Chapter 4: Ordained ministry


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GENERAL

4.1 Except where the context indicates otherwise, ‘Ministers’ shall include ordained Ministers, Supernumeraries and Probationer ministers in all phases of training, as well as Candidates who have been accepted and appointed by the Connexional Executive but who have not yet commenced Probation.

4.2 The Church encourages those who are called of God and who have the qualities of Christian character, evangelical zeal and preaching ability to offer for the Ministry. The primary qualifications for the work of the Christian Ministry are the sense of a divine call, spiritual and intellectual gifts, the graces of Christian character, and the fruits of Christian service.

4.3 The Church recognises its pastoral responsibility to care for the welfare of its Ministers. Nevertheless, notwithstanding any provision contained in the Laws and Discipline or the decisions of Conference or of the Connexional Executive which seem to indicate the contrary, no legally enforceable contract shall exist at any time between the Church or any of its Circuits on one hand and a Minister on the other hand, in respect of the payment of stipends, allowances or any other material benefit, in cash or kind, the provision of a station or any benefit of any kind which may have at any stage accrued to a minister.

CANDIDATES FOR THE MINISTRY

Requirements:
4.4 A Candidate shall be a Member of this Church for a minimum of two years before being nominated in the Circuit Quarterly Meeting.

4.5 The minimum educational standard of Candidates for the Ministry is the Senior Certificate, a Matriculation Exemption or an equivalent qualification.

4.6 A Candidate must have passed at least the first year in the Senior Course of the Local Preachers’ Examination and shall have the following credits, or their EMMU approved equivalents, Interpreting texts’ (7/6004), ‘Growing spiritually, thinking theologically’ (7/6003), ‘Engaging with people pastorally and ethically’ (7/6002), and ‘Developing skills for theological study’ (7/6000).

4.7 The Superintendent of a married Candidate shall satisfy Synod that the Candidate’s spouse has accepted the implications and demands of being married to a Minister.

Candidating Procedure:
4.8 A Superintendent who intends to nominate a Candidate shall notify the Director of the Education for Ministry and Mission Unit in writing before the 31st July and shall forward to the Director a copy of the Candidate’s birth certificate and copies of the highest educational certificates or qualifications held by the Candidate. The Candidate should preferably have already been through the Circuit Quarterly Meeting.

4.9 The Director shall forward the following documents to the Superintendent of a Candidate, to be dealt with as directed:

  • a medical examination form to be completed by the Candidate’s medical practitioner;
  • a personal schedule to be completed by the Candidate;
  • a questionnaire to be completed by the Candidate and submitted to the District Candidates’ Committee;
  • the form required in para. 4.10.

4.10 Candidates shall state in a Form provided by the EMMU what portion of the cost incurred by the Church for their training they are able to pay. They are expected to contribute as much as possible however no less than a minimum of 30% of each year’s training cost is expected. Further, they shall give a signed undertaking to repay to the Church, should they resign from the Ministry before the completion of five years’ service after ordination, such proportion of the cost of their training as may not have been discharged by ministerial service rendered. The amount to be repaid shall be reduced by one-fifth for each year of service in the Circuits as an ordained Minister. Any candidate who is over the age of 55 years shall be expected to cover the cost of his or her training in full.

4.11 A Candidate shall be nominated by the Superintendent in the Quarterly Meeting of the Circuit in which the Candidate is a Member and Local Preacher. The Superintendent’s recommendation shall include the subjects of age, spirituality, involvement in the life and work of the Church, moral character, suitability for ministry, knowledge of and attachment to our doctrines and discipline, health, freedom from debt, and, where the Candidate is married, the attitude of the spouse to being married to a Minister. The Superintendent shall sign the recommendation.

4.12 If a Candidate has not resided for two years continuously in the Circuit, the Superintendent of that Circuit shall obtain a written report concerning the Candidate from the former Superintendent or Superintendents so as to cover the previous two years, and shall present it to the Quarterly Meeting and Synod.

4.13 The Quarterly Meeting shall give special attention to the Candidate’s suitability as a Minister. If the Meeting approves the nomination, the Candidate shall be admitted to the usual examinations and, if successful, recommended by the Superintendent to Synod. The character of the voting in the Quarterly Meeting shall be recorded and forwarded immediately to Synod together with the Superintendent’s written recommendation. Examinations and Selection:

4.14 All Candidates shall be examined according to the syllabus published by the Education for Ministry and Mission Unit. [The written examination shall take place in the presence of a Minister.] This last section can be deleted. We now expect credits for entrance (cf. 4.6 above).

4.15 A candidate who does not have at least the following credits, or their EMMU approved equivalents, Interpreting texts’ (7/6004), ‘Growing spiritually, thinking theologically’ (7/6003), ‘Engaging with people pastorally and ethically’ (7/ 6002), and ‘Developing skills for theological study’ (7/6000), shall not be considered for candidature.

4.16 In each District a Candidates’ Screening Committee appointed by the Bishop shall interview Candidates for the Ministry prior to Synod. The Committee shall comprise at least two Ministers, and three lay Members, with the District Supervisor of Studies as convener. The Education for Ministry and Mission Unit shall send delegates from its Connexional Committee. The prescribed form and procedure shall be followed including whatever prior medical and other testing is specified. The Committee shall report its impression of each Candidate and make its recommendations to Synod.

