Should the United Methodist Church become more, um, episcopal? #WVUMC

Not that in way… not that there is anything wrong with that… but what if the Council of Bishops had a more direct say in the administration and direction of the Church?

Delegate Whittemore writes,

Several years ago, the Council of Bishops (COB) proposed that one bishop not be assigned to an episcopal area, but rather be set aside to handle the affairs of the Council, including the evaluation and accountability of individual bishops. The idea did not gain traction before or during the 2008 General Conference.

Now, a similar idea has come forward. Affirmation #2 of the Aug. 2, 2011, Interim Operations Team report (PDF) called for the adoption of performance standards for bishops. Jurisdictional committees on episcopacy would implement annual assessments.

To support this request, the report then called for a bishop without residential assignment to guide the UMC, support and assist residential bishops, and chair the body that could hire and fire a new 15-member board of directors for the church that would control the vast majority of all net assets other than pension funds.

He disagrees with this, of course… and instead recommends,

lay executive of the Council of Bishops to facilitate the accountability of individual bishops may be to the benefit of the denomination. An experienced, strong executive who is not clergy may bring a fresh and reasonable approach.

Envision the changes we could quickly experience if that lay executive had the authority to recommend to the College of Bishops and the Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy the removal (or placing on leave) of the ineffective or non-responsive episcopal leader as currently provided in paragraphs 16.5408.3 (PDF) and 410.1 (PDF) of the Book of Discipline.

That’s interesting… of course, the theological place that I am in now, I am more high church than many of my sisters and brothers in the United Methodist Church, so giving more power to the Bishops is not something I would initially have a problem with. There is, of course, something, I think, in the Delegate’s proposal which I think is interesting. The beauty, as far as I see it, in the UMC is that while there is a core set of beliefs as expressed in the Book of Discipline, there is still some freedom for congregations and the like. Truing to put that freedom into boundaries may have more harm than good on the Church. Just me talking here…

Anyway, something that this young United Methodist is thinking about…

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5 Replies to “Should the United Methodist Church become more, um, episcopal? #WVUMC”

  1. Looks to me like you want to become not so much more Episcopal as more Papist. In the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the first among equals, and has his own diocese as well. But it looks like you want someone to be the boss of the bishops. So can we expect soon a conclave for a new Methodist Pope?

    1. Hahha! I used the lower-case form of the word because at some point in it’s evolution, it was called Methodist Episcopal.

      I volunteer for the job…

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