On Thursday afternoon, after a day of voting with no election of a third bishop, the Rev. Edith Gleaves, the episcopal nominee from the North Carolina Conference, withdrew her nomination after the results of ballot 21 were read. She gave the following speech about her withdrawal:
My name is Edie Gleaves and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to offer myself to service in the name of Jesus Christ. It has been an honor. It also breaks my heart to see how far we haven’t come. I’ve been a part of this United Methodist Church since it became the United Methodist Church. I was a child at eight years old and I remember my parents and the adults standing around, talking about what would the future look like. Although we have desegregated in writing, in law, what will it mean practically? Will we as black people truly be included as a part of the whole church? Many felt no we would not and decided to leave and if they were here today, they would say, “See, told ya so.” But we have come from a mighty long way. We’ve got a mighty long way to go. I believe someday, we’ll get there because this church belongs to Jesus Christ and not to us and the racism, the sexism that’s still so much a part of who we are, this sin, this evil, this injustice, we can be better. We can do better. So I step away, not to give in to those forces but so that we can move forward and hopefully, move forward to a better day and a better time. Thanks again to all those who have loved me and shaped me and formed me and gave me this opportunity to stand before you now. That’s no small thing and I am grateful for it. My prayers are with us all. God bless us.