INDIANAPOLIS – More than 800 active and retired Indiana pastors converged Tuesday, Nov. 5 on St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis for a daylong “Gathering of All Clergy,” to consider their clergy covenant and to hear about the relationship between the Affordable Care Act and the church. The day was lead by Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner and officers of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

Coyner spoke candidly to clergy about their covenant together as clergy, emphasizing the corporate nature of being in ministry together as a conference and not “going it alone.” He outlined what he believes to be behaviors of that clergy covenant by:

  • Showing up, being present with one another,
  • Seeing each other as colleagues and not as competitors,
  • Refusing to gossip and spread rumors about one another,
  • Paving the way for our successors and affirming our predecessors,
  • Leading our churches to pay their full share (of conference tithe),
  • Serving where we are needed, just as we have promised,
  • Doing the mundane things which manifest our respect and mutuality, plus
  • Living our lives and performing our ministry in a way that is faithful to our calling.

To each behavior, he also listed Scriptural references. He ended his list by asking pastors present: “Where is God calling you to strengthen your commitment to our clergy covenant?” Near the end of the two-hour morning session emphasizing covenant, clergy received Holy Communion. During the afternoon session, Ron Stiver of United Methodist-related Indiana University Health, and Brent Williams, conference director of Administrative Services, gave presentations about the Affordable Care Act. Their notes are available online at The bishop’s sermon outline in full is available online at