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Make your voice heard: GC2020 ‘listening sessions’ set for this month in S.C.

Make your voice heard: GC2020 ‘listening sessions’ set for this month in S.C.
Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

By Jessica Brodie

This month, South Carolina United Methodists will have the opportunity to voice concerns and share hopes and prayers with the South Carolina delegates to General Conference 2020.

Four listening sessions have been scheduled in different locations in the state. The sessions will all be at 3 p.m. as follows:

  • Jan. 5 at Indian Field United Methodist Church, St. George (for Charleston, Orangeburg and Walterboro districts)
  • Jan. 26 at Union UMC, Irmo (for Columbia, Greenwood and Rock Hill districts)
  • Feb. 9 at Central UMC, Florence (for Florence, Hartsville and Marion districts)
  • Feb. 16 at Mauldin UMC, Mauldin (for Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg districts)
  • On Feb. 23, a live, online and interactive fifth session will be offered at

General Conference 2020 is set for May 5-15 in Minneapolis. Said to be “the voice of the denomination,” 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 it 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.

“We have worked hard at organizing the listening sessions, and excitement abounds among the delegation,” said the Hon. Jackie Jenkins, chair of the South Carolina delegation. “We are expecting more than 200 participants at each session representing the gamut of viewpoints on the issues facing General Conference. Our purpose is to listen from the heart.  We are deeply concerned to do God’s work, fulfill His will and serve our church.  We covet your prayers as we move forward.”

The discussions will center on these three questions: What are your hopes for the UMC? What are your main concerns? What do you want delegates attending the 2020 General Conference to know?

These sessions are designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the purpose and function of the General Conference in a safe, respectful environment, and share with the South Carolina delegates your hopes and concerns about the UMC ahead of the 2020 General Conference.

The sessions are not designed to engage in a debate about the issue of human sexuality; tell you or your congregation what to believe or do; encourage delegates to vote one way or another on any particular issue; or compel delegates to share their views on any particular issue.

The listening sessions will be led by the lay and clergy heads of the delegation—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.

Jenkins said delegates are very interested in listening to the concerns and questions of South Carolina United Methodists as they prepare for GC2020.

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: A list of resources is also available there, including a comparison of various proposals for the UMC, respectful communication guidelines and basic information about General Conference.


  • “The United Methodist Church announced a proposal Friday to split the denomination over what it called “fundamental differences” regarding its beliefs on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.” To be voted on at the GC.

    There was a split over slavery, dispute over women having leadership in church and now this. Going the way of the Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, et. al. So unfortunate that we can’t see that God made everyone and that even 17-18 of every 1,000 births in the US are born unisex. Ever heard of the normal distribution?
    UCC seem to be the only ones living in the spirit of the Christ.

    • Only people born with both genitalia are unisex.

  • Traditional Methodists should not be made to feel they are the problem because they choose to follow the Bible rather than public opinion. Let each side go its way. The good Lord put in the Bible Old and New Testaments what he wants us to know. Traditional Methodists just follow this teaching; they aren’t second guessing whether God meant what he said. Let the other group continue as they please. You notice which group is being split off – the traditional group. Oh well, maybe they should split a little further. Wonder how the apportionment money will be spent.

  • My minister told us that this proposal announced last week was not a done deal. It is just another group that has a plan. Also I hear that it is too late to submit plans for the conference, so this would have to be voted on to allow it to be considered. I think the reason that they say the traditional group would be the split off is because if this was voted on and accepted, then it would be the benchmark for the church, and so traditional groups would then be in opposition to the church’s new standard. But you can bet that all of this is about the money and securing as many assets as possible. Since these managing leaders at the top of the church are pushing this new way, I have changed my giving to give all to our building fund and none to the general fund that would then be used to support our top leaders and other organizations that are very leftist. I don’t see any reason to give money to people who do not have my interests at heart and who in fact want to tear down the church I have been in for 62 years. Another thought: these people who want the new way are in effect saying that God did not lead us to the proper outcome during the last conference. There was much prayer and conversation about it and a vote was taken. How can they keep saying it was a mistake when so much was done to determine God’s will for our church. I guess they are smarter than God? Can they not accept that they might be wrong? Keep pushing and they will push me out to another church. Sad.

    • I have trouble supporting them too.

  • I welcome all who attend the UM Church, but am not in favor of allowing LGBT individuals leadership roles in the church, because I can find no evidence in the Bible to support their way of life. I trust they will continue to attend, with the anticipation that the Holy Spirit will lead them away from the LGBT way of life.

  • What I don’t understand is why we as ” so called traditionists have to separate ” ? Why shouldn’t the ” so called progressives ” separate? Seems like they are trying to change Bible to fit their beliefs. One day all of us are going to have to answer to God for our sins. If one thing in the Bible is in error, then the whole Bible is wrong. I don’t hate the progressives, one preacher told me one time to hate the sin not the person and that is what I live by. Why should 16 people voice the concerns of our denomination ? I can’t listen to a preacher telling me about Jesus knowing that their life style is wrong according to the Bible. Why does the minority seem to win ? You would think our leaders ( bishops, clergy, etc..) would stand up for what the Bible instructs. Maybe I should go to a Bible believing and teaching church.

  • I was thinking of something else. Bishops, elders, teachers are supposed to follow God’s rules and commandments and are held to a higher standard. You are leaders of our denomination . How can any Bishops go against God’s sayings,? Bishops should stand up for God and our denomination. As Glenda said all are welcomed to attend but we and our Bishops, clergy need to stand firm in our beliefs and what the Bible says. Remember why Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed . God gives all of us a chance to repent and turn from our sinful ways but in the end it is up to us to change . I hope the general conference votes down this proposal. This proposal is not good for the United Methodist denomination.

  • Mrs. Betty Bowers (America’s Best Christian)
    Conservative Christians’ Creed: “Jesus forgave me for my sins so I could concentrate of yours.”

  • Mrs. Betty Bowers (America’s Best Christian)
    Conservative Christians’ Creed: “Jesus forgave me for my sins so I could concentrate of yours.”

  • This direction of the formerly United Methodist Church is very saddening, and very telling of the times in which we live. Per the Bible, Homosexuality is against God. Period. Changes taking place in modern degenerative society do not change this fact. I have been told that the faction of the UMC that is Homosexual is around 3%. And yet, the 3% want to take over the trappings and physical assets of the entire existing UMC, forcing the 97% to establish a new order to continue worshipping God in the Traditional manner that they have always done. The 3% should be the ones having to go out and forge a new denomination for themselves. They should not be allowed to use the fear of political incorrectness and therefore inaction of the majority, to take over the entire United Methodist Church. I do not hate these people, but I am sad for them. I consider them to be lost souls who have strayed far off the path that God set for them, and eventually, by God, not by humans, they, and all the rest of us, will be judged. I pray that instead of splitting the United Methodist Church, these individuals may somehow be saved and returned to a normal lifestyle, and if that is not possible, that they will cease this attempt to corrupt this denomination of Gods Church.

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