4.17 All Candidates shall be examined at Synod respecting their Christian experience, call to the Ministry, belief in Methodist doctrine, and attachment to Methodist discipline. Each Candidate shall be required to give the following undertakings:

4.17.1 I will adhere to the Laws and Discipline and all other policies, decisions, practices and usages of the Church.
4.17.2 I will accept and obey the discipline and decisions of Conference and the Connexional Executive;
4.17.3 I will go to whichever Circuit or Station I am appointed;
4.17.4 I will not malign this Church, its Ministers, doctrines or practices;
4.17.5 Should I leave the Ministry of this Church for any reason, I will not conduct another Ministry in the Circuit or area to which I was appointed.
4.17.6 Should I leave this Church, I will not encourage any member or adherent of the Church to follow me;
4.17.7 Should I leave this Church I will accept the decision of the Connexional Executive or of the Presiding Bishop governing the termination of my service and my occupancy of Church property.

4.18 Each Candidate who has been recommended by the Quarterly Meeting and has the required academic credits to proceed with candidature shall conduct at least two Trial Services in the presence of at least two Ministers and two lay Members of the District, to be selected by the Bishop, but excluding the Superintendent who nominated the Candidate. One of these trial services is to be conducted in the candidates’ home circuit, and one in another circuit as directed in L&D 5.2.2.3.6. A report of the Services shall be made in Synod and forwarded to the Secretary for Education for Ministry.

4.19 The Candidate’s marks, the recommendation signed by the Superintendent and the report on the Trial Service shall be entered in the Minutes of Synod.

4.20 A Candidate who has satisfied the above requirements is then referred to the Connexional Executive and, if accepted, shall commence Probation at the beginning of the following year. List of Reserve:

4.21 When there are more Candidates for the Ministry than can be appointed to Circuits or sent for Theological Training, they may apply for their names to be placed on the Presiding Bishop’s List of Reserve. They are not thereby received on Probation; their Probation begins only once they are appointed to a Circuit.

4.22 The Presiding Bishop alone has power to call out persons from the List of Reserve to supply or to go into full Circuit work.

4.23 If any accepted Candidate is called out by the Presiding Bishop at or before the end of February to labour in a Circuit, the year shall be reckoned the first of Probation, subject to successful completion of the prescribed study course.

4.24 The names of those on the List of Reserve shall be given by the Executive Secretary to the Bishops concerned in order that due enquiry may be made concerning them and that the Connexional Executive may have a regular report as to their continued fitness for our work.

PROBATIONERS


Length of Probation:
4.25 Notwithstanding any provision contained in this Chapter, the Connexional Executive may determine any Candidate’s or Probationer’s or Minister from another church’s, fitness for Ordination and may dispense with any requirement normally required of a Candidate or Probationer for Ordination.

4.26 The normal course of Probation is five years of which at least two years shall be spent in Circuit work. The Connexional Executive may defer a Probationer’s ordination so that the Probationer may complete two years in Circuit work. Advancement in Probation takes effect from the beginning of the following year. A Probationer may apply for Ordination in the year in which the Probationer believes s/he will be able to meet the exit outcomes and requirements to advance from Phase 2 to Phase 3. These requirements and exit outcomes are out in the ‘Handbook for Probation’ obtainable from EMMU.

Synod Examinations:
4.27 Probationers shall be examined orally at Synod in the prescribed subjects.

4.28 Each Probationer shall preach before a committee of four, of whom at least two shall be Ministers and the others Lay Members all drawn from the District. The Committee shall report to Synod, using the approved mark sheet and giving a brief outline of the sermon and a general description of the service. Probationers at Theological Colleges:

4.29 All Probationers shall receive theological training from a Theological College unless the Connexional Executive directs otherwise.

4.30 Probationers who are in full-time residential training in a Theological College shall be reported on in the Synod of the District in which the College is situated. The person in authority at the College shall answer Synod on behalf of the Probationers when the Discipline Questions are before the Synod. Synod shall make recommendations regarding the advancement of such Probationers.

4.31 Probationers at Theological Colleges who need financial assistance shall make application to the person in authority at the College.

4.32 Probationers at College who must unavoidably be absent for any part of the College term shall first obtain the permission of the person in authority at the College and of the Bishop.

4.33 Probationers moving to one of our residential Colleges or from such College to a Circuit may claim their removal expenses from the Removals Fund. Supervision of Probationers’ Studies and Work:

4.34 The Superintendent of each Probationer shall present a written report to Synod on the Probationer’s Circuit work.

4.35 A Minister in each District shall be appointed by Synod as District Supervisor of Studies who is to meet the following requirements:

  • A passion for forming persons for the vocation of ministry.
  • A high level of administrative skill and competency (including Computer literacy, or the availability of an office that can perform such functions as record keeping, typing, email and, or, fax communication).
  • Own transport and the ability to travel within the District and Connexion when needed.
  • A pastoral concern for ministers in training, and the training needs of the laity.
  • The ability to mark / evaluate the work of ministers in training (such assessment includes both academic & vocational competency).
  • Teaching and facilitation skills.
  • Impeccable religious and moral character.
  • A sense of responsibility to the Connexion, the District and the local Circuit.
  • A clear understanding of the polity of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa as it relates to education and ministerial formation.
  • An ability to build and oversee the work of a strong District EMMU team.
  • A willingness to stay up-to-date with the training regime of the church.
  • A minimum of an honours degree in Theology, or obvious suitability for the work, or at least 5 years post ordination experience in ministry.

