Proposed Constitutional Amendment I
will be taken up at 2018 Annual Conference
May 14, 2018
Delegates to the 2018 South Carolina Annual Conference, meeting June 3-6 in Greenville, will take a second vote on a proposed amendment to the UMC constitution addressing women’s equity issues.
The secretary of the General Conference announced last week that an error was made in the text of proposed Constitutional Amendment I as it was presented to annual conferences for voting, and it subsequently failed to pass.
Amendment I was among five constitutional amendments approved by the 2016 General Conference. It included a sentence which had been removed by the legislative body. The amendment, which failed by a narrow margin, was one of two which did not pass.
“A new ballot is being prepared for voting by annual conferences at their next meeting, ” said the Rev. Gary W. Graves, who became secretary of the General Conference in December 2016. That ballot will be to revote on Amendment I only.
The Rev. Ken Nelson, secretary of the South Carolina Annual Conference, said Amendment I will be on the agenda when delegates gather in June at the TD Convention Center.
“We are working now to get the materials Annual Conference delegates will need to make an informed vote,” Rev. Nelson said. “As soon as we receive the revised text of proposed Constitutional Amendment I from the secretary of the General Conference, we will share that with delegates so they can review it, study it and pray over it.”
Delegates voted 643-357 in favor of Amendment I at the 2017 South Carolina Annual Conference.
A sentence that should not have been included in Amendment I was removed by a vote of 746-56 of the 2016 General Conference but was inadvertently included in the version that was distributed.
That sentence read:
“The United Methodist Church recognizes it is contrary to Scripture and to logic to say that God is male or female, as maleness and femaleness are characteristics of human bodies and cultures, not characteristics of the divine.”
That sentence should have read:
“As the Holy Scripture reveals, both men and women are made in the image of God and, therefore, men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. The United Methodist Church acknowledges the long history of discrimination against women and girls. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten women’s and girl’s equality and well-being.”
The proposed Constitutional Amendment I, which would have created a new paragraph in the UMC Book of Discipline focused on gender justice, was approved by 31,304 voters (66.5 percent) and opposed by 15,753 voters at worldwide annual conferences. A two-thirds majority is required for passage.