Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No "Archbishop" for the UMC, and No more Guaranteed Appointments

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has defeated a proposal that would allow the Council of Bishops to elect a full-time president without residential responsibilities.  The position has been given several different labels by various observers.  -  I have talked about it in terms of being an archbishop or a presiding bishop.  (Though I have argued elsewhere that, for the Church of the Nazarene, and other Wesleyans/Methodists, the episcopacy resides in the superintendency.  Thus, for Nazarenes, district superintendents are really residential bishops, while general superintendents are really "archbishops."  In the UMC, where the term bishop is used, the role has developed somewhat differently.)

Since this proposal would have been a change to the constitution, it require a two thirds majority vote.  With 490 in favor of the proposal and 399 opposed to it, the two thirds requirement was not reached.  -  Personally, I favored the proposal, though I think, perhaps it should have been the General Conference's role to elect such a person, rather than have the Council of Bishops make the decision.  But, such an idea is irrelevant, now!

More information about this action can be found, here.

Also of great interest to most UMC elders (presbyters) and those in the process toward holy orders has been the proposal that would end "guaranteed appointments" for elders in full connection.  It has always been understood to be the "covenant" that elders would agree to go wherever they were sent, and they were always guaranteed that they would have an appointment.  -  That is no longer the case!

According to this report at The United Methodist Reporter site, the General Conference has voted to do away with guaranteed appointments.  -  This is an action that will undoubtedly not be received well by several elders in the UMC.  -  There are now calls for "term limits" for bishops, to go along with this move.  Certain clergy have argued that justice would demand such additional action.


Ken L. Hagler said...

I wouldn't say "justice" demands the action but common sense would. I am disappointed in the Rev. Carter's words to just move on.

Todd Stepp said...

It seems that the resolution for term limits for bishops has failed.