Why so much secrecy? It must be time for Annual Conference!

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Every year, there is a shroud of secrecy hovering about the Conference (any AME Annual Conference...pick one) concerning pastoral appointments. Preachers must learn to put glue in their mouths to keep others from discovering appointments (Bishop C.E. Thomas would tell a pastor that one when considering to move that person). What would happen if the pastor was able to learn from the Bishop early which church and when the move would take place? Will we ever get to that place in time when a pastor will know where he/she will be going in order to make his family's transition a smooth one? Is it because of jealousy which perpetuates the "code of silence?" Will the shroud ever be lifted?

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2002


This is one issue that has been worrying me for a long time as well. WE are Episcopal and the bishop has the final say where preachers must be stationed, but the way how this issue is beeing dealt with, especially by some Presiding Elders is a major concern. I believe that in as much as a bishop can't solely decide what moves are in the best interet of the church, Presiding Elders must also consult on this issue. The problem, however, is that in the Afriucan context at least, being a Presiding Elder is perceived, addressed and handled as a another Order above itinerant elder orders. During the most recent Namibia Conference I have observed how one Presiding Elder has manouvered to remove an itinerant elder irrespective of the latters good performance. It was done simply because the Presiding Elder has a hidden agenda unknown to the Bishop. Initially the elder refused to be moved, but later gave in due to the pressure from the Presiding Elder!! In my view all removals should be in the interest of the church and the pastor(s) concerned. We as itinerant elder of this denomination give our lives to this church, and in the African context the overwhelming majority of pastors earn less than $500 (US) per annum. In some cases these pastors even pay conference obligation from their limited resources, in order to keep the church moving. But when you are out of favour with your Presiding Elder the sacrifices and commitment of the pastor and his family does not count in his/her favour. The problem is that African people are not vocal on this issues and many bishops (due to the lack of information) just take whatever information they are fed by the Presiding Elder, on face value. It is a sad state of affairs in our denomination and no denial will help to rectify the situation.

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2002

I must say that the process is very much out dated. When one understands the same grief experienced by any type of loss, is the same felt be both the pastor/family and congregation. Just as when one leaves employment provision are made for transition. A healthy transition should be the ultimate desire. There have been many times, when congregations are informed of the Pastor's departure on the floor of the Annual Conference, this is not healthy! We all known that changes will occur. The United Methodist Church does not do any surprises. All congregations go through a transitioning process for at least six months, everyone knows who is leaving and who their next pastor will be prior to the conference. Come AMEC let's get with the 21st century, playing games with people lives is not Christian. Why all of the suspence? What is so secreative? What is wrong with having everything disclosed? Many the position of Presiding Elder needs to be looked at closer and especially, determine what their role is in the 21st century! Could it be that various moves are made when a person should be supported for treatment or sabbatical? According to the experts in a system, change can and will occur by ones own individual actions. It only took Richard Allen and others followed to start the AMEC, John & Charles Wesley, to found and organize the Methodist Church? What does that say to each of us today? My prayer is that the voting of Bishops be done away with, did Jesus vote or hold an election for the 12 apostles? It only takes one to begin a movement! My personal prayer is the AMEC seek the face of God, yield to the Holy Spirit in all things, encourage discipleship and not just the conversion experience. God is calling each of us to holiness, for He is Holy! Let's get back to basics! Doing it the Jesus way, will always bring forth, good results.


-- Anonymous, October 01, 2002

Correct me if I'm wrong doesn't the Discipline address this issue. If, I recall correctly some notice must be given if a major change is going to take place. Is it 30 or 60 days?

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2002

The Minister's "Bill of Rights" requires that the Bishop notify a pastor in writing that he/she is being considered for reassignment 90 days prior to the opening of the Conference.

In some conferences this pro forma letter is sent to all pastors as a matter of course.

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2002

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