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Commentary


"Form, rather than substance..."


Episcopal Leadership? by Ira Gallaway
Charles East ceast99@earthlink.net
05-01-2003

Form, rather than substance, abounds in the UMC. While Talbert, Sprague, Winkler and their ilk do not speak for the whole church; nonetheless, they speak for their agencies and jurisdictions within the church. Let's not kid ourselves. How many in the media know that only the General Conference "speaks for United Methodists across the world"? This amounts to splitting hairs and is tantamount to saying that Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton don't speak for the Democratic Party because neither one is the Senate Majority Leader.

The governing structure of the UMC is broken and a General Conference every four years isn't going to fix the problem. If Sprague, Talbert or Winkler had to earn their keep in a public corporation, they would all be summarily dismissed by the Board of Directors. That means no more salary----a factor that doesn't come into play at the higher echelons of the UMC because meeting the apportionment goal is the clarion call for any minister who wants to advance to a larger church.

Every church should be able to withhold apportionments as a means of reforming a corrupt hierarchy without fear of reprisal to their local minister.

The current system in the UMC is a replica of the condition that led to the formation of our country. In effect, the vast majority of the UMC membership is being taxed without representation. Eventually, this truth will filter down to the uninformed and they will seek out a church that better reflects their God-given sense of right and wrong.

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