By Kara Witherow, Editor
While seven resolutions have been presented to the Conference Committee on Resolutions for consideration and vote by the 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference, there’s an eighth - and perhaps less obvious - resolution contained in the 2022 Book of Recommendations and Reports.
Written into Recommendation 1 of the Conference Board of Trustees’ report is a resolution stating the intent of the Conference Trustees to extend South Georgia’s current disaffiliation policy through December 31, 2024.
Already voted on and approved by the Trustees, the resolution states, “the Trustees wish to provide a means for local churches desiring to exit the denomination on the terms outlined in ¶2553 after the expiration of ¶2553.”
With the further postponement of General Conference to 2024, the Trustees believe it is important to give South Georgia congregations additional time to pray, discern, and make decisions, said Dr. Jimmy Asbell, president of the Conference Board of Trustees.
“It was the intent of the Trustees to prevent an unpredictable or unanticipated closing of a window and force a church to make a decision it was otherwise not prepared or not desiring to make,” he said. “We didn’t want time to be the deciding factor but wanted to give congregations time to make informed, prayerful decisions. If us honoring the terms a year longer does that, we think that’s in the best interest of the Conference.”
The Conference’s disaffiliation policy, approved during the 2019 Annual Conference session, grants local churches limited rights to exit the denomination prior to December 31, 2023.
“I am grateful to Jimmy Asbell and the Trustees for putting together this recommendation,” said Dr. Jay Harris, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministerial Services. “Being able to set deadlines after General Conference meets makes a world of difference. I hear of too many instances where churches feel under pressure to rush toward disaffiliation in order to beat deadlines. This is not a time to be propelled by fear and anxious emotion.”
The Conference Board of Trustees’ report can be read beginning on page 31 of the “Book of Recommendations and Reports.”