This is a more well-reasoned re-write of an earlier hastily written post.
The failure to provide a compatible process for certification leaves the NYAC ineligible to participate in connectional functions which rely on that certification.
Whatever the case may be with other Annual Conferences the NYAC does not have a candidacy process that is in compliance with the United Methodist Church. Their rejection of the United Methodist process of certifying clergy and clergy candidates while establishing a non-compliant process is willful and purposeful by their own official statements and actions commencing with the statement by their Board of Ordained Ministry on 20, February, 2016. I will not list the extensive documentation in this piece (which constitute numerous pages) because the facts are generally known and because no one denies the proposition that the NYAC does not have a candidacy process that is in compliance with the United Methodist Church, or that this action is willful and purposeful. To the contrary, the point is widely championed within the NYAC and elsewhere. The refusal to maintain a United Methodist compliant candidacy process has an impact through our connectional structure. Their action also requires particular responses by General Church boards and agencies as well as our Annual Conferences. The responses have not been forthcoming (and no one expects that they will).
Because the certification of clergy and clergy candidates is integral to numerous connectional processes the choice of the New York Annual Conference to reject a compliant process creates the following problems for the connection:
The credentials of any clergy or clergy candidate certified by the NYAC since February 20, 2016 cannot be received by transfer to any Annual Conference.
The credentials of any clergy or clergy candidate certified by the NYAC since February 20, 2016 cannot be recognized by the General Church its boards or agencies. They cannot serve in any capacity nor receive any benefits that rely on said credentials.
Since the United Methodist process for election of clergy delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference depends on clergy certification then NYAC does not have a compliant process for electing clergy delegates, and their clergy delegation cannot be seated at General nor Jurisdictional Conference.
The credentials of any clergy or clergy candidate certified by the NYAC since February 20,2016 cannot be used by theological schools in determining allocation of the Ministerial Education Fund.
The credentials of any clergy or clergy candidate certified by the NYAC since February 20, 2016 cannot be used for disbursements of any kind from the Ministerial Education Fund.
These are not punishments to be imposed: they are functions for which they do not qualify absent a specific action of the General Conference. The failure to provide a compatible process for certification leaves the NYAC ineligible to participate in connectional functions which rely on that certification. What the NYAC certifies is that their clergy were not licensed, commissioned, nor ordained in a manner compliant with the United Methodist Church. This is not a doctrinal question as to in what sense they may be “ordained” but one of church order and civil law. It does not involve ecclesial charges and trials for particular members to verify their qualifications because the NYAC does not properly certify any candidate and has no process to do so.
So, why will none of these actions be taken.? Our Bishops, Boards of Ordained Ministry, the GCFA, and the GBHEM have an immediate fiduciary responsibility. Central to their purpose is to ensure that the church’s resources are used to achieve its purposes within its conditions. When acting on behalf of the United Methodist Church they must set aside their own interests, whether professional or personal, or the interests of any other organization. Further, they have a responsibility to be faithful to the church’s stated mission and not to act or use its resources in incompatible ways or purposes. This includes the duties of care, loyalty and obedience.
General Conference establishes programs and solicits funds for explicit purposes and with specific criteria for participation. When GC requests money it says it is for purpose A, and it will be disbursed in accordance with provisions B. When GC establishes a program it says it is for purpose C, and it is by and for participants D. Yet, we routinely disburse funds and expand participation in ways that are inconsistent with the objectives espoused by General Conference. Is this because we are reticent to allow hardship to befall anyone and expect that the administering body will use good judgement in altering or overlooking actions of General Conference to meet changing circumstances? Is it because we are loath to permit consequences to the point of pain and are generally in agreement as a church that we will allow individual members of boards and agencies to substitute their judgement for the voice of the Conference as they see appropriate? Or, is there such general disregard for General Conference that no one even notices when we disburse funds in a manner contrary to the stated intent? Are our Boards of Ordained Ministry so contemptuous of the historical questions that it never even crosses their minds that when an Annual Conference abandons the Discipline it has an impact on so many other connectional obligations.
The actions of NYAC require particular responses by General Church boards and agencies as well as our Annual Conferences. Not as retribution, but because they chose not to meet the requirements for participation in certain programs. The responses have not been forthcoming and likely will not. Is it because our church has become so graceful, or because our church has become so corrupt?