Decision Number 31
Interpretation Paragraph 411, Discipline 1944
Ministers coming from other evangelical churches, whether proceeding under Sections One, Two, or Three of Paragraph 411, Discipline 1944, are in all cases subject to the requirement of meeting "the educational standards required of Methodist Ministers."
Statement of Facts
At the session of the North Alabama Conference held at Bessemer, Ala., October 25-29, 1944, there was submitted to the presiding Bishop, a question in writing of which the following is the record.
REQUEST FOR RULING
O. P. Burns submitted in writing the following question, asking for a ruling from the Chair: Does Item Two of Paragraph 411 of the Discipline of our Church specifically make a provision by which an ordained minister from another Church who cannot meet the educational standards required of Methodist ministers may be admitted on trial or into full connection in an Annual Conference and have his orders recognized by the Annual Conference?
RULING OF THE BISHOP
Item Two of Paragraph 411 of the 1944 Discipline does not make provision by which an ordained minister from another Church who cannot meet the educational standards required by The Methodist Church may be received on trial or into full connection by an Annual Conference. It would be unreasonable to think that the General Conference intended that a person recommended by a District or Quarterly Conference might be received on a different educational standard from that required of ministers of other churches applying directly to the Annual Conference. The words in Item Three, "Who can meet the educational standards required of Methodist Ministers," was inserted by the General Conference of 1944. Paragraph 411 is a unit, and the words above quoted apply to all ministers from other Churches who apply for admission into an Annual Conference of The Methodist Church. This is the clear intent of the General Conference as witnessed by the statement of John W. Hawley, Chairman of the Committee on Ministry, 1944 General Conference, who is presenting Report No. 1 of the said Committee amending the law of the Church as to educational standards required of ministers coming from other Churches said, "At present, ministers are received from other Churches without meeting the educational requirements of our Church and without answering the questions which are asked of the men who are received on trial. This amendment makes the requirements the same in all cases." (See Proceedings Forty-first General Conference of The Methodist Church.)
The Judicial Council hereby affirms the Ruling of Bishop Harrell in the above entitled case, and adopts his statement as the decision of the Council.