End of Jurisdictions?

Indiana UMC Bishop Mike Coyner asks whether the day of the jurisdiction as a piece of United Methodist polity should be numbered.

What Will Become of Jurisdictions?

The post includes some interesting history and proposals. He suggests electing bishops at General Conference, but with each region still picking its own. It got me wondering if our denomination would be served by getting rid of regional control and having bishops elected by the entire church.

Whether you like that idea or not (which Coyner is not advocating, btw), the bishops raises some interesting points.


3 thoughts on “End of Jurisdictions?

  1. I think it’s rather a mess to try to do this at General Conference. It would just make a very long meeting even longer.

    Fundamentally, the work of General Conferences and Jurisdictional Conferences are really, really different. GC is primarily about legislation and policy. JC is primarily about personnel– bishops and boards of general agencies.

    I do agree the five we have are passé. They also perpetuate power blocs that have persisted for well over a century and a two thirds!

    So… what if we did a total realignment. Reduce the number from 5 to 3. Then have those 3 be West (including Texas!), Central, and East. Old N/S divisions and their power blocs would disappear. And with Texas and its massive resources in the West, that region of the country, which actually has the greatest untapped missional opportunity for us, might just start to get the significant attention it deserves.

  2. Oh– and one more thing– what if GC delegates and JC delegates were in fact totally separate. And what if JC delegates were elected equally by conference– say 3 laity and 3 clergy per conference?

    Why? Because, again, we’re talking about fundamentally different kinds of functions. We don’t need legislative wonks focusing on HR issues, or vice versa.

  3. I like Taylor’s suggestions…they could also result in less spending at the jurisdictional level & a broadening of our understanding of “Church”.

    The questions would be: to what extent would TX dominate the West? Would the SE dominate the East and, if so, how would folks in Boston feel about that? Unanswerable until we try it, I suppose.

    And shame on me, I guess, for immediately jumping to cynical political questions instead of pondering missional possibilities.

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