News posted by

Annual Conference to vote on three petitions, elect 32 delegates

Annual Conference to vote on three petitions, elect 32 delegates
Photo by Matt Brodie

By Jessica Brodie

GREENVILLE—Just over a month remains until 2,000 South Carolina United Methodists gather for Annual Conference, ready to elect delegates to General Conference, consider three major denominational petitions, pass a budget for ministry efforts in this state and more.

But while much time will be devoted to the business matters up for consideration, Conference Secretary the Rev. Ken Nelson is praying people will focus most on the two UMCSC mission initiatives: to provide food and household items for Native American elderly and other people in poverty.

“Above all, we’re focusing on ways we can be engaging in mission and making disciples,” Nelson said, lifting up the theme of this year’s event, which is A Future with Hope: Seeking a More Excellent Way. “That’s where the action is really happening—in the life of the local congregation.”

Here’s the latest on what you need to know about this summer’s Annual Conference, set for June 2-6 at the TD Convention Center in Greenville.


Lay and clergy delegate nominees

This year, Annual Conference members will elect 16 delegates to the UMC’s 2020 General Conference and an additional 16 delegates to the 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, plus alternates.

Half of the delegates will be clergy and half will be laity, each elected from a pool of eligible people who have expressed a desire to be considered as a delegate.

There are 35 lay nominees, each selected through their district or approved group, and currently 84 clergy who have articulated a desire to be a nominee. (See names and full bios, here.)

Voting will be electronic and done the same way as four years ago, when delegates were elected for the 2016 General and Jurisdictional conferences. It will begin the first day of business, Monday, June 3, and conclude by the final day, June 6. Those elected will need to secure 50 percent plus one of all valid ballots cast.

Nelson said in an effort to make the voting process more efficient, only those clergy who have expressed an interest in being a delegate are on the nominee list. He said all eligible clergy were sent a letter requesting they notify the conference secretary’s office of their desire to serve.

“If they didn’t submit their form to be a clergy nominee, they’re not ineligible—they’ll just need to be a write-in nominee during Annual Conference in accordance with Standing Rule 28,” Nelson said.

There are far fewer clergy on the nominee list than in years past because of the change in process, which should help make voting less cumbersome, Nelson said. There are also fewer laity on the nominee list than in years past.

One key name absent from the list of lay nominees is Conference Lay Leader Barbara Ware, who said she was not surprised to see the smaller number of laity offering their name for nomination

“These are uncertain times in the life of the UMC, and I imagine some folks are a bit hesitant to offer their name up,” Ware said. “General Conference is two weeks long and requires a good bit of reading and attention. It is a sacrifice both mentally and personally.”

Asked why she did not submit her name for nomination, Ware said, “I felt like it was time for me to step aside. I have been to 3 General Conferences, and I will rotate off as Conference Lay Leader next June 2020. At that time, I feel the new Conference Lay Leader and the new lay leadership team should be the ones to be involved in these matters.”


Three petitions up for consideration, no resolutions

Nelson said there are no resolutions up for consideration at this year’s Annual Conference.

This is a striking difference from past conferences, as at least for the past decade, the body has considered several resolutions on social issues and other matters.

However, there are three proposed petitions to General Conference in pre-conference materials:

1) Petition to Change Language in the Book of Discipline: Signed by 81 South Carolina clergy and lay delegates, this petitions the 2020 General Conference to remove the sentence found in Para. 161G of the 2016 Book of Discipline that states, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” It notes that the incompatibility language contradicts Para. 162 of the Discipline and that, while there is Christian teaching that concludes incompatibility, there is also Christian teaching that makes the opposite conclusion that the practice of homosexuality is not incompatible.

