Decision Number 82
Ruling of Bishop Valencia in the Philippines Annual Conference with Respect to a Full-Time Ministry
It is not necessary to adopt a fixed rule to determine the applicability of the term "full-time ministry" (Paragraph 343, Question 17, Discipline of 1948), as each case must be considered by the Committee on Conference Relations on the facts applicable thereto.
Statement of Facts
At a Session of the Philippines Annual Conference in March, 1951, the Conference reviewed action taken by it at previous sessions in 1948, 1949, and 1950 as to the interpretation and application of the provision in the Discipline as to "full-time ministry," with particular reference to Paragraph 343, Question 17, Discipline of 1948. At the 1950 Annual Conference Session there was adopted, on the recommendation of the Committee on Conference Relations, the following:
"By Full-Time Ministry we mean to include: first, the Pastors regularly appointed to pastoral charges who derive their income from the Church; second, ministers who are appointed by the Bishop under Special appointment; third, students studying in approved institutions who are also pastors of churches."
At the session of the Annual Conference of March 29, 1951, the Presiding Bishop, Jose L. Valencia, made a ruling on the above matter as follows:
"In view of the fact that the 1948 Discipline required that the work of the ministry be full time and every member of the Annual Conference has taken a pledge to devote himself wholly to God and His work as provided in Paragraph 343, I hereby rule that the action on full-time ministry taken on February 18, 1950, is not necessary and the same is therefore ordered expunged from the records, and that any violation of the obligations contained in said Paragraph 343 or any other related provision of the Discipline may be referred to the Committee on Conference Relations for action."
It is evident that the members of the Philippines Annual Conference were endeavoring to adopt some workable definition of the term "full-time ministry" which could be applied under the conditions existing in that country. In other words, they were trying to bind the Committee on Conference Relations to some fixed standards. It is evident that any such standards would have to be rather flexible, and that each case as it comes up before the Committee would have to be considered in connection with the particular facts applicable thereto.
Accordingly, as so interpreted, it is evident that the ruling of the Bishop was generally speaking correct in saying that any such rule is unnecessary. However, it was not in order to order the foregoing action to be expunged from the records, but simply to say that the same should be rescinded.
With the foregoing qualification, therefore, the ruling of the Bishop in this case is hereby affirmed.