Thank you to those who put my last answer through the wringer. Your comments really helped me clarify some things. Here is another question to consider:
Q: What is your understanding of the open itinerant system within The United Methodist Church? Are you committed to such a system?
Members of the Annual Conference are appointed to serve in particular capacities by the bishop. These appointments are made prayerfully, in consultation with District Superintendents, clergy, and the local congregations and ministry settings, in order to discern where the gifts and graces for ministry evident in each clergy person might best match up with the particular needs and characteristics of the conference’s congregations and other ministry settings. Because the system is open, no consideration is given to race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, or age when making decisions about appointments. The itinerant system is one of the strengths of a connectional denomination, as the health of both the individual congregations and of the larger church as a whole can be considered when making appointments. Weaknesses of the itinerancy lie in the human tendency to politicize appointment decisions, conceiving of succeeding appointments as promotions and/or demotions, and the perception of many local churches that the conference is out of touch with the needs of the local congregation and therefore not qualified to make good appointment decisions. However, no system is perfect, and I believe that the itinerant system, when done well, provides the most effective clergy leadership for the promotion of healthy, vital local congregations and other ministry settings. I am strongly committed to serving in such a system.
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