2) Petition to Create Separate Books of Discipline: This petitions the 2020 General Conference to enact appropriate legislation to create a separate Book of Discipline for Central Conferences where homosexuality is criminalized so that the United States Annual Conferences can move forward with language changes in The Book of Discipline to include, ordain and marry persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in order that the issue of homosexual full inclusion in the United States Annual Conferences can be resolved on some other basis than simply complying with the existing civil laws of other nations. Signed by 69 South Carolina clergy and lay delegates, it notes that civil governments in many African nations and perhaps other nations in the Central Conferences have laws that criminalize homosexuality, but homosexuality is not a crime in the United States.

3) Petition to Repeal and Replace the Traditional Plan: This petition addresses the narrowly approved Traditional Plan, which was passed at the special Called Session of General Conference 2019. It petitions for the full repeal of the Traditional Plan, for a return to the language in the 2016 Discipline or other way forward under the leadership of the Spirit and the example of Jesus Christ, and for the 2020 General Conference to recommit itself to the work of reconciliation and peacemaking so the UMC can move forward as one body. Sixty South Carolina clergy and lay delegates signed the petition.

Read the petitions in full at


Pre-Annual Conference trainings

Pre-conference trainings will be held in advance of Annual Conference as follows:

  • Anderson District: May 19, 4 p.m., St. John’s UMC, Anderson
  • Charleston District: May 5, 3 p.m., Sandhill UMC, Ridgeville
  • Columbia District: May 19, 3 p.m., Ashland UMC, Columbia
  • Florence District: May 5, 3 p.m., Manning UMC, Manning
  • Greenville District: May 19, 3 p.m., Francis Asbury UMC, Greenville
  • Greenwood District: May 5, 3 p.m., Panola UMC, Greenwood
  • Hartsville District: May 5, 3 p.m., Wesley UMC, Hartsville
  • Orangeburg District: April 28, 4 p.m., St. Andrews UMC, Orangeburg
  • Marion District: May 19, 4 p.m., Marion High School, Marion
  • Rock Hill District: April 28, 3 p.m., Grace Community UMC, Fort Mill
  • Spartanburg District: May 5, 3 p.m., Silver Hill Memorial UMC, Spartanburg
  • Walterboro District: May 5, 3 p.m., Sandhill UMC, Ridgeville

Full information on Annual Conference 2019 is available at, including the schedule, speakers, petitions, lay nominee biographies, meal plans, childcare, and more.


AC2019 at a glance

  • Annual Conference is June 2-6 at the TD Convention Center in Greenville.
  • Meal plans again offered; deadline to sign up is May 17.
  • Three petitions will be considered.
  • No resolutions this year.
  • Two mission initiatives: Native American elder baskets and a food drive for Harvest Hope Food Bank of Greenville.
  • South Carolina will elect 16 delegates to the UMC’s 2020 General Conference and 16 delegates to the 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, plus alternates.
  • Half of the delegates will be clergy and half will be laity, each elected from a pool of eligible people who have expressed a desire to be considered as a delegate.
  • There are 35 lay nominees and 84 clergy nominees (plus any additional clergy write-ins).
  • South Carolina Resident Bishop Jonathan Holston will preach opening worship.
  • Mississippi Resident Bishop James Swanson will preach ordination.
  • South Carolina Director of Congregational Development the Rev. Sara White will preach the memorial service.
  • Bible study will be led by husband-and-wife team Dr. Greg Jones, dean and theologian at Duke Divinity School, and the Rev. Susan Jones, ministry associate at Church Transformation Ministries.
  • Lay Servant Ministries June 4 luncheon speaker will be the Rev. Ken Nelson, conference secretary.
  • South Carolina UMC Kids Conference—onsite childcare for babies to rising sixth graders—will again be offered free to the children of Annual Conference volunteers and delegates. Preregistration is required.
  • The Advocate will again produce the free Daily Advocate given out at Annual Conference to help attendees understand the various business, events and other happenings each day they are there.
  • Go to for more information.


Lay Nominees (For consideration as delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference 2020)

Full bios on

  • 1) Theodore Andrus (Landrum UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 2) Robert Bethea (Wesley UMC, Florence District)
  • 3) David Braddon (Bethany UMC, Charleston District)
  • 4) Valerie Brooks-Madden (Bethlehem UMC, Greenville District)
  • 5) Michael Cheatham (Faith UMC, Greenville District)
  • 6) Doug Coffeen (Macedonia UMC, Marion District)
  • 7) Baron DeKalb (Covenant UMC, Greenville District)
  • 8) Edward Enlow (Montgomery Memorial UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 9) Emily Evans (First UMC, Marion District)
  • 10) Jan Fleming (Bethel UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 11) Scott Fleming (Bethel UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 12) David Graham (Loris First UMC, Marion District)
  • 13) Marvin J. Horton (Good Samaritan UMC, Rock Hill District)
  • 14) Jeanette Jackson (Central UMC, Florence District)
  • 15) L.Wayne Jackson (Central UMC, Florence District)
  • 16) Jacquelyn Jenkins (St. Mark UMC, Walterboro District)
  • 17) Lou Jordan (Central UMC, Florence District)
  • 18) Herman Lightsey (Ashland UMC, Columbia District)
  • 19) Joe Locke (Bethel UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 20) Chris Lynch (Trinity UMC, Anderson District)
  • 21) Vicki McCartha (Inman UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 22) Kenneth Moore (Advent UMC, Greenville District)
  • 23) Shirley Jean Pressley (Friendship UMC, Florence District)
  • 24) Jennifer Price (Highland Park UMC, Florence District)
  • 25) Lorine E. Price (Friendship UMC, Florence District)
  • 26) Wilbur Reames (St. Luke UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 27) Rebecca Rochester (Duncan Acres UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 28) William Rochester (Duncan Acres UMC, Spartanburg District)
  • 29) James Salley (Edisto Fork UMC, Orangeburg District)
  • 30) David Salter (Warrenville UMC, Greenwood District)
  • 31) Larry Sanders (Church of the Palms, Walterboro District)
  • 32) Marlene Spencer (St. James UMC, Rock Hill District)
  • 33) Martha Thompson (Mount Horeb UMC, Columbia District)
  • 34) Betty Void (Wesley UMC, Columbia District)
  • 35) Tony Watson (Edgefield UMC, Greenwood District)


Clergy Nominees (For consideration as delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference 2020)

  • 1)  Gene Aiken
  • 2)  Jim Arant
  • 3)  Mel Arant
  • 4)  Connie Barnes
  • 5)  Ben Barnett
  • 6)  Ralph Bowling III
  • 7)  Doris Bright
  • 8)  Steven Brown
  • 9)  Laura Canine
  • 10) Derrick Cattenhead
  • 11) Ross Chellis
  • 12) Clayton Childers
  • 13) Wally Culp
  • 14) Kevin Dalton
  • 15) Robin Dease
  • 16) Jerry Dicks
  • 17) Roger Dodds
  • 18) Fran Elrod
  • 19) Ernest Etheredge
  • 20) Angie Etheredge-Erwin
  • 21) Terry Fleming
  • 22) Jody Flowers
  • 23) Russell Freeman
  • 24) James Friday
  • 25) Brandon Fulmer
  • 26) Jerry Gadsden
  • 27) Telley Gadson
  • 28) Meegian Gossard
  • 29) Christopher Greene
  • 30) Rett Haselden
  • 31) Scarlett Hester
  • 32) Jon Hoin
  • 33) Kitty Holtzclaw
  • 34) Michael Hood
  • 35) Darren Hook
  • 36) Amiri Hooker
  • 37) Kathryn Hunter
  • 38) Keith Hunter
  • 39) Narcie Jeter
  • 40) Karen Jones
  • 41) Jeff Kersey
  • 42) Steven King
  • 43) Ann Kovan
  • 44) Marvin Lare
  • 45) Brandon Lazarus
  • 46) Susan Leonard
  • 47) Chris Lollis
  • 48) Stephen Love
  • 49) Susan Maddox
  • 50) Will Malambri
  • 51) Tim McClendon
  • 52) Mack McDowell
  • 53) Barry McFadden
  • 54) David McManus
  • 55) Elizabeth Murray
  • 56) Angela Nelson
  • 57) Ken Nelson
  • 58) Tom Norrell
  • 59) Weston Pendergrass
  • 60) Richard Reams
  • 61) Sara Relaford
  • 62) Tim Rogers
  • 63) Tony Rowell
  • 64) Mike Smith
  • 65) Randy Smith
  • 66) Thomas Smith
  • 67) Tyler Strange
  • 68) Kim Strong
  • 69) Emily Sutton
  • 70) Kelli Taylor
  • 71) Mary Teasley
  • 72) Redonia Thomas
  • 73) Chris Thompson
  • 74) Phil Thrailkill
  • 75) Ken Timmerman
  • 76) Michael Turner
  • 77) Tom Wall
  • 78) Morris Waymer
  • 79) Sara White
  • 80) Eddie Williams
  • 81) LaShelia Wyatt
  • 82) Matt Yon
  • 83) Neil Yongue
  • 84) Mandy Young


