BSP: How does the UMC appointment system today compare to what you believe was practiced in the 1st century church?
CW: I do not think the U.M. appointment system can be compared to the early church. One could argue Paul’s ministry was itinerant, but he certainly wasn’t “appointed” to a particular congregation. The appointment system is certainly under the microscope right now. It has it good points and it’s bad points. I can remember be a young clergy and thinking I was under valued (and probably was a young clergy woman), and that they should provide more exciting and better appointments for younger clergy. Then I watched as several of the younger clergy (at that point men) crashed and burned. Training and mentoring was part of it, but serving where I do now, I am grateful for the years of service that toughened me up and helped me be more discerning on what issues to take on and what issues to let go. Until we really are able to accept clergy no matter what their gender, their ethnicity, their relationship status, their age, the appointment system is just and can be fair. The system itself needs to hold clergy accountable if they are inadequate, lazy, under-performing or moving every other year. The Discipline has steps that can be taken and needs to be used.