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Judicial Council hires former member as first clerk

Sally AsKew

A UMNS Report
By Neill Caldwell*
Oct. 13, 2008

The top court of The United Methodist Church has reached into familiar territory to hire its first-ever clerk.

Sally AsKew, a member of the court from 1988 to 2004, has been selected for the part-time position to help the Judicial Council conduct its business. She will begin her work when the council meets Oct. 22-26 in Minneapolis.

AsKew, of Athens, Ga., served as vice president and secretary during her terms on the council. She also served on the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

She becomes the first ongoing paid employee of the Judicial Council and will aid the church's supreme court in advancing its work in the digital age, according to Susan Henry Crowe, council president.

"A growing workload over the past decade has prevented the volunteer Judicial Council members from spending the necessary time needed to update archives, provide for usable publication of decisions and help update Web sites," Crowe said. "The clerk will enhance the work of the council by making it possible to better access public records."

Crowe said AsKew will help to present the council's rules of practice, docket items and archival material in a user-friendly format. She called the changes "important in helping the church understand and appreciate the important work of the Judicial Council."

AsKew was a reference/public services librarian at the University of Georgia School of Law Library in Athens, 1987-2002. She did her undergraduate work at LaGrange College and earned a law degree at the University of Georgia and a master's degree in library science from Clark Atlanta University. She also received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from LaGrange in 2006. Her husband, the Rev. Albert AsKew, is a retired United Methodist pastor.

The clerk will work under the direction of the Judicial Council’s secretary, who has had all responsibilities for materials related to the council's work. The council also uses an administrative assistant to help during the court's twice-yearly meetings.

Last spring, the denomination's General Conference approved the new position and authorized hiring a clerk for an average of 20 hours per week, with provisions for an office suitable to maintain records and conduct business. The total four-year budget approved for the council's work was $571,000.

In amending the legislation, General Conference rejected the idea of a "permanent seat" for the council, which was contained in the original petition. The Judicial Council currently rotates its meeting site among U.S. jurisdictions.

*Caldwell is a United Methodist News Service correspondent covering the Judicial Council.

News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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