For questions about any of the Advocacy Ministries
please contact Connectional Ministries at 803-786-9486 ext. 316
South Carolina Annual Conference Advocacy Ministry Area
The South Carolina Advocacy Ministry Area is leading the theological work that arises from human experience of the reign of God in contention to the sufferings of the human condition. “Of crucial importance are concerns generated by great human struggles for dignity, liberation, and fulfillment aspirations that are inherent elements in God’s design for creation”. The Advocacy Ministry speaks for biblical values: peacemaking, racial harmonies, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease. These concerns are borne by theologies “that express the heart cries of the downtrodden and the aroused indignation of the compassionate” (Book of Discipline ¶104).
We believe that salvation entails renewal of both individuals and the world. Our faithful response to God’s saving grace has both a personal and social dimension as we grow in “holiness of heart and life.” By practicing spiritual disciplines — “works of piety” such as prayer, Bible study, participation in corporate worship and communion — we grow and mature in our love for God. By engaging in acts of compassion and justice — “works of mercy” such as visiting the sick and those in prison, feeding the hungry, advocating for the poor and marginalized — we live out our love for God through service to our neighbor. “Our love of God is always linked with love of our neighbor, a passion for justice and renewal in the life of the world” (Book of Discipline 2012, p. 51).
Our area has set priories in the area of leadership and District Advocacy Training, use of current communication technology, women’s issues and religion & race. Our hopes are to create an Advocacy 101 module and provide training to do hands on advocacy on the local church level. To further supplement this we are hoping to create a conference resource for doing advocacy with a cumulative listing of resource to include; General Church, South Carolina, Denominations, non-profits and church resources.
Our Advocacy Ministry Area is teamed with the following committees and Boards and ex official members: Church & Society, COSROW, CUIC, ELCC, Native American, Religion & Race and also Peace with Justice Coordinator, Bishop’s Cabinet representative, GBCS – ex-officio, Convener UMW – ex-officio, ELCC UMW – ex-officio.
Most of the Leadership and training for our work area comes from the General Board of Church and Society and our work with General Commission on Religion and Race and the ministry Projects of Racism Ethnic Local Concerns of ELCC.
We manage a Facebook page that is used to post up to date information about or area.
If you would like to take action, the link below gives some direct areas that you and your congregation can be involved in right now.
The United Methodist Church has a long history of concern for social justice. Wesley and the early Methodists expressed their opposition to societal ills such as slavery, smuggling, inhumane prison conditions, alcohol abuse, and child labor.
Our Social Principles are the church’s prayerful and thoughtful attempt to speak to contemporary issues through a biblical and theological lens, seeking “to apply the Christian vision of righteousness to social, economic, and political issues” (Book of Discipline 2012, p. 53).
As the agency tasked specifically to assist The United Methodist Church’s work of advocacy, The United Methodist Board of Church and Society works to provide “witness and action on issues of human well-being, justice, peace” through research, education and training. Learn more about their work.
…The message of salvation brought by Jesus Christ binds us together as a people and sends us forth to bring healing in the midst of strife, justice in the midst of brokenness, and love in the midst of hate. As United Methodists, we are called to invite people to enter into a community of faith responsive to a vision of justice ministries that is biblically and theologically grounded, and to invite United Methodist congregations to play a prophetic role in bringing God’s vision to reality. Our mission is to advocate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the church and society.
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The General Board has headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. The General Secretary of the Board is Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe is a native of the South Carolina Annual Conference.
The General Board is defined by its five areas of ministry: (1) Public Witness and Advocacy (2) Administration (3) Ministry of Resourcing Congregational Life, (4)United Nations Ministry, (5) Communications.
The South Carolina is more limited in its reach and has focused on Children in Poverty, Health Care, Gun Control, Education and training in the areas of Advocacy and Peace with Justice. Our Primary Goals has been to get more persons involved in the work of being advocate and to also train local churches and districts and the Annual conference how to do the work of Advocacy. One way we have done that is to try and get in the hands of all local churches our primary resource.
The General Board of Church & Society is committed to helping United Methodist congregations and ministries in local communities across the country engage the public square with a hopeful, prophetic voice. This toolkit is part of… read more»
We have also tried to focus the conference on Legislative PrioritiesTop of Form
Each priority includes a call to action. Please take a moment to contact your representatives regarding these important issues. The priorities support social-justice stances approved by The United Methodist Church’s highest policy-making body, General Conference. The priorities are based on the denomination’s “Social Principles” and the Book of Resolutions, which contains statements on Christian social concerns.
