New Conference Committee, Board of Ordained Ministry / February 2020

Minutes from the Meeting of Representatives from the Board of Ministry (East and West) and Office of Leadership Formation and Development
Convened by Rev. Pat Freudenthal, February 12, 2020 in Jackson, TN
Persons present:  Pat Freudenthal, Deborah Owens, Heidi Geib, Jacob Vaughn, Autura Eason-Williams, Mary Beth Bernheisel, Bryan Brooks, Libby Baxter

Pat opened the meeting with prayer.  Two questions to consider as we begin this work:

  1. How to do this work?
  2. Who needs to be invited into this work?

Similarities between the West and East Boards of Ministry:

  • Each has a Chair, Vice-Chair, and Executive Committee.
  • Shared Residency Program, Licensing School, and OTM.
  • Both conduct interviews with a pod system.
  • Both care intensely about the work of the Boards.
  • Shared support staff of the OLFD.
  • Both are responsible for large number of people.
  • DCOM work is aligned.
  • Both have trusts for ministerial education support.
  • Both have lay and clergy on the Boards, and both have more clergy than lay.
  • Similar process for choosing Board members.
  • Similar presentations at respective Annual Conferences.
  • Similar length of interviews of candidates.

Differences between the West and East Boards of Ministry:

  • In the West, candidates get told of the decision of the Board at the interview retreat.  In the East, candidates learn of the decision later in the same week as the interviews.
  • In the East, mentors accompany candidates to the interview.  Mentors may or may not be Board members.  In the West, mentors must be Board members.
  • In the West, all candidates go to Licensing School.
  • In the West, you are not required to complete the MDiv before commissioning; in the East you are required to complete the MDiv before commissioning.
  • There is a difference in interviewing residents for their annual residency interviews:  In the West, the Chair, Vice-Chair, and RIM Leader conduct the interview.  In the East, different groups from the BOM conduct the interviews.
  • Difference in EAP.  In the West, if they recommend something for a candidate, they pay for it.  In the East, a person can receive up to seven counseling sessions per year that comes out of the Board’s budget.  Some questions for each group – Do people know about this?  Do they know how to access it?
  • Difference in interviews of OFs – In the East, the CRC interviews them, and it’s the responsibility of the Vice-Chair of the Board.  (Libby’s note – I failed to write down the procedure in the West).
  • MEF funds – there is a difference in the approval process and the payment for psychologicals.

A possible emotional hurdle to overcome – the difference in the practice of telling the candidates the results of the interview.

We want to be able to both grieve what may be lost but also celebrate what each group brings to the new group.

What challenges do we face?

  • Language and Identity
  • Will we have a new board by June?  The 2021 commissioning and ordination class is our biggest challenge.
  • Preparing ourselves and candidates for the transition.
  • Constructing a new Board.  How will it be constructed?  We need some guidance from the Bishop. (The present boards have about 50 members in the West and about 60 in the East).
  • We need creativity in thinking.

What do we need to lead well?

  • Mutual trust.
  • We need to know how long we have responsibilities.  What’s the expectation for present leaders? (Pat will ask the Bishop and Rob about this).

Pat will ask the bishop about his expectations for BOMEC in 2021.  Will the East and West keep their same procedures for 2021 while the new board is being formed?

  • One idea for making the new policies for the new board:  Committees from East and West come together – both Finance Committees, both BOMEC Committees, both CRC Committees, etc., come together to make the procedures for the new board.

Forming the New Board (from Pat’s Agenda)



  • To allow for the leading of the Holy Spirit
  • Transparency
  • Cooperation and participation from both Boards of Ministry
  • Trust-building
  • Efficiency


  • Time
  • Anxiety that already exists in the church
  • This is something new/different.  

Discussion Items for the next meeting:

  • We need to iron out educational requirements between now and June, specifically whether candidates need to have an MDiv before commissioning.
  • Alignment of Licensing School requirements


  1. Pat – Pat will speak to the Bishop about his expectations.  How does he want to choose the new board?  Does he expect current chairs to serve through December 2020?  When does the Unified Board take effect – January 2021 or another date?
  2. Bryan and Autura – Who on each board is reaching their term limit?  Are there people who want to get off the board?  Are there any we know that are planning to leave the United Methodist Church?
  3. Jacob – MEF Funds.  Is it a service loan?  A scholarship?  The West has been told that “service loans” are illegal.  Neither conference has collected on these.  The two Finance Committees need to talk together about these issues.

Minutes submitted February 13, 2020