Sunday, 15 November 2009

Ministers and booze!

Last year at Junior Ministers' Conference it was decided that we should bring memorials to Methodist Conference. Of course JMC has no formal channel to do this. So it was decided that we could have conversations as JMC and bring items to the memorials committee through individuals on JMC.
I brought up the issue of alcohol. The rule is that ministers in training and probationer ministers are to abstain from alcohol. I feel that this is inconsistent rule given that the rest of us can drink in moderation, if we should so choose. The idea that someone in their forties who candidates for the ministry would not be allowed to have a glass of wine with their Sunday lunch seems extreme to me.
The majority of those who spoke in this discussion, at JMC, expressed agreement with my point, although one person did voice their concern given the tragic effect alcohol has had on one of their loved ones. It was agreed that we would appreciate whatever guidance the church had on the dangers of addictions in general.
Anyway a submission will be made to the memorials committee in my name (seconded by Stephen Sheerin). Myself and the rest of the JMC committee will have to think of the correct wording. I realise that some feel very strongly in favour of total abstinence and I do not in any way look forward to the fact that some friends will be frustrated with me over this.
Opinions or advice will be welcomed as we plot the way forward on this one!


Virtual Methodist said...

all the best with this one... we tried to change this through direct legislation via the Board of Examiners about 10 years ago now, but there was a total abstinence fight-back that produced the ludicrous half-baked legislation that we have now...
I'll probably keep quiet on the floor of conference as most people see me as some kind of a fringe loon... But I will definitely be voting for an amendment... It doesn't mean that those candidating shouldn't be challenged about their drinking habits... but they should equally be challenged concerning their spending, eating, fitness, reading and many other habits!

i can only imagine said...

The issue is also that during the candidating process some are asked to abstain, others are not and for various lengths of time ... all open to interpretation.
The cynic in me says just insert the word "normally" and all should be ok?!!
Yet while the main issue focuses on alcohol, no mention is made of other substances or habits which may be abused...
I too will back any amendment!
Perhaps when you have a memorial in words you could email those who were at JMC for further feedback?