If you really want to know the Board of Church and society here are some of the areas we work with in the General Churches Cloud
Advocacy Africa AgingAgriculture & Farm Issues Alcohol Alcohol & Other Addictions Budget and TaxesChildren’s Concerns Clean AirClean Water Conflict Resolution Criminal and Restorative Justice Death and Dying Death Penalty Disabilities Domestic Violence Drugs Economic JusticeEducation Elections and Voting Endangered Species & Biodiversity Environmental Justice Families Family Planning and Reproductive Health Gambling AddictionGenetics Global Poverty and Hunger Global Warming and Energy Gun Control HealthHealth Care Healthy Families, Healthy Planet HIV and AIDS HomosexualityHousing Human Rights Human SexualityHuman Trafficking HungerImmigration Indigenous PeoplesInsurance Iraq Juvenile Justice Labor and Worker Justice Labor Issues Law Enforcement Living Wage Mental HealthMental Illness Middle East Migration and Forced Migration Native American ConcernsPeace and Security Peace with JusticePoverty Prisons Racial JusticeRacism and Racial DiscriminationRefugees Religious Freedom Religious LibertyReproductive Rights Science and TechnologySuicide Sustainable DevelopmentSustainable Living The United Methodist Church Tobacco Toxins Trade United NationsWomen’s Concerns
Another of our major areas of Ministry for South Carolina in our work with South Carolina Christian Action Council The South Carolina Christian Action Council is a partnership. The member bodies of the Council serve as partners to one another living out the Unity given to all Christians through our One Faith, One Lord, and One Baptism. The Council’s member bodies represent 16 denominations: African Methodist Episcopal Church, Alliance of Baptists, Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Church of the Nazarene, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Episcopal Church, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church, The Salvation Army, United Methodist Church, and United Church of Christ. Congregations serve in this partnership by providing volunteers for work groups and expertise on a variety issues. Congregations also provide additional financial support for the Council’s work. Individuals join in the partnership by their sacrificial service and leadership. Individuals contribute prayer support, volunteer hours, and additional financial resources. Religious organizations such as Auxiliaries, Bible study classes, and women’s groups join in this grand partnership by volunteering, praying, and giving additional resources. The wonderfully diverse and gifted partnership that is the Council, works in partnership for the common good. To maximize it’s effectiveness, the Council works with organizations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors on those issues that arise when the “daily news” meets the “Good News.” Here is a link to their Home Page www.sccouncil.net
Conference Board of Religion & Race
The Conference Board connects the annual conference with the work of The General Commission on Religion and Race. GCORR was created by The United Methodist Church in 1968 to address the turbulent and exciting unrest, disease, hope and new possibilities unleashed as legalized racial segregation and separation were being dismantled in church and society.
The Commission was the vehicle through which the denomination invited white people and people of color to a common table to tackle institutional racism, engage in new conversations about what a truly desegregated and global church could look like, and chart a course for living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a more authentic and all-people-embracing way.
SC Board of Religion and Race is inviting and leading the church into new conversations about our relevance and our calling from God to serve a world that is far different than when we began our work. We want to build the capacity of The United Methodist Church to be more relevant to more people, younger people, and more diverse people in order to nurture disciples of Jesus Christ who will transform the world for the better. Our ministry model provides resources for congregations and church leaders to increase: Intercultural Competency, Institutional Equity and Vital Conversations.
As a result of GCORR’s work, the Church at all levels, all around the world, reflects and values the diversity of God.
This aspiration and vision both support the Biblical teachings of Christ, the mission of GCORR and that of the Church. To accomplish this, GCORR is committed to developing new leaders in the church, which will lead to new ideas and innovations that will help the Church adapt to changing times.
“The United Methodist Church in the United States has a future only to the extent that it can find ways to reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people.”
–Dr. Lovett Weems
The General Commission on Religion and Race must continue to work toward the goal of eliminating racism while enabling the Church to become contextually relevant and equitable in ever changing global communities.
To provide practical resources and support leaders throughout the Church to help them engage and embrace the cultural diversity present in our congregations and communities.
The General Commission on Religion and Race assists the United Methodist Church around the world to foster intercultural competency and cooperation, live into institutional equity, and engage in straightforward, Christian conversations.
Who we are
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women advocates for full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church. We’re helping the church recognize every person – clergy and lay, women and men, adults and children — as full and equal parts of God’s human family. We believe that a fully engaged and empowered membership is vital to The United Methodist Church’s mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
What we do
Through training, education, research and monitoring, GCSRW:
- Addresses gender discrimination and sexism within church structure
- Nurtures clergy and lay leaders in the church
- Raises awareness of women’s issues and opportunities
- Educates church leaders and seminarians on sexual ethics and policies
- Supports victims/survivors of sexual harassment or abuse
- Develops guidelines for inclusive and expansive language
- Trains and supports Central Conferences women
- Monitors annual conferences and the General Conference for inclusiveness
In South Carolina Our Priorities have been:
Our News Letter, The Eve and getting tit to the women and men of the conference
Our conversation on Monitoring the annual conference
Our Work with Domestic violence and women’s issues
And the celebration of Women in the pulpit Sunday
“A 2012 COSROW Fact Sheet on Domestic Violence”
Sheila Haney, COSROW SC Chair
Introduction: The official work of COSROW is advocacy for full and equal inclusion and participation of women in all areas of church life; monitor church agencies, policies, practices, theological teaching, gathering, and related ministries to insure full and equal participation of women; and serve as an agent of change by challenging institutional sexism, sexual harassment, and stereotyping of women and girls in denominational life and work.
