The first amendment that comes before our Annual Conferences from General Conference this year is to change the wording of paragraph 4 in our constitution.
There are a whole lot of youtube and blogposts and newsletter articles about this and suffice it to say – there are reasons to be in favor of it and to be against it. (not all of them might be rational, but…)
I ran across a post by John Meunier on the topic however that spoke to a lot of what I was feeling. Especially in regards to how similiar the first part of the amendment is to paragraph 214 in the Book of Discipline.
Here is my response to his blogpost:
I absolutely agree with you on the first part of the amendment. We already have the idea of “all persons” in our BOD – so it should be there in the constitution as well. I have especially noted that the amendment talks about eligibility – and I don’t necessarily see that as denying the rights of pastors to determine readiness for membership, or the rights of BoOM to examine candidates for ministry. Just because you are eligible for something doesn’t mean that you are going to automatically get it (see paragraph 215 in the Book of Discipline)
The wording of the last line of the amendment is unfortunate I believe.
I think the intent is to make it a consistent paragraph and it may have shot itself in the foot. I, too, am interested from a strictly procedural standpoint what the implications are. I don’t have the fears that others do about it.
Here is the current last sentence of paragraph 4.
In the United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constiuent body of the Church because of race, color, national orign, status or economic condition.
Here is the sentence if amended.
In the United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constituent body.
As I would read it, just in a common sense sort of way, it makes me think that no conference or organizational unit can build discrimination into their structure. And to me, that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a process for readiness or standards for participation.
Who really should be up in arms about this (and I haven’t seen any official word) is the United Methodist Men and Women’s units…