Moving beyond the trauma and dysfunction



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One More Difference

I agree with Bishop Tuell (which may be a surprise to both of us!) But there is one more issue that makes us distinctively different from other Protestant denominations: we operate on a "sent" system rather than a "call" system. The latter is where local churches 'call' their own pastor, whom they select, even if from a limited universe of clergy who have "standing" in any particular area. Our system of sending out clergy by Episcopal appointment, in theory, at least, gives us the freedom to have clergy sent to serve churches who need their particular expertise at any given point in time. It worked well when clergy were all single, or clergy spouses were not employed outside the home. Likewise, when the life expectancy of clergy was not as long as it is now, retired clergy did not live much longer than the time of their retirement.
Now, when clergy spouses typically work outside the home and have their own employment, and when (as it is in CA where I'm from), if a pastor cannot afford to buy a house while still in the active relationship, s/he won't have the capital appreciation to afford to buy a house within the bounds of his/her own annual conference when s/he retires.
These are economic realities in the world in which we are called to live in, but not be "of." Would a "call" system be more practical? I doubt it. I watch churches that operate within "call" systems, who have to go without a pastor for 18-30 months before they find a new pastor to "call." That hurts a church far more then theological differences. But those denominations have one thing that could help us keep more focus on our primary ministry: helping Disciples grow through the process of sanctification. That one difference is that they have persons who carry out the specific task of "interim" pastors. They are trained to help heal a congregation that is split, help churches figure out what they need, and can become the "sacrificial lambs" following a long-time pastor knowing that this is their role, rather than feeling guilty for not being able to help a church change following that long-term pastor.
If we could find ways to train clergy, perhaps those in the last decade of their ministry, be available to take shorter-term appointments that would help pave the way for a new pastor to come in ready to help that church move into a new phase of its life without fighting the battle of not being "beloved Rev. Pastor" who came before him/her, we could have the best parts of both systems.
That, more than eliminating guaranteed appointment (which is the flip side of the same coin of having a "sent" system), would, IMHO, help us move on to being a significant voice in the US in the 21st century.

Tom Griffith more than 9 years ago

Trauma & Dysfunction

Sage wisdom by the bishop. Jeff Conn is spot on.

However, by following Bishop Tuell’s suggestions, we could create a central conference for the USA, elect bishops there, and do away with jurisdictional conferences. Think of the money saved, and if nothing else occurs at “general conference,” at least we would have elected some bishops.

Naw . . . that won’t work. I think the northeast and west might be afraid of getting a bishop from the southeast or south central who might emphasize outreach and evangelism.

Allison Cambre more than 9 years ago

Democracy and Peace

True Democracy is an ideal government to avoid civil war. There is input from all concerns; so, no one gets their way entirely and no one is entirely defeated. This reduces the critical need to leave and rebel. One has to accept that a clear and decisive course of action is unlikely except for very clear situations where there is only one course of action.
In the past our church has taken action by majority without consensus leading to so many different forms of Methodism. These brakes if we look back are usually relevant to a particular place and time. For example, one is Protestant Methodism.
In our mergers of 1968 we affirmed the important faith we hold in common and realized we need to embrace each other as Christians. Other issues were not as important. Ironical we have been disagreeing ever since.
Perhaps we need to embrace our differences in Christian dialoged. We need to recognize and cherish the Christian understandings of our opponents. From that position we may grow in true Christian love. If we cannot come to one position, maybe we should not. We should continue to discuss not argue until we truly understand or the issue become mute.

Ron McKinstry more than 9 years ago

Back to the Basics

If we agree that we are Methodists, can we not begin with the scripture and John Wesley's way of living it out? Sure Methodists around the globe believe in the same basic things, Wesley's essentials We believe in one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; we believe that Jesus was at once totally human and totally God, and that he died to offer us salvation from the sure penalty for our sins; we believe that the Holy Spirit is present in the body of Christ, the church. These are the eternal truths. Are not cultural differences transitory? The apostles mediated between the jewish converts and the gentile converts and by naming some of the Hellenistic Christians to minister with them.Are we not one body? One church? the General Conference should preside over the substance and practice of our beliefs, and let each jurisdiction and central conference deal with their cultural interpretations of them.

geri rapino more than 9 years ago

how can we become regional?

I hear your cncerns, Bishop, but how do we get folks to vote for the US being a regional conference when that would end their control over homosexuality? They won't go for it. maybe if we defy the rules often enough they will be glad to let us go?

Jeff Conn more than 9 years ago

World Wide Nature of the Church

I applaud the realistic assessment of the Global Nature of the Church as presented by Bishop Jack Tuell. It has to be a global structure that is democratic in governance, diverse in composition and sharing in support.
I come from the experience of being in a missionary church attaining autonomy in management its mission in its own national context and maintaining affiliation and seeking alliances outside the country to fulfill its responsibility in a globalized situation.
The need is to develop the status as envisaged in the "regional conferences" and allow US Methodism and other remaining Central Conferences to engage more fully and authentically in its own mission. .
Only then can we relate to regional conferences and other affiliated autonomous Methodist churches because of our shared history and common commitment to collaborate to respond to issues nationally and internationally.

Yap Kim Hao more than 9 years ago