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Decision No. 49

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May 02 1948
In Re: Ruling of Bishop Arthur F. Wesley in the River Plate Annual Conference as to Time Requirements for Preachers on Trial Be- fore Admission into Full Connection Interpreting Paragraph 341 Discipline 1944

Digest of Case

The provision in Paragraph 341, Discipline 1944, as to admission into full connection in the Annual Conference of one who while a student has been regularly appointed as pastor, does not eliminate the two-year trial period as required by the first part of this Paragraph.

Statement of Facts

During the session of the River Plate Annual Conference held January 18, 1948, at Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bishop Arthur F. Wesley decided, on the basis of the latter portion of Paragraph 341 of the 1944 Discipline, that the reception into full membership of the Conference of several seminary students who had spent "the proper length of time" (two years) under the regular appointment in a circuit, was in order. These students were received on trial at the same Conference session at which they were later received into full connection. Bishop Wesley, who was the presiding Bishop, considered that they had fulfilled the time period requirement of service. The Conference voted that this ruling should be referred to the Judicial Council for their decision.

Decision

This ruling is properly before the Judicial Council for review both as an appeal from a Bishop's decision under Paragraph 43, Section 2 and as passing upon a decision of law made by a Bishop at an Annual Conference under Paragraph 43, Section 2. Paragraph 341 of the 1944 Discipline reads as follows: Admission into Full Connection "Paragraph 341. A preacher on trial who has been appointed in the regular itinerant work on circuits or stations, or as an instructor in one of our institutions of learning, for two successive years from the time he was received on trial, may be admitted into full connection in the Annual Conference after he has given satisfactory evidence of his knowledge of the subjects covered in the first two years of the Conference course of study, and after the examination before the Conference prescribed in Paragraph 343 of this Chapter; provided this shall not be so construed as to prevent the admission into full connection of one who, while a student in any college or theological seminary of The Methodist Church approved by the authorized standardizing agency, or other evangelical theological seminary of equal rank, has been for the proper length of time regularly appointed as pastor in a circuit or station under the appointment of the District Superintendent." Both from a historical viewpoint and from a reading of the above Paragraph it is clear that before a preacher may be admitted into full connection in the Annual Conference he must first have been received on trial, and have remained on trial for at least two successive years prior to the date of his admission into full connection. The proviso in this Paragraph does not eliminate the time requirement but simply provides that being a student does not prevent him from at the same time serving his two-year trial period as a pastor under appointment of the District Superintendent. It is therefore the decision of the Judicial Council that the decision of the Bishop was not in accord with the provisions of the Discipline and it is hereby reversed.

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