A proposal to establish term limits for U.S. bishops of the UMC failed today. The petition got a bare majority – 463 for; 462 against – but didn’t get the two-thirds majority needed to amend the church constitution.
The Rev. Michael Childs of the Mississippi Conference argued that passing term limits would help repair trust in the connection, and would be a matter of fairness if guaranteed appointment goes away for clergy. He also held that the UMC needs to shake things up in the face of clear decline numerically in the U.S.
“Let’s not fear to change,” he said.
But the Rev. Beth Jones of the Susquehanna Conference said the “gift of consistent focus” by bishops would be interrupted by term limits. She also argued that prophetic voices among bishops could be muted by the change.
The measure had not passed the superintendency committee, but was brought to the full GC at the request of 20 delegates.