SEJ July 18-20 2012 | SEJ Official Page
Jurisdictional Conference 2012
Thirty-six delegates from across South Carolina join counterparts from 14 other annual conferences for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, set for July 18-20 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Western North Carolina.
Held every four years primarily to elect bishops, Jurisdictional Conference also has various other tasks, such as making rules and regulations for the administration of the church’s work within the jurisdiction (including budgeting); establishing and electing people to jurisdictional boards; determining annual conference boundaries; appointing a committee on appeals; and promoting interests of the church.
There are five jurisdictions in the U.S; the SEJ comprises 15 annual conferences in the southeast:
Alabama/West Florida | Florida | Holston | Kentucky | Memphis| Mississippi | North Alabama | North Carolina | North Georgia | Red Bird Missionary | South Carolina | South Georgia |Tennessee | Virginia | Western North Carolina
The S.C. Conference has selected Dr. Tim McClendon, Columbia District superintendent and conference parliamentarian, as their Episcopal nominees, McClendon has been a delegate to five General Conferences consecutively since 1996 and narrowly missed being elected bishop at the 2008 Jurisdictional Conference, garnering the second-most votes in episcopal elections. (Read more; click here).
All 15 episcopal nominees will meet with delegates July 17, the day before Jurisdictional Conference officially begins. Newly elected bishops will be consecrated July 20, at 10 a.m.
The SEJ 2012 Jurisdictional Conference will use electronic handsets to register votes quickly and accurately. This device will be used for balloting during episcopal elections and any other business when requested by the presiding bishop or at the suggestion of delegates.
By voting electronically, delegates will be able to reduce the amount of time involved in making these important selections and increase the accuracy of the balloting process.
The voting handsets look a bit like a TV remote control, but instead of pushing buttons to change channels, delegates will be pushing buttons to enter the three-digit candidate number of the individual they wish to elect.
Who are South Carolina’s delegates to Jurisdictional Conference?
Joseph Heyward, Carolyn Briscoe, Michael Cheatham, Liz Patterson, James Salley, Herman Lightsey,
Barbara Ware, John Redmond, David Braddon, Marilyn Murphy, Emily Rogers, Rubielee Addison, Brenda Hook, Martha Thompson, Linda DuRant, Skyler Nimmons, Edd Cunningham, Jeanie Blankenbaker
Rev. Tim McClendon (Episcopal Nominee), Rev. Ken Nelson, Rev. Tim Rogers, Rev. Robin Dease, Rev. Sara Ann White, Rev. Katherine James, Rev. Susan Leonard-Ray, Rev. Stephen Taylor, Rev. Hayes Gainey Jr.
Rev. Megan Gray, Rev. Telley Gadson, Rev. Michael Turner, Rev. Patricia Parrish, Rev. Mary Teasley,
Rev. John Hipp, Rev. Constance Barnes, Rev. James Friday, Rev. John Culp
Tuesday: Reflections on Jurisdictional Conference by the Advocate editor
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By Jessica Connor
On a sunny, blue-skied afternoon in Lake Junaluska’s Stuart Auditorium, 15 episcopal nominees came before the body to voice why they felt called to be a bishop in The United Methodist Church.
This was the first time most of the attendees were able to see each of these men and women in person, not to mention hear from them directly why they wish to be a bishop and what is their vision for the denomination in this brave new world.
I found their words heartening, comforting and invigorating.
Sharma Lewis, of the sponsoring caucus Black Clergy Women, spoke about “not just being present but being a presence” as we do the work of the Lord.
Farley Stuart, Red Bird Missionary Conference, spoke of his great hopes that through vibrant local churches, the UMC can achieve growth for the Kingdom.
“We must choose to reach the lost rather than just keep traditions,” Stuart said. “We need to stand up and speak clearly… we need to be the hands and feet of Christ. If not us, who? If not now, when? It’s time.”
Deborah McLeod, Florida Conference, talked about how, in spite of her reluctance, she chose to heed God’s call to step forward as a nominee before she was spewed out on the beach Jonah-style and still have to go to Nineveh. Lifting up the sovereign power of a God who wants His church to succeed, she reminded the body that “we cannot fail” and to embrace the dysfunction and disease of our church.
South Carolina’s own Tim McClendon told the body he wants to be a word of hope about the church and the light of the Lord in the world.
“Wailing doesn’t help; it distracts,” he noted, lifting up the story in Mark 5 of Jesus waking up a young girl from mere sleep, not death. Closing his remarks, McClendon said, “It’s time to wake up.”
Ivelisse Quinones, of the sponsoring caucus MARCHA, emphasized her belief in “creative evangelism” to help the UMC become more relevant in the world.