  • If the LGBTQ community does not want to believe what the BOD states and what The Bible states, then why do they want to be in a UMC church? Why not go to another denomination that does believe the way they do,or start their own church? I do not understand why my church has to change to accommodate your beliefs, that’s just wrong. If it were the other way around, I guarantee the LGBTQ would not change their rules and beliefs to accommodate me.

  • The Methodist Church (UMC) was founded on the teachings of The Holy Bible and the Book of Discipline was based on our Lord’s Word. The Bible does not change. So, how can anyone consider changing the beliefs that our church was founded on? Plainly speaking, my Bible states that Homosexuality is a sin. Just as theft, murder, gossip, pornography, lying, are sins. So my question is, are we now considering becoming selective with our sins? I’ve been attending my individual Methodist Church since the age of 10 days, and have served as pianist in that same church for 52 years. But, I assure you, I will not remain a member of the United Methodist Church if our Book of Discipline is changed to include what God teaches, and what WE should be teaching, is a sin. The United States of America is slowly becoming Sodom and Gomorrah, one step at a time. And, I do pray that the UMC doesn’t take part in the downfall that’s ahead.

    • Hilda please take your hate and leave.

  • Lee truth is not hate. If a person is about to drink a glass of poison, telling that person that there is poison in the glass is not hate. It is in fact the most loving thing that can be done for the person. As Christians we are all called to adhere to the Word of God and to believe that it is the absolute standard of objective truth.
    You need to repent and believe in the One True God and to stop believing in the idol that you have created. That is not hate. That is love and compassion. I do not want you to spend an eternity suffering at the wrath of God because you are lost.

  • Stephen which one of the more than 400 English versions do you find your truth? What did Jesus say about homosexuality? You may want to consider the truth…”“At the heart of the claim that the Bible is clear “that homosexuality is forbidden by God” is poor biblical scholarship and a cultural bias read into the Bible. The Bible says nothing about “homosexuality” as an innate dimension of personality. Sexual orientation was not understood in biblical times. There are references in the Bible to same-gender sexual behavior, and all of them are undeniably negative. But what is condemned in these passages is the violence, idolatry and exploitation related to the behavior, not the same-gender nature of the behavior. There are references in the Bible to different-gender sexual behavior that are just as condemning for the same reasons. But no one claims that the condemnation is because the behavior was between a man and a woman.

    There was no word in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek for “homosexual” or “homosexuality.” These words were invented near the end of the 19th century when psychoanalysts began to discover and understand sexuality as an essential part of the human personality in all of its diversity. Consequently, it cannot be claimed that the Bible says anything at all about it. The writers of the Bible had neither the understanding of it nor the language for it.