4.36 The District Supervisor of Studies shall present to Synod a written report of the studies of all Probationers.

4.37 The primary purpose of ministerial training is the study of the Scriptures and cognate subjects in preparation for the work of the ministry. While Ministers and Probationers are encouraged to follow other courses of study, their training shall not thereby be deflected from its primary purpose.

4.38 When a Probationer is first appointed to a Circuit the Bishop or someone appointed by the Bishop shall hold an Induction Service.

4.39 A Probationer may, with the recommendation of the Superintendent and the written endorsement of the Bishop, be granted a Certificate of Authority by the Presiding Bishop to administer the Sacraments according to our established usages. Such Certificate is valid for only the year of issue and only within the Circuit for which it was issued.

4.40 Unless duly licensed as a Marriage Officer no Probationer may purport to perform a Marriage.

4.41 No Probationer other than a Candidate for Ordination shall be invited to labour in a Circuit.

4.42 Before entering upon marriage a Probationer shall consult colleagues and inform the Superintendent, the Bishop and the Executive Secretary.

ORDINATION AND ADMISSION INTO FULL CONNEXION


4.43 Synods may examine and recommend for Ordination and Reception into Full Connexion only such Probationers as were designated Ordinands in the previous year. A Probationer may apply for Ordination in the year in which the Probationer believes s/he will be able to meet the exit outcomes and requirements to advance from Phase 2 training to Phase 3 training. These requirements and exit outcomes are out in the ‘Handbook for Probation’ obtainable from EMMU.

Ordinands’ Examinations:
4.44 Each Candidate for Ordination shall conduct a Service before at least two but preferably three Ministers and one lay Member in the District, who shall give a written report to Synod. The report shall use the approved marksheet and contain a brief outline of the sermon and a general description of the service.

4.45 Candidates for Ordination are required, in their District, to make a Public Witness of their Conversion, Call to the Ministry, and present Christian experience. The Minister appointed to preside at such a meeting shall report to Synod on the Candidate’s witness.

4.46 Each Candidate for Ordination shall be orally examined by Synod as determined by the Connexional Executive and shall reaffirm the undertakings given at Candidature.

4.47 Having satisfied all requirements the Candidate may be received into Full Connexion. Full Connexion:

4.48 Full Connexion refers to a Minister’s relation to Conference and includes authorisation to perform the work of a Minister in the Circuits and to administer the Sacraments; a Minister in Full Connexion shares the fellowship of other Ministers and, subject to para 4.3, enjoys the care and protection of Conference especially in regard to the provision of opportunities of service in the Circuits. It confers both privilege and responsibility on the Minister.

Ordination:
4.49 Candidates for Ordination, before or after they have been received into Full Connexion, are ordained by the solemn imposition of hands at a special public service conducted by the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Secretary, assisted by other Ministers. If approved by the Presiding Bishop, ordained Ministers from other Christian denominations may be invited to assist.

4.50 A Minister so ordained shall receive a Certificate of Ordination signed by the Presiding Bishop, the Secretary and the assisting Ministers.

MINISTERS FROM OTHER CHURCHES


4.51 An ordained Minister or Probationer Minister of another Christian Church who desires to enter the Methodist Ministry shall apply to the local Bishop. Before the Connexional Executive accepts their application or otherwise, all such applicants shall:

4.52 Provide a letter of recommendation from their Church;

4.52.1 possess the basic education qualification (Std 10 / Grade 12) or equivalent and at least a theological diploma equivalent to that which was offered by the Joint Board for the Diploma in Theology up to 2005, or a Diploma or Degree in Theology from a Seminary or University recognised by EMMU

4.52.2 be interviewed by the District Candidates’ Screening Committee (refer to L&D 5.3.4.1);

4.52.3 appear before Synod as do Candidates for the ministry.

4.53 The Candidates’ Screening Committee shall, prior to its interview, arrange for an investigation of the reasons for the application and shall hold confidential consultation with the authorities of the Church to which the applicant belongs.

4.54 Ministers in training for Ordination shall be received as Probationers of a status to be determined by the Connexional Executive.

4.55 Ordained Ministers, whose ordination is recognised, shall be received as ordained Ministers on Trial, and shall:

4.55.1 serve a trial period of not less than two years but no longer than four years;

4.55.2 complete the required studies and In Service Training within the on trial period;

4.55.3 in the final year take the usual Synod oral examination for Ordinands.

TRANSFER TO OTHER CHURCHES OR CONFERENCES


Other Methodist Conferences:
4.56 A Minister wishing to transfer to another Conference of the Methodist Church shall request permission to negotiate such transfer from the Presiding Bishop through the Bishop.

4.57 The Presiding Bishop has discretion to grant such permission and authorise the Executive Secretary to provide the Conference to which application is being made with such information and documentation as it may require.

4.58 When the Conference to which application has been made indicates in writing that it is willing to accept the Minister, the applicant shall be transferred to the relevant Conference as a Minister in good standing.

4.59 Such transfers shall take effect at the end of our Connexional year unless arrangements for supply have been made which are satisfactory to all parties. Other Churches:

4.60 A Minister who wishes to transfer to another Church (other than a Conference of the Methodist Church) may request permission from the Presiding Bishop through the relevant District, to negotiate such transfer. The Presiding Bishop shall appoint a Pastoral Committee to consider the request and to ascertain whether: 4.60.1 the application arises from serious doctrinal or disciplinary disagreements with Conference; 4.60.2 the Minister, if already ordained, will be received as an ordained Minister by the Church to which the transfer is to be made.

