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Decision No. 27

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December 03 1944
In Re: Pension Case, Mississippi Conference

Digest of Case

Under the provisions of Paragraph 1619 and Paragraph 1618 (8), Discipline 1944, a retired Minister of the Mississippi Conference, formerly a member of the Methodist Protestant Church, who originally entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, but was involuntarily located and who was subsequently received into the Ministry of the Methodist Protestant Church, is entitled to have the years of service in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, included in the number of years on which his annuity claim is based.

Statement of Facts

On May 4, 1944, the General Conference of The Methodist Church in session at Kansas City, Mo., adopted the following resolution (See Proceedings of 1944 General conference, page 190): "Resolved, That the General Conference ask the Judicial Council to give a Declaratory Decision on the following case: "A retired minister of the Mississippi Conference who was a member of the Methodist Protestant Church on May 10, 1939 (the date of Unification) originally entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, rendered service therein in the effective relation, was subsequently involuntarily located and thereafter he was received into the ministry of the Methodist Protestant Church. Since Unification, and until the present time, his approved years of service counted for annuity claim in the Mississippi Conference have been those served as a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church. "In this case, the adoption of a new Pension Code by this General Conference raises under Paragraph 1318, Section 2 and Paragraph 1319, last clause thereof, the question as to whether or not the years of said retired minister formerly rendered in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, should be included with the years for which annuity claim can be made."

Decision

This Resolution having been duly considered it is the decision of the Judicial Council that the effective years of service by such minister in an Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, prior to his involuntary location should, under the new Pension Code, be included in the number of years on which his claim for annuity is based. Subsection 2, subdivision (c) of Paragraph 1319, of the 1940 Discipline reads as follows: "The following years of service in the effective relation may not be approved as a basis of annuity claim; . . . Years served prior to the Uniting Conference in a Denomination other than the one in which membership was held on May 10, 1939." This provision was repealed by the 1944 General Conference, and therefore is not included in the new Pension Code. However, Paragraph 1320 of the 1940 Discipline was reenacted in 1944 as Paragraph 1619, Article 6 of the 1944 Discipline. This article reads as follows: "Art. 6. Claims of a Retired Minister: The Annuity Claim of a retired minister shall be for an amount equivalent to the total years of his approved service multiplied by the annuity rate as defined above, irrespective of breaks in the sequence of such service." (See Paragraph 1619 of the 1944 Discipline.) Furthermore the 1944 General Conference (Subdivision 8 of Paragraph 1618, 1944 Discipline) defined the meaning of the words "The Methodist Church" as used in connection with the years of effective service on which annuity claims may be based. Such definition reads as follows: "8. The Methodist Church shall mean The Methodist Church after the Uniting Conference of 1939, also any of the Churches united in 1939, as they were constituted prior to 1939. In the light of these specific actions of the General Conference, it appears that there can be no doubt as to the legislative intent in the premises. The minister involved is entitled to have such years included in the number of years on which his annuity claim is based.

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