During the Tuesday, June 6 business session, the South Georgia Conference approved two resolutions. Resolutions, once approved by the Annual Conference, are statements that represent the position of the conference on a subject.
The first, a “Resolution in support of a Coordinated Action on Behalf of Undocumented Neighbors,” was written and submitted by South Georgia Hispanic pastors and allies. It called on the presiding bishop to form a task force to develop a strategy to educate clergy and laity about the history of immigration and human and civil rights concerning undocumented members of society and to encourage South Georgia United Methodists to engage in works of piety and mercy towards their undocumented neighbors.
“This declaration was to give awareness and be more intentional to love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” said Rev. Daniel Medina, a co-author of the resolution and pastor of Nueva Vida United Methodist Church in Macon and associate director of Connectional Ministries for Hispanic Ministries. “This resolution includes an education program and a system of advocacy and representation. We are pleased that this resolution passed and prayed that this will represent an opportunity to build bridges of Christian love and care among God’s people here in South Georgia.”
The second approved resolution, the “Multiculturalism Taskforce Resolution,” resolves that the bishop appoint a diverse task force to consider the implications of multiculturalism education.
“The members of the Advocacy Team were very pleased that the delegates voted to support the formation of the taskforce,” said Rev. Ashley Randall, a member of the Advocacy Team and pastor of Garden City United Methodist Church. “The tone of some conversations in the public square around the issues of racism, immigration, and inclusiveness had led us to consider how we would respond to any opposition or concerns. Bishop Swanson’s powerful message that God is at work through the Holy Spirit to make us alive together in Christ certainly helped remind us all of God’s vision of a faith community that is always seeking ways to include all those who need the mercy, grace, and love of God.
“I hope the taskforce will receive strong support as they begin their work. If every delegate who voted for the resolution will covenant to continue in prayer and conversation, I am confident that our churches can help lead the way in bearing witness to God’s love for all people.”
Rev. Stacey Harwell-Dye, chair of the Conference’s Advocacy Team and Minister of Community Building at Trinity United Methodist Church in Savannah, sees the approval of both of these resolutions as a positive move towards racial reconciliation.
“The Multicultural Taskforce Resolution recognizes racial injustice and seeks to find the best ways to educate clergy and laity in how to honor one another across our various differences, affirming the value and worth of one another,” she said. “The other resolution focuses on education on the issues surrounding our immigration system and on works of mercy with our undocumented brothers and sisters.
“God has made it evident through scriptures that God cares deeply about reconciliation, both between God and us and between one another. One of Jesus’ final prayers with his gathered disciples was that we may be one and that we may love one another. The Advocacy Team, through its various emphases over the years on multiculturalism, race and religion, and immigration, is excited to see real action taken at Annual Conference that forms task forces around this work. We are eager and ready to be part of whatever takes shape as result of these task forces.”
A third resolution, “A Resolution Regarding the Report to the Bishop and Cabinet Form,” was ruled out of order by the Resolutions Committee because, if approved, the Conference would be out of compliance with the Book of Discipline. Dr. Wayne Moseley, chair of the Resolutions Committee, did state that the bishop and Cabinet are already discussing this matter and understand and agree with the intent of the resolution.
Read the resolutions in their entirety here.