The Judicial Council recently met to discuss and rule on GC and Annual Conference decisions. At the Wisconsin Annual Conference in 2012 a question came up concerning the formation of a Clergy Covenant task force. Bishop Lee’s decision was upheld by the Judicial Council. See the link under Coucil roundup for more information.
Fall 2012 Judicial Council roundup
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (UMNS) — A United Methodist bishop can be placed in involuntary retirement. That was among the rulings by the denomination’s top court at its Oct. 24-27 session. The Judicial Council also reviewed various bishop rulings on sexuality matters. Read story and post a comment
Judicial Council upholds security of appointment
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s top court has struck down legislation approved by General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly, that would have weakened job security for clergy. Read story and post a comment
Court to weigh end of clergy job guarantees
ELK GROVE, Ill. (UMNS) — Does eliminating guaranteed full-time appointments for elders violate The United Methodist Church’s constitution? The denomination’s top court this week will take up that question. In addition to the constitutional issue, the Judicial Council could weigh whether the church’s top legislative body actually made the intended change to guaranteed appointments at all. Read full story and post a comment
As per The Book of Discipline 2008, # 27. Article V – election of bishop(s) is one of the duties of JC (of the six duties) and election of bishops is the second duty. The very first one is: “to promote the evangelistic, educational, missionary, and benevolent interests of the church and to provide the interests and institutions within the boundaries.” Because we have been missing the “evangelistic and missionary” focus, the numbers are decreasing at all levels. I don’t mean numbers are everything but it is one of the critical elements of being part of UMC. Delegates are elected based on numbers – number of people on roll and in the pews and that’s the reality. WAC has paid GC apportionment for more than two decades – almost close to quarter century.
With a heavy heart, I like to share the following:
Since GC 2012, I have been hearing – Sam, so, now, Dakotas and Minnesota have become two-point conference, when is WAC going to be part of two-point conference?
I hope and pray that that does not happen but with my humble and simple prayer: “Thy will be done in WAC, as it is in heaven.”
What I am learning – nothing is new, we have been talking (making tires) about all these things (changes) for years/decades. When are these tires going to hit the road? We are filled with fine and fantastic ideas but no strategy to implement them that reformation of the church and transformation of the world would happen. Yes, I am part of partying and celebrating all the good ministries with and around us but not enough for and in the global church and the kingdom. We have the potential to do great things.
Looking forward to a Future with Missional Hope!
You could say, then, that this conference is not exciting. Perhaps. Our plenary sessions have been times to hear reports from committees and ministries around the jurisdiction. Sometimes interesting, sometimes rote.
What I have enjoyed most is building relationships with those in the Wisconsin delegation and other delegates, especially young adults, from around the jurisdiction. I have also enjoyed and been fed by hearing our Bishops preach.
What we have lost in frenzy, we have made up for in time for reflection. We are still processing the effects of General Conference. Bishop Keaton, in his Thursday morning sermon, mused about the role of redemptive suffering in General Conference. Is it possible, he wondered, that the suffering of General Conference was the best thing that could have happened to us? I am willing to entertain Bishop Keaton’s idea, especially because his reinterpretation will stick with me and hopefully chip away at my disappointment. Hopefully. His reflection is one among many.
As for me, I am learning much about this level of our church’s ministry and I am honored to be representing Wisconsin, hoping in four years to enjoy for the first time the frenzy of multiple episcopal elections!
The most obvious difference in this Jurisdictional Conference is the lack of elections. One of our bishops shared with me that this has not happened in North Central since 1956. At my first Jurisdictional Conference as a delegate we elected four Bishops.
A less obvious difference is the steadily decreasing number of delegates to our Jurisdictional Conference. At my first Jurisdictional Conference, there were 364 delegates. This year there are 242. In 2008 Wisconsin had 20 Jurisdictional Delegates. This year we have 12.
Each Conference has twice the number of Jurisdictional delegates as its number of General Conference delegates. Because of membership decline in North Central and membership growth in Africa, we have fewer delegates. While this does reduce expense somewhat, it reduces both the number and diversity of voices that are included in this important process.
The other difference I see so far is an undercurrent of discomfort with “business as usual.” Just as at General Conference, there is a sense that “the way we have always done it” is not bringing us the results we want. I anticipate some substantive discussion on the role and function of the Jurisdiction today.
For me, personally, the biggest difference is that I am a part of the Wisconsin delegation. I was a delegate from the former South Indiana Conference the prior four Jurisdictional Conferences. It has been a joy to reconnect with old friends from Indiana and other Conferences this week. And a joy to work with new friends from Wisconsin. Thanks for including a “new kid on the block” as a part of our team.