“We need to do something different…in order that everyone sees in us the image of the Lord,” Quinones said, urging people to become technologically savvy and as connectional and relational as possible in order to reach a younger, often unchurched generation. “There are many people who want this to be a retirement community, but I think this should be a missional community.”
And Robert Beckum, South Georgia Conference, talked about how we need to heed God’s call and elect bishops who will lead with a collegial style
“In matters of principle, we cannot afford to waver or change, but in matters of procedure, we cannot afford not to change,” Beckum said.
At this point in the conference, voting has not yet begun, so it is too soon to see who the body will lift up to lead the UMC in this jurisdiction. But already, my heart is warmed to know that not only are these men and women being called by God to step forward to serve, but they are good strong, likeable servants of a risen Savior. They are committed to real leadership, true discipleship. They want to see relevance just as much as I do.
Let’s hear it for heeding the call.
Wednesday: Reflections on Jurisdictional Conference by the Advocate editor
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By Jessica Connor
Having never been to Jurisdictional Conference before, I’d heard all sorts of stories about how slow the pace is, how long the elections take, and how never in a million years should I expect a bishop to be elected the first morning – let alone the first ballot.
Imagine my surprise when Jonathan Holston was elected bishop on the very first ballot! And two ballots later, Ken Carter! Two ballots after that, Bill McAlilly! We had our fourth bishop elected, Debbie Wallace-Padgett, right before the dinner break.
Four down, one to go.
I’m eager to see South Carolina’s Tim McClendon take the fifth and final spot. Like many, I’ve personally endorsed him from the beginning and think he’ll make a marvelous episcopal leader – the kind of leader our denomination needs to stay relational and relevant in a society growing ever disenchanted with organized religion.
But that aside, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch the election process unfold, the way delegates and attendees are using Twitter and Facebook to drive voting, the peacefulness that settles over Stuart Auditorium from the fervent prayer before every vote.
And I remain heartened at the enthusiastic, sometimes giddy remarks those elected made before the body.
Visibly holding back tears, Holston expressed gratitude to the packed auditorium of delegates, whom he called his “friends.”
Wallace-Padgett cited a feeling of deep humbleness at her election and reminded the body of her vision for renewal of The United Methodist Church.
“My commitment is to do all I can do in this role to help us make that vision a greater and greater reality,” she said.
McAlilly called the UMC “greatest church in the Kingdom of God.”
“We just need to tell our story and lift the spirits of the people, and we will do the things God is calling us to do in the future,” he said.
And Carter – who was announced as elected on Ballot #2, then informed that vote was not valid because of a system malfunction, then voted in officially on Ballot #3 – was the consummate gentleman and grinned when he took the stage a second time to make his “victory remarks.”
He said the opportunity to serve as bishop is a gift – not to him, but for the mission, renewal and unity of the church.
The sweet spirit of the Lord is moving through Jurisdictional Conference. As we enter what could be a day of heated voting, I pray that we all hold onto that sweet spirit and remember to do His will foremost.
At the end of the day, He will prevail. He always does.
May God be with us.
Thursday: Reflections on Jurisdictional Conference by the Advocate’s editor
Thursday, July 19, 2012
By Jessica Connor
It took four years of heavy planning and hard work, and save for tomorrow morning’s consecration of bishops, Jurisdictional Conference 2012 has come and gone.
In many ways, the gathering was a heartening experience, bringing together Christian brothers and sisters from across the Southeast in worship, prayer and denominational business.
In other ways, it was discouraging, particularly when it came to elections. A native of the multicultural melting pot that is South Florida, it’s no secret that I am a strong and outspoken proponent of diversity. But it gave me a sad feeling in my core to hear impassioned cries for diversity moments before a vote – perhaps heavily influencing the election. Mentioning this right before a vote seemed inappropriate and unseemly when we’re supposed to be heeding the Father and electing the right person for the episcopacy, regardless of gender or race.
Still, while I am deeply and selfishly saddened that South Carolina’s Tim McClendon was not elected as a bishop this year, I think highly of the five men and women who have become our new bishops. They inspire me and motivate me, and the fact that each of them asked for prayer in their post-election speech spoke volumes to me.
South Carolina now has a new bishop: Jonathan Holston. After eight years serving this state, Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor will move on to her next assignment, serving the Holston Conference. Assignments become effective Sept. 1.
This is a new chapter for South Carolina – for our delegates and for Tim McClendon, for Bishop Taylor and for our new Bishop Holston, for all United Methodists (and soon to be United Methodists) in all corners of this state.
God bless us on our journey. Let the disciple-making continue!