General Conference elections

Friends, colleagues, and church family, in anticipation of this year’s Annual Conference and elections for the 2016 General Conference, I felt compelled to share the following message with clergy in South Carolina.  I want to share it with you as well and ask you to start praying, or to continue to pray, for all of our delegates and for our whole Connection.


I have had a lot of folks ask me if I want to be elected as a delegate to General Conference. I understand the reason for the questions. After coming so close to being elected bishop in 2012, I told our jurisdictional delegation that I was “done,” and it was a good reflection of my feelings in the moment. But I have also never ceased to try to discern God’s call and to offer faithful service at all levels of the Connection. God willing, I have 13 more years to serve and I plan on doing it! I look older than I am!

After much prayer, I am not ready to give up the hard fought efforts that I think are necessary to preserve and renew the UMC. With so many people trying to push the denomination into intractable corners, we must be extra vigilant to maintain our identity. One of the issues coming up in 2016 is a subtle approach to split us into a regional polity that would allow UM’s in one region or another to have their own separate Book of Discipline. It is a circuitous method to move towards local options that are the antithesis of our connectionalism.

On hot-button issues this brand of congregationalism, in my opinion, would make lawyers extremely happy and could ultimately cause a mass exodus of faithful United Methodists who would rather stay together.  This was evident during the four years I spent as a member of the Worldwide UMC Study Committee, which was established by the 2008 General Conference to engage these very issues throughout the global church, and it remains so today.  I want to keep working for our denomination to find fresh ways to serve new, younger, and more diverse people without compromising the core values of our beliefs. I firmly believe in a mission statement that makes disciples for Jesus, and affirms through the Connection that “Together We Can Do More!”

So, as you vote for clergy delegates, please prayerfully consider voting for me. I love being back in the local church as the pastor of St. John’s in Aiken, but I still feel gifted and called to serve on the larger stage of our denomination. I need your help to speak up prophetically. I agree with Wesley: “In essentials, let there be unity; in non-essentials, let there be liberty; in all things, charity.” We are at a critical juncture of discernment in the UMC as we carefully define the essentials and the peripheral. Thanks!

Tim McClendon

Involvement in the United Methodist Connection

Effective local church pastor; Delegate to 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 General Conferences; District Superintendent (8 years); Conference Parliamentarian (21 years); Chair, Annual Conference Restructuring; Denman Evangelism Award recipient; Exec. Comm. Bd. of Ordained Ministry; Member of General Council on Ministries; Native American Forum; GBHEM Native American Scholarship Committee, SC AC Comm. on Native American Ministry

Connectional Table (8 years); World Wide Nature of the UMC Study Committee, Taught “Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit” and “UM Discipline and Polity” at Candler (12 years), and UM History at Lutheran Seminary; Chair, SEJ Rules Committee, and two quadrennia on SEJ Episcopacy Committee (second longest tenure on the comm.); 2011 Candler Distinguished Alumni Award; current member of General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR)

General Conference and BOD legislation writer for 4 General Agencies of the UMC; published in Circuit Rider numerous times; and author of “A Potter’s View” Blog which has been frequently cited on

12 thoughts on “General Conference elections

  1. Although I am not in your annual conference and cannot vote for you, I am glad to hear that you are willing to serve as a delegate to General Conference. I am grateful for your voice in our jurisdiction and in our connection.

    My wife’s maternal grandfather, Jewel MacElrath, served for many years in your conference. In fact, he lived for many years in Aiken.

    George Riggins
    Virginia Conference

    1. Thanks, George, and glad to hear of the Aiken connection – a great place! Appreciate your kind words, tim

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Mar 23, 2015, at 5:11 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

  2. I have no vote, but if I did, you would receive it.

    It is distressing to hear of those who wish to tear our church apart, to undo our connectionalism


    1. Thanks, Ken! tim

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Mar 23, 2015, at 5:19 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

  3. I can’t vote for clergy at Annual Conference, but I would certainly vote for you. I agree with your concerns for our church and that is why I have offered myself to be a lay delegate to General Conference. If any of your laity friends ask about folks on the laity side to send to General Conference, I hope that you will mention my name to them. That being said, I also must tell you that I really would hate to see you leave St. John’s so soon. But, I certainly would support the decisions you make and what would be best for the greater good of our denomination.

    1. David, This is about being a delegate to General Conference! We love St. John’s! I’ve been a delegate to GC 5 times and know we’re at a very critical juncture. God bless you in your journey, too. This isn’t about leaving this church but about working to help our church! tim

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Mar 23, 2015, at 7:01 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

      1. Thanks for the clarification, Tim. We need you at General Conference, and other delegates like you. Thank you for all that you do.

      2. Glad to clarify! tim

        Sent from my iPhone

        On Mar 23, 2015, at 9:39 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

  4. Tim we still wish to thank you for the time you spent with us at Anderson Dist. Clergy Covenant meeting. Though we are not voters in SC conference or now back home in EOC, we do agree for the need “to start praying, or to continue to pray, for all of our delegates and for our whole Connection”. Blessings!
    Dear Father of us all, may our hearts be filled with the Holy Spirit to quide our church to be the true bride of Christ. May those elected remember they are representing; the youngest to the oldest, the non-voter to the voter, the smallest to the largest congragtions and to bring alive the mission of the church – to glorify God. In Jesus Christ name we pray and for whom we live. AMEN

    1. Amen, Don & Karen! Thanks, tim

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Mar 24, 2015, at 12:04 AM, A Potter's View wrote:

  5. Thanks, Tim for offering yourself again. This time I hope the church will not drop the ball and elect you to the office for which you are so well prepared to serve.

    1. Bill, Thanks! Appreciate our friendship and your affirmation. Just trying to be in delegation, tim

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Mar 25, 2015, at 9:38 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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