Are Bishops Above the Laws of the Dicipline? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

My church has been in trown into nightmare due to the actions of our Bishop. During annual conference he moved our minister to another church. The reason for this move was strictly personal. 1. What is the proper procedure for appointing ministers? 2. If the chrurch feels this was an improper move, are there avenues for the church to use to appeal the decision? 3. Should the Bishop be held accountable for not following the procdures set forth by the dicipline. The whole experience has taken a toll on the entire congregation. I look at the some of the leaders of the A.M.E. church very differently now. But, I have not lost faith in the Lord. I would never leave the A.M.E. church.

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2004


All members of the AME Church are subject to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church. You have recourse in the Discipline. It is a long and ardous process but it does work. HOWEVER, may I suggest that you spend some time in prayer searching diligently to see if this is the path that God wants you to embark on. It is a very emotional time when a pastor is moved. This is no time to take actions that you might subsequently regret. The same Lord who brought you is able to carry you on. Our faith teaches us that God is in charge, and nothing escapes His gaze. He is able; consider the words of Jesus: "Before Abraham was, I AM. The Great I AM, the Creator of the Universe is concerned about the sparrow, a worthless little bird in the eyes of men; How much more does he care about you. Trust in God, I know he cares for you; mountians high or the stormy sea. there are storms now, but Jesus spoke to the storm: "Peace, be still". You too can speak to those storms, Peace, Be Still. BE Blessed and you have my prayers.

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2004

In a Methodist Church pastors are Itinerant Elders--itinerant meaning that they travel any place within the confines of the church. Like all offices and positions in the Local Church, pastoral appointments are for twelve months only, not one day more. In some extreme cases this may be even less.

In an Annual Conference bishops have the exclusive right of making pastoral appointments. They do so with the Presiding Elders advising them. This means the Bishop may reappoint the pastor to the same charge or appoint that pastor to a totally different one. It also means the possibility of being located as well.

Congregations should not be married to pastors nor pastors to the congregations they serve. “I shall not be moved” is not the song of any pastor in a Methodist Church. In most cases there is no question or appeal on it.

If the pastor appointed to a congregation is not suitable for it, the Discipline outlines procedures that congregations may take. Pastors also have the right to appeal. But the appointment or reappoint rest solely with the Presiding Bishop and the Bishop alone.

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2004

Thank you for your quick responses. I understand that in the A.M.E. church minsters will be moved. You can not grow up in this church and not know that. However, if the laws of the church are written for the purpose of members to follow, why does the Bishop have the right to disobey. We are not upset about the move of our minister, we are upset about the disregard for the laws set forth in the Discipline. I hold the Bishops, Elders, ministers, and Lay people of the church in high reqard and respect most decisions made. But, I can not follow when I am being led in the wrong path. I have been very prayful about all that is going on. I have prayed for strength. In no way do we feel married to our minister. We have had many before him and will have many after. I just didn't know we could pick and choose certain parts of the Discipline to follow. Please pray for our churches and the spirit of the people who members of this great church.

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2004

Can you be more specific about which laws were violated as part of this process?

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2004

Unfortunately, the leadership of the AME church "picks and chooses" sections of the discipline to follow and ignore all of the time. It would be helpful if you would share what laws you feel were broken. You can use examples; however, a Bishop "moving" a pastor is not breaking any AME laws. Also, there are LOTS of reasons why Bishops move pastors. Many reasons have to do with money. If assessments are not paid on behalf of the church, then in many cases, ministers are moved. Also, many parishoners do not realize that sometimes ministers want to be moved, yet they lead the congregation to believe that they were moved against their will.

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2004

The pastoral appointment business is a very political situation. The bishop may have needs in one part of the district and he or she may have to move one pastor to alleviate a bad situation in another area.

Second quiet as it is kept, many times pastors ask to be moved without telling the congregation because generally we do not have a period of transition.

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2004

Also, there is a "Ministers (or Pastors) Bill of Rights" - may not be the exact name - which outlines certain guidelines the bishops must follow in reassigning pastors.

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2004

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