Editorial Analysis: Pitfalls of the UMC Personnel Process

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Unlike secular organizations, we are only able to review a bishop's performance and determine whether the ultimate corrective of involuntary retirement is necessary every four years. There is no mechanism to give another year (for example) and then review that. Any delay is simply a decision to allow the bishop in question to serve another four years.

Creed Pogue more than 4 years ago

Metrics and Success

Thank you, Cynthia, for this thoughtful analysis of the situation. I very much agree that with the problem of using numerical metrics as the measure of success. I had written about that as well here: https://thoughtfulpastor.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/the-impossibility-of-proving-a-negative-why-metrics-dont-work-as-evaluative-tools/.

It could be a huge gift to the church were Bishop Bledsoe to resume local church ministry and take what he has learned to that venue. But if he decides to fight this, it seems to me that he will be holding the church in hostage in order to keep his job. However, these evaluative issues really do need to be cleared up--and perhaps there is a way to do that, using this experience as a door to greater clarity.

Christy Thomas more than 4 years ago

Is Involuntary Retirement of a Bishop Legal in our Polity?

Thank you, Cynthia, for your careful and caring analysis of the process used to retire Bishop Bledsoe, involuntarily.

My concern, though, is one of, for lack of a better phrase, theoretical polity. Bishops hold an office; unlike the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church, the episcopacy is not an order. Bishops remain as elders. Historically, we have deemed that only annual conferences can retire an elder, involuntarily. If a bishop is to be terminated from an office, it would make more sense that the Bishop in question be returned to the clergy membership of the annual conference from whence s/he was elected. It is the clergy membership in full connection of an Annual Conference, the ones who are members of Orders themselves, in our polity, who have the right to retire someone against his/her will. The Committee on Episcopacy of the SC Jurisdiction, well-intentioned as I'm sure it was, really only have a say about who can continue in the OFFICE of the Episcopacy. They may be "retiring" him as a bishop, but I question whether that constitutes an involuntary retirement of a bishop from his/her orders.

That question is worth the consideration of the Judicial Council.

Tom Griffith more than 4 years ago

Editorial analysis

Thank you, Cynthia, for a thoughtful analysis of this unprecedented situation. I hope Bishop Bledsoe will decide that an appeal to the Judicial Council will be counterproductive for him and for the church. I suspect a local church would gratefully receive his spiritual leadership.

Rich Peck more than 4 years ago