The United Methodist Representational Problem, Part 1



Comments (5)

Comment Feed

Clergy are over represented

50% of all Annual Conference delegates are clergy, while they make up less than 5% of the total membership of the church. Clergy, by common agreement, are generally more theologically liberal than laity, so this makes the makeup of Annual Conference much MUCH more theologically liberal than the bill payer in the pew.

Mike more than 2 years ago

Delegates versus Members of Annual Conferences

Our churches do not send delegates to annual conference. The lay representatives of a church at annual conferences are members of the annual conference just as the clergy are members of the annual conference. An important part of our polity is that the members of the annual conference vote not with an eye toward the impact on my local church but with an understanding of the impact on whole geographic area that makes up the annual conference. It is a reminder that the basic body of the United Methodist Church is the annual conference and that the local church is where mission and ministry happen. There is a major difference between being a delegate (voting in the best interests of your own church) and being a member (voting in the best interests of the Annual Conference). Failure to recognize this point of polity impacts the life of an annual conference.

Tim Crouch more than 2 years ago

No to quotas

Representational Democracy means everyone gets to vote on the person the voter chooses, not that each and every identity group is entitled to be proportionally represented only by members of the same identity group. Your argument presupposes an African-American male Methodist can not be adequately represented by a white female if she happens to win the most votes. I suspect your main concern is the impact of having more rural churches, which probably but not necessarily are more Traditional in their thinking, having a greater impact in Annual Conference voting than churches in more urban areas. While we are on the subject of fairness, aren’t the largest jurisdictions in terms of membership underrepresented in General Conference? Aren’t African Conferences grossly underrepresented? True representational Democracy have delegates to General Conference and the number of Bishops allocated by one man (or woman), one vote.

John more than 2 years ago

The situation will resolve itself

When the split happens I anticipate that the more left-leaning denomination will have a more proportional representation system. It will also more than likely be US based to avoid what happened in February. This will resolve itself.

eric more than 2 years ago

with great intent

The more left-leaning denomination will more than likely be US based for two reasons: First, it will with great intent seek to exclude from its midst those who do not have a thoroughly rationalistic, Westernized, European-Enlightenment-based worldview. Second, it will have little appeal outside the US. Most progressive Christianity is opposed to evangelism and finds abhorrent the deeply charismatic/pentecostal expression of faith so prevalent in the Global South. It is ironically imperialistic, deriding Christians in lands ruled by Europe's colonial empires a century ago as "simplistic," "ignorant," and "immature." US progressives are quick to recognize (and rightfully so) the inherent racism in the three-fifths compromise incorporated in the US constitution, but are unable or unwilling to see it within the UM church (or, perhaps recognize it but dismiss it in search of power).

John more than 2 years ago

We Appreciate Your Support

     As we face challenging times, United Methodist Insight welcomes your financial support to bring you news and views of The United Methodist Church in a world seeking a new future.

     TEXT your contribution to 84-321 with "(amt) Insight" via your smartphone or go to Your additional contribution of the 2.2% processing fee will make your donation go farther.

     Make CHECKS payable to our sponsoring congregation, St. Stephen UMC, and write "UM Insight" on the memo line. Then mail to United Methodist Insight, c/o St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 2520 Oates Drive, Mesquite, TX 75150. Thank you!