    There is only one reference to sexual behavior between women, and that is in Romans 1:26. The context of this reference has to do with Gentiles rejecting the true God to pursue false gods; i.e., idolatry. And, the sexual behavior described is orgiastic, not that of a loving, mutual, caring, committed relationship. What is condemned is the worship of false gods.”
    Please spare us your spiritual superiority. My neighbor is gay

  • One thing for sure, when you get to the day of reckoning, BE WARNED, the LORD does not accept petitions, just REPENTANCE, the choice is yours to make, not to change. The LORD made you and the LORD will grade you. Guess that is why their is heaven and hell

  • I cannot believe we have gone so far as to say people of biblical times did not understand sexuality! really? It is from the word of God through His spirit-His Holy Spirit we can fully understand sexuality. Man lying with man or beast.. was not given the title in the Holy Bible as homosexuality or lesbianism but as forbidden, abominable, sin, etc…period! I believe we have misunderstood scripture about the Love of God through Christ and have began to reject the truth of what He really meant because we are controlled by our emotions instead of led by the spirit of God. How is it that people of faith are suddenly led and taught by the world what love and truth is when the bible clearly states the world cannot even receive Gods truth, because they do not know Him nor has received Him. Modern day believers need to understand the tactic of the enemy spirit operates through our emotions…tears, laughter, fear, etc….We need to stay focused and remember that though God may have loved the world and sent His son to save it…only those who believe in Him and love Him back is the true believers…and if we love Him we will obey Him…The command is to love God and keep His commands…when we do that then we can truly know how to love ourselves and others properly. It seems we have overlooked the true love message of the bible…and that is to repent….Repentance is the love message of the word of God..because without it…we all would end up in the lake of fire….We need to be mindful of how we teach and preach the love message of Gods love, acceptance, and inclusion…because if the message is not rightfully divided…there will be no one that crosses the line of sin and everything will end up being permissible and excusable. ..why? because God loves us….Gods love for us is not a license to sin but rather should be a deterrent from sin….with lovingkindness He has drawn us…why? because He wishes no man to perish but that all would come to repentance. Furthermore, we should be mindful of how we accept a belief or behavior because we’ve always felt a certain way…there it is again…felt—emotions….the bible declares the heart is the most deceitful–wicked…and besides we were all born in to a sinful world…the word of God declares we were wicked from youth. Don’t we know that the enemy works on us to deny and defy God from the womb? And to be fair with this debate of same sex and gender acceptance…why isn’t the church focusing more on the millions of individuals God has delivered from these and other type sexual practices…it should be fair game to allow those who have received the truth that their voices be heard as well…Personally, I strongly believe the enemy is at play in making sexual immorality moral because alternative methods for conversion is considered hateful or dangerous therefore making it unlawful….that’s a red flag for me! We need to ask ourselves a serious question for future references because the issue and question of what types of behavior is lawful or acceptable is not over…theres more to come just watch and pray….we need to decide now what is sin and is God for it or against it…Is Gods love for us alone enough to keep us all out of the gates of Hell and satans grip? Where do we and where will we draw the line in the sand against the very sin(s) that God hates?

    • Sister you’d be wise to really study your bible – don’t know which of the more than 400 English versions you’re familiar with but As a wise man observed “the history, complexities and actual words of the Bible can’t be ignored just to line it up with what people want to believe, based simply on what friends and family and ministers tell them. Nowhere in the Gospels or Acts of Epistles or Apocalypses does the New Testament say it is the inerrant word of God. It couldn’t—the people who authored each section had no idea they were composing the Christian Bible, and they were long dead before what they wrote was voted by members of political and theological committees to be the New Testament.The Bible is a very human book. It was written, assembled, copied and translated by people. That explains the flaws, the contradictions, and the theological disagreements in its pages. Once that is understood, it is possible to find out which parts of the Bible were not in the earliest Greek manuscripts, which are the bad translations, and what one book says in comparison to another, and then try to discern the message for yourself.And embrace what modern Bible experts know to be the true sections of the New Testament. Jesus said, Don’t judge. He condemned those who pointed out the faults of others while ignoring their own. And he proclaimed, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

      From Mrs Betty Bowers (America’s Best Christian)
“Being gay isn’t a choice. But you know what is just a choice? Belonging to an anti-gay religion. So why do Americans treat the latter as if it’s more special/important and entitled to greater deference? 
      Asking for Jesus, who never mentioned homosexuality.”
      WWBD “Conservative Christians’ Creed: “Jesus forgave me for my sins so I could concentrate on yours.” 

