New Minister’s Union Grows

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As they finished their Local Minister’s Union 1 picnic on Labor day this year the singing alternated between Amazing Grace, Battle Hymn of the Republic and There is Power In a Union.

At this second annual picnic there was a growing sense of enthusiasm because of this year’s larger turnout of ministers. Most belief that the steady growth of the Presbytery’s minister Union is due to the unprecedented economic downturn and its negative effects on local clergy.

“I think that some of it has to do with the economic downturn, but there are a variety of reasons to join a minister’s union. Pushing for equal access and equal pay for women, equal access and equal pay for ethnic ministers, protecting the rights of aging clergy, protecting Associate Pastors from arbitrary job elimination without compensation, Associate pastor arbitration with a head of staff’s unrealistic demands, strongly combatting sexual misconduct and harassment against the clergy, opposing a two tiered pay system for commissioned lay pastors, protection of Christian Educators, pushing for the opportunity for lay ministers to eventually become ministers in full standing after years of trust and experience, arbitration when negotiating terms of call, organized job training and most of all for a sense of solidarity,” contends local steward Rev. Brian Merritt.

There has been a vitriolic lay response to the union on the floor of Presbytery. This is shown each year when the union protests the minimal cost of living increases reported to the Presbytery in their terms of calls. Yet, what has been most shocking has been some of the clergy’s negative response to the union. Many of these are the most social justice oriented ministers in the Presbytery.

“They would rather look to Latin America for social justice when we have problems in our own house” Rev. Minnie Johnson claims. “Many of them tout their Industrial Institute background, but wont lift a finger to bring up their brothers and sisters who labor right beside them.”

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2 Responses to “New Minister’s Union Grows”

  1. bob pearson Says:

    I always saw the Presbyteries as the Unions for Pastors, protecting them often at the expense of parishioners, the good of the Kingdom and even the local church.

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