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Resolution calls for S.C. disaffiliation from UMC

By Jessica Brodie

GREENVILLE—One resolution included in pre-conference materials is calling for South Carolina to disaffiliate from the denomination.

“Resolution for the Realignment of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and Its Disaffiliation from the Structures of The United Methodist Church” was submitted by the Rev. Keith Sweat, pastor of the Mount Bethel-Kings Chapel Charge in the Greenwood District.

Among other rationales, the resolution notes that because “schism is not separation from a church body but separation within a church body” and because amid our divisive debates, all attempts at unity “have failed,” the bishop shall appoint a Task Force on Realignment to develop a plan to disaffiliate the South Carolina Conference from the UMC and present that plan at Annual Conference 2018.

Read the resolution in full in pre-conference materials, which can be found here (see Page 71).

The Rev. Steve Simoneaux, chair of the South Carolina Conference’s Committee on Resolutions and Appeals, said his understanding is that the resolution might be out of order. According to the Discipline and affirmed by the Judicial Council, only General Conference has the right to grant a disaffiliation; an annual conference does not have that right.

Sweat said he expects an out-of-order challenge to the resolution at Annual Conference.

“I’m prepared for that,” Sweat said.

Sweat said he submitted the resolution because of the chaotic separation that has already begun happening in the UMC over divisive issues such as human sexuality and more.

“Chaos is not a friend of the church,” Sweat said. “If we’re going to do this (separate), it ought to be orderly. It takes a long time. This is not a withdrawal, ‘we’re out of here tomorrow, bye,’ but it says develop an orderly plan to avoid what we’ve seen other denominations go through.”

Sweat said human sexuality is by no means the only issue prompting the resolution.

“Even if we reached a resolution on that, we’d find ourselves at the next General Conference debating another Rule 44 and another fight about something else—maybe it’s divestment or how the seminaries should be conducted. There are so many things,” Sweat said.

In addition to the disaffiliation resolution, at least six other resolutions will also be presented at Annual Conference 2017. Read all the resolutions here.

24 Comments

  • […] Resolution for the Realignment of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and Its Disaffiliation from the Structures of The United Methodist Church: This calls upon the bishop to appoint a Task Force on Realignment to develop a plan to disaffiliate the South Carolina Conference from the UMC and present that plan at Annual Conference 2018; see article here. […]

  • Bold move, but maybe this will get the general conference, and bishops attention as to the true state of our denomination.

    • My position is for the resolution. It is time to take a stand .

  • I have been taught and believe that the Bible is infallible . We need to be faithful to the word of God. The Bible is timeless , and the word of God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Bible tells us that in the last days there will a falling away from the truth.

    • If you have been taught by United Methodists that the Bible is infallible, then those teachers have failed you. The UMC does not now and never has espoused the doctrine of infallibility of scripture.

    • This is a common misconception. I would gently suggest that you review the core doctrines and dogmas of Wesleyan theology. Here is a good jumping off place. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-scripture

    • What truth in the Bible do you follow? An “eye for an eye,” or to love one another as God loves us?

    • I see no references to ‘infallibility’ in the UMC document ‘Book of Discipline: Theological Guidelines: Scripture’ available on umc.org (link http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-scripture)

      I see how we interpret verses in the Bible as

      I also see that “While we acknowledge the primacy of Scripture in theological reflection, our attempts to grasp its meaning always involve tradition, experience, and reason.”

      The individual words on the pages change over time (translations differ, versions have many drafts with changes) but it is the reading in context of the Bible as a whole and specifically our interpretation that does change over time. This is because tradition of the past does not change but reasoning and experiences change over time.

      Maybe this is why it is not said that we believe the Bible is ‘infallible’? It does stand as unchanging yet it does change through the many revisions by the redactors/translators, but even if we accept as written we must interpret and that’s where experience/reason/tradition come to play.

      It just seems more complicated than, “It is infallible”

      Peace & love.

  • This suggestion is very troubling. I feel the UMC is stronger together, even in disagreement, than any fragmented group could be. Praying for a solution.

  • I definitely agree. In forty-five years they have not resolved the issue before us which has festered and become very painful and divisive for all of us. This is not the church I joined fifty-six years ago. Weak leadership has destroyed us because they couldn’t stand on the Word of God or keep their vows to Him.

  • I am for a resolution. The Church is growing weaker due to “A house divided”.

  • It is not fair to Laity who do not practice sin and can not administer Communion or do a Baptism when there are preacher’s and pastor’s who live practicing sin and do the Sacraments. Not Fair!

    • As humans, we all practice sin. Scripture is clear on this point. That’s why we all need Jesus. None of us is truly worthy of the sacraments, save through God’s abundant love and mercy. All is grace.

    • Why even say that Mike? Finger pointing at others for their sins? We are all sinners,no?

      Which Laity are you saying “Do not practice sin”? Or are you really saying your place of judgement on which sins are worse than others is ok?

      I’m not saying you’re wrong or right. Just asking questions which I think we all need to do more of, and hear the Spirit guide us to the answers which are based upon what Jesus would say/do. Based upon love for our neighbor and based upon grace.

    • I see there are replies from more highly educated and learned people than myself. You even invoke the New Testament against the old. As a common man I observe the common sense side of the argument being ignored. If the Word of God is not infallible, then anyone can interpret the word any way they want and for any reason they want. Revelations foretells this. Jesus said, I believe, that he came to fulfill the law, not to change it and that none of it would pass away.
      Since sexually has been mentioned, it is not right or advantageous to promote those openly practicing sin to teaching or positions of authority while thumbing your noses at parishioners and the holy scriptures.

  • I wish we had that kind of courage in our Conference. Too many of our leaders and even pastors don’t believe in the authority of Scripture. It is sad to see the UMC leaving God’s Holy Word behind. It is the first point of John Wesley’s Quadrilateral.

  • It’s the beginning of the throes of death of the apostate UMC. It’s lively conferences and churches will begin more and more to separate themselves from the dying denomination. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

  • Stronger together sounds like a failed campaign slogan. Strength does not arise from the depth of divisions in UMC. The slow slide to the state of today started the day the word United was added to our name. That is now an oxymoron of a denominational name. Thanks for your courage, Rev. Sweat.

  • It is tragic when a church that claims to follow Jesus, who taught us to bridge the gaps between God’s people, considers tearing down those bridges. Perhaps those who claims the church is at best irrelevant, or at worst, idolatrous of their own positions, are right.

  • I agree with Brother Sweat.

  • Well, secession didn’t work out too well for you last time, so good luck with that.

  • Oh trust me — if the human sexuality question were off the table…NO one would be thinking of a split. Such hypocrites – just like during the Civil War…it ‘wasn’t about slavery’

  • And if people would wake up and realize the dying denomination as its referred to is about the UMC’s inability to make a decision over the course of a decade and even longer….and defer the issue further and further down the road then it will continue to die. In my world the UMC is thriving but that’s because I am at progressive, inclusive congregations that value the gospel more than their bigotry

  • Keith Sweat is a sad representative for Christ church. His immediate statement is that his narrative is not about human sexuality which means that is exactly what it is about. I suggest that he and the brother from St. Stephens and Folly Beach branch out and form their own White church or maybe just call it the Church of Trump. Let bigotry and hate leave the United Methodist church

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