An interesting constitutional amendment will be sent for approval by annual conferences. You’ll find some of of the details in an article on umc.org.
If annual conferences approve the constitutional amendment, deacons, associate members and provisional members may join ordained ministerial members in full connection in voting for delegates to General and jurisdictional conferences. To be eligible to vote, local pastors must have completed the Course of Study or master of divinity degree and have served under appointment for served two consecutive years immediately preceding an election. Only ordained members in full connection with an annual conference may serve as delegates.
Stephen Taylor, over at NitroRev also has a few thoughts on this since he spent time on the committee that worked on this legislation.
I’m happy to see this pass, even though I’m sure many local pastors would like the opportunity to serve as delegates as well. In any case, I wonder what this means for the more politically minded among us. Will local pastors get more attention in election years than they have in the past? Will this mean we’ll have increased representation from clergy in rural areas? What do you think?