February 14, 2013

Consultation and the Appointment Process

As you may know, there is supposed to be a consultation process linked to how appointments are made. Perhaps the consultation varies depending on which conference you are in, but in our conference here is the process, at least in the past. The PPR/SPRC meet at the beginning of the year and vote whether or not to ask for the pastor to be reappointed or they can ask for a new pastor. As with all good Methodist bureaucratic practice, the committee has a form to fill out. Likewise the pastor has a form on which he/she checks: stay, move, or either. The pastor also meets with the DS sometime during the year. In our case, it usually seems to be well before the SPRC meets. Sometimes the spouses are invited, but I've never gone. One reason is that I think my husband can represent our family interests well enough.

But this year we have a new bishop, so I assume that the process is different because of that. But it seems that this year the pastor does not fill out the form about whether or not to move. I asked my spouse exactly what this meant, but it was unclear. But I certainly hope it does not mean that the pastor has no voice in the decision about whether or not to move. I would find it highly offensive if the judgement of the pastor, who is the leader of the church, was ignored.

From what I've heard from friends, the consultation process varies depending on the DS. Sometimes there is little to none and sometimes there is more than enough. The capriciousness disagrees with responsible leadership, at least to me.

But if the pastor's voice is ignored, disregarded, or even discounted in favor of the church's, it only shows how little respect the DSs and bishops have for their clergy. Over the years, I've seen the collegiality between pastors erode. This just seems an added step in that direction. This is the part of church life that I seriously dislike. Our denominational leadership may wonder why there is so little trust by the clergy toward the system; here is but another reason.

We'll see. In our conference it seems that our new bishop is cleaning house. I hope he doesn't sweep away any chance of improving the morale of clergy and clergy families.

Grace, Kathy


  1. In the TN conference the clergy member's input is now included on the S/PPRC form. Although the DS in this district doesn't meet with many pastors I think the Bishop's heart is in the right place.