Annual Conference Report to Congregation

6/26/16 Worship Service Report to Grace United Methodist Church 2016 SC Annual Conference 

Representatives:  Frances Adams and Jane Moore  

Our sincere "Thank You" to Grace Church for providing us with the privilege of attending the SC Conference.  It was a most enjoyable and enlightening four days.  The opening event for Sunday was Bishop Jonathan Holston's evening worship as he focused on the theme for the week of "Making Space for God to Work".  In his words, "God has blessed us and we are the recipients of His grace and mercy".  In his message, he urged us to make space for God to work in our hearts, minds, and souls.  His message concluded with an offering going for relief to persons affected by the October 2015 flood and communion by intinction. 

During the week 3 groups received disaster training, so they would be prepared. A budget was presented and passed for 16.79 million dollars, only $272 more than the previous one. The Epworth Children's Home presentation by Rev. John Holler was most impressive.  He reported:

  1. 100% graduation rate five years in a row.
  2. Four years in a row Charity Navigator gave them a four start rating, putting them in the 97th percentile of non-profits in the state. 
  3. Epworth will be growing because of the purchase of the former Carolina Children's Home next to Trenholm Road United Methodist Church. 

 The Business Session of Conference included six resolutions.  Four passed after much debate and discussion, and two were referred to another committee.    The 4 that passed were: 

  1. Changing South Carolina Department of Education Social Study Standards Regarding Native    Americans - SC history books are inadequate in identifying the Native American Tribes in SC.
  2. Responsibilities for Eradication of Racism - This much-debated issue was passed after an hour of debate asking every district and local congregation to have a strategy and program that educates and supports systemic and personal changes to end racism and develop competent leaders. 
  3. Oppose Discrimination Against Transgender People - As churches and people of faith, we should value each and every life, oppose discrimination, and in the spirit of advocating for safe sanctuary, respond to acts of discrimination with acts of compassion, and to take a public stand against speeches of hate and harassment. 
  4. Assessment and a Plan of Action for the African-American Historical Methodist Flagship    Churches of SC Annual Conference - A flagship church is one dating back to 1866 (150    years) and having a membership at the time of at least 300 members that proved themselves   to be influential in terms of ministry and in producing future clergy and bishops for the    denomination.  It was pointed out that a lot of history is not known and should be kept alive.  

The two that were referred to another committee were: 

  1. Support the Nature of High-Quality Public Education in South Carolina - was referred to the Conference's Children in Poverty Task Force. 
  2.  Uninsured Poor Adults in South Carolina - was referred because the committee said more specific details are needed on how to offer healthcare to adults.