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McClendon narrowly misses election as bishop

By Jessica Connor

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Despite being the top vote-getter on 14 ballots, the S.C. Conference s episcopal nominee was not elected as a bishop at Jurisdictional Conference 2012.

Dr. Tim McClendon, who had achieved the most votes on every ballot following Ballot #11 until Ballot #26, stepped down just after Ballot #28 after Virginia nominee Young Jin Cho took the lead.

Cho had garnered slender votes earlier in the election process, but numbers climbed steadily, until he narrowly took the lead over McClendon on Ballot #28.

Just prior to the Ballot #29 vote before the lunch break, and just after an impassioned plea from a young person that the body continue to celebrate diversity, McClendon took the microphone and asked the body to give their vote not to him but to Cho.

I know that we need to celebrate diversity, and I have lived with that pain personally,  McClendon said. Most of you don t know that I m not white, but nevertheless, it doesn t matter. What matters is what God does best. It s not about color; it s about the Holy Spirit. ¦ And I wish that everyone would give their vote to Rev. Cho. Thank you. 

Many in the conference expressed deep disappointment and shed tears that their nominee had not been elected bishop.

Still, in the words of one S.C. United Methodist pastor on the Advocate s Facebook page, the silver lining is that South Carolina gets to keep  McClendon “ for now.

In a selfish way I am glad the S.C. United Methodist Conference still has him with us versus losing him right now as a bishop somewhere else,  posted the Rev. David Inman, senior pastor of Hopewell United Methodist Church, Lancaster. Yet he would have made a great bishop I think. 

McClendon, in his blog A Potter s View,  reveals his post-election thoughts while heartily applauding the assignment of Bishop Jonathan Holston to South Carolina. McClendon was part of the SEJ Committee on Episcopacy that made the assignment.

I feel gut-punched, but I know that I am blessed to come back to South Carolina. I love Christ and the United Methodist Church,  McClendon wrote about the election. Am I disappointed? Of course. Am I thankful? Oh, yes. I am so grateful for the South Carolina delegation and annual conference. You worked tirelessly. You gave of yourselves in so many ways. Please hear your name said in a prayer of thanks from me! Your names are so many! 

Read more of McClendon s thoughts on his blog, www.apottersview.com .

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