Yesterday I pointed out that the General Board of Administration of The Wesleyan Church had voted to explore serious connections with other holiness denominations like the Nazarenes. This discussion has been going on for some time and in fact this is partially a response to a resolution along these lines that the Nazarenes passed at their last general conference. In other words, this is a very serious proposal with significant intent by the leaders of at least these two denominations. I fully expect there to be a "merger" or "connection" proposal of some kind at the 2012 General Conference.
One of the other significant changes is a restructuring of the offices at Wesleyan headquarters. All the duties of the Discipline will be performed by the appropriately elected officials, but HQ will be using different names and operational patterns until it either becomes permanent at the next general conference or it is rejected as permanent or we merge making it moot.
JoAnne Lyon is, in effect, the only person at HQ they will be calling a General Superintendent for the remainder of this quadrennium, even though Tom Armiger and Jerry Pence will continue to perform the duties they are assigned by the Discipline as elected general superintendents. Instead, they will be heading two new offices: Pence will head "Local Church Services" and Armiger will head "Administration and Communication Services."
From one point of view, one might think that this is a centralization of power, but I believe quite on the contrary that it represents a further dismantling of the "top-down" system. Lyon has not become a pope but rather less power is being invested in this highest point of the church than ever before. It should be viewed as "two leaders have been pealed off" rather than "power has been invested in one."
I believe this move should be viewed in part as a preparation for merger (where we would only be able to contribute something like one leader) and probably (and here I'm just guessing) as a matter of financial streamlining.