      If you’re so adamant about your interpretation of the Bible, you may want to consider Paul’s strict discipline in the NT about women which I presume you are. If we are so intent on carrying out the literal interpretations of a few of the hundreds of versions of the scriptures, then we women are in for a real shock! 

      it’s a wonder we got the right to vote a little less than 100 years ago and didn’t have the property and inheritance rights along with still being paid less for the same work a male does,

      Oh well! That’s the price of being an Adam’s rib! 

      Hopefully we girls won’t get hell 🔥 for being so assertive that we’re equal to and valued as much as men. Let’s 🙏🏻 that we don’t have to assume the Pauline position of subservience.

      I presume you’re a UMC and I’m sure you realize it wasn’t until the late 60s that women could assume leadership positions in the church – that was after the EUB merger and I presume you’re aware of the Central Jurisdiction – oh, such worldly changes!

  • Truth is truth…we are commanded to speak the truth in love. That’s what I have done. Its everyones choice to accept it or not. And as far as studying the Bible I have and have been filled and taught by the Holy Spirit. I think you could use more lessons on the Pauline scriptures you have stated as to why Paul made those statements. I can also follow your lead and justify the stance that women should and can teach preach pray prophesy lead, etc because Jesus never said they couldn’t..Paul did…correct?…but I won’t..but I will say this …If Mary carried, brought forth, and delivered the word of God…why can’t I or any woman? If you study the Bible with spiritual ears and eyes you will find all types of women teachers, preachers, prophetess, etc..present in the ink on the pages. As for loving our neighbor and mankind. When did loving someone begin to mean accept and agree with any and every thing they say, think, or do. The word of God instructs that we should correct those in error, and speak the truth in love, and I understand why because the truth hurts! Its not always an easy pill to swallow. The truth can cut like a knife…that’s why often times those being corrected feel condemned instead of convicted which supposed to lead a humbled spirited person to repentance…but a prideful person stays in conviction and therefore rebels instead of repents. Remember the scripture God chastens those He loves. Most of this modern day age cannot receive that because they want to do whatever they think is right. chastening is like as you mentioned “judging” or being hateful is the other popular term used these days. But like I said before, ask the millions of individuals whose lives have been changed by the power of God and got delivered from all types of sexual immorality, not only homosexuality. And since you justify your neighbors behavior because you said God said love them…When the child molestor, drug lord, abuser, nudist, pimp, etc…move next to you or want to move in with you…cause the Bible also states to give those who have no place to stay a place in your home.,,, think about what Love your neighbor really means.
    Be Blessed and Be wise in Christ

  • Loretta please spare us your self righteous spiritually. You’ve convoluted the scriptures and know not whereof you speak. So “Jesus never said…” What did Jesus say about homosexuality? I have a good friend who is married to his partner since 1990 and is a retired UCC minister and a wonderful Christian who makes and has made such positive and lasting impacts on individual lives and his neighbors. You seem to take a simplistic view of “neighbor” – it doesn’t mean necessarily someone who lives next to you. I’ve known individuals who are born with different god given orientations for more than 60 years. Hopefully for you wisdom may come with age. Good luck sister

  • U M C Next !!! AMEN! YES!

  • I guess when the gay or lesbian couple ( seeing as its not their choice to be that way) go forth and multiply as the lord commanded ( I assume they will do this as a couple, and were not talking about kids other than there own), then you might have some ground to stand on. Then you can come back and tell us how the LORD got it all wrong, if not, then explain it to him on YOUR DAY! but they need to pray, I don’t think grace without forgiveness works, I won’t take that chance, but that just me, the choice is yours. But will be praying for all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

Advocate, 4908 Colonial Drive, Columbia, SC 29203 | 803-786-9486 |

Social Media