The General Conference Of The United Methodist Church

2389 Words Nov 12th, 2014 10 Pages
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted in 1968 to abolish the African-American Central Jurisdiction and to merge all churches regardless of race under the new United Methodist Church. It set a goal for each Annual Conference area to merge together by 1972. South Carolina began discussions on merger as early as 1966, but it took until 1972 to accomplish the goal. The two conferences, the all-white 1785 Conference, and the African-American 1866 Conference merged at the 1972 Annual Conference meetings in Spartanburg. This paper will focus on the issues that faced the merger starting with the first Plan for Merger in 1970 until the completion of the merger in 1972.
The issue of merger for the South Carolina Annual Conference came at a time when racial tensions were very high. A hotbed for the racial tensions in South Carolina was Orangeburg. In 1968 the “Orangeburg Massacre” occurred where protestors of segregation were killed by police officers. In the midst of this was Trinity United Methodist church where, “at times were meetings at the church every night.” At the time the NAACP was being led by I.D. Newman who was a Methodist minister. Not all race relations in the state ended with violence. Clemson University was able to integrate with little issues in 1963 when Harvey Gantt enrolled at Clemson, where the President was R.C. Edwards a Methodist layman. It was into this climate that the two Conferences, 1866 and 1785, were trying for forge…
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