Q&A with Jamie Jenkins


Name: Jamie Jenkins
Role: Clergy delegate
Appointment: Executive Assistant to the Bishop
Legislative committee: Chairman of Local Church

Q: You were chosen to chair the Local Church legislative committee. Is this first time you have served as committee chair at General Conference?
A: Yes, it is.

Q: What was the selection process like?
A:  On the first day, at an organization meeting run by a bishop, nominations are taken from the floor. Several were nominated, then we voted.

Q:  How has your experience as chairman been different than serving as a member of  the committee?
A: The biggest adjustment is not being able to express your opinions and being part of the debate. You have to restrain yourself from contributing.

Q: Was there a particular reason you wanted to serve on the Local Church committee?
A: If it doesn’t happen in the local church, it doesn’t happen. The issues involving this committee are not the highly visible, social action items but more of the day-to-day operations, such as Trustees and SPRC, the disposal of property, and other topics that impact the normal functions of a church.

Q: What were the hottest topics in your committee meetings?
A:  There were a couple. United Methodist Women and other women’s groups were a large part of the discussion as well as the pastor’s authority involving membership and determining whether some people are ready for membership.

Q: After your many years of service in the church, and involvement in the General Conference, are you more optimistic or more concerned about the future and direction of the denomination?
A: We are addressing some very broad issues with far-reaching implications this year, more than in past years I have been involved. I believe we are going in the right direction, at least structurally. We are making a serious evaluation of who we are. We continue to struggle with issues involving sexuality. But we have a broader-based involvement of a diverse population and that is positive.

Q:  If you had a magic wand and could get one thing done here without delay or debate, what would it be?
A: Some form of restructuring.

Q: You are getting close to retirement. Would you like to be 20 years younger and have more time to be involved or do you feel like you have run a good race and are ready to rest?
A: I have never wished to be any age other than where I am. Of course, I would like a chance to be able to re-do some things, but you only go around once and you have to make the most of it.

Q: You have put in many hours of work as part of this conference. What is the most memorable item in your mind about being in Tampa?
A: That is a hard one. I think looking at the participation of delegates from the Central Conferences. Their courage – can you imagine being from Africa, not knowing the language, and standing up to speak in front of a thousand people? That really stands out.

Q: What is the best meal you have had since you have been here?
A: (Sustained laughter) I have not had a good meal yet.

Q: How much sleep have you been getting?
A: Not a lot. Last night is the earliest I have gotten to sleep since I have been here, at about 10:15. I have been getting up at 5.

To read more about Jamie, please find his bio here