4.61 On receipt of the report of the Pastoral Committee, the Presiding Bishop has discretion to:

4.61.1 reserve the matter for decision by the Connexional Executive;

4.61.2 grant permission for the Minister to negotiate such transfer while continuing to serve, in which case the conditions in para 4.63 shall be observed.

4.61.3 require the Minister to resign and authorise the Executive Secretary to provide a statement of the Minister’s service and standing.

4.62 A Minister seeking a transfer to another Church shall give adequate notice to the Bishop and Circuit officials to afford a fair opportunity to fill the resultant vacancy by invitation.

4.62.1 when the Minister is to leave at the end of the period of invitation, at least one year’s notice shall be given.

4.62.2 when the Minister will not complete the period of invitation, at least two years’ notice shall be given.

4.62.3 the Connexional Executive may waive or reduce the requirements in para. 4.63.1 or 4.63.2.

DIVORCE AND THE MINISTRY


4.63 It is permissible in principle, subject to careful scrutiny and safeguards, to admit persons who are divorced, or divorced and remarried, as Ministers in Connexion with The Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

4.64 The Presiding Bishop shall immediately suspend any Minister who institutes divorce proceedings or against whom such proceedings are instituted. Such suspension shall not necessarily involve the forfeiture of emoluments.

4.65 A District Pastoral Committee, constituted by and presided over by the Bishop or a Minister deputed by the Bishop, shall interview every Minister and Candidate involved in divorce proceedings or to whom any of the situations referred to in para 4.66.1 – 4.66.5 below apply. The Committee is to consider:

4.65.1 the lifting of the suspension imposed on a Minister because of divorce;

4.65.2 an application for reinstatement of a former Minister who has been divorced;

4.65.3 the fairness of the divorce settlement negotiated by the Minister;

4.65.4 an application to marry by any Minister who has been divorced;

4.65.5 an application by any Minister to marry a person who has been divorced;

4.65.6 the candidature of any person who has been divorced or who is married to a divorced person.

4.66 The District Pastoral Committee shall report and make a recommendation to Synod that shall recommend to the Connexional Executive.

4.67 In the case of a Minister who is suspended in terms of para 4.65, the District Pastoral Committee shall make a recommendation to the Presiding Bishop. If the Committee recommends that the suspension be lifted, the Presiding Bishop may lift the suspension. Otherwise, the Presiding Bishop shall refer the matter to the District Disciplinary Committee that may decide on remedial measures and/or disciplinary procedure.

4.68 A two-thirds majority vote by the Connexional Executive is required before it approves any application in regard to remarriage, reinstatement, candidature of a divorcee, or marriage to a divorced person.

APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL OF MINISTERS


4.69 The Connexional Executive reviews all appointments annually and appoints all Ministers, as published in the Annual Directory, for 12 calendar months from the 1st January following their appointment, subject always to the Laws and Discipline. Any invitation of a minister or recommendation at the instance of the Church about any appointment, shall not derogate from the authority of the Connexional Executive to decide the annual appointments of all ministers. Before making such annual appointments, notwithstanding any provision contained in the Laws and Discipline or any practice or usage of the Church and without derogating from the Connexional Executive’s sole discretion as to the process it may chose to follow before any specific appointment is made, no minister shall have the right to be heard by the Connexional Executive.

4.70 Ministers who are removing shall arrive in their new Circuits not later than the 20th December. They shall commence their duties not later than the first Sunday in January.

4.71 No Minister leaving a Circuit shall continue to occupy the Circuit house after the 19th December or such earlier date on which the successor is to arrive. Any exception to this provision shall require the approval of the successor, and the Superintendent, and the Bishop.

4.72 The rules governing the removal of Ministers shall govern the removal of Ministers becoming Supernumeraries.

4.73 Ministers shall not perform any official duty in any other Circuit without the approval of the Superintendent of that Circuit. No Minister may travel outside the Connexion without the approval of the Bishop and advising the Presiding Bishop.

Ministers left without Appointment:
4.74 Should the Connexional Executive decide to leave a Minister without appointment to any Circuit or Connexional office (and such decision shall be final and conclusive) it may ask such Minister to resign from the Ministry of The Methodist Church of Southern Africa. If the resignation is not made, the Minister shall be deemed to have resigned on the expiry of twelve months from the last day of the meeting at which the Connexional Executive made its decision to ask such minister to resign.

Ministers ‘Without Appointment (Marriage):
4.75 If a suitable appointment is not found for a woman Minister by reason of circumstances arising from her marriage, she may be classified, or she may apply to be classified, as ‘without appointment (marriage)’. This application is to be made through Synod and she is expected, as far as possible, to complete the current year of service. If so classified, she is exempt from normal stationing at no cost to the Connexion. Her name is printed in the Circuit where she resides as ‘without appointment (marriage)’ but she remains under the discipline applying to Ministers and is expected to give such help to the Circuit as she can. In appropriate cases she may receive some remuneration for duties undertaken by decision of the Quarterly Meeting. She is a member of the Quarterly Meeting and the Local Preachers’ Meeting.

