By Jessica Brodie
ST. LOUIS—After a prayer-focused Day 1, General Conference delegates will spend Day 2 setting priorities, narrowing the field of legislative petitions to high-priority petitions versus low-priority ones.
High-priority petitions will be addressed first when delegates get into legislative committee work.
South Carolina delegate the Rev. Ken Nelson said that he was grateful for Day 1, which set a God-centered atmosphere, but now he is excited about getting into the work of GC2019 on Day 2, Feb. 24. Nelson said Day 2’s work is to align The United Methodist Church with what God wants it to do and be open to the ways God will be able to work through all the people at General Conference.
“(Day 2) is a day of setting priorities as to how to take the next step in the journey of prioritizing our time with the work that is before us, but that’ll be undergirded again with worship and with prayer and … opening up to the ways God will be at work in our midst,” Nelson said.
The Rev. Tim Rogers, also a South Carolina delegate, said the work is on everyone’s mind, though it was good to let the anxiety go and spend Day 1 in prayer with others around the world.
“I don’t see any way we can make a decision that’s not going to disappoint and even wound somebody,” Rogers said. “We have been called to St. Louis to make a decision, to take some action that will get us free from this loggerheads that we are in that injures our ministry in many ways, because we put energy into this which divides us instead of sharing the Gospel, which is what our main calling is.”
Rogers hopes that whatever happens, the path will be easily identifiable.
“It will be a blessing to have a clear majority so we don’t do this all again next year (at General Conference 2020),” Rogers said.
Delegation chair the Rev. Tim McClendon said Day 2 “is going to be down and dirty,” a time when emotions will likely cycle from community to chaos to emptiness—but the emptiness is a good thing, for it is when we draw nearest to God.
“Thank you to everyone praying at home,” McClendon said.
McClendon said he’d love to see the work get done on Day 2 to the point that the body could even be able to vote on the legislative chair.
Importance of prayer
We invite you to be in prayer for every delegate, especially our South Carolina delegates and alternates, as well as our resident bishop, L. Jonathan Holston. Lay delegates: Barbara Ware, James Salley, Dr. Joseph Heyward, Herman Lightsey, Jackie Jenkins, Michael Cheatham, Martha Thompson, Dr. David Braddon, and alternates Lollie Haselden and Emily Rogers Evans. Clergy delegates: Dr. Tim McClendon, the Rev. Ken Nelson, the Rev. Tim Rogers, Dr. Robin Dease, the Rev. Tiffany Knowlin, the Rev. Narcie Jeter, the Rev. Mel Arant Jr., the Rev. Susan Leonard, and alternates the Rev. Telley Gadson and the Rev. Michael Turner.
We also invite prayer for the members of our South Carolina media team: Advocate Editor Jessica Brodie and the UMCSC Communications Office Dan O’Mara (communications coordinator) and Matt Brodie (production coordinator), as well as all others from South Carolina here to serve, pray and help.
Need more background?
Read past Advocate articles covering GC2019 and the way forward, plus our overview page on the event, here: http://www.advocatesc.org/gc2019coverage.
Also, stay on top of the South Carolina conference communications office coverage of GC2019 here: https://www.umcsc.org/gc2019
Additionally, United Methodist Communications is livestreaming proceedings at GC2019 in English, French and American Sign Language. The stream at umc.org/live will include all open sessions when the lawmaking assembly meets Feb. 23-26. Visual learners also can view a chart that offers an overview of four main plans under consideration: