Ward presides over first meeting of church systems task force


Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Conference presided over the first meeting of the 17-member Church Systems Task Force held recently in Jacksonville, Fla.

The task force was jointly convened by the United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). The task force began its General Conference 2008 charge to study the impact of UMC employment systems and culture on clergy health.

Ward serves as chair of the initiative, which focuses on health as wholeness across the denomination.

General Conference 2008 directed the denomination to study the effects church systems have on the health of clergy by reviewing the employment systems and structures of the church and their impact on clergy health, and to bring recommendations if needed to General Conference 2012.

The task force will employ a rigorous research approach to examine:

• Itineracy and appointment-making systems;
• Supervisory systems;
• Processes for entering and exiting ordained and licensed ministry;
• Transitioning clergy into ministry (acclimation process);
• Prevalence of health risk factors, health conditions and disability as they relate to employment situational variables
• Key vocational factors influencing clergy health.