The 2020 South Carolina Annual Conference session will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new date has not been set, but conference leaders are exploring alternatives – all of which would make the health and safety of attendees the top priority.
The annual gathering of nearly 2,000 clergy and lay members had been scheduled for June 7-10 at the Florence Center. State and federal health officials, however, continue to recommend against large gatherings as one way to contain the spread of infection.
“As United Methodists, we often are guided by three simple and important principles that summarize our general rules – do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God,” said the Rev. Ken Nelson, the conference secretary. “To do no harm means we will be on guard so all our actions and even our silence will not add injury to another of God’s children or to any part of God’s creation.
“As a people of faith, our witness of doing no harm honors the sacred worth of every life.”
On April 22, state health officials reported that 140 people had died as a result of the disease and more than 4,700 had tested positive for it. They project that the number of reported cases will have reached nearly 7,000 by May 9.
The postponement of the 2020 Annual Conference follows the postponement of both the 2020 General Conference, which had been scheduled for May 5-15, and the 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, which had been scheduled for July 15-17.
“We are deeply grateful for the commitment of all clergy and lay members who prioritize their time to actively participate in the Annual Conference session each year,” said Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference. “We appreciate your flexibility as circumstances prevent us from gathering as originally planned, and we look forward to witnessing how the Holy Spirit will move in our midst at that time when we are able to safely gather to celebrate the ministry and mission made possible because of faithful United Methodists in South Carolina.
“Truly, we are living beyond the bounds of expectations, yet we are assured of God’s steadfast presence guiding us.”
All clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference are encouraged to:
- Cancel hotel reservations for June 7-10.
- Be on the lookout for information about the rescheduled Annual Conference.
- Read all reports and other materials as they are distributed and made available at umcsc.org/ac2020.
We recognize that the postponement of Annual Conference raises many questions. Please be assured that additional details will be shared as they are finalized.
And please keep in your prayers those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, for the members of the Committee on the Annual Conference and others who continue to plan the Annual Conference, for all clergy and lay members, and for conference staff.