Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference, in accordance with ¶603.5 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, calls for a special session of the annual conference on Saturday, August 20, 2022. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. EST and, at this time, is planned as a virtual session.
The purpose of the special session is to vote on any matters related to local church disaffiliations within the South Georgia Annual Conference.
According to the current South Georgia Conference disaffiliation policy, the deadline for a church to disaffiliate at the regular June Annual Conference Session is April 1 of the same year. The Bishop’s announcement of a called session allows local churches additional time to have any necessary conversations.
“I want to give everyone the space to do what they need to do without feeling like they are missing a window of opportunity,” Bishop Graves said. “At the same time, and even more importantly for me, I want local churches to put their focus on the Lenten season and how we can draw closer to God on this Lenten journey.
“Now more than ever we have the opportunity to be a witness for Jesus Christ in this holy season.”
It is anticipated that motions will be made at the June Annual Conference Session to amend the current disaffiliation policy timeline to allow churches to vote to disaffiliate prior to the special session in August.
The special conference session will consider only matters pertaining to this call; no other business can be considered.
Elected lay members of the 2022 June Annual Conference Session will again serve as the voting lay members for the called session in August. Clergy membership of the annual conference is defined in ¶32 of the Book of Discipline. Specific delegate instructions and information will be distributed by the Conference Secretary.
If the postponed 2020 General Conference does take place in August then an alternate date for a special session will be announced for October 2022.
**The Book of Discipline ¶603.5: A special session of the annual conference may be held at such time and in such place as shall have been determined by the annual conference after consultation with the bishop, or by the bishop with the concurrence of three-fourths of the district superintendents. A special session of the annual conference shall have only such powers as are stated in the call. (See Judicial Council decision 397)