By Jessica Brodie
ST. LOUIS—United Methodists are gearing up this morning, Feb. 26, for the final day of General Conference 2019—a day when many hope the body will take action on a plan for the denomination through issues over human sexuality.
Delegates finished their legislative committee session yesterday, passing the Traditional Plan and two disaffiliation plans but rejecting the others, including the One Church and Simple plans.
Today, GC2019 will reconvene as a plenary session, and it will hear from the Judicial Council as to the constitutionality of the plans, as well as take action—or not. While the Traditional Plan and two disaffiliation plans will carry forward in the plenary, it doesn’t mean there is no possibility for the One Church Plan or any other plans to resurface, delegates said.
South Carolina Delegation Chair the Rev. Tim McClendon said the One Church Plan will likely be submitted as a minority report and come before the body again Tuesday, or there is a possibility someone can offer it as a motion to substitute for the Traditional Plan.
South Carolina Resident Bishop L. Jonathan Holston continues to call for fervent prayer from those watching back home and from all United Methodists and other people of faith.
“Pray,” Holston said late Monday. “There’s so much we do together than we can ever do separate, and there’s so much more God has called us to do.”
What is the Traditional Plan? This plan affirms the current language in the Discipline, which states “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” (Para. 304.3).
What is The One Church Plan? This plan allows for contextualization of language about sexuality and allows for central conferences, especially in Africa, to retain disciplinary authority to adapt the Book of Discipline and continue to include traditional language and values. It gives United Methodists the ability to address different missional contexts in ways that reflect their theological convictions. It removes the restrictive language of the Discipline but adds assurances to pastors and conferences who, because of their theological convictions, cannot perform same-sex weddings or ordain self-avowed practicing homosexuals.
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: https://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: