S.C. delegates learn, dialogue at General Conference jurisdictional legislative event
By Jessica Brodie
NASHVILLE—Three members of South Carolina’s delegation to General Conference headed to Nashville last month for a jurisdictional legislative gathering.
Dr. Tim McClendon, the Rev. Mel Arant Jr. and Dr. David Braddon attended the daylong event, which was designed to help them learn about proposed legislation at this year’s General Conference, set for May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.
The gathering, held Feb. 9 at Andrew Price Memorial United Methodist Church, Nashville, was a first for the Southeastern Jurisdiction, and the three attendees said it was helpful.
“I thought it was a good event,” said McClendon, a six-time General Conference delegate who is the delegation’s episcopal nominee and also was the first clergyperson elected as a delegate. “We saw videos, talked about the legislation from the different agencies of the church and different groups gave out the petition numbers we should look out for to be aware of—and sometimes that’s very important, because when you’re in your own committee (at General Conference), you might not know which petition you might need to keep track of.”
They got to hear from representatives of the General Board of Global Ministries, General Board of Church and Society, General Council on Finance and Administration, General Commission on Race and Relations, General Commission on Archives and History, United Methodist Publishing House and many others.
Snow that day reduced the number of attendees significantly, McClendon said, but it was good for delegates from each jurisdiction to be able to gather as a group and talk about the upcoming conference, as well as ask questions. They had a chance to talk about the proposed Rule 44, which would allow for a discernment process as a vehicle to deal with human sexuality and other legislation.
Delegates also got the opportunity to spend a few hours in Legislative Committee groups for further discussion around proposed legislation.
Arant said the committee aspect of the gathering was most helpful for him, a first-time delegate.
“The amount of proposed legislative changes that we receive can be challenging to muddle through,” Arant said. “This event provided an opportunity for each of the church’s commissions to report on their duties and specific legislative proposals that applied or would affect their work. That continues to be helpful to me as I read through the (Advanced Daily Christian Advocate). I was especially impressed with the groundwork being laid for a new hymnal. Although we won’t be approving a new hymnal at this General Conference, we will be voting on a process.”
They also got to hear from the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s Committee on Episcopacy about the episcopal election process at Jurisdictional Conference, set for July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
Braddon said the gathering was a good chance to renew acquaintances and meet new members, as well as engage in healthy, useful discussion about the issues. He extended deep thanks to Anne Travis, the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s secretary, for putting the gathering together.
McClendon said he hopes all will be in prayer for the delegates and the full process of General Conference as they all prepare for the gathering in May.
Delegation’s Legislative Committee assignments
- Church and Society 1: The Rev. Narcie Jeter
- Church and Society 2: Michael Cheatham and The Rev. Susan Leonard-Ray
- Conferences: Herman Lightsey
- Discipleship: The Rev. Mel Arant Jr. and Dr. Joseph Heyward
- Faith and Order: Dr. David Braddon and the Rev. Tiffany Knowlin
- Financial Administration: James Salley
- General Administration: Barbara Ware
- Global Ministries: Martha Thompson
- Independent Commissions: Dr. Tim McClendon
- Judicial Administration: The Rev. Tim Rogers
- Local Church: Dr. Robin Dease and Jackie Jenkins
- Ministry and Higher Education/Superintendency: The Rev. Ken Nelson