Delegates to the 2017 South Carolina United Methodist Annual Conference meeting voted Wednesday, June 7, to support resolutions dealing with issues including suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth, President Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban, and the legacy of lynching.
United Methodists also backed resolutions supporting and honoring law enforcement officers and a formal apology from a historically white United Methodist church to a historically African-American United Methodist church, and expressing support for “the migrant in our midst.”
Delegates voted down a resolution opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
A resolution calling for the disaffiliation of the South Carolina Conference from The United Methodist Church was ruled out of order.
Delegates debated each resolution separately, and seven distinct votes were taken.
Resolutions approved by delegates:
RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND HELP END SUICIDE AND HOMELESSNESS AMONG LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, AND QUESTIONING (LGBTQ) YOUTH
BE IT RESOLVED, that the following resolution is adopted by the 2017 South Carolina Annual Conference: That we vow, as churches and people of faith, to bear witness to the value of each and every life by not remaining silent when this value is questioned or dehumanized. To that end, we categorically oppose the practices of human trafficking and slavery in all its forms and urge our churches, committees, campus ministries, and all other United Methodist organizations to create safe space for each and every child of God.
Further, in the spirit of advocating for safe spaces, we call upon every United Methodist to respond to acts of prejudice, harassment, bullying, abuse, and violence against all persons, including our LGBTQ youth, with acts of compassion, justice, and liberation.
Moreover, we call upon the Church and society to intentionally support, advocate on behalf of, and minister to all at-risk youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Finally, we call upon clergy to provide counseling and emotional and spiritual assistance to the families of LGBTQ youth, to help them better understand and value their youth and to make the home a safe space that is free of ridicule, bullying, and physical and verbal abuse, wherein the desire for escape by running away from home or by suicide is lessened through acceptance and the enduring love of family and of God.
BE IT RESOLVED, that each United Methodist Church in communities of South Carolina are encouraged to have a ritual of forgiveness and reconciliation at the site of the lynchings in their community and a memorial be placed at this site.
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT, The South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church condemn any and all profiling, stereotyping, persecution, and/or banning of any person based on their race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin, and
BE IT THEREFORE FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, The South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church convey to the President of the United States, Members of Congress, Governor of South Carolina, and the General Assembly of South Carolina the Church’s desire for no person to be denied citizenship, access to federal or state resources, or be detained or incarcerated based on their race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by Members of the South Carolina United Methodist Annual Conference, that they declare their support and solidarity with the men and women and their families who serve, or who have served with integrity as law enforcement officers, and in particular to those who reside in the state of South Carolina, for their distinctive service and dedicated efforts, earning our highest respect and deepest gratitude, which must be recognized and honored for their selfless and heroic service and invaluable contribution to upholding justice, enforcing the rule of law, and protecting the innocent of South Carolina and the Nation.
Therefore be it resolved, the members of Trinity United Methodist Church make formal amends to the members of Centenary United Methodist Church to ensure it is understood and acknowledged we are all equal brothers and sisters in Christ. We express regret for the sins of our predecessors, mourn their acts of divisiveness, and ask to show our love for one another by sharing in joint events, worship, congregation development, and mission programs. The harsh lesson to learn from our history is this; we stand stronger united rather than divided. We need to get to know each other so as to demonstrate our sincere desire to end the racial tensions which have continued throughout the centuries and are in hopes this one initial step at achieving unity will encourage other congregations to do the same.
We are the United Methodist Church.
Be it further resolved that the South Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church commend these two churches for their actions.
Therefore be it resolved that the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, as followers of Jesus, commit ourselves to work to eliminate racism and violence directed toward newly arriving migrants from all parts of the world;
Be it further resolved that the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, as followers of Jesus, express our opposition to any immigration policy that excludes refugees solely on the basis of their religion or national origin;
Be it further resolved that we celebrate the recreation of a Hispanic-Latino Ministry Task Force and the formation of an immigration task force by the Conference to help provide guidance to churches seeking to be in ministry to immigrants in South Carolina;
Be it further resolved that, to that end, the Conference encourages all churches to educate and equip its members to provide hospitality and welcome to migrants and refugees in their communities (the Resolution approved by General Conference “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States” would be an excellent resource); and to take further actions and advocacy for just policies through prayer and discernment;
Be it further resolved that the Conference calls upon each church to engage and educate its members by participating in events sponsored by our Conference’s Task Force such as Pentecost Journey;
Be it further resolved that the Conference calls upon our political leaders and policy makers to assure our laws affirm the worth, dignity, inherent values and rights of immigrants;
Be it further resolved that this resolution be signed and forwarded to our Congressional Delegation, both National and State, by our resident Bishop and Conference Secretary.