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Hard lessons, new chapter

By Jessica Connor

It took four years of heavy planning and hard work, and now, 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. I have had a handful of conversations with him since the election, and I m extremely impressed with him as a person and an episcopal leader “ not to mention his terrific credentials. I think South Carolina is blessed to have him.

And, after eight years serving this state, Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor will move on to her next assignment, serving the Holston Conference. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Bishop Taylor and think she has done some marvelous things for South Carolina. I wish her well on her return to Tennessee.

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!

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