By Jessica Brodie
What do South Carolina United Methodists want to know about General Conference, and how can the South Carolina delegation help?
That’s the purpose of four 2020 General Conference Delegation Listening Sessions, being scheduled for January and February in districts across the state.
The listening sessions will be led by the lay and clergy heads of the delegation—Delegation Chair the Hon. Jackie Jenkins and the Rev. Ken Nelson—as well as all delegation members, superintendents from the districts represented in each tri-district and other conference leaders.
“As head of the delegation, I am honored as other delegates are to serve in the ministry that we have been called. We are excited to do God’s work because we are willing to give Him our best,” said Jenkins. ”Our quest with the listening sessions” is to listen and hear the voices of United Methodists across the districts and the Connection. This is critical, because everyone makes a difference in our conference.”
The sessions will all be at 3 p.m. as follows:
- Jan. 5 at Indian Field United Methodist Church, St. George (for the Charleston, Orangeburg and Walterboro districts)
- Jan. 26 at Union UMC, Irmo (for the Columbia, Greenwood and Rock Hill districts)
- Feb. 9 at Central UMC, Florence (for the Florence, Hartsville and Marion districts)
- Feb. 16 at Mauldin UMC, Mauldin (for the Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg districts)
- On Feb. 23, a live, online and interactive fifth session will be offered at www.umcsc.org/gc2020.
All are welcome to attend any of the sessions. To attend, register at www.umcsc.org/gc2020.
At the sessions, delegation leaders and others will answer questions about the upcoming General Conference, set for May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, including questions about the process, how General Conference works and more.
General Conference is the primary legislative gathering of United Methodists from all over the world. Held every four years, every annual conference in the UMC elects lay and clergy members to represent them at General Conference and vote on a variety of petitions and resolutions proposed by individuals, agencies and groups within the denomination. Their actions become revisions to the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. For example, General Conference handles financial matters, as well as broader issues relating to the direction of the denomination, such as its stance on human sexuality. General Conference is the voice of the UMC.
Half of all delegates are laity and half are clergy. Bishops attend but do not vote at General Conference.
At the listening sessions, the South Carolina delegation will not be debating or discussing how they plan to vote on any particular issue; delegates are supposed to vote their conscience, not the will of the conference they represent. Also, their individual votes are not shared publicly.
However, Jenkins said, they are very much interested in listening to the concerns and questions of South Carolina United Methodists as they prepare for GC2020.
“We are primarily here to listen to you,” Jenkins said. “Therefore, we are asking that you feel free to speak from your heart because this is a holy time; it’s a holy conferencing. Oh, what a wonderful opportunity to make a difference that matters! Oh, what a magnificent obligation! And we covet your prayers. We ask that you pray for us as we pray for you during our pilgrimage to Minneapolis to do God’s work for our church.”
Attendees are invited to submit their questions in advance of the listening sessions so the delegates can prepare their answers.
For more information or to register for a session: https://www.umcsc.org/gc2020.