Connectional AME/WIM Seeks Individuals Interested in Serving on its Legislation Committee
By Rev. Joelynn T. Stokes, Esq., AME/WIM 2nd Vice President
The Connectional AME/WIM is looking for persons—clergy and lay, male and female—who have an interest in serving on the AME/WIM Legislation Committee. There is work for everyone and we plan to coordinate our efforts with the Legislative Task Force of the Connectional Lay!
As with any organization (or entity), as circumstances change and evolve, the purpose and reasoning behind policies should be reconsidered and reevaluated to determine whether the intended objective is being achieved or whether an organizational shift has rendered the policy obsolete or even harmful.
As a result, the first focus of the AME/WIM Legislation Committee will be the review and update of AME/WIM By-laws. For example, the AME/WIM Executive Board has identified the need to explore and discuss its prohibition against campaigning for an AME/WIM office. While we understand the historical rationale and intent that prompted the policy, the policy should now be reviewed.
Another WIM By-law identified by the Executive Board for review is the requirement that AME/WIM offices at the Episcopal District and Annual Conference levels by held only by itinerant elders. Many of our smaller districts and annual conferences find it difficult to fill offices because of the lack of itinerant elders available or willing, while there may be itinerant deacons available and willing to serve. This sub-committee will submit recommendations and drafts of proposed legislation to the AME/WIM Executive Board.
Five sub-committees will comprise the AME/WIM Legislative Committee. Their scope includes:
Just as no human is an island unto him or herself, neither is an organization. For this reason, AME/WIM not only looks inward but outward as well. Recognizing that The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is our governing document and reflects who we are as a denomination, AME/WIM wants to do its part to assure it is the best it can be. Each Quadrennial, a committee is faced with the gargantuan task of (re)assembling our Discipline. AME/WIM hopes to aid in this process for the 2020 Discipline by performing a line-by-line, page-by-page “read through” in search of needed corrections such as typographical or grammatical errors. This sub-committee will issue a detailed report with recommendations for corrections.
Gender Neutral/Inclusive Language
Additionally, in light of the 2016 General Board’s unanimous adoption of AME/WIM’s Gender, Justice, and Equality Resolution, another focus of the Legislative Committee will be the review of the Discipline to make adjustments to include gender neutral and inclusive language. This sub-committee will issue a detailed report with recommendations for corrections and modifications.
The Legislative Committee also plans to review the Discipline for provisions that conflict with other provisions. For example, in the 2012 Discipline, Section II General Church Property, pages 53-54, section B provides that a mortgage against church property requires approval by the Quarterly Conference (presiding elder) and trustees of Annual Conference, while section C only requires approval by a majority of the persons present at a church conference and a resolution at the Quarterly Conference. This sub-committee will be tasked with identifying provisions in conflict, investigating sequence and intent, and presenting a report of its findings with proposed drafts of legislation to address and correct the conflicts.
Our fifth focus will be identifying antiquated rules that comprise a part of our history but are no longer followed. One glaring example is the prohibition against wearing rings, necklaces, earrings, lace, or ruffles as found in the 2012 Discipline (page 38). When our governing document contains rules that no one follows, it undermines the validity and enforceability of other rules. This sub-committee will issue a written report with recommendations and where necessary draft proposed legislation.
We need you! The Legislation Committee of AME/WIM seeks persons with a heart for review work, a keen eye for editing, sharp analytical skills, concise drafting abilities, and a love for the AME Church. All interested persons, please email your name, phone number, sub-committee area of interest, Episcopal district, and annual conference to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Legislation Committee in the subject line. We pray you will join us in standing united, moving forward, stronger together.