"S" is for South Carolina Baptist State Convention. The South Carolina Baptist State Convention became the first Baptist convention in the South when it was founded in 1821 at First Baptist Church, Columbia, under the direction of Richard Furman. From the beginning, the convention followed an organizational form brought to the state from Philadelphia by the Baptist minister Oliver Hart. In the early twenty-first century there were approximately two thousand churches affiliated with, but not governed by the convention. Messengers, appointed by members of affiliate churches, who can be either clergy or laypersons and who are free to vote their own convictions at convention meetings, convene annually to do business and debate resolutions of contemporary importance. Historically, the South Carolina Baptist State Convention played a major role in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention.