Jump directly to the content

United Methodists Vote to End Guaranteed Clergy Appointments

Clergy appointments have been guaranteed since the 1950s.

In a move that will give bishops more flexibility to remove ineffective pastors, the United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday to end guaranteed clergy appointments.

Clergy appointments have been guaranteed since the 1950s, when they were instituted to protect ministers from discrimination or arbitrary abuse, supporters say. But critics say those original goals have helped mediocre clergy retain their posts. A commission studying the appointments said a more "nimble" process was necessary.

We Chang, a Belmont, Mass., pastor, argued unsuccessfully for the UMC reconsider the issue, United Methodist News Service reported.

"We have just done away with the security of appointment," he said, "that allowed us to have much gender and racial justice in terms of our appointments."

But Ken Carter, a district superintendent from North Carolina, thought the vote should stand and the focus should not be on providing guaranteed appointments.

"We want to place the emphasis on the mission – making disciples of Jesus of Christ for the transformation of the world," he said.

The Study of Mission Commission recommended the change in policy, as the UMC searches for ways to stanch a decades-long decline in U.S. membership.

"We acknowledge the difficulties associated with this vision such as uncertainty, loss of security, caring for those in employment transitions, concern about episcopal authority, and loss of historic protections," the commission wrote in its report to the General Conference. "We feel strongly, however, that this vision is critical for the fulfillment of the church's mission."

Related Topics:None
Posted:May 1, 2012 at 4:10PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.

Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.
Login
or
Subscribe
or
Register
Recent Posts
New Poverty-Fighting Alliance Launches
World Relief, Germany-based PartnerAid combine to grow programs, donor base.
Bible Society Takes 'More Accurate and Hopeful' Stance on Scripture Skeptics
(UPDATED) No more 'Bible antagonists,' among many findings in this year's ABS/Barna 'State of the Bible' report.
Popular Pastor Resigns after 'Moral Failure,' But Followers Still Want His Sermons
Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale explains why it took down Bob Coy's teachings on marriage.
Crimea Adoptions to Americans Blocked by Russia
(UPDATED) Ukraine has replaced Russia as No. 3 source of U.S. adoptions. But Crimea crisis has Christian alliance preparing evacuation plan for 4,000 orphans.