Thanks to David for the link to this article.
It talks about some of the issues in the UMC around the guaranteed appointment. Since we're under the appointment of our Bishop, once we get ordained, we have what amounts to lifetime tenure. There will always be a job for us, no matter how competent or incompetent we are.
Reading the article, it is clear that this system was originally set up back in the 1950s to help clergywomen get jobs. (There were plenty who would not accept a woman in their pulpit...imagine how they'd feel about a pregnant woman in their pulpit!) I love that the General Conference was able to find a way to make this a justice and equality issue, a way to back up their decision to ordain women.
It is pretty clear today, though, that the guaranteed appointment might be more of a stumbling block to us than a help. Sure, it is still important to help some in our connection-- specifically persons of color and some women-- but for others it almost endorses the notion it does not matter whether one works to grow in competency, faith and leadership--the Church has to provide me with a job.
Of course, I have to quip that considering how little the Church pays and how much they expect, guaranteeing us employment is sort of a perk. What do you think about guaranteed appointments? Do they help us or hurt us?