Decision Number 419


November 29, 1976

Request for a Declaratory Decision on the Constitutionality of Paragraph 451.3 of the Discipline.


In connection with the General Conference enactment of Paragraph 451.3 the legislative committee included in its report the sentence: "The committee requests the Judicial Council to render a declaratory judgment on the proposed Paragraph 453.3."

The proposed paragraph in question stated:

"3. Appointment of pastors in full connection. A pastor, upon consultation with the bishop and/or Cabinet may waive his/her claim upon the conference minimum salary. This waiver is to be reviewed annually and is to be effective until the time of subsequent appointment."

That proposed paragraph became Paragraph 451.3 in the 1976 Discipline.

The proposed paragraph as well as the recommendation of the Legislative Committee was adopted by the General Conference as noted in the Daily Christian Advocate of May 8th, 1976, page 974.

The matter before the Judicial Council refers to legislation of the 1976 General Conference. That particular piece of legislation provides only that pastors in full connection may waive their claim upon the Conference minimum salary program. There are several safeguards to such a decision, namely consultation with the bishop and/or Cabinet and an annual review of the decision.

No briefs have been filed with the Judicial Council concerning the matter. It is not entirely clear as to whether the specific wording referred to above is actually what the committee requested to be placed before the Judicial Council. A statement of clarification was forwarded by the chairman of the legislative sub-committee that dealt with this matter.

However, the Judicial Council does not feel that it has sufficient information to make a decision at this time. We particularly need information concerning possible conflicts between Paragraph 451.3 and Paragraph 451.2 and paragraphs dealing with pensions and equitable salaries.

Jurisdiction is therefore retained and action deferred.

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