"Kinder, then, to shoot it now and put it out of its misery."
This week, I'm walloping my way through Charge Conference forms. They are a plague that needs to be extirpated.
Please note, I do not object to forms as such. I certainly don't object to accountability, or recording decisions, or any such thing. No, what I object to is the utter uselessness of what Charge Conference has become.
Charge Conference is no longer the annual business meeting of the congregation in any meaningful sense. It no longer is the rendering of the congregation's and clergy's accounts to the Annual Conference. It has no precise legal meaning of any value. You see, all the real functions assigned to the Charge Conference have been fobbed off on the Church Council or the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, or somebody else. There's nothing left to DO at Charge Conference. Which might explain why nobody wants to go to the damned thing.
So, if Charge Conference is a relic, then why do we have to do all these forms to get ready for it? The real accountability for the year's work is in January, when we file Check Day stuff. That's the stuff that goes in the General Minutes.
So, here's my take on it. Let's let the Church Council do whatever they have to do -- set salaries, pass a budget, approve Lay Speakers, elect officers, yada yada -- so long as they get it done before the end of the calendar year and let the Conference and Board of Pensions know the numbers they have to have. Then everything else can get filed on Check Day with the Annual Conference.
And we won't have to go to a useless meeting and pretend that it means something. Better yet, we won't have to fill out all the forms twice.