Three resolutions have been presented for consideration and vote by the 2017 South Georgia Annual Conference. 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 calls 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.
A portion of the resolution states “…we, the Hispanic/Latino pastors and allies of the South Georgia Conference, call on the presiding Bishop of the Annual Conference to form a specific task force for the purpose of developing a strategy to provide education to the members of the South Georgia Conference, both clergy and laity, about the history of immigration throughout the centuries and human and civil rights concerning our undocumented members. And to encourage members of our South Georgia United Methodist churches who so choose to engage in concrete Wesleyan works of piety and mercy – seeking justice, ending discrimination and addressing the needs of the poor – on behalf of our undocumented neighbors.”
The second resolution, “A Resolution Regarding the Report to the Bishop and Cabinet Form,” was written and submitted by Revs. Garth Duke-Barton, David Wood, Michael Finn, Tammy Fincannon, Randy Mosely, and Rebecca Duke-Barton. It aims to revise the current “Report to the Bishop and Cabinet” form with language that attempts to lengthen appointments and lessen anxiety surrounding potential appointment changes.
“The reasoning behind the resolution is fairly simple,” said Rev. Garth Duke-Barton. “Knowing that both the church and the pastor agreed to the itinerate system when we became United Methodist, the appointive process can still create feelings of angst and pain for the clergy and the church, especially if a move is requested early in the ministry. Our hope with this resolution is to rethink the process of the form mailed each year to the church and pastor such that we would lovingly create longer and healthier tenures for pastors and churches.”
South Georgia’s Advocacy Discipleship Team submitted the third resolution, the “Multiculturalism Taskforce Resolution,” which resolves that the bishop appoint a diverse task force to consider the implications of multiculturalism education.
“It is clear that Jesus wanted his disciples not only to stay committed to God, but also to one another,” said Rev. Ashley Randall, a member of the Advocacy Team and pastor of Garden City United Methodist Church. “At the heart of the commandment to love one another is the reminder that all of us are made in the image of our creator. Paul was committed to reminding the early Christian community that faith in Jesus Christ makes us all children of God. We are all part of the same family because of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. It is as though all former classifications have been eliminated. That is not what we experience in our current cultural context, either in the church or in our wider social settings. We believe the church has an opportunity and a responsibility to initiate conversations which may help us recognize and affirm our common identity as children of God, and move us to discover ways to accept and honor one another. It is time for the people of God to build the kind of loving relationships Christ envisioned.”
The resolutions will be presented to the annual conference Monday afternoon, June 5.
Read the resolutions in their entirety here.