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 www.umcsc.org/gc2020.
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: www.umcsc.org/gc2020. 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.