Purpose: This information has been especially prepared by the South Carolina COSROW Committee for this month’s state United Methodist Women’s Conference. Its intent is to inform these conference participants of the status of women
nationally and in this state, as well as to focus on related issues which the Annual and General Conferences have considered important.
Resources: Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The new national website www.gcsrw.org provides the following information:
- “Did you know (only) 5% of our largest most influential churches are lead by women pastors?” “Some churches will not even allow women to serve as ushers, much less hold decision-making roles.”
- It is suggested that women view these power point presentations –
“Women’s Struggle for Voice, Vote, Preaching, and Power in the United Methodist Church; ” “Clergy Women and Laywomen Event Organization” (from the Idaho Annual Conference); “Churchwomen United” (the Washington, D.C.); other examples are the “Anti-Trafficking Legislation” of July 17, 2013, and the “Equal Justice Initiative” (General Board of Church and Society)
- South Carolina Advocacy contacts are Rev. Ken Nelson, Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-312-2824, and Sheila M. Haney, S.C. COSROW Chair and author of this Fact Sheet, email@example.com or 843-332-6468.
Statistics: Nationally, women constitute 58% of the United Methodist membership. But only 19% are elders, 77% are deacons, 27% are district superintendents, 17% are bishops (including active and retired), and 7% are clergy as lead pastors of churches of 1,000+ members.
In the Annual Conference, 57% of the employees were women in 2006. However, men outnumbered women at the executive level and held high-paying conference jobs. Men (lay and clergy) held 69% of the upper management jobs in Annual Conferences. For example, 58% of clergymen were executives while only 22% of women held such roles; laymen represented 11% and laywomen 9% of similar jobs. Although laywomen were the largest demographic group at Annual Conference (883 women, 338 men), 59% held administration and clerical positions, and 31% of laymen were service workers. Seventy-one percent were clergymen (331), and 65% clergywomen (127) were in executive positions. It has been noted the subsequent lack of a clergy pool exists and role models are needed.
The percentages of females in the South Carolina 2012 Annual Conference reported in its Journal span a low of 20% (159 of 803) of the Elders in Full Connection to the much smaller population of 100% (4 of 4 positions) of Provisional Deacons. Of those female percentages, African-Americans ranged from 21% (4 of 19) Full-time Local Pastors and 49% (23 of 47) of part-time Local Pastors.
The national Kids Count data included our state’s ranking among the bottom 5 states at 28%. Key categories represented economic wellbeing, education, health, and family and community. Our state in 2011 had “worsened” in all areas of economic wellbeing [especially children in poverty and teens not in school and not working], as well as in the family and community number of single-parent families and children living
in poverty. Fortunately, the other categories of education and health have improved since 2011.
The main advocacy issue our committee agreed upon was that poverty caused most of the other issues of need such as food, healthcare, the environment, and gun violence. The S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in 2011 reported a high incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, and students being forced to engage in sexual intercourse. A recent feature in the “Florence Morning News” (October 6, 2013), reported South Carolina was “the top state…where women die at the hands of men (quoted from a Violence Policy Center study)… In 2011, 61 women were killed by men in the state or 2.54 per 100,000, more than double the national average”. A Sexual Harassment Study mandated by the 1988 General Conference was conducted in 1990 by the Conference Ministries’ Office of Research, updated in 2005, and is currently available on this website.
Proposals: “The Book of Discipline” (United Methodist Church): Resolution #3444 “Eradication of Sexism in the Church”: In a 2007 COSROW
survey of U.S. local churches, 55% of small churches and 62% of large member churches have policies against such sexism, although inclusive language studies are rare when there’s a reference to God…sexual misconduct is a “serious problem” with 1 in 33 women experience sexual harassment, there is an “alarming number” of local congregations without policies, procedures, training for laity and clergy to prevent these instances
Whereas women are 58% of the denomination’s membership, 1/4th hold top leadership positions, or are relegated to committees without much financial power.
Whereas, the church continues to lose clergywomen from local church ministry.
Resolved each annual conference and local congregation is to have a policy, procedures, training opportunities for lay and clergy…(a report to the General Conference for 2016), and increase opportunities for females…in all facets of the United Methodist Church. (adopted 1996, amended 2004, 2008, 2012)
(Reference Sheila Haney, COSROW SC Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org)