Judicial Council Decisions Search
Decision No. 65
April 28 1949
In Re: Decision of Hazen G. Werner Made in Lima District Conference
Digest of Case
Terms and provisions set out in Paragraph 807 of the 1948 Discipline are defined or interpreted as follows: (1) "At any regular session" means any session of an Annual Conference at which business is transacted. (2) "Regular active itinerants," as used in said Paragraph, includes only effective members of the Annual Conference serving as pastors, and does not include District Superintendents and members of the Conference serving under special appointments. (3) By "Basic" is meant the schedule of salaries to be paid pastors and supply pastors from a common treasury under any basic salary plan adopted by an Annual Conference; such salaries to be uniform, subject only to the variants allowed under said Paragraph 807. Such salaries may be augmented by pastoral charges as provided in Section 3, Paragraph 807.
Statement of Facts
The Ohio Annual Conference at its 1948 session adopted a recommendation that there be created a Commission in that Conference to study the salary situation in the light of new legislation enacted by the 1948 General Conference, this legislation providing for the adoption of a basic salary plan as set forth in Paragraph 807 of the 1948 Discipline. At a recent session of the Lima District Conference four questions, as follows, were propounded to Bishop Hazen G. Werner, presiding over the Ohio Area: 1. Does "at any regular session" enable a Conference to deny the franchise to those necessarily absent from the session? 2. Who are "regular active itinerants"? 3. How shall "basic" be interpreted? 4. Is this legislation applicable to District Superintendents? These questions are based upon the following excerpts from Paragraph 807 of the 1948 Discipline. "1. An Annual Conference may by a two-thirds majority vote at any regular session adopt a basic salary plan for the support of its active itinerants and supply pastors who are giving their full time to the ministry of the Church;" . . . "2. The basic salary plan shall provide an established salary schedule for the support of the regular active itinerants and supply pastors giving their full time to the ministry of the Church, which may allow for differences of living conditions, number of dependents in the family, and other variants." . . . To these questions the Bishop made the following replies in the Lima District Conference: "There need be no preclusion of the use of franchise on the part of any members of the Annual Conference when this issue is considered. Treasurers, secretaries, statisticians, and others have the privilege of voting and having their votes recorded similarly as in situations in which elections are being conducted for General and Jurisdictional delegates. It is altogether likely that the above would be notified in order that the franchise could be exercised. The Conference has a right to say that certain matters of business will be taken up at certain times. In fact, an agreed time for consideration of this issue would obviate any danger at this point. "While this term 'regular, active itinerants' does not appear in the Constitution of the Church, nevertheless, it has been in common usage from the beginning of Methodism. The definition of the words is, 'specifically the system of rotation of the clergy practiced by The Methodist Church.' "'Basic.'-The confusion here seems to arise because of the term: 'anestablished salary schedule.' The latter, however, lends itself to the interpretation of established, alterable by amendment as circumstances might require. 'Basic' itself has to do with what we mean by 'norm.' "I do not find reference to 'the support for the several District Superintendents' in the Paragraph." This decision having been made by the Bishop in a District Conference in conformity with the provisions of Paragraph 909 of the 1948 Discipline and having been properly certified to the Judicial Council, it is properly before the Judicial Council for determination.
The ruling of Bishop Werner, as above set out, is hereby affirmed with the following observations and modifications: 1. The question of adopting a basic salary system could be taken up at any session of the Annual Conference when business is being transacted. Such a matter being of great importance, however, interested parties should secure a Special Order of the Day to consider same. 2. Historically the term "regular active itinerant" has been understood to mean ministers admitted on trial or into full connection in an Annual Conference and who are serving under appointment by a Bishop. As used in Paragraph 807 of the 1948 Discipline, it seems that the General Conference in dealing with the question of basic salary used the term "regular active itinerants" to include only effective members of the Annual Conference serving as pastors and not to include District Superintendents and members of the Conference serving under special appointment. This is the interpretation the Judicial Council here gives to the term "regular active itinerants" as used in this particular legislation. 3. By the term "basic" as used in Paragraph 807 is meant the schedule of salaries to be paid to pastors and supply pastors out of a common treasury under any basic salary plan adopted by an Annual Conference. Such salaries are to be uniform, subject only to the variants allowed under said Paragraph 807. Such "basic" salaries may be augmented by pastoral charges as provided in Paragraph 807, Section 5. 4. District Superintendents, as indicated above in answer to question 2, are not included by the term "regular active itinerants" as used in this particular paragraph.