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Decision No. 661

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October 24 1991
In Re: Legality of the Formula and Method by which Ministerial Support Items are Apportioned in the Memphis Conference.

Digest of Case

The apportionment of ministerial support as separate line items is not in violation of the Discipline. The Discipline does not provide for a local church to designate its giving within the ministerial support items.

Statement of Facts

The Memphis Conference apportions as separate line items the askings for pensions, equitable salary, district superintendent's fund, and episcopal fund. The conference has asked the Judicial Council to give a declaratory decision as to the legality of apportioning the ministerial support items in this manner. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under  2615 of the 1988 Discipline. ANALYSIS The Memphis Conference seems to be asking two questions: (1) Is it legal forthe conference to apportion the ministerial support items as separate line items? (2) Is it legal for the local church to designate its giving among the apportioned ministerial support items? The former question is addressed in  718, which states: Each Annual Conference shall determine what plan and method shall be used in distributing the apportionments to its several districts and charges for the Episcopal Fund, for support of district superintendents, and for the Equitable Salary Fund.... The Judicial Council in Decision No. 208 declared this disciplinary provision to be legal and constitutional. The apportionment of ministerial support as separate line items, therefore, is not in violation of the provision of the Discipline. In reference to the second question,  719 states: When the apportionments for bishops, district superintendents, conference claimants and the Equitable Salary Fund for the several districts and charges have been determined, payments made to the same in each pastoral change shall be (emphasis added) exactly proportional to the amount paid on the clergy salary or salaries. The treasurer or treasurers of each pastoral charge shall accordingly make proportional distribution of the funds raised in that charge for support of the ordained ministry.... This Council, in Decision No. 401 declared: "The Discipline does not providefor a local church to designate its giving within the ministerial support items." The language in  719 is mandatory.

Decision

The apportionment of ministerial support as separate line items is not in violation of the Discipline. The Discipline does not provide for a local church to designate its giving within the ministerial support items.

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