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S.C. GC2020 delegates review feedback from listening sessions as they prepare for postponed event

S.C. GC2020 delegates review feedback from listening sessions as they prepare for postponed event
Photo by Matt Brodie

By Jessica Brodie

Feedback from all five General Conference listening sessions is now available, and South Carolina delegates are reviewing comments and praying over them as they continue preparing for the quadrennial event.

Even though General Conference 2020 has been postponed because of COVID-19 (see article, here), South Carolina delegates to General Conference continue to meet and pray in preparation for when the spread of the virus lessens and the gathering does happen.

As part of their preparation, delegates held five listening sessions this winter in communities across South Carolina—St. George Jan. 5, Irmo Jan. 26, Florence Feb. 9, and Mauldin Feb. 16, plus one online Feb. 23—so South Carolina United Methodists could voice their concerns, hopes and other thoughts about The United Methodist Church. Feedback ranged from thoughts on sexuality, Wesleyan heritage, racism and sexism to putting the Bible first and staying united in spite of differing theology.

Last month’s Advocate included feedback from the first three sessions. Here, we offer a sampling of feedback from the final two sessions.

The in-person sessions grouped attendees at tables, where they had the opportunity to discuss and then collectively answer three questions: What are your hopes for The United Methodist Church? What are your main concerns for the UMC? What do you want South Carolina delegates attending General Conference 2020 to know?

The online session, held on Facebook Live, enabled people to offer feedback through online comments, which were compiled for the delegation.

“We care,” the head of South Carolina’s delegation, Jackie Jenkins, told the Advocate. She said the delegation genuinely wants the people of this annual conference to be part of the process.

The delegation’s next meeting was held as the Advocate was going to press on this edition. In honor of the need for social distancing because of the coronavirus, the delegates met by video conference instead of in-person.

General Conference is held every four years to discuss and vote on petitions and resolutions from budgetary concerns to social issues, such as sexuality, abortion and more. Comprising roughly 1,000 representatives from every conference in the worldwide UMC, General Conference is the only body that can set official policy and speak for the denomination. Legislation passed results in revisions to the UMC Book of Discipline (book of law) and Book of Resolutions (policies on social issues).

For more information on General Conference, visit www.umcsc.org/gc2020.

Not all the answers from sessions have been compiled, but here is a rundown of those released so far:

5 Comments

  • On the sexuality issue. Parents, brothers, sisters and other family members have accepted LBGTQ family members. There has been a shift in our mind set. How can we stay in a church who doesn’t accept those who we love. I have always been taught that it is not our place to judge. If we can follow Christ’s teaching to “Love one another ” and let God be the judge. I think the world will be a better place.

    • Thank you for those kind and affectionate words of hospitality to a world that is bruised by judgments and exclusion!
      I am a somewhat conservative mystic that feels ourMethodist heritage and grace has always made room for all people. Let’s not stop that over such a personal and sacred human sexuality issue that we don’t understand, nor need to understand. In all my years of Pastoral Care I have never questioned a couples’ sexual intimacy. It would be foolish on my part, noting that my personal and sacred sexuality has know many unknown challenges and blessings!
      I affirm and hope I can offer that sacred trust to my brothers and sisters as you have expressed it!

    • I agree….I know & love a gay couple who have been together for over 30 years & have raised 2 beautiful girls. I was recently told by my youngest son that he was in a 8 yrs. Relationship with another man. As a mother & friend I cannot turn my back on my friends or my son. I choose love. Judge not..I’m still working on this, as many of us are.

    • Just a few comments…
      By “shift in our mind set” are you saying that society has changed, so we should change? I always thought we were called on to preach and support the positions in the Bible. Just because society has changed to an “I don’t care” attitude doesn’t mean that the church should go along. I always thought that one of the most important jobs the church had is to set standards. If they don’t, then nobody will, and then all sorts of bad things become acceptable. I believe that our church does accept the LGBTQ persons, but just not as leaders and pastors. That could be because as much as you want them to be “fully” accepted, there are a lot of people who disagree with that and having LGBTQ people in leadership roles will drive those people away from our church.

      So in my mind, we have to make a choice, not be wavering in the middle. If you accept one side, then you are rejecting the other side. And that is how it will shake out if the LGBTQ changes go through. Half or more of our church will leave. I am one of the ones who will leave. I have nothing against LGBTQ people, and I would welcome them into my church, but I believe that the Bible is, and therefore, the church should be against allowing them to be our leaders. We can’t change our church every time society accepts something new. We have to stick to our standards or give them up altogether.

  • Who do we trust? Man’s wisdom or God’s wisdom? God’s ways are not man’s ways; neither are our thoughts God’s thoughts. Only God knows the heart of a man. Are we so wise that we can pick and choose what we accept and reject from God’s Word. Is it wise to “do battle with the Word of God”?

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