Maternity Leave:
4.76 If a married Minister becomes pregnant, the Circuit shall make the best arrangements possible in consultation with the Bishop. Such arrangements include, but are not limited to, requesting the Presiding Bishop:

4.76.1 to relieve the Minister of the duties associated with the appointment;

4.76.2 to appoint a Supply;

4.76.3 to authorise or negotiate equitable arrangements relative to the stipend and allowances.

4.77 The following arrangements shall apply if a Minister becomes pregnant:

4.77.1 the Minister shall commence maternity leave two months before the birth of the child and shall be entitled to a further six months after the birth. If the Circuit and the Minister are in agreement she may resume duty earlier or start maternity leave earlier.

4.77.2 a Minister commencing maternity leave shall receive her full stipend for three months. She shall also be paid for any annual leave or long leave that is included in her maternity leave.

4.77.3 a Minister on maternity leave is entitled to continue to reside in the Circuit house if such an arrangement is acceptable to the Circuit.

4.77.4 if a change of station is due to take place in the period of maternity leave, both Circuits shall be involved in the arrangements.

4.77.5 a Minister who is pregnant may apply for leave of absence until such time as family responsibilities allow her to resume her calling. In this event, she may be required to vacate the Circuit house but is entitled to the payments referred to in para. 4.78.2.

4.77.6 the Bishop shall ensure that the Minister and the Circuit to which she is appointed are aware of these provisions before she takes up her appointment.

4.78 A Minister who is ‘without appointment (marriage)’ shall attend Synod and answer the usual Discipline questions.

DUTIES OF MINISTERS


General:
4.79 Ministers, as those who have been overwhelmed by the saving love of Jesus Christ, are called to proclaim by word and by deed this saving love for all people. As the Lord has accepted all sinners without condition, so Ministers must declare unconditional acceptance and forgiveness for all. The Ministers’ duty is to use the pulpit to preach this Gospel and this Gospel only, preaching both pastorally and prophetically. Therefore they must faithfully nurture their own spiritual life, they must be diligent in preparation and in studying the Scriptures and other material which will provide equipment for their Calling, and their homes must be led in such a way as to be a witness to the Gospel. The Minister is to be the servant of all Christ’s people by being a pastor to them in their homes and in every other situation. The Minister’s duty is to set before the people by precept and example the ideal of Scriptural Holiness, and to instruct people in Christian faith and life.

4.80 Ministers are to preach and to perform all acts of Worship, to exercise oversight and to apply the Methodist Discipline, in the churches or other places of worship already erected or to be erected in the Circuit to which they are appointed.

4.81 Ministers shall administer the Sacraments but shall not, without the approval of the Bishop, use set forms of worship for the Sacraments other than those that have been authorised by Conference.

4.82 Ministers shall observe and implement the provisions of Laws and Discipline and all other policies, decisions, practices and usages of the Church.

4.83 Ministers shall use every effort to maintain Class Meetings, directing both public instruction and private pastoral influence toward this object. Officiating at Ordinations in other Churches:

4.84 A Minister may not officiate at the ordination of any person to the Christian Ministry in another Church without the authority of the Bishop.

SUPERNUMERARY MINISTERS


4.85 Ministers desiring to become Supernumerary Ministers (to retire from the full work of the Ministry) shall normally apply through Synod to the Connexional Executive. In special cases the application may be made direct to the Connexional Executive or to the Presiding Bishop.

4.86 Supernumeraries belong to the District in which they reside. They shall attend Synod unless they receive a dispensation allowing them to be absent. They are subject to Synod in all matters of discipline. In case of unavoidable absence from Synod, they shall send to the Bishop, in due time, a statement of their belief in our Doctrine and observance of our Discipline.

4.87 Supernumeraries are members of the Quarterly Meeting of the Circuit in which they reside and any ministry they perform in the Circuit is under the direction of the Quarterly Meeting.

4.88 Supernumeraries are permitted to supply for another denomination only when suitable opportunity for service cannot be found within the Methodist Church, and only with the written consent of the Presiding Bishop, which is given for one year at a time.

4.89 Travelling expenses of Supernumeraries attending Synod are a charge on Connexional funds.

RESIGNATION OF MINISTERS



4.90 Ministers who resign their Connexion with Conference shall receive such benefits as are provided for in the Rules of the Methodist Supernumerary Fund. They and their families have no claim on any Church funds.

4.91 Ministers who fail to take up their appointment or who abscond from their appointment shall be deemed to have resigned under charges that affect their moral character.

4.92 A Minister who takes up a party-political post or any other appointment that Conference or the Connexional Executive considers will compromise the necessary independence of the Church in its witness to the Gospel in society, shall resign from the ministry failing which shall be deemed to have resigned.

4.93 A Minister who resigns, or has been deemed by Conference or the Connexional Executive to have resigned from the ministry ceases to be a Minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and may not perform any of the functions or use the title or dress of a Minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

MINISTERS NOT IN CIRCUIT APPOINTMENTS (SECONDMENTS)


General:
4.94 The Methodist Church Of Southern Africa trains and ordains its ministers for the mission – leadership and pastoral care of its congregations in the ministry of Word and Sacrament. However the Conference may permit a minister to be seconded to an organisation outside the Church if it is satisfied that the position is in line with the calling and work of a minister and that it clearly needs to be filled by a minister in full connexion.

4.94.1 Secondment shall only be granted if the position is considered to be in harmony with the ministry and mission of the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa. It shall not be granted for positions of a party-political nature, or any appointment which compromises the necessary independence of the Church in its witness to the Gospel in society.

