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 ...

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