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Decision No. 110

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July 20 1954
In Re: Request of New England Southern Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision as to the Meaning, Application and Effect of Paragraphs 375 and 309 of Discipline of 1952 Referring to Termination of Annual Conference Membership by Voluntary Location

Digest of Case

A minister who locates voluntarily retains his relationship as a Local Preacher in the Quarterly Conference where he resides. His license is not subject to renewal annually. He is held amenable for his conduct and the continuance of his ordination rights to the Annual Conference in which his Quarterly Conference membership is held. He continues as a Local Preacher in the Quarterly Conference until such time as he voluntarily surrenders his credentials or is deprived of such by due process of trial.

Statement of Facts

The Judicial Council received the following petition for a Declaratory Decision from the New England Southern Conference: "The New England Southern Conference, in session in Brockton, Mass., June 5, 1954, by unanimous vote, petitions the Judicial Council of The Methodist Church, in compliance with Par. 914 (8) Discipline of 1952, to make a ruling, in the nature of a Declaratory Decision, as to the meaning, application and effect of Sec. VIII, Termination of Annual Conference Membership Par. 375, By Voluntary Location (also Par. 309) with respect to the following particulars: "It is understood that a member of an Annual Conference who locates at his own request thereupon becomes a Local Preacher with such Orders as he has previously received. "Question 1. In the case of a member of an Annual Conference who has located at his own request, is the continuance of his status as a Local Preacher dependent upon (a) The renewal annually of a license to preach by Quarterly, District or Annual Conference action? (b) Is it dependent upon membership in a local Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides? "Question 2. In the case of a member of an Annual Conference who has located at his own request, is the continuance of his status as a Deacon or Elder dependent upon his membership in a Methodist Church and a Quarterly Conference where he resides? "Question 3. If it is adjudged that the ministerial status of a member of an Annual Conference who has located at his own request is dependent upon membership in a Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides, after what lapse of time following location would one cease to have standing as a Local Preacher and as a Deacon and/or Elder, if no connection with a Methodist Church or Quarterly Conference has been established?" JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 914 (8) 1952 Discipline to render the Declaratory Decision requested. ANALYSIS In the request of the New England Southern Annual Conference cited above, three specific questions are asked: (1) In the case of a member of an Annual Conference who has located at his own request, is the continuance of his status as a Local Preacher dependent upon (a) The renewal annually of a license to preach by Quarterly, District or Annual Conference action? (b) Is it dependent upon membership in a local Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides? The answer to (a) is NO. The ordination of a local preacher makes unnecessary the annual renewal of his license. The answer to (b) is YES. Paragraph 310 of the 1952 Discipline provides that "whenever Local Preachers, ordained or unordained shall sever their relation with The Methodist Church in any way whatsoever, they shall deposit their credentials with the proper authorities."` QUESTION 2. In the case of a member of an Annual Conference who has located at his own request, is the continuance of his status as a Deacon or Elder dependent upon his membership in a Methodist Church and a Quarterly Conference where he resides? The answer is YES. For the same reason as in (b) above see Par. 310. QUESTION 3. If it is adjudged that the ministerial status of a member of an Annual Conference who has located at his own request is dependent upon membership in a Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides, after what lapse of time following location would one cease to have standing as a Local Preacher and as a Deacon and/or Elder, if no connection with a Methodist Church or Quarterly Conference has been established? The answer is that a minister who has located, automatically becomes a member of the Quarterly Conference where he resides at the time of his location, Paragraph 309. He continues as a Local Preacher in that Quarterly Conference or in such other to which he may be transferred (Par. 306), until such time as he voluntarily surrenders his credentials or is deprived of them through due process of trial.

Decision

It is the Decision of the Judicial Council, therefore, that a minister who is located voluntarily is not required to have his license renewed annually. His status as a Local Preacher and as a Deacon and Elder is dependent upon his membership in The Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides. A minister when located, automatically becomes a member of The Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides. He continues as a Local Preacher in that Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference or in such other to which he may be transferred until such time as he voluntarily surrenders his credentials or is deprived of them by due process of a trial

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