Judicial Review of who can vote for GC delegates
By Bill Kemp
UMRF, along with the National Fellowship of Associate
Members and Local Pastors and (NFAM&LP), worked hard at the 2008
General Conference in Fort Worth to enlarge the number of clergypersons
permitted to vote for GC delegates. We were successful (with some compromising)
in revising Discipline - par. 35 of the Constitution to read as follows:
The clergy delegates to the General Conference and to the
jurisdictional or central conference shall be elected from the clergy members
in full connection and shall be elected by the clergy members of the annual
conference or provisional annual conference who are deacons and elders in full
connection, associate members, and those provisional members who have completed
all of their educational requirements and local pastors who have completed
course of study or an M. Div. degree and have served a minimum of two
consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election.
The following questions were raised that required Judicial
1. How is the phrase "two consecutive years under
appointment" to be interpreted? For example, is this a 24-month requirement or
a requirement for two conference years as commonly applied?
2. To whom does the requirement of "two consecutive years under appointment" refer?
For example, does this apply to provisional [member]s as well as both full-time
and part-time local pastors?
3. By what date do educational requirements have to be met?
The Judicial Council requested guidance from UMRF on the
intent of our legislation. Roger Grace provided the a clear response (which can
be downloaded: Brief-par35 ).
In brief, the Judicial Council ruled:
To become an eligible elector, a local pastor (a) must
have met the educational requirement and (b) must have satisfied the
appointment requirement which mandates (i) that the person "be listed in the
journal as eligible to be appointed as local pastors" (∂ 318), and (ii) that
the person has "served" an appointment fixed by the bishop for two consecutive
conference years as that term is commonly applied.
To read the full ruling and rational see Judicial Decision
Over the past year, the United Methodist Rural Advocates participated in a strategic planning process to better articulate our mission, vision, goals and activities. The thorough and conscientious efforts of the Executive Committee have resulted in an organization that is more focused on meeting the needs of rural ministry leaders. Not only will we continue advocating for the needs of rural ministry leaders within the United Methodist Church, but will also provide valuable programs that are designed to create connections, increase available resources, and equip leaders for greater ministry in rural communities ‚?? and be available to ministers of all churches who desire to advance the Kingdom of God in rural locations.
We, the seventy-two members of the International Rural Churches Association who have been meeting in the African Bible College Lilongwe, Malawi, for the 5th International Rural Churches Association conference from July 28 to August 1, have this message to share with our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world, our rural colleagues and with the leaders of national and international church organizations.
Rev. Dr. Alan Rice was awarded the honorary life membership award at the Western NC Conference United Methodist Rural Advocates banquet at Lake Junaluska on June 18. The highest honor that one can receive as a member of the United Methodist Rural Advocates (UMRA) is the honorary life membership award. As the brochure about the award says, it is √?¬Ę??reserved for carefully selected lay and clergy persons, who, over an extended period of time, have invested themselves nationally or regionally in contributing to the life of the Church√?¬Ę??s concern for mission and ministry in town and rural places.√?¬Ę?√?¬Ě This national honor has gone to a number of persons from the Western NC Conference including Claude Young, Gladys Campbell, Alec Alvord, Hubert Clinard, and the late John Christy. The award was presented by Rev. Randy Wall, a member of the national UMRA executive committee and Mollie Stewart, national UMRA treasurer.