Annual Conference chooses representatives to 2012 General, Jurisdictional conferences

By Allison Trussell

FLORENCE – Members of the 2011 Annual Conference elected nine clergy and nine laity as delegates to the 2012 General Conference during the five-day event. An additional nine clergy and nine laity were elected to join the General Conference delegates at the 2012 Jurisdictional Conference.

Elected on the first General Conference ballot were Joseph Heyward, conference lay leader, with 337 votes, and Carolyn Briscoe, a member of Clemson United Methodist Church, Clemson, with 332 votes.

With 271 votes, the Rev. Tim McClendon was elected on the first General Conference ballot for the clergy.

Traditionally, the first person elected serves as leader of the delegation and alternates between the clergy and laity. In 2008, McClendon led the delegation; it is expected that Heyward will lead the 2012 delegation.

The laity completed their General Conference ballot by Thursday afternoon, with results read Friday morning, and finished electing Jurisdictional Conference delegates by Saturday afternoon.

The clergy completed their General Conference ballot on Saturday morning, but didn’t complete their Jurisdictional Conference ballot until late Saturday night. The laity had been dismissed earlier that evening, and the clergy could be seen throwing a Frisbee, talking to one another and watching the Carolina baseball game while waiting for election results to return. Much of the holdup was a close election between the Rev. John Culp and the Rev. Jeff Kersey. Culp prevailed.

The “Jeopardy” theme song played off and on throughout voting, adding some levity to a process that, by Day 2, had become tiring for many.

A motion made by the Rev. Willie Teague recommended that three alternates for the Jurisdictional Conference be elected for both the laity and the clergy. It was supported.

The highest number of ballots cast for clergy was 440 and for laity, 724. The lowest number cast, which came on the last ballots, was 217 by the clergy; and for the laity, 445. Candidates had to have 50 percent plus one votes to be elected.

The 2012 General Conference will be held April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. The 2012 Jurisdictional Conference will be held July 18-20 at Luke Junaluska, N.C.

The delegates are as follows:

General Conference Laity Delegates

Joseph Heyward, conference lay leader

Carolyn Briscoe, Clemson UMC, Clemson

Michael Cheatham, Faith UMC, Greer; conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries

Liz Patterson, Central UMC, Spartanburg

James Salley, Edisto Fork UMC, Orangeburg

Herman Lightsey, Ashland UMC, Columbia; chairman of the conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits

Barbara Ware, Advent UMC, Simpsonville

John Redmond, Buncombe Street UMC, Greenville

David Braddon, Bethany UMC, Summerville

General Conference Clergy Delegates

Rev. Tim McClendon, Columbia District superintendent

Rev. Ken Nelson, congregational specialist for African-American churches

Rev. Tim Rogers, conference secretary and director of Clergy Services

Rev. Robin Dease, pastor of John Wesley UMC, Greenville

Rev. Sara Ann White, Rock Hill District superintendent

Rev. Katherine James, congregational specialist for the Spartanburg and Rock Hill districts

Rev. Susan Leonard-Ray, Anderson District superintendent

Rev. Stephen Taylor, pastor of Central UMC, Florence

Rev. Hayes Gainey Jr., pastor of Edisto Fork UMC, Cope

Jurisdictional Laity Delegates

Marilyn Murphy, Main Street UMC, Greenwood, and Advocate board chair

Emily Rogers, youth representative from the Charleston District, John Wesley UMC

Rubielee Addison, New Harmony UMC, Seneca

Brenda Hook, Mount Hebron UMC, West Columbia

Martha Thompson, Mount Horeb UMC, Lexington

Linda DuRant, Chapin UMC, Chapin

Skyler Nimmons, Trinity UMC, Orangeburg

Edd Cunningham, Mount Seal UMC, Kingstree

Jeanie Blankenbaker, St. Andrew-by-the-Sea UMC, Hilton Head

Jurisdictional Clergy Delegates

Rev. Megan Gray, pastor of Epworth Memorial UMC, Columbia

Rev. Telley Gadson, pastor of St. Mark UMC, Sumter

Rev. Michael Turner, pastor of Wightman UMC, Prosperity

Rev. Patricia Parrish, Charleston District superintendent

Rev. Mary Teasley, Greenwood District superintendent

Rev. John Hipp, Orangeburg District superintendent

Rev. Constance Barnes, pastor of the East Camden Charge, Camden

Rev. James Friday, Florence District superintendent

Rev. John Culp, pastor of Virginia Wingard UMC, Columbia

Jurisdictional Laity Alternates are Earline Ulmer, Ray McCoy and Jean Doscher. Jurisdictional Clergy Alternates are the Revs. Jeff Kersey, Narcie Jeter and Thomas Bowman.

On Sunday, delegates unanimously elected McClendon as the 2012 S.C. episcopal nominee.

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