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: