomas bring the most joy to our lives with their boundless energy and excitement. They love sports, superheroes, and reading. We all enjoy Gamecock football, the outdoors, grilling, going to community events, and experiencing new adventures together.
Click here for access to the Directory
Our church directory is online and alive! You can view our directory online or via the free mobile app today. To view the directory online, go to https://members.instantchurchdirectory.com and follow the prompts under “sign in” to “create a login now”. Please remember, you must confirm your email address before you can sign in.
There is also a free mobile app available for download at the Apple App store in ITunes, Google Play store and the Amazon Fire App store. Simply search for “Instant Church Directory” to get the download.
You will need to use your email address as listed in our directory to create a log-in the first time you use the directory online and via the mobile app. If you need help in accessing the directory please feel free to contact Gloria Bowden or Bill Walker in the office.
If you do not have a computer or smart phone please contact the office and a hard copy will be printed for you.
What is smile.amazon.com?
Click here to start shopping!
We have been working to put Grace UMC on smile.amazon.com and we finally have it.
SETTING UP Your Account
Instead of going to Amazon.com go to smile.amazon.com
go to “your account”
go down to “change your charity”
then go to Grace United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC
Be sure you select the correct Grace (because there are a lot of them make sure it is the Grace United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC)
Smile.Amazon.com is the same except now Grace will receive a donation each time you buy something and it will cost you NOTHING extra!