Decision Number 97
The Request of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision Concern- ing the Relationship of "Approved Full- time Supply Pastors" (Par. 315-c to Paragraph 320 of the 1952 Discipline)
ALL "Approved Full-time Supply Pastors" except those who have already been ordained Elders are required to obey the provisions of Paragraph 320 of the 1952 Discipline.
Statement of Facts
A letter, dated June 16, 1953, from Wayne D. Griffen, Secretary, notified the Judicial Council of the following Resolution adopted by the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference in its session on June 12, 1953:
"Judicial ruling is asked on Paragraph 315 relative to category "C"; and Paragraph 320, with special emphasis on whether or not the enforcement of Paragraph 320 involves retroactive action to include all approved supply pastors now serving or just those who come into that relationship in the future (Conf. year 1953-54, on)"
Under Paragraph 914-(8) of the Discipline, the Judicial Council has jurisdiction and this request for a Declaratory Decision comes properly before us.
Analysis and Rationale
Paragraph 320 of the 1952 Discipline reads as follows:
"Approved Supply Pastors who are giving their full time to pastoral work under the District Superintendents shall be required to take the Conference Course of Study, including the Course for Admission on Trial. The Courses shall be taken by correspondence, or part by correspondence and part in a standard Pastor's school or summer school for ministerial training, except that credits for the Courses of Study may be accepted from the Schools of Theology and colleges, as described in Paragraphs 326-27. Any Approved Supply Pastor who fails to observe the requirements of this Section, or who shall fail to complete two years of the Course of Study within four years and the entire Course within eight years, shall not be employed by a District Superintendent."
It is certainly evident from the wording of this Paragraph that all Approved Full-time Supply Pastors must observe these requirements. There are no provisions for suspending this rule.
Paragraph 315 (1) reads as follows:
"The Conference Board of Ministerial Training and Qualifications shall recommend annually to the Annual Conference those who have met the requirements to become Approved Supply Pastors for the ensuing year, classifying them in one of the following categories: (a) Approved Student Supply Pastors who are in schools, colleges, or seminaries preparing for Conference membership; (b) Approved Part-time Supply Pastors other than students; (c) Approved Full-time Supply Pastors who are Elders or are taking the Course of study preparing for ordination as required by Paragraph 320 and are giving full time to pastoral work."
Again, it is evident from the wording of category (c), which refers "Approved Full-time Supply Pastors" to the requirements of Paragraph 320, that the Conference Board of Ministerial Training and Qualifications is given the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of Paragraph 320 in relation to all who seek approval as Full-time Supply Pastors, who have not received ordination as Elders. It is the obvious intent of these provisions in the Discipline that all Approved Full-time Supply Pastors shall be either fully ordained or making progress toward full ordination under the provision of Paragraph 320.
The term "retroactive" used in the Resolution of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference requesting a ruling in this matter is not pertinent here. It is not required, for instance, that the provisions of Paragraph 320 concerning time, etc., be made retroactive to cover past years wherein a person may have had a relationship to the Conference as a Supply Pastor. It is certainly required, however, that all Approved Full-time Supply Pastors, now serving, who have not received ordination as Elders, shall obey the provisions of Paragraph 320 regardless of age or years of service.
It is the Decision of the Judicial Council that all Approved Full-time Supply Pastors must satisfy the requirements of Paragraph 320 of the 1952 Discipline. They must have met in full the educational requirements and have received ordination as Elders, or, they must now be subject to the provisions of this Paragraph, preparing for ordination.