Q&A with Joe Whittemore


Joe Whittemore
Role: Lay Delegate
Local Church: Hartwell UMC
Legislative Committee: General Administration

Q: I understand that today the General Administration Legislative Committee, by a vote of 56-25, approved substituting Plan B for the Connectional Table’s petition on restructuring.
A: Yes, that’s right.
Q: Can you help us understand a little about the Plan B proposal?
A: The Interim Operations Team Connectional Table legislation (IOTCT) was the primary restructure legislation. We offered, as a substitute, a restructure plan that we call Plan B. In the General Administrative Legislative Committee this morning, we debated and had conversation and the committee adopted Plan B as the main motion over IOTCT plan.
Q: How does Plan B differ from the IOTCT plan?
A: The IOTCT plan called for all of the general agencies to be dissolved and for one ‘super agency’ of about 15 members to be formed. The difference is that Plan B merges all of the smaller general church agencies into either the General Board of Discipleship, the General Board of Church and Society, the General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Ministry and Higher Education, or the General Council on Finance and Administration.
Q: So, what would remain in the church structure?
A: Under Plan B, what would remain in the church structure would be a strengthened Connectional Table that has responsibility for evaluation, review for allocation of funds and budget recommendations. You would then have those five boards that would be reporting directly to the General Conference. 
Q: So, Plan B doesn’t eliminate these five boards?
A: Right. We don’t eliminate the five boards, and we won’t put all of our assets, programs, and budgets into one place either. 
Q: So, now what happens?
A: We will look at the main motion, which is now Plan B, to see if there are any amendments that we feel might enhance Plan B and make it better plan for the church.  
Q: I know that you and Jane Finley and Ed Tomlinson have been a big part of Plan B.
A: We have, and we have had input from all over the church and all over the world.  A lot of energy — for over a year now — has gone into trying to put together an alternative to the plan that was being offered by the Connectional Table. It is a good step forward, but we still have a long way to go before we get to any type of decision.
Q: Being a major contributor to Plan B, I would imagine that you feel good about this.
A: (laughing) It feels tiresome.  It’s wonderful to be able to be a part of the process of General Conference.  It can be tiring and tedious and long, but it is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the church. 
To read more about Joe, please find his bio here