Scholar Poses Critical Questions of Call to Action

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Dr. Trotter's Comment

Editor's note: We believe that Dr. Trotter meant to write in his last sentence: "Our genius has been our mobility and our unique form of missional democracy which I fear we will LOSE in a corporate model."

Our editing system is set up to retain users' comments as they're submitted, and therefore doesn't permit us to correct even typographical errors. However, we feel fairly certain of this revision given the context of Dr. Trotter's comment. We invite correction if we've misread the statement.

Cynthia Astle more than 5 years ago

Tom Frank's critique

As always, Tom has helpfully analyzed the proposals and given all of us fair warning about the possible outcomes of the restructuring. As a former general secretary (BHEM 1973-1985) I find the proposals continuing our slide into corporate management patterns. The reduction of leadership by conflating the boards and agencies is very troublesome to me. Reducing leadership to handful of persons with a single executive diminishes the missional genius of the church. The UMC historically allowed missional impulses to create centers of activity that eventually became boards. Since the restructure arrangements of 1972, the UMC has moved inexorably in the direction of corporate management and centralization. The theme may be called "from mission to management." Our genius has been our mobility and our unique form of missional democracy which I fear we will love in a corporate model.

Tom Trotter more than 5 years ago

Dr. Frank's critique

His insights are very helpful. An additional concern that we can't forget is the emergence of the laity as 50% partner in the governance of the denomination. The polity issue of balance of power between episcopacy and conferences is a clergy issue as stated, but with laity now voting in the conferences, the balance has already been turned away from the classically-described situation. We laity bring an entirely different view to that question, based on our preference for the American style of government.

His questions are astute. As proposed in the legislation, the CCMM is the executive missional agency for the general church, but not the whole denomination. That is definitely the intent as recommended by the IOT. As for whether it is "right-sized", much argument will continue to center around that question as we move toward General Conference.

Jay Brim more than 5 years ago