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Motion passes on intentional human sexuality dialogue in South Carolina districts, churches

Motion passes on intentional human sexuality dialogue in South Carolina districts, churches
Photo by Matt Brodie

By Jessica Brodie

FLORENCE—United Methodists will intentionally be discussing sexuality, identity, Scriptures and the church in every district in South Carolina.

Annual Conference passed a motion June 8 that asks Bishop Jonathan Holston and district superintendents to hold conversations about human sexuality at the local level so churches can have thoughtful dialogue and build better relationships.

Proposed by the Rev. Wendy Hudson-Jacoby, pastor of North Charleston United Methodist Church, North Charleston, the motion was inspired by General Conference and the Council of Bishops’ “way forward” for unity in the church regarding issues of human sexuality. General Conference in May approved a proposal by the Council of Bishops to defer all petitions on human sexuality (a total of 56) and refer the entire subject to a special commission, named by the COB, to develop a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph in the UMC Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality.

“In light of the unprecedented action taken by General Conference and the Council of Bishops, I would like to move that we in the South Carolina Annual Conference also engage in intentional and thoughtful dialogue and conversations on human sexuality at the local level,” Hudson-Jacoby said. “Our General Conference through the Council of Bishops is engaging in important and essential conversation regarding sexuality, identity, Scriptures and the church. We believe we are called to engage in important conversations on the local level in our districts and churches. These conversations are already taking place in our society, and we want to be … with them. The heart of the Gospel is built on relationship, and relationship is built on trust and conversation.”

Regardless of the commission’s outcome, the UMC needs to engage in these conversations, Hudson-Jacoby told the body.

Columbia District Superintendent the Rev. Cathy Jamieson noted that her district has already hosted a clergy meeting discussing these issues.

“We have begun not only in the Columbia District but in other districts to address these issues,” Jamieson told the body.

The motion passed overwhelmingly with no debate.

Earlier during Annual Conference, on Monday in a point of personal privilege, Stanton Adams had addressed the body, identifying himself as an openly gay United Methodist serving a local church in the South Carolina Annual Conference.

On behalf of the South Carolina Reconciling Ministries Network, Adams expressed appreciation to Holston and others on the COB for trying to find a way forward for the UMC over the difficult issue of human sexuality. Adams read a letter signed by 68 people at an Reconciling Ministries breakfast Monday offering gratitude, encouraging the bishops to, among other things, include experts and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning people on the commission and offer frequent reports to Annual Conferences on their progress (read the letter here). The letter offered the South Carolina RMN as partners and active participants.

“On behalf of Council of Bishops, we acknowledge deep divisions exist in the church about human sexuality, and we believe there are options beside restructuring and we do not seek to split,” Holston told the body after Adams read the letter on Monday, noting the COB will lead the church in a way forward. “We are committed to a different kind of conservation. The process is one which is new to all of us, and we will seek to do our best.”

RMN is an organization working for full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the UMC. It is committed to policy change and the creation of long-term solutions and practices that create full inclusion in the church and the broader society. It works for full equality in membership, ordination and marriage for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

8 Comments

  • I completely support the recognition and acceptance of the RMN. Last Sunday, I was appalled that our minister at Zoar United Methodist Church, Ed Traxler, stood in the pulpit, and openly spoke against the Conference decisions, quoting Leviticus, and stated that homosexuality was an abomination against God. While I am not a lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, I truly feel that the 2 commandments that Jesus left us with stand to cover all things: Love God above all others, and second, love all others as you love yourself. If you follow these 2 things, then hate crimes will end. I feel if splits occur within our United Methodist, it will due to statements like the one that was made this past Sunday in our Church.

  • I have a real problem with all this. I cannot understand how we can accept PRACTICING LGBT persons into positions in our churches and still call ourselves Christians. Certainly LGBT persons should be welcome to come to church for that is where the sin of their choice will be shown to them by God, not man. But what I see and hear most often is that the LGBT person does not want to be told it’s a sin, they want me as a Christian to accept their choice as ok and I cannot. For me that is a sin, for it means I have no faith in God’s Word. If the UMC cannot stand by the Word of God, then God will not stand by them. If it’s accepted I will leave UMC after a lifetime of being there.

  • The policy in place for GOD sakes it should Not be charged to fit the minority who don’t believe in God.
    They can not say they do. Then go again God words

  • Short note. I do not hate these people and I agree with the person above. What they do is a sin as quoted in The Old and New Testaments, but they don’t see it that way. I pray for them as a former UMC pastor once told me. PUSH for the THUMB.

  • The WORD of God is Jesus according to the gospel of John. He summarized ALL of the law with 2 commands to his followers: Love God and Love Your Neighbor. All other scripture is a testimony to Jesus and these 2 commands, and if it is not, i.e. stoning your children for misbehaving, stoning a woman for a heterosexual affair, or throwing someone guilty of heresy off a cliff, then it is no longer valid. Scripture, although God inspired, was written and translated by humans, many with their own personal agendas, i.e. Matthew to convince Jews that Jesus was Messiah or those hired by King James to present the cultural bias of his day as the Word of God, and therefore is not without error. Current research in language and archaeology have provided new ways of interpreting original texts in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, which most of us do not read and understand; contrary to the opinions of some Christians, Jesus did not speak in King James English. In addition, some original words are so obscure or lost, that their meaning can only be determined through context, and many mistakes by scribes during the copying process have been discovered accounting for more human error in the recording process. If the United Methodist Church, which has survived previous divisions and additions, does NOT change its policies, I will be leaving after 66 + years of membership.

  • i read a wise man’s perspective on the LBGT situation in the UMC and other denominations and agree that so often we cannot see the erroneous “biblical” interpretations and historically conservative inerrant views on slavery, the subordinate role of women, biracial marriage, etc., were just in error nor can we see the love that the Christ had for the least of people whom we consider sinners for who they are.

    At the Florence GC I went into a civic center rest room and when I was leaving, the Bishop walked in and I greeted him. When I was a teenager in the 1950’s, the Bishop would not have been elevated to any role in the church nor would we be using the same restroom. If the UMC doesn’t reconcile the love of the Christ and and the love for all our neighbors, we will follow the screwed up path that the Southern Baptist Convention took in the late ’70s and continues today.

    Let me share this wise man’s perspective. “For many Christians today, particularly young adults, the handful of Bible verses related to same sex intimacy seem more like the 100 plus verses on slavery than they do the teachings of Jesus and his great commandments to love God and neighbor. Their gay and lesbian friends are people, just like them, in need of love and community. I believe that in the years ahead an increasing number of Christians, not only progressives, but also conservatives, will read the Bible’s passages regarding homosexuality as all Christians today read the Bible’s passages on slavery. And the sermons preached from America’s pulpits decrying the rights of homosexuals today will sound to future generations much like the pro-slavery sermons sound to us today.” Confessing Movement take notice. Though a word to the wise is usually deficient.

    Karen thanks for your post.

  • How can we become involved in these discussions?

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