Are the lay leader and lay member included in the maximum of nine members on the PPR committee?
The Book of Discipline states that "the committee shall be composed of not fewer than five nor more than nine persons...In addition, the lay leader and a lay member of the annual conference shall be members...." (¶ 258.2 a), 2016 Book of Discipline)
This is a difficult paragraph to interpret. After consulting with several bishops, district superintendents and a representative of the Judicial Council, no consensus could be reached. A strict interpretation of the Discipline indicates a maximum of 9 members. However, after considering the information in the Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation booklet on the pastor parish relations committee, this may not be the intent of the Discipline. A church may choose to follow the strict interpretation and configure the committee with no more than nine members. In this way, the Discipline is not violated. It is clear that the minimum number is five. The district superintendent can give guidance and advice on this issue.