BOE letter: "presiding overseer" becomes "coordinator of the body of elders

by Billy the Ex-Bethelite 113 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • M.J.

    Is it me or does anyone find it a bit ironic that they can play the "we're so righteous for not putting one man above others" game, while at the same time reserve such praise for the overal pyramid structure of their organization?

  • Athanasius

    I think the Watchtower Corporation is trying to create the illusion of decentralization to protect their assets from lawsuits. Right now the CO controls patronage, in that he can veto the BOE's recommendations for elders and Mini Servants. With the replacement of CO's with local "coordinating elders," BOE's will have more control over patronage. Since the local Coordinator will no doubt be an unpaid volunteer, it may become easy for the ambitious to grease his palm. Where the CO might have been more principled in these situations because of their direct ties to Watchtower Corporate headquarters, the local unpaid volunteer might not have the scruples to resist monetary compensation for his recommendations. Think of the havoc this will create for the rank and file. In the long run this scheme may backfire big time for the Watchtower Corporation.

  • eyeslice

    I don't know about de-centralization!

    The society is craftier than that. They like to lay the blame at the local level when things go wrong but their central 'mind control' has got even greater in recent years. Just look at how regimented the shorten instruction talks and public talks are. The Watchtower study has no room for any individual thought - all the scriptures to be read are specified. Another classic example, of Watchtower 'double speak' is the matter of blood transfusions. Publicly, it is an individual conscience matter between a person and his God. But we all know that internal to the congregation this is not the case; it is a breach of Watchtower rules.

    If a co-ordinator is as it says, a co-ordinator, then the responsibility will be to co-ordinate the following of Watchtower rules in the congregation.

    This is not de-centralization but yet another example of increasing central control and paranoia.

  • M.J.

    Yeah the blood issue is an individual decision. But as John Safran put it, "if you get a blood transfusion, you're f***ed!"

  • Jeremy C
    Jeremy C

    I distinctly remember a Service Meeting talk that was outlined in the Kingdom Ministry about ten years ago. The talk was to be delivered by the Presiding Overseer to provide a brief explanation to the congregation as to the role and responsibilities of the P.O. The talk was very specific in stating that the P.O. was not "head" of the congregation, but was a coordinator of sorts. To my knowledge, everyone generally understood that the P.O. did not serve any kind of "executive" role, but was indeed a coordinator of the elder's workflow.

    I honestly do not see any difference between the role and workflow of the Presiding Overseer versus the new "Coordinator" position. I think that it is a distinction without a difference. I think that it is semantics; rhetorical word-play. I believe that the rubber will meet the road with the elimination of traveling C.O.s. The traveling C.O.s being replaced by local elders filling that role will be most noticeable to the congregations, I believe.

    The unforseeable wild-card in all of this will be all of these layed-off C.O.s. When a company lays off a large number of devoted long-time workers who thought they had a career postion; someone is not going to handle the disillusionment very well. . . . or quietly.

  • NeonMadman

    If I remember correctly, the PO position descended from the "Service Coordinator" who was assigned to each congregation (or, back then, "company") during the Rutherford era. The SC was a Society man who functioned among elders who had been elected by the congregation. This gave the central organization more control than they had had previously and they had an active agent in each congregation.

    When the "theocratic arrangement" came in during the late 1930's and the electing of elders was done away with in favor of central, "theocratic" appointment by the Society, the Service Coordinator became the "Company Servant." In later years, the term for "company" was changed to "congregation" (undoubtedly to avoid sounding quite so much like a commercial enterprise), and the "Company Servant" became the "Congregation Servant," or, more informally, simply the "Overseer" of the congregation.

    With the 1970's came the elder arrangement, and a new distinction was drawn between elders/overseers and "ministerial servants" (previously, in almost Baptist fashion, the Congregation Servant was viewed as the only elder/overseer, and all others appointed to leadership positions were considered "servants"). Formerly, there had been positions like "Assistant Congregation Servant," "Bible Study Servant," "Watchtower Study Servant," etc. Also, positions such as "Literature Servant," "Accounts Servant" and "Magazine/Territory Servant" had been specifically appointed by the Society. Under the new arrangement, the teaching positions became elder positions (originally Presiding Overseer, Field Overseer and Bible Study Overseer along with Watchtower Study Overseer, Theocratic Ministry School Overseer and most Book Study conductors) and the non-teaching positions (literature, accounts, magazines, territory etc.) were assigned locally to "ministerial servants." Additionally, the elder positions rotated among the elders from year to year.

    Later, the rotation was stopped and the positions were appointed permanently. The Field Overseer became the Service Overseer and the Bible Study Overseer position was eliminated in favor of the Congregation Secretary. Now, it seems, they have come full circle and the PO has again become a "coordinator" much as he was back in the Rutherford Era.

    And, really, I'm not sure what the point of all of the above was except to illustrate how silly and insignificant changes are seen as Earth-shaking within the JW organization, and how much turmoil the WTS has to create on an ongoing basis over non-issues in order to keep the rank and file preoccupied with such things so that they won't have the time or energy to think about whether what they are doing is actually God's work.

  • Dagney

    Yeah, I'm waiting for the position to revert back to "Congregation Servant" and the "Meeting for Field Service" go back to "Rendevous," all under the blinding new/old light.

  • still_in74
    I agree with watson - this is a legal move.

    Fits in with jeffreywhat's thread six months ago.

    I agree.

    As the "Presiding Overseerer" this may place legal liability upon the PO for actions committed by Elders/members of cong. "under his watch".

    This may be a proactive move by the legal dept. or may even have been as a result of PO's pressure to relieve them of this potential liability. Does anyone know of a case where the PO was called to trial or sued because of someone else in the cong?

  • Quandry

    the "Governing Body" becomes Jehovah's "Coordinating Body"

    James, yes, shouldn't that be the case, since the Jesus is the head that governs HIS congregation?

    So, are they going to call the new guy COBE instead of PO? Or are they going to use the entire title each time, as in, "What time is the meeting for field service, Bob?" "I don't know, Joe, but I'll go and ask the Co-ordinator of the Body of Elders over there."

  • MochaLatte



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