|Rev. Dr. Adam Zele, pastor at First UMC Bradenton, with his daughter Ana at Crop Drop. --Photo by Rev. Armando Rodriguez|
No to guaranteed appointments
The 2012 General Conference endorsed a change in rules May 1 that will eliminate the security of guaranteed appointments for ordained clergy. A motion to reconsider the change failed by a vote of 564 to 373. Under the new rules, bishops and cabinets will be allowed to give elders less than full time appointments. It would also permit bishops and their cabinets, with the approval of their boards of ordained ministry and annual conference’s executive session, to put elders on unpaid transitional leave for up to 24 months. Clergy on such a leave would be able to participate in their conference’s health insurance program through their own contribution.
In the future, each annual conference will be asked to appoint a task force to develop a list of criteria to guide cabinets and bishops as they make appointments.
Opinions on the vote varied Tuesday. Some delegates feel strongly that guaranteed appointments have been instrumental in historical gains made by women and minorities in the clergy. Others see this change as an opportunity to allow the removal of ineffective clergy in order to move forward.
|Bishop Tim Whitaker at the GC recognition of retiring bishops. --Photo by Oto Rodriguez|
Society of St. Andrews Crop Drop
Volunteers for the Society of St. Andrew began unloading 41,000 lbs. of cucumbers at 5:30 a.m. in front of the Tampa Convention Center on May 1, and worked through the morning to sort and distribute the locally grown produce to local feeding programs. The Long and Scott farm of Zellwood donated the produce, according to Barbara Sayles, regional director for the Society. John Dowell, national president of United Methodist Men and a member at Lake Magdalene UMC, helped organize the volunteers.
Bishop Timothy Whitaker was honored along with other retiring bishops at a ceremony at General Conference on Tuesday afternoon.
More important votes to come
As the conference moves into its last three days, among the issues yet to be decided are the proposed changes to Clergy Pension Plans and the proposals for restructuring The United Methodist Church.