Clergy Age Limit : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Unless the law is changed at the General Conference, it is my understanding that ministers over the age of 75 may not receive an appointment from the presiding bishop. How does this affect those conferences that convene before the general conference? Will ministers in those conferences get an extra year? Also what is the probability that this will be overturned and if this age limit is removed, will we also remove the age limit for the bishops?

-- Anonymous, November 11, 2003


Why would anyone over 75 want an appointment? And why would a church want a minister over 75? I understand the age limit applies to all ministers, local and itinerant regardless of assignment which would include bishops and presiding elders. This is a good law because we need a youth movement in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. If you don't think so, look at the ages of the participants at your next PE and Bishop's meeting.

Be Blessed.

-- Anonymous, November 11, 2003

I aggre with Brother Parish. Yes sir we need youth in all areas of the AME Connection.

-- Anonymous, November 11, 2003

The retirement piece is a hot topic! This law will stand due to the fact that the age limit and retirement of Bishops will not be repealed any time soon! However, there is the "loophole" of the conference asking for the perspective retirees to stick around due to the lack of qualifed persons for the numerous slots (pulpits).

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2003

Parson Allen:

Not to be a strict grammarian, but, I believe your last reply reads better if you used the term "prospective" retirees as oppossed to "perspective" retirees. I'm sure we would agree that our Zion is better served with fewer perspectives and more prospects :-) QED

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2003

If I understand it correctly, there are more clergy than there are churches so I don't see filling the pulpits as a difficult task considering this obvious fact. My conference as an abundance of folks waiting for churches that are not even close to 75.

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2003

It is similar inthe Texas Conference where the Ministers Not Pastoring (MNP) outnumber the pastors. As for "who would want to pastor", the recently retired E.E. Coates wanted to pastor well past 75. I believe he was 80+ when he stepped down lasst year.

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2003

Right you are my honorable friend on the "right"...the Professor From Tallyho! However, the church would benefit from new perspectives in terms of addressing this age limit. The time has arrived for a retooling of views and objectives. As I see it, from my perspective, it can no longer be ignored. There will be some with personal perspective attempting to benefit from a prospective opportunity.

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

Hi, Ray, I am curious where in our denomination are there pulpits that are not filled? You said there was a "loophole" because some retirees might be asked to stick around.

And please tell us what church in atlanta might pull out. If you have changed your mind about telling us can you say that also. For several of us have asked and there has been no reply. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

It is also my understanding that this also applies to presiding elders. Some of the pastors in my district are planning a "retirement party" for our presiding elder. However, when a few of us asked our presiding elder what he thought about his upcoming "retirement" in 2004, he stated that he didn't know that that law applied to him. It is also my understanding that Bishops do not have to heed to this law and that this law is at "the discretion of each district/Bishop".

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

Sister Denise...I was privileged to speak with one of the Bishops of the church, and this Bishop stated that there are numerous pastors within this Bishop's district which would be affected by the retirement legislation. One district alone could see as many as 40 persons retire! This would create a great deal of movement. My presiding elder is 80 and we are in the process of planning a celebration for him in the event the law stands. Until recent, he was hesitant in allowing this to happen in order to see which way things would turn out. And to address the other point, there have been persons who have retired in some districts. In my opinion, I think persons should plan on these things: 1) More retirement celebrations; 2)Boxes from U-haul and reserve a big truck.

-- Anonymous, November 14, 2003

Baby brother Ray thanks for the info. Then I have another question, please forgive me if it is a dumb question. I have only been ame for 2 years. I assume the retirement rule was made at the 2000 general conference, why is this enforement of the rule hard for some to understand?

Also, is there a stipulation that Bishops can allow ministers to stay if there is a shortage of pastors in their districts? Though we do have a lot of pastors waiting for churches they seem to be in the urban area, what about small and rural churches? Usually these are the churches many in the urban areas do not want to serve.

-- Anonymous, November 14, 2003

As Bishop Young said today, "the law will be changed to remove the provision that allows a bishop to assign a person over 75 if needed." Then retirement is at 75.

-- Anonymous, November 15, 2003

Rev Alton Paris I apprciate your concern however I have a seriuos problem with the second part of your question and I qoute". Why would anyone over 75 want an appointment? And why would a church want a minister over 75?. The second part of your question suggest to me that Ministers who are over seventy five are not needed by the church. These men and women who are now reaching the age limit of their ministrial service, have served this church with dignity and have made our church to be where we see it today.I am very unconfortable with the way in which u phrased the escond part of your question.It realysounds like Aged Ministers have no use anymore.finally, Wiill u allow a retired 75yrs old to preach in your pulpit or share in the worship expereince? If your answer is Yes,Know that your question says NO TO OVER 75YRS OLD MINISTERS IN THE PULPIT> REmember folks These Are God's Servants not our sevants, It Does not matter how young or old they become they are still to be respected as God's servants. God Bless. Rev Dimpho Gaobepe

-- Anonymous, December 22, 2003

Thank you for your response. I phrased it that way deliberately to get a response and generate thought on the topic. First, I am 70 on Christmas morning if the Lord does not return and he spares me two more days. So I'm not some young preacher looking to put out to pasture all minister over 70 or 75. I agree that the contributions made by our aging ministers ought to be respected and they could and should continue to serve the church in some capacity. Everywhere they go, we should honor them; and yes I love to have these preachers preach in the pulpit that I serve. Consider this however: No individual is greater than the whole church; and in Texas we are an aging church with ministers whose average age exceeds 55 or 60 years (a rough estimate). At the 2003 Annual Conference NO ONE was received on trial and the elders who were ordained were past 40 years. With the new education requirements for ministers, we are going to have to compete with the other Methodist branches for new preachers and pastors. If we don't retire the older preachers, we cannot attract and keep the young people that we need. Secondly, it is a matter of energy. I suggest that a seasoned minister of 45 is more effective that a veteran of 75; and has the energy to do the work of ministry. If I were bishop, I would ask these retired ministers to become members of churches where they could be useful to a young pastor. I would also use them the teach and preach throughout the District. Perhaps ministering to smaller congregations not requiring such strenous tasks or energy. I love pastoring my church but I would be willing to step aside for a younger preacher for the greater good of the AME Church and the church where I serve.

Be Blessed and thank you for your reply.

-- Anonymous, December 23, 2003

Thank U very much for your reply Elder. I am very happy to know how old you are. May the Good Lord Keep and Bless you as you continue in Kingdom building. Thank u again.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2003

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