Change in the UMC!?

My brother Richard blogged last week about a meeting at which he and other clergy and lay leaders in the Texas Conference were informed of new methodology in the appointment process. At this gathering, they were told, in brief,that

the new system is based, we were told repeatedly, on data, not merely relationships (being a Good Old Boy) and salary sheets. Data are good. They’re objective. They’re ready to hand. But they’re also infinite.

Richard has an interesting discussion following.

This week I was pleasantly surprised to find out that our bishop, Bishop Mike Lowry, had published his own letter on the “new way” clergy appointments would be made.

Bishop Lowry openly shares 6 openings.  Further, he invites anyone interested in any of these appointments to “please contact your district superintendent no later than Friday, Feb. 6.”

Just last year one church that knew its senior pastor would be moved in June was told that if they gave the bishop and cabinet names of specific individuals they would like to be considered for that spot, it was sure to mark that person off the list.

Just one year later, and we’ve come full circle.

I am very skeptical that the “good ol’ boy” system can be killed so swiftly, but we are indeed moving in the right direction.

6 thoughts on “Change in the UMC!?

  1. Steve,

    I, too, am skeptical of the speed at which they may eliminate the “old order” of appointments. I am afraid that good intentions will be swallowed up in the inertia of the UMC.


  2. I am impressed with the desire Bishop Lowry has shown to make the workings of our annual conference more “transparent.”

    I believe Bishop Lowry is going to be a leader.

  3. I am interested in the possibility of seeing it work. I hope it doesn’t create a cottage industry for rumors and rumors of rumors. But some of that exists now anyways.

    Hypothetical: What if no one applies for the open church?

  4. I, too, am cynical (if not, skeptical). It was interesting the churches listed: Truthfully, most were student-level appointments, and to even use that kind of language reveals our old-school, hierarchical thinking. Further and realistically, does one think that because one would “show interest” in a cabinet level position, they are an automatic shoe in? Doubt it! I think we need to think even beyond what the bish was proposing. I think the issue should not be about rearranging the priorities but more about equity and about how can we really spread things out in a more equitable fashion. Otherwise, it will only come across as a few trickles of change and not systemic change, which is, I believe, what we truly need.

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