By Jessica Connor
Clergy and lay members of Annual Conference will have at least four major resolutions to vote on when they gather in Florence June 9-12 to decide the business of The United Methodist Church in South Carolina.
Resolutions received to date are as follows:
1. Resolution on Minimally Adequate Education: Ending of the Neglect of South Carolina’s Rural Schools
Submitted by the Advocacy Ministry Area of the S.C. Conference, this resolution maintains that the conference encourage the General Assembly to provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the state and to establish, organize and support such other public institutions of learning, as may be desirable that will provide a high quality education, allowing all students to reach their highest potential.
It resolves that UMCs in S.C. support public education by establishing partnerships with local public schools, e.g. after-school programs; monitor reform efforts in public schools; honor teachers work and advocate for appropriate salaries; advocate for adequate public school funding and equitable distribution of state funds; and more.
The United Methodist Church in South Carolina believes it is a fundamental responsibility of the South Carolina General Assembly to provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools to prepare our state s children for a future of promise; and ¦ further believes the words minimally adequate should not be deemed as acceptable to either describe or define our state s commitment to public education, to public education equity or to public education funding; and ¦ fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education and Briggs v. Elliot, the poor, rural, mostly minority children of South Carolina are still waiting for an equal and adequate opportunity to get an education in and outside of the schools covered in the Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina’s Rural Schools documentary, the resolution reads.
2. Resolution to Support Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion
Also submitted by the Advocacy Ministry Area of the S.C. Conference, this resolution says the S.C. Conference will encourage (by letter, conversation and direct advocacy) the members of the South Carolina General Assembly to declare that participation in Medicaid expansion pursuant to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be necessary to the state s economic growth and welfare and to the health, wellbeing, and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians.
Also, it resolves that S.C. UMCs will accept responsibility for becoming actively involved at all levels in the development of support systems for health care in the community; educating and motivating members to follow a healthy lifestyle reflecting our affirmation of life as
God s gift; directing a congregational specialist to coordinate health advocacy; becoming advocates for a healthful environment, accessible and affordable health care and continued public support for health care; and continue their support and provision of direct-health services where needed through hospitals and homes, clinics and health centers.
The resolution notes Para. 162.V in the 2008 Book of Discipline states health care is a basic human right and affirms the duty of government to assure health care for all.
3. Resolution to Prohibit Guns at Church-Sponsored Activities
Submitted by the S.C. Conference Board of Church and Society, this resolution has the S.C. Conference prohibit the presence and possession of guns at church-sponsored activities both on and off church property, including but not limited to youth and children s events, activities and mission trips; and requests local churches to include a clause reflecting the prohibition of guns in their Safe Sanctuary Policy.
4. Resolution to Support Global Maternal and Child Health through the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet Project
Submitted by Diane B. Talley, ambassador for Healthy Families, Healthy Planet, this resolution maintains that the S.C. Conference endorse the Healthy Families, Healthy Planets initiative, a project of the UMC s General Board of Church & Society to educate and mobilize United Methodists on maternal health and the importance of international family planning.
It also calls for the conference United Methodist Women and other relevant boards of the conference work together in awareness, education and advocacy for the well-being of women, infants and children worldwide. It asks the conference Board of Church and Society, with the help of the General Board of Church and Society, provide leadership and coordination for this effort, and that all United Methodist leaders, pastors and laypersons in the conference contact their members of Congress to urge them to increase funding for international family planning in U.S. foreign assistance in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Also, two resolutions to discontinue churches will go before the body: one to discontinue Cameron UMC, in the Orangeburg District, and one to discontinue Old Galilee UMC, in the Marion District.
Conference Secretary the Rev. Karen Radcliffe said the body might have more resolutions to vote on beyond these five; people are able to bring resolutions to Annual Conference the first day of the ga
thering as long as they make 2,000 copies “ one for every member.
To read all of these resolutions in full, click here .