A remarkable letter has been circulated to all bodies of elders stipulating that the Coordinator of the Body of Elders must stand down from his role if he is 80, or approaching that age.
The letter, dated June 1 2014, cites no scriptures in support of this strange new discriminatory rule.
“As the organization continues to expand,” it says, “there is a need for more brothers to reach out and a need for those who now serve as elders to take on more responsibility. To assist in this effort, the Governing Body has decided that, effective September 1, 2014, brothers who are 80 years of age or older will no longer serve as a coordinator of the body of elders.”
It is further baffling that a need for more elders to assume responsibility should have anything to do with what age the coordinator of a congregation happens to be.
The letter in full reads as follows…
TO ALL BODIES OF ELDERS
Re: Coordinator of the body of elders
The Governing Body appreciates the fine brothers who serve as congregation elders and the work they do in advancing Kingdom interests. Many elders have served in this capacity for decades, and we benefit from their wisdom and fine example of faith and loyalty in caring for Jehovah’s sheep.—Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3.
As the organization continues to expand, there is a need for more brothers to reach out and a need for those who now serve as elders to take on more responsibility. To assist in this effort, the Governing Body has decided that, effective September 1, 2014, brothers who are 80 years of age or older will no longer serve as a coordinator of the body of elders. Of course, a coordinator of the body of elders who is not yet 80 years of age might also modestly decide that it would now be best to have another brother take on this role.—Mic. 6:8.
If, in view of the foregoing, it will be necessary to recommend a change in the brother serving as the coordinator of the body of elders, this matter should be given due consideration at an up-coming elders’ meeting. If the next visit of the circuit overseer to your congregation will not be until after September 1, the recommendation could be held until his visit.—ks10 chap. 2 par. 13.
In the Shepherding textbook, chapter 2, paragraph 11, after the first sentence, each elder should insert “He must be less than 80 years of age.”
We thank you for your loyal support of these theocratic refinements. (Isa. 60:17; Rev. 1:20) Please accept an expression of our warm Christian love.
Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses
It is worth noting that certain Governing Body members are no spring chickens themselves.
Three of the current members are aged 70 years or older (including David Splane, 70, and Gerrit Lösch, 73), with one member (Samuel Herd, born in 1935) on the cusp of turning 80 himself. Are these men to similarly ‘modestly’ stand down from coordinating the organization once they hit the big eight-zero?