Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, issued this statement on Oct. 26, 2018:
The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church today issued its ruling regarding petitions from the Council of Bishops to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference.
The Council of Bishops asked the Judicial Council to rule on the constitutionality of three plans the bishops have submitted for consideration – the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the Traditional Plan – based on the work of the Commission on a Way Forward.
In its unanimous decision, the Judicial Council ruled that the One Church Plan is largely constitutional as it is written and outlined several constitutional issues that would have to be addressed within the Traditional Plan. The Judicial Council did not rule on the Connectional Conference Plan because it includes several constitutional amendments, and the council can only rule according to the constitution as it is.
The Judicial Council has done its work, and now the General Conference will do its work. Only the General Conference can change the Book of Discipline.
At the Council of Bishops meeting in May, I made a covenant with other bishops to promote the unity of the church over any one particular plan. I am not going to break that covenant. We are stronger together than we ever could be apart.
Between now and the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference in February, I encourage South Carolina United Methodists to continue to pray for God’s guidance and direction for the Commission on the General Conference, the Council of Bishops, the delegates to the 2019 Special General Conference, and for the people called United Methodist.
Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston