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Decision No. 807

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October 24 1997
In Re: Request from the South Carolina Annual Conference For a Declaratory Decision on Whether the Phrase "Full-Time and Part-Time Pastors" in Par. 322.10 (b) of the 1996 Discipline Means "Ordained Elders" Only or Does It Also Mean Deacons in Full Connection.

Digest of Case

The phrase "full-time and part-time pastors" in Par. 322.10 (b) of the 1996 Discipline includes, among others, both ordained elders and deacons in full connection.

Statement of Facts

In May 1997, during its Annual Conference session, the South Carolina Annual Conference adopted the report of the Commission on Equitable Salaries, and thereby set minimum compensation levels for clergy persons. According to the excerpts of the minutes of that report which were presented to this council, the conference adopted the followings provision: "The minimum compensation for an ordained elder and a Paragraph 303.2 Deacon will be the same." Those same excerpts indicate that the conference agreed to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council. According to the excerpts, the following was adopted: On the motion of the Rev. Samuel Johnson the Annual Conference will direct the following question to the Judicial Council: "Does Paragraph 322.10 (b) in noting Full-time and part-time pastors' mean 'ordained elders', or does it also mean 'deacons in full connection'?" Susan Henry-Crowe and Theodore Walter did not participate in any of the proceedings related to this decision. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2616 of the 1996 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale "Pastor" is defined by Paragraph 330 of the 1996 Discipline. That paragraph states that: A pastor is an ordained or licensed person approved by vote of the clergy members in full connection and may be appointed by the bishop to be in charge of a station, circuit, cooperative parish, extension ministry, ecumenical shared ministry, or to a church of another denomination, or on the staff of one such appointment. That definition includes deacons and elders. Therefore, the answer to the question presented by the Annual Conference is that the phrase "full-time and part-time pastors," in Par. 322.10 (b) of the 1996 Discipline includes, among others, ordained elders and deacons in full connection. As an additional insight, we would offer that the conference's own minutes seem to resolve the issue of compensation of Par. 303.2 deacons in that the conference adopted the provision stated above that the compensation for Par. 303.2 deacons and ordained elders would be the same.

Decision

The phrase "full-time and part-time pastors" in Par. 322.10 (b) of the 1996 Discipline includes, among others, both ordained elders and deacons in full connection. This copy subject to final editing and correction.

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