4.94.2 Secondment will only be granted where the minister concerned is competent and acceptable and considered a worthy representative of the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa.

4.94.3 Secondment shall not normally be granted to a minister who has served less than five years in Circuit following ordination.

4.95 Application Procedure and Process

4.95.1 A minister desiring secondment or an organisation desiring the services of a minister shall submit a written request with appropriate motivation to the Presiding Bishop.

4.95.2 The Presiding Bishop shall notify the Bishop of the District in which the minister resides who shall appoint a Pastoral Commission to investigate the relevant factors, interview the minister and any persons it deems necessary and make a recommendation to the Presiding Bishop.

4.95.3 The Pastoral Commission shall investigate the following matters:

  • the nature of the organisation to which secondment is sought and whether this is in harmony with the mission and ministry of the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa
  • the role and function the minister in the seconded position and whether it is in line with the calling and work of a minister and the ministry of Word and Sacrament
  • the gifts and training of the minister and how these relate to the position
  • the motives of the minister and whether there is any loss of call or other factors which have led to the application
  • how the secondment would affect the minister’s family
  • what payment and other incentives the minister will receive
  • any other matters considered relevant 

4.95.4 The Pastoral Commission shall also investigate with the District Bishop and the Circuit in which the minister is stationed whether he/she can be released from the appointment and receive some evaluation of his/her work in the Circuit.

4.96 The Presiding Bishop may grant permission for the secondment at any time of the year if satisfied that the application has met the requirements of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

4.96.1 All secondments must be referred to the Connexional Stationing Committee for ratification.

4.96.2 If a minister takes up an appointment without the necessary approval, he/ she may be considered to have resigned from the ministry. The minister shall have the right of appeal to the Connexional Executive.

4.96.3 The initial period of secondment shall be five years unless a shorter period is requested. Extensions shall be for a further five years at a time and shall be applied for in writing to the Presiding Bishop. During the last year of each five year period the secondment should be reviewed by a Pastoral Committee appointed by the Presiding Bishop in terms of the applicable criteria in 4.98.3.4 above and shall include an assessment of the minister’s performance during secondment. An assessment and recommendation should be obtained from the organisation.

4.96.4 The Bishop shall twice a year initiate a pastoral consultation with each seconded minister in the District.

4.96.5 Seconded ministers must accept that they can be recalled at any time by the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa to take up an appointment in Circuit. In such a case the minister would be required to resign from their post in the organisation and take up the appointment required by Conference. At least three months notice should normally be given to the minister and the organisation.

4.96.6 When a minister wishes to terminate a secondment and return to a circuit appointment he/she shall advise the Presiding Bishop in writing. The Presiding Bishop shall obtain an assessment and recommendation concerning his/her performance during secondment from the organisation to which he/she has been seconded.

Regulations
4.97 Seconded ministers have responsibilities to both the Church and the organisation to which they are seconded.

4.98 They are employees of the organisation to which they are seconded in terms of their contract and in terms of normal labour legislation and are therefore responsible in the first instance to the authority, discipline and requirements of the organisation.

4.99 They nevertheless continue to be in a covenantal relationship with the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa through their ordination and are subject to its discipline and requirements in order to remain in good standing with the Church.

4.100 As representatives of the Church they must not conduct themselves in any way which will bring discredit on the good name of the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa.

4.101 They must remain faithful to the doctrines, mission and values of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, especially in matters of conscience.

4.102 Their job description, remuneration, pension and service benefits will be determined and administered by the organisation to which they are seconded.

4.103 Their relationship to the funds of the Methodist Church Of Southern Africa will be determined in consultation with the Connexional Office.

4.104 Whilst recognising that the organisation to which the minister has been seconded has the primary call on his/her time and work, the minister shall also be required:

4.104.1 to attend the annual synod of the District in which he/she resides and if possible at least one ministerial retreat a year.

4.104.2 to submit a written annual report on his/her work through the Bishop to Synod.

4.104.3 to be involved in his/her local Circuit and Society as much as possible under the authority of the Superintendent and minister concerned.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE


4.105 No Minister shall be without an appointment or be absent from the Circuit, other than on leave provided for by the Connexional Executive, without being granted Leave of Absence by the Connexional Executive or, in case of emergency, the Presiding Bishop who shall report on each case to the next Connexional Executive. All applications shall be made through the Bishop.

4.106 No Leave of Absence shall be granted unless suitable arrangements for supply have been made by the Minister going on leave and approved by the Circuit Quarterly Meeting and the Bishop.

4.107 Ministers on Leave of Absence shall attend the Synod of the District in which they reside and answer the Discipline Questions. A Minister on Leave of Absence who resides outside the Connexion shall answer the Discipline Questions to the Presiding Bishop before the 1st May. Any Minister on Leave of Absence who fails to answer the Discipline Questions as required is guilty of not having observed our discipline and may be deemed to have resigned from the Ministry.

DISCIPLINING MINISTERS


4.108 Any complaint lodged against a minister shall be dealt with in terms of Chapter 11.

GENERAL RESOLUTIONS



4.109 EDUCATION FOR MINISTRY AND MISSION UNIT

Regulations Respecting Probationer Ministers

4.109.1 Length of Probation The normal course of Probation is five years of which at least two shall be spent in Circuit. In at least one of these years every Probationer shall be stationed in a Circuit to minister in a cross-cultural situation. A Probationer may apply for Ordination in the year in which the Probationer believes s/he will be able to meet the exit outcomes and requirements to advance from Phase 2 to Phase 3. These requirements and exit outcomes are out in the ‘Handbook for Probation’ obtainable from EMMU.

