Nomination of Conference Agencies’ Officers
Why were questions of law asked over something as drab, dull, and arcane as the work of the conference nominating committee? Similar questions were raised when the bishop was in Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. See JCDs 1066 and 1073. He even referenced them in his response. Isn’t that a little weird?
The questions I wish were answered are, “Does the bishop sit on the nominating committee?” Or “does the bishop select the nominating committee chairperson?” Or “how much influence does the bishop have over the nominating committee?”
I’m with the concurring opinion on this one. Only maybe I can be a little more blunt. I, who am notorious for seeing power grabs by bishops, see the real possibility that the bishop is using “eliminating discrimination” as a Trojan horse to allow him to influence the selection of key officers by means of nomination. After all, if a bishop’s opinion is known, influence of command is a very powerful tool.
Say you are a member of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration and you know the bishop would love to see Joe Bloe as chairperson. You’d know about that because the conference nominating committee came in with its recommendation of officers, one for each position. And the bishop would know how you voted because most votes are “show of hands.” And say you really hoped your next appointment was a better one than where you are now. You might be willing to vote for Joe Bloe, even if he wasn’t as sharp as Jane Doe.
What you may sense is that the bishop has subtly taken control of the financial agencies of the conference like the Foundation and now would have a degree of control of CCFA. But you are not a political animal and don’t care about such things.
Don’t many committees save energy when meeting, letting others make decisions so they don’t have to expend the effort? Don’t most people think of committee work as a kind of boring joke?
Even so, there are people on committees that understand just how much power their decisions have. And they learned that the bishop is not supposed to have control over legislative matters, which he or she can gain just by having the power of nomination.
In a healthy conference, everyone would be assured when they were told that nominations are just suggestions. In one where people were nervous about the bishop, they would not be reassured and would seek outside review. Is this what is really happening in this case?
What is a Council to do?
Given the world wide nature of the denomination, the Council plays it straight. (The bishop got his way.)
Back in the old days, when the Methodist Church encompassed seven jurisdictions, six in the United States and essentially one for the rest of the world, Council decisions could be made because its members knew the bishops and their conferences and could slant their decisions, finding creative ways of putting up barriers around the bishops whom they didn’t trust.
It may not be all that hard to do in our global Church. Have you noticed that certain bishops are tested before the Council and most aren’t? Maybe the number of rogue bishops isn’t all that large. And maybe the Council could use some research help to spot them.