16 June 2007

The last day

First, you’ll be glad to know that the clergy finally finished up their voting, so Rex will indeed be in church on Sunday. They appear to have elected a somewhat more diverse delegation than we laity did (no big surprise there).

We adopted the $25 million budget on Friday with one amendment, adding back in about $600,000 that had previously been taken out of the Church Development item. That’s the fund that helps pay for new churches, mostly out in the suburbs and exurbs. The rationale for this funding is that the growing suburban areas need more churches to serve the growing populations. I suppose that’s all well and good, but I would prefer to see a bit more money spent on the intown churches that have suffered declines over the past few decades due to the changing demographics, but are now starting to rebound because of the influx of gentrification (e.g., Druid Hills UMC). I’m a little tired of sending our money out to the exurbs and not seeing much funding flow back to us in return. As you might guess, I voted against the amendment.

We also passed a motion from the floor to form a task force to study the delegate election procedures. The proponents of the resolution complained about the overt campaigning, particularly the aggressive tactics of the “Vision Team”. Naturally, the conservatives opposed this measure, but surprisingly it passed with a comfortable majority. I suppose that’s a hopeful sign for future conferences. At least now there will be a committee in place to which I can submit my ten-page election analysis and recommendations for future procedural changes. The paper is still in the formative stages – i.e., in my head – but I will put together something, because I really do believe that the current process allows an organized majority to control nearly all of the delegate slots, while effectively shutting out any reasonable representation from a minority bloc.

More comments will follow after further reflection (and rest!). Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to feed the blogger with comments!


Keith said...

God may be dead, but Her work remains lucrative - $25 million! When will we get rid of the nonsense that churches aren't businesses and start taxing them?

Ken L. Hagler said...

As a NGA clergy, I wasn't aware of what was going on with the laity. I commented on my blog some about the issues of the clergy. It is interesting that "conservative" clergy have been late to the table while the "liberal" voices in the laity have experienced the same.

I appreciated what appeared to be your 300 word "speech" in the booklet(?) You bring up a great point on elections. It is interesting that in our local churches we are seek for consensus but at Annual Conference we do elections. I started thinking about it this year as I ran back and forth as a teller.

I'd like to hear more about your take on Church Development. As one who is a church planter and receives those funds, you'd probably expect me to disagree with you and I do. At the same time, I too found myself questioning some of our expenditures. With a budget of $25 mil it isn't hard to do.

For me, being a church planter isn't about some lucrative endeavor. It is a calling. Bill Britt was right, though, there needs to be an examination of other funding methods, but for the entire conference.

It is not as though the NGA Conference underwrites all we do. I have been appointed to Due West UMC who will shoulder much of the burden of starting a new church. (this is on top of the 500% increase in apportionments the last 10 years and paying 100% every year). Acworth FUMC is also on board to help get started. I've support from 4 other churches in 4 different Annual Conferences. I'm trying to do my part so that the people of our community will come to faith and give back.

Just some thoughts. Look forward to hearing from you.