Standing Rules get host of changes

By Jessica Brodie

GREENVILLE—Annual Conference Monday voted in several new changes to the Standing Rules that govern the way the conference handles business.

The Rev. Michael Hood, chair of the Committee on Standing Rules, opened his report by playing “Amazing Grace” on the harmonica, then introduced the three different sections of changes before the body.

All were approved without debate.

First, the body passed a change to SR34 raising the maximum quadrennia someone can serve from two to three. As Hood noted, COVID-19 turned a four-year quadrennium service into eight years, and without the change, everyone currently serving on a quadrennial board would be rotating off. Raising it to three quadrennia means an entirely brand-new slate of people doesn’t need to be elected, therefore keeping some of the institutional knowledge preserved.

Second, the body passed changes to a number of Standing Rules—SRs 49, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 69, 71 and 72—that reduce the number of people on conference boards and agencies.

Hood noted that it was hard enough finding people to agree to serve on the boards and agencies, and now so many churches are leaving that the problem is compounded, making the problem worse.

Under the changes, which passed, the Board of Ordained Ministry shifts from 65 to 57 people, the Board of Trustees for The United Methodist Center from nine to seven; the Council on Finance and Administration from 15 to 11; the Commission on Archives and History from eight to six; the Commission on Equitable Compensation from 12 to nine; the Committee on Congregational Development from eight to six; the Committee on Petitions from six to four; the Committee on Standing Rules from nine to six; the Committee on Episcopacy from 15 to 12; the Board of Aldersgate Special Needs Ministry from “at least 10” to “up to 16”; the Conference Committee on Nominations from 24 to one from each district, plus additional at-large members; and the Committee on the Annual Conference to 12 laity plus some ex officio (instead of also up to four clergy).

Also, the Board of Trustees of Spartanburg Methodist College will be elected (not named), with the Spartanburg District superintendent as ex officio. And instead of having a Committee on the Conference Journal, now the Conference Secretary shall be fully responsible for the journal.

Third, the body passed a change to SR 70. In addition to reducing the number of people on the Committee on Resolutions and Appeals from nine to six members, the change shifts the due date from March 15 to March 1.

Hood said this is to avoid formatting problems that prevent resolutions from going before the body. Many times, people submit a resolution that is not signed or submitted by the right person (a member of or organization in the Annual Conference). Shifting the due date to March 1 means the Committee on Resolutions has time to refer the resolution back to the submitter by March 15 for format changes.

The submitter can then resubmit it properly by March 22.

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