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Decision No. 922

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October 25 2001
In Re: Review of the Revised Design for Ministry of the Holston Annual Conference as Required by Decision 835.

Digest of Case

Upon notifying the Judicial Council that the required revisions have been made and approved by the Holston Annual Conference, the Design for Ministry is approved. The required revisions are: 1. Return the responsibility for leadership development of clergy to the board of ordained ministry. 2. Conform the membership composition of the Stewardship Team to the mandated disciplinary composition of the Commission on Equitable Compensation. 3. Delete from the plan the provision that delegates the responsibilities of the council on finance and administration that are set forth in ¶¶ 611 and 612 of the 2000 Discipline to the Personnel Resource Team.

Statement of Facts

During the 1998 session of the Holston Annual Conference, a report entitled “Design for Ministry” was adopted. Adoption was accompanied by a provision that it would be submitted to the Judicial Council for review before implementation. Upon review, the Judicial Council ruled in Decision 835 that the “structure plan [was] so vague as to be unconstitutional”. The plan was remanded to the Holston Annual Conference to be revised and resubmitted to the Judicial Council for review and approval. The Design for Ministry was placed before the annual conference again in 1999 and provisionally approved. The Ministry Design Team would monitor the transition to the plan throughout 1999 and 2000 and make a final report to the 2000 annual conference. The 2000 session authorized the Design Team to continue to monitor the transition and approved presentation of the Design for Ministry to the Judicial Council. On June 13, 2001, the Design for Ministry with changes was brought before the annual conference. The report with changes was adopted and approved. The revised Design for Ministry of the Holston Annual Conference is again before the Judicial Council. At an oral hearing in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 25, 2001, Jay Arthur Garrison, Jean Henderson and Gary W. Grogg appeared, representing the Holston Annual Conference. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2610 of the 2000 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale The Holston Annual Conference has revised its Design for Ministry and placed it before the Judicial Council again. The plan reflects that the conference has put a great deal of time, thought and energy into its development. For the most part, the annual conference has revised the plan in accordance with the instructions given in Decision 835. However, there remain several revisions that must be made to bring the Design for Ministry in compliance with the Discipline, Decision 835 and other related Judicial Council decisions. The revisions that the Judicial Council requires for approval of the Design for Ministry relate to the following provisions: 1. The responsibility for leadership development of clergy. The plan places this responsibility with the Nurture Ministry Team. Several observations are warranted regarding this provision of the structure. Par. 632.2n of the 2000 Discipline says: 2. The duties of the annual conference board of ordained ministry shall be: n) to provide support services for the ordained minister’s career development, including personal and career counseling, continuing education, formation in servant leadership and continuing spiritual growth in Christ, assistance in preparation for retirement, and all matters pertaining to clergy morale. In providing such support, the board, in cooperation with the cabinet, shall give training and guidance to each local committee on pastor-parish relations regarding its work and role. The responsibility for clergy leadership and development is reserved for the board of ordained ministry. It cannot be delegated to the Nurture Ministry Team. The board of ordained ministry is directly amenable to the annual conference in the discharge of its duties. The ministry team is not. The accountability for the proper discharge of this duty as mandated by the Discipline is lost when placed in the ministry team. The disciplinary scheme of accountability in discharging the duties of a board, commission or committee must be maintained when devising a conference structure. Therefore, the Design for Ministry must be revised to return this responsibility to the board of ordained ministry. 2. Functions of the commission on equitable compensation. The Design for Ministry delegates the function of the commission on equitable compensation to the Stewardship Team. The 2000 Discipline requires that this commission or other structure providing its function be composed of an equal number of lay and clergy person. In addition, one district superintendent named by the cabinet shall be a member. ¶623.1. The Design for Ministry calls for members of the Stewardship Team to be nominated by the Nominating Committee, which is allowed by the Discipline. The problem here is that the Design for Ministry also provides that the membership of each ministry team will be twelve persons with a majority laity membership. We reiterate that the prescribed number of members, the method of nomination and election, fixed terms and diversity of membership must be exactly as stated in the Discipline. This disciplinary mandate is applicable to any equivalent for boards, commissions and committees for which the “disciplinary name” has been changed. (See Decisions 815, 827, 835 and 878). Since the Discipline requires that the commission on equitable compensation or the structure providing its function be composed of an equal number of lay and clergy persons, the Stewardship Ministry Team must have an equal number of lay and clergy persons, not a majority laity membership. The annual conference is required to conform the membership composition of the Stewardship Team with the required disciplinary composition. 3. Delegation of responsibilities of the council on finance and administration. The Design for Ministry provides for a council on finance and administration. It further provides that the responsibilities of that council as set out in ¶¶ 611 and 612 of the 2000 Discipline are assigned to the Personnel Resource Team. The responsibilities delineated in these paragraphs are core functions and responsibilities of the council on finance and administration. Delegating these responsibilities to the Personnel Resource Team is improper. During oral hearing, the presenters advised that the inclusion of this provision was an error and that the responsibilities listed in ¶¶ 611 and 612 have not been assigned to the Personnel Resource Team. The annual conference must ensure that this provision is deleted from the plan and that the responsibilities listed in ¶¶ 611 and 612 remain with the council on finance and administration.

Decision

Upon notifying the Judicial Council that the required revisions have been made and approved by the Holston Annual Conference, the Design for Ministry is approved. The required revisions are: 1. Return the responsibility for leadership development of clergy to the board of ordained ministry. 2. Conform the membership composition of the Stewardship Team to the mandated disciplinary composition of the Commission on Equitable Compensation. 3. Delete from the plan the provision that delegates the responsibilities of the council on finance and administration that are set forth in ¶¶ 611 and 612 of the 2000 Discipline to the Personnel Resource Team.

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