Good News magazine is reporting that Mt. Bethel UMC is withholding their apportionments…
Its administrative council voted to place its apportioned funds in an escrow account until the Council of Bishops (COB) fulfills the requests made in the “Integrity and Unity Statement” published by over 120 leading pastors and theologians, and endorsed by nearly 8,500 clergy and laity across the UM connection. All bishops received a copy of the statement in July 2014 and it was formally presented to the council at its November 2014 meeting in Oklahoma City.
Guess what? According to the Book of Discipline they claim to uphold, none of their clergy should be receiving a paycheck.
¶ 639.4. Proportional Payment—The board shall compare the records of the amounts paid by each pastoral charge for the support of pastors and for pension and benefit programs, computing the proportional distribution thereof and keeping a permanent record of defaults of the churches of the conference that have failed to observe the following provisions pertaining to proportional payment, and shall render annually to each church that is in default a statement of the amounts in default for that and preceding years.
- a) When the apportionment to the pastoral charges for the pension and benefit program of the annual conference has been determined, payments made thereon by each pastoral charge shall be exactly proportionate to payments made on the salary or salaries of the ordained minister or clergy serving it.
¶ 818.3. Proportionality—The amount apportioned to a charge for the Episcopal Fund shall be paid in the same proportion as the charge pays its pastor (see also ¶ 622).
By the way, this is the same UMC church who attempted to do this before. Randy Mickler, the pastor at Mt. Bethel UMC is not known for being an overly…non-hyperbolic person.
Note, they are attempting to force the CoB to adopt a resolution from an outside group that is from outside the General Conference. The General Conference, and only the General Conference, speaks for the Church — not a petition.
If Mickler and Mt. Bethel UMC are truly dedicated to the Book of Discipline — and I hope they are — then I know they are no longer being paid.