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Decision No. 895

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October 26 2000
In Re: Review of Bishop's Decision of Law in the Western New York Annual Conference on Whether a Local Pastor Who is Currently Enrolled in a Seminary Should Be Listed by the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry as a Student Local Pastor or a Part Time Local Pastor.

Digest of Case

Bishop Hae-Jong Kim's decision of law, that a student attending seminary, who has an appointment in the annual conference, and is in process within that annual conference, may be listed as a part time local pastor, is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

The Western New York Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry was asked whether a student currently enrolled in a college, university or school of theology listed by the University Senate (¶ 343.3) must be listed as a student local pastor in the annual report to the clergy session of the annual conference. A member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, on behalf of the Board, presented in writing to the presiding bishop in a regular session of the Western New York Annual Conference the following question: "May a student local pastor (Par. 343.3) be listed as a part time local pastor under question 21d (Par. 343.2)?" The bishop ruled that persons who are attending seminary, who have an appointment in the annual conference, and are in process within that annual conference may be listed as part time local pastors. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2613 of the 1996 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale The question was raised because there is a distinct difference in the rights accorded to a student local pastor and those accorded to a part time local pastor. Under ¶ 340.7 of the 1996 Discipline a student local pastor ". . . shall have the right to voice but not vote in annual conference." Par. 340.6 of the 1996 Discipline states: The membership of local pastors under full-time appointment is in the annual conference where they shall have the right to vote on all matters except constitutional amendments, election of delegates to General, jurisdictional, or central conferences, and conference relations of clergy. The bishop stated in the rationale for his decision of law: A person listed as part time local pastor or full time local pastor may be enrolled in a Course of Study program or may attend seminary while under appointment, as long as the person is in process within the annual conference, and has made a commitment to that annual conference, should have voice and vote (emphasis added) in the annual conference in which he or she is appointed. . . . The Judicial Council affirms the bishop's ruling on the condition that the provisions of ¶ 341 have been satisfied as well as the provisions of ¶ 343.2.

Decision

Bishop Hae-Jong Kim's decision of law, that a student attending seminary, who has an appointment in the annual conference, and is in process within that annual conference, may be listed as a part time local pastor, is affirmed.

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