Southeastern Jurisdictional Meeting Update
  • Updates and information can be found here: SEJ Conference Updates 
  • Bishop Sharma Lewis appointed to serve as the new episcopal leader of the Mississippi Annual Conference. Announcing Mississippi's New Episcopal Leader
  • Three new bishops were elected to serve within the Southeastern Jurisdiction:
    • Connie Shelton - Will serve the North Carolina Annual Conference
    • Tom Berlin - Will serve the Florida Annual Conference
    • Robin Dease - Will serve the North Georgia Annual Conference
    • The following link provides information on each episcopal candidate (Dease was a write-in candidate): SEJ Episcopal Nominees
  • Three resolutions were passed (source - SEJ Passes Three Resolutions):
    • Leading with Integrity:  “Leading with Integrity,” submitted by Tennessee lay delegate Jim Allen and newly elected Bishop Robin Dease, South Carolina, passed without amendment.

      The resolution urges those who intend to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church to recuse themselves from leadership roles in the UMC to move forward in fairness and integrity. It also encourages annual conference boards to develop codes of conduct to manage conflicts of interest. 

      The Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett, a clergy reserve delegate from the Mississippi Conference, moved to amend the resolution by adding to those who are encouraged to recuse “those who intend to intentionally violate the Book of Discipline.” The motion to amend failed.

      After speeches for and against the original resolution, the vote was called, and the resolution passed.

    • Justice and Empowerment for LGBTQIA+ People: “Queer Delegates’ Call to Center Justice and Empowerment for LGBTQIA+ People in the UMC,” submitted by nine queer delegates in the SEJ, passed with one amendment changing a word in the resolution from “commit” to “aspire” to make the resolution more aspirational for the SEJ and, therefore, legal.

      The resolution urges the SEJ to support LGBTQIA+ people, affirm a moratorium on lawsuits and complaints surrounding sexual orientation, and not pursue (or resolve complaints in a non-punitive and just manner) against bishops around their sexual orientation or who officiate LGBTQIA+ weddings, and support elections of bishops who uphold this.
      The amendment passed, and then the question was called.

      The amended resolution passed to much applause.

    • A U.S. Regional Conference: “Resolution in Support of a U.S. Regional Conference,” submitted by the Rev. Lisa Yebuah, a North Carolina clergy delegate, and Martha E. Stokes, Virginia lay delegate, also passed, though like the others, with much debate.

      The resolution urges the SEJ to support proposals and expedite processes to help create a regional conference and support the Christmas Covenant and the Connectional Table’s proposals in that vein. Yebuah said the resolution comes after a realization that “we are incredibly western and U.S.-centric in the way we do our work.”

      Some spoke against the amendment, including the Rev. Tiwirai Kufarimai, a clergy delegate from the North Alabama Conference originally hailing from Zimbabwe, who said the SEJ doesn’t need to vote for Africans; they can vote for themselves.

      “Africans have the power to vote, and we don’t want you to vote on our issues. We want to vote on our issues,” he said.
      Odell Horne, a lay delegate from the North Georgia Conference, said the resolution would “only further support White supremacy in The United Methodist Church.”

      The Rev. Magrey deVega, a clergy delegate from the Florida Conference, spoke for the resolution, noting it “offers an exciting and hopeful vision of The United Methodist Church,” affirming our unity across the world and shows us how to be the church amid a changing global landscape.

      The hand vote was close, so the question was called by electronic ballot. The resolution passed 203-115.