4.109.2 General Regulations For Probationers’ Examinations Probationers in Circuit should devote at least 15 hours a week to their studies. Superintendents and Circuit Stewards are asked to understand and co-operate. The minimum pass mark for all examinations conducted by the Department is 50%. The following classes apply: A = Excellent (80% and above) B = Very Good (70% – 79%) C = Good (60% – 69%) D = Fair (55% – 59%) E = Weak (50% – 54%) F = Failure (49% and under)

4.109.3 Failure in Examinations Synods shall give serious attention to the examination record and, in the interests of both the Church and the Probationer concerned, shall not condone repeated failure when considering whether Probationers have competent abilities for our work. The following procedure shall be adopted when Probationers fail in Scripture or in Aggregate for the second time in the course of Probation, with a view to ascertaining whether they have competent abilities for our work: The Director of the Education for Ministry and Mission Unit shall submit to the Synod concerned a detailed record of the Probationer’s results and the decisions of Synods and the Connexional Executive in previous years. The Synod shall consider the above record and make a special investigation of the Circuit work and general ability that shall be reported to the Connexional Executive through the Unit.

4.109.4 Internship Training All Phase 2 Probationers who are not at College and all ordained Ministers On Trial shall be part of Internship Training. The purpose is: • to continue the integration of academic studies and practical skills started in the Phase 1 programme. • to afford regular meetings (optimally once a fortnight) between groups of Probationers and experienced Ministers (particularly supervising Ministers). These groups should meet for no less than 8 days per annum. • to involve lay members in Circuits in the process of ministerial training. • there shall also be an annual Connexional Seminar for all Probationers doing Internship Training. Phase 3 Probationers (Ordinands) will not be part of Internship Training but will attend a pre-ordination retreat and follow a structured program of preparation for Ordination.

4.109.5 Trial Services Probationer ministers in Circuit shall preach a trial service annually BEFORE SYNOD. It shall be standard practice for the Trial Service Committee to meet with the Probationer and give constructive and helpful comments, and for this to take place immediately, or as soon as possible, after the service.

4.109.6 Synod Oral Examinations During Synod each Probationer serving in a Circuit appointment shall be orally examined by a small committee of Synod.

4.110 Regulations Respecting Candidates for the Ministry

4.110.1 Notification by 31st July The final date for Superintendents to submit written notice of Candidates’ names to the Director is the 31st July of the year preceding candidature.

4.110.2 New Format for Candidature

4.110.2.1 The new format for the academic component requires that Candidates:

  • be at least in the first year on trial as a Preacher in the Senior Course.
  • pass ‘Interpreting texts’ (7/6004). ‘Growing spiritually, thinking theologically’ (7/6003), ‘Engaging with people pastorally and ethically’ (7/6002), and ‘Developing skills for theological study’ (7/6000) at TEE College or an EMMU-approved Theological Seminary or University by the end of year in which a Candidate’s name is submitted to EMMU.
  • these credits replace the Local Preachers’ studies if the Candidate has not passed the Senior Course before.
  • in the year in which a Candidate appears before Synod s/he is strongly encouraged to pass further Joint Board courses.

4.110.2.2 The benefits of the proposed system include:
  • the candidate will not need to repeat courses up to 3 times as is the present system (in Local Preaching, then the Candidates’ exam, again in Phase 1). 
  • the Outcomes Based system of a year’s worth of continuous assessment replaces the very stressful single exam event.
  • a Phase 1 already has at least 3 credits (and preferably 5) towards a Diploma.
  • EMMU can register more probationers for post-graduate studies at College.
  • this is also a creative way of responding to the ever – pressing budget constraints on our training system. People take some responsibility for their own training.

4.110.2.3 The Complete Candidature process will now consist of:
  • names are submitted to the EMMU by 31 July. (A Candidate must be registered for ‘Interpreting texts’ (7/6004). ‘Growing spiritually, thinking theologically’ (7/6003), ‘Engaging with people pastorally and ethically’ (7/6002), and ‘Developing skills for theological study’ (7/6000) at TEE College and pass this year if this has not previously been done. Exam results of these courses are submitted to EMMU by not later than 15 Dec.
  • register for further EMMU approved degree or diploma courses.
  • an Essay on Methodism is submitted by 31 March, marked, and moderated Connexionally. Candidates who obtain the sub-minimum of 40% proceed. • a screening interview in the District is conducted with a Districtappointed panel, including the district Supervisor of studies, a Connexional EMMU representative and a Social Worker or Psychologist. A sub-minimum of 40% must be attained.
  • an Oral Exam is held on the same day as the Screening interview, examining Methodist Theology. Set books will be prescribed. This committee consists of at least four people with Theological competency, of which one is a Connexional representative from EMMU. A sub-minimum of 40% must be achieved two trial services are conducted – one in the Candidate’s circuit, one in another circuit. A sub-minimum of 40% must be attained in each.
  • if a sub-minimum of 40% has been attained for EACH component AND the Candidate achieves 50% for the whole process as calculated, s/he appears before District Synod.
  • based on the report of the process, as well as hearing a Candidate’s Testimony as to her/his conversion to Jesus Christ and call into the Ordained Ministry the Synod votes for or against a Candidate’s acceptance

4.111 Trial Services Candidates are required to conduct one Trial Service as required in Laws and Discipline para. 4.18, and the second in the Candidate’s home Society, with a committee of three including at least one Minister and one lay person.

