Losing “Missional Needs” Verification
If I read this right, a pastor serving in an appointment previously understood as an extension ministry learned the Board of Ordained Ministry withdrew its support, following normal annual evaluation and discussions as provided by the Discipline in Paragraph 344.1d).
If that is what happened, especially that the woman pastor was consulted as part of the annual evaluation that there was a change in the Board about supporting her work as an extension ministry, why would such a question come before the Council? And why would there be any mention of fair process rights?
I have seen too many times where a particular pastor, often a woman or an ethnic pastor, became the subject of antagonism of someone who attained a high position such as superintendent or chairperson of a crucial board or agency. The pastor was then subjected to various forms of humiliation, particularly never getting a chance to really be heard before her ministry was brought crashing down. I have seen good people tell bad lies to cover up what was going on in the matter. And I have seen the Council not be in a position to pursue all of the material needed to go beneath the possible lies, even when the appellant was sending up red flags that bad things were going on.
Who is the Council to trust? What does it take to show someone was lying? In addition to Cabinet members, I have also seen pastors lie to cover their own bad or inept behavior. And I have seen conference officers lie to their bishop about what happened and the bishop, who nominates practically everyone who has a position related to personnel work in the conference, is usually caught between his/her nominee and a pastor he/she does not really know.
If the advocate for the appellant is an amateur and a volunteer, which describes nearly everyone in the judicial system of the Church, how would he know what to provide in order for the Council to have enough information so that it can do justice?
This case may be as cut and dried as it appears. But if someone was willing to stand up on behalf of a fellow pastor on the conference floor and seek an appeal, something is likely to be wrong and we as a denomination may not be handling things right.