Mid council leaders adopt new name, purpose, bylaws
Changes better convey changing nature of mid council leadership
October 22, 2013
When they started out in the 1980s, they called themselves AEPS. Back in those days, almost every presbytery in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) had an identified administrative leader. And most of those leaders had the job title of executive presbyter.
Those EPs got together and formed a group called the Association of Executive Presbyters, or AEPS for short, to advocate for their concerns in the denominational system and to provide personal and professional support.
Today, much has changed in the leadership of presbyteries. The term “executive presbyter” as the standardized title of the presbytery leader has morphed into a plethora of names. Some are still called EPs. Others are known as general presbyters. Others have names like “pastor of mission and vision,”“presbyter of common life,” or simply “presbytery pastor.” Where most positions used to be full-time, some are now part-time, shared between presbyteries or volunteer. Some presbyteries have done away with an executive type position altogether and are relying on the services of a stated clerk and leadership teams.
And, as a climate of profound change affects presbyteries, new models of leadership have emerged that value collegiality and partnerships, said the Rev. Bobbi White, the organization’s newly installed president.
In keeping with these changes, at its 2014 annual meeting held here Oct. 12-14, AEPs voted to change its name. The new name is Association of Mid Council Leaders (AMCL).
“The new name will more clearly convey our mission as a learning community of mid council leaders sharing similar balcony-view functions. Our titles are very diverse,” said the out-going president, the Rev. Chaz Ruark.
The group adopted new by-laws, opening the membership of AMCL to those serving in presbytery and synod leadership, such as executive presbyters, general presbyters, associates, stated clerks or leaders called by another presbytery/synod leadership title, whether employed or volunteer.
The association also voted to open attendance of AMCL meeting to leaders who serve the PC(USA) serving in one of the six denominational agencies. Annual dues were raised from $95 to $125 to help the organization grow as a learning community.
More than 100 people attended the business meeting that also celebrated and honored leaders, elected officers and received reports on membership, networking, financials and the Mid Council Leader Formation training program.
The meeting concluded with the breaking up the signature collection of stuffed monkeys and apes, which were the mascots for the former AEPs organization. “I know it’s hard to give them up,” said the Rev. Wilson Gunn, as he tossed monkeys to mid council leaders jockeying to catch a souvenir of an era now past. “But it’s time.”
Erin Cox-Holmes is executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Donegal and a contributor to Presbyterian News Service.