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General Conference votes to end guaranteed appointments

The Rev. We Hyun Chang, a pastor in Belmont, Mass., and a delegate from the New England annual conference, argues on May 1 for retaining guaranteed appointments for clergy, during a debate at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. The guarantee of an annual appointment was eliminated by the conference. A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

The Rev. We Hyun Chang, a pastor in Belmont, Mass., and a delegate from the New England annual conference, argues on May 1 for retaining guaranteed appointments for clergy, during a debate at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. The guarantee of an annual appointment was eliminated by the conference.

By Art McClanahan

The General Conference voted by a 60 to 40 percent margin to end what has been described as “guaranteed appointment” of clergy in the denomination. Originally entered on the “consent calendar” the 987 delegates had voted to approve the action of the legislative committee that had discussed the proposal during the first week of the two-week long worldwide meeting.

We Chang, New England Conference clergy delegated moved to lift the proposal from the consent calendar. “We have just done away with the security of appointment,” he said, “that allowed us to have much gender and racial justice in terms of our appointments.”

Ken Carter, Western North Carolina clergy, spoke against reconsideration. The Study of Ministry Committee, which has met for four years, “has used the language of missional appointment making,” he said. “We want to place the emphasis on the mission – making disciples of Jesus of Christ for the transformation of the world” rather than to have a mission of providing appointments for elders.

The motion to reconsider the question was not supported. Of 937 votes cast 39.8% voted in favor of reconsideration and 60.2 to not open the issue to further review.