SEJ delegation shifts after pastor turns in UMC credentials

Gainey withdraws; Kersey moves up to delegation

By Jessica Brodie

A longtime United Methodist pastor, the Rev. Hayes Gainey, has turned in his credentials, causing the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference delegation to shift and the Rev. Jeff Kersey to move from an alternate to a delegate.

Conference officials said Gainey, United Methodist clergy for the past 26 years and who pastored Edisto Fork United Methodist Church, Orangeburg, for the past 16 years, has surrendered his credentials because he has joined with another denomination.

“When you’re uniting with another denomination, you cannot hold credentials with two bodies,” explained the Rev. Ken Nelson, conference secretary and director of clergy services.

That also means Gainey cannot serve as a member of the clergy delegation to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, slated for July 13-15, 2016, in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. As Nelson said, only United Methodist clergy can serve on the clergy delegation.

This means the delegation simply shifted up a person: the first alternate, Kersey, pastor of Mount Horeb UMC, Lexington, now becomes the eighth clergy member of the jurisdictional delegation. Alternates are the Rev. Connie Barnes and the clergy member who got the next-highest number of votes during Annual Conference elections: the Rev. Cathy Joens.

“I’m both humbled and honored to serve as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference and look forward to working with the delegation,” Kersey said about his shift from alternate to delegate. “I believe God has opened this door, and I ask for your prayers that we would follow the lead of the Holy Spirit to elect bishops who are fully committed to scriptural truth and upholding the standards of our UM Discipline.”

The South Carolina Conference elected its lay and clergy delegates to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional conferences when they gathered for Annual Conference in June.

The body was tasked this year to elect 16 delegates (eight clergy and eight laity) to General Conference, and 16 additional delegates (eight clergy and eight laity), plus alternates, who will go to Jurisdictional Conference with the General Conference delegates.

General Conference is the global UMC’s quadrennial legislative gathering set for May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Oregon, where representatives from all over the world will examine, discuss, pray, debate and eventually determine a host of key legislative issues that will become church law for the next four years. Jurisdictional Conference is held every four years primarily to elect bishops.

Gainey was a delegate to the 2012 Jurisdictional Conference. He served Edisto Fork UMC from 1999 until 2015. Prior, he pastored Bethesda UMC, Kingstree (1994-1999) and the Dillon Parish in the Marion District (1989-1994). The Advocate could not reach Gainey for comment.

Revised Delegation Lineup

General Conference, May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Oregon


  • Barbara Ware
  • James Salley
  • Dr. Joseph Heyward
  • Herman Lightsey
  • Jackie Jenkins
  • Michael Cheatham
  • Martha Thompson
  • David Braddon


  • Dr. Tim McClendon
  • Rev. Ken Nelson
  • Rev. Tim Rogers
  • Dr. Robin Dease
  • Rev. Tiffany Knowlin
  • Rev. Narcie Jeter
  • Rev. Mel Arant Jr.
  • Rev. Susan Leonard-Ray

Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 13-15, 2016, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina


  • Lollie Haselden
  • Emily Rogers Evans
  • Donald Love
  • Jennifer Price
  • Chris Lynch
  • Dr. Carolyn Briscoe
  • Linda DuRant
  • Lou Jordan
  • Alternates: Cynthia Williams and Marilyn Murphy


  • Rev. Telley Gadson
  • Rev. Michael Turner
  • Rev. Kathy James
  • Rev. George Ashford
  • Rev. James Friday
  • Rev. Sara White
  • Rev. Emily Sutton
  • Rev. Jeff Kersey
  • Alternates: Rev. Connie Barnes and Rev. Cathy Joens

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