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Decision No. 44

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April 22 1947
In Re: Annual Recommendations for District Superintendents' Support, Paragraph 788

Digest of Case

In Annual Conferences which provide for support of District Superintendents according to Paragraph 788 of the 1944 Discipline, the amount of such support (including salary and allowances) and the apportionments thereof, must be recommended annually by the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, and may not be regulated by a Standing Rule of the Conference.

Statement of Facts

Acting under the provisions of Paragraph 631, 1944 Discipline, by which an Annual Conference may make Standing Rules for its procedure, provided they are not contrary to the Constitution and legislation of the Church, the North Alabama Conference did, in regular session assembled, October 26, 1945, on motion duly made, seconded, and carried, amend Rule 9 of its Standing Rules to read, as finally agreed upon, as follows: "9. District Superintendents' Support. (1) The maximum salary of the District Superintendents of the North Alabama Conference shall be $5,000 annually. "(2) A sum equal to 8-1/3 per cent of the pastors' salaries shall be apportioned, collected as for pastors, and sent to the Conference Treasurer, who shall pay to each District Superintendent $350 monthly, for eleven months, borrowing if necessary; for the twelfth month the Conference Treasurer shall pay to each District Superintendent the balance of his salary. "(3) District Stewards shall provide District Parsonages and their upkeep." (Journal of North Alabama Conference, 1945, pages 3, 49, 51.) At the same session of the North Alabama Conference (1945) the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance made no recommendation concerning District Superintendents' support. The Chairman of the Commission has asked for a ruling on the following point: Is the support of District Superintendentsprovided for from year to year under Rule 9 for the North Alabama Conference, or shall the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance make recommendations to the Conference each year for the action and determination of the said Conference? The Discipline provides two methods by either of which provision may be made for a "sufficient and equitable support for the District Superintendents": (1) A common fund, raised throughout the Conference, and out of which all the District Superintendents of the Conference severally receive their support. (Paragraph 788) ; (2) A fund raised and administered "in each of the several Districts" "through the Board of District Stewards." (Paragraph 789.) The North Alabama Conference has elected to follow the plan first above mentioned, and therefore our method and procedure in the matter of District Superintendents' support must be in harmony with Paragraph 788, which is as follows: "It shall be the duty of the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, unless otherwise provided (Par. 789) to estimate the total amount necessary to furnish a sufficient and equitable support for the District Superintendents of the Conference, including salary and suitable provision for dwelling, travel, and office expense. The Commission shall recommend to the Annual Conference for its action and determination the amount estimated, including the salary and other allowances specified above, for each of the several District Superintendents. The Commission shall also recommend to the Annual Conference for its action and determination the basis and method by which the total amount shall be apportioned to the Districts or charges in harmony with Paragraph 802. The Conference Treasurer shall, as far as practicable, remit monthly to the several District Superintendents the amounts due them, respectively, and with the approval of the Conference the Commission on World Service and Finance, or the Treasurer, as the Conference may determine, may borrow the funds necessary to make this possible." RULING OF THE BISHOP The presiding Bishop, Costen J. Harrell, ruled as follows: Rule 9 violatesParagraph 788 in the following particulars: 1. It is the intent and purpose of Paragraph 788 that the salary of the District Superintendents shall be estimated and recommended annually. The words "at each session of the Annual Conference" (Paragraph 786) are applicable to Paragraphs 787 and 788. The current funds of the Church are estimated and apportioned on an annual basis. (Paragraphs 738, 782, 786, 787, 785, 784.) The support of District Superintendents, by every interpretation of our Church law, is, as other current funds of the Church, to be estimated annually, otherwise great injury might be done the Superintendents. 2. Paragraph 788 further provides that the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance shall in its annual report estimate and recommend to the Conference a definite salary for each District Superintendent. Rule 9 does not indicate a definite salary, but only a maximum salary. 3. The procedure by which the support of District Superintendents is to be considered by the Annual Conference is clearly stated in Paragraph 788. This question of their support is not properly before the Conference for its action until the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance has made its recommendations. It is the clear intent of the law that the Commission shall be a body of review to consider all the financial obligations assumed by the Conference and to make its recommendations, in order that the Conference may act intelligently and justly with reference to all the causes appealing for support, whether regular causes or extraordinary causes. (Paragraphs 780-788 and Paragraph 795.) 4. Paragraph 788 provides that "the Conference Treasurer shall, as far as practicable, remit monthly to the several District Superintendents the amounts due them, respectively." Rule 9 on the contrary limits monthly payments made to the District Superintendents whether the funds are available or not. For these reasons it is ruled that Rule 9, Articles 1 and 2 are contrary to Paragraph 788, 1944 Discipline, and therefore are deleted from the Standing Rules of the North Alabama Conference. The Conference Commission on World Service and Finance is required by the provisions of the Discipline to make recommendations annually concerning District Superintendents' support for the action and determination of the Conference. Article 3 of the said Rule 9, to wit: "District Stewards shall provideDistrict parsonages and their upkeep" is in harmony with the law of the Church and powers granted unto the Annual Conferences, and therefore is not deleted from the Standing Rules.

Decision

The foregoing ruling of the presiding Bishop in the North Alabama Conference is hereby affirmed.

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