4.112 Re-candidature Where candidature is unsuccessful and the candidate offers in a subsequent year, the Superintendent shall submit a special report through the Unit to the District Screening Committee and Synod in place of the Circuit Quarterly Meeting Vote. The candidate will have to complete all of the required tasks and expectations for candidature each time s/he recandidates.

4.113 Candidates from Moçambique Candidates from the Moçambique Mission may have their examinations conducted in Portuguese.

4.114 Approval of District Screening Committee
The Connexional Executive resolves that those candidates who do not receive the approval of the majority of the District Screening Committee should not appear before the Synod. Reports must be forwarded to the Bishop and Director of the Education for Ministry and Mission Unit.

4.115 Ministers Transferring In In addition to the stipulation of Laws and Discipline paras 4.52-4.55, the following procedures shall apply in respect of ministers transferring in:
  • Bishops must send names to the EMMU as soon as they receive them, with their addresses
  • the EMMU will send them the following: application form personal questionnaire medical form
  • they will have to write an essay on Methodism which is comprised of a syllabus set annually by EMMU
  • they must appear before the District Candidate’s Screening Committee where there will be Connexional presence
  • they must appear before Synod, if recommended by the Screening Committee
  • the Synod report is to be tabled at the EMMU general Committee in July by the District Supervisor of Studies for recommendation to the Connexional Executive. In the District Screening Committee the minister on transfer be examined along the following lines: In the Readiness and suitability for Methodist Ministry screening committee:
  • The minister’s conversion experience, call to preach and call to the Ordained ministry need to be heard and evaluated by the screening committee. In particular the Committee should assess how the individual’s call to the Ordained Ministry has been confirmed through their ministry in the other denomination in which they have served. In the Theological examination Committee:
  • The minister being examined is to be questioned about the content of Methodist Doctrine, an understanding of Methodist polity, and his or her calling to participate in, and further, the work of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Upon hearing and evaluating the responses to the questions, the theological examination committee should award a mark. In order for the minister being examined to pass he or she will need to achieve a minimum mark of 50%. NB All Ministers who have resigned and wish to be reinstated will go through the District Pastoral Commission appointed by the District Bishop, for recommendation or otherwise to Synod and the Connexional Executive.

4.116 REGULATIONS FOR FULL TIME NON-ITINERANT ORDAINED MINISTERS



4.116.1 Definition These Ministers are persons who are not available for stationing on an itinerant basis. They are in the full-time work of the ministry, being ordained after selection and training. They may be stipendiary or non-stipendiary.

4.116.2 Motivation The motivation in the original documentation submitted to the Connexional Executive and approved thereafter by Circuit Quarterly Meetings and Synods stated: “Our present model of ministry makes it difficult to move quickly into new or developing settlements of people. Our existing model forces us to either wait until sufficient Methodists who can pay their way have moved into a new area or we attach these new areas to existing Circuits which then become more cumbersome and stretched for resources. The result is that while other churches are evangelising and planting churches in such areas, we are often left behind.”

4.116.3 Selection The selection process for these ministers shall be exactly the same as for the itinerant ministry. Motivation from the Circuit involved indicating that there is both the need and capacity for such a minister in that Circuit must be provided.

4.116.4 Training They shall serve probation, undergo theological and pastoral training and satisfy all the requirements for ordination as the Conference, Connexional Executive and EMMU shall prescribe.

4.116.5 Stations and Removals These Ministers shall not be available for stationing and removal in the same way as itinerant Ministers and shall be appointed to labour in terms of the regulations below.

4.116.6 Stipend and Allowances Stipendiary non-itinerant Ministers shall receive a stipend and allowances and benefits under the same conditions as itinerant Ministers. Non-stipendiary Ministers in this category shall obviously not receive a stipend nor shall pension contributions be made on their behalf. They shall not be entitled to benefits from the Extraordinary Affliction Fund. Travelling and depreciation allowances may, if necessary, be paid by the Circuit under the same conditions as itinerant ministers.

4.116.7 Housing, Furnishing and Equipment Stipendiary Ministers shall receive the same allowances and housing benefits as itinerant, stipendiary Ministers. Non-stipendiary Ministers may, where necessary, be given allowances towards the cost of housing, furnishings and household equipment under the same conditions which apply to stipendiary ministers.

4.116.8 Appointment of These Ministers

4.116.8.1 Procedure Prospective candidates for the ministry shall follow the normal procedures for candidature except that the application shall include a letter from the Circuit Stewards indicating that the relevant Circuit Quarterly Meeting has indicated willingness to have such candidate stationed in the Circuit and that the Circuit will reimburse the Connexion for training costs incurred in respect of such minister should a decision be made by the Circuit to rescind the appointment during probation.

4.116.8.2 Term of Appointment They shall be appointed for one year at a time. The approval of the Connexional Executive via Synod shall be required annually.

4.116.9 Change of Status Itinerant ministers who wish to change their status to non-Itinerant shall apply to Synod via the Bishops. Such application must include the motivation stating the reasons as well as the endorsement of the relevant Circuit Quarterly Meeting in this regard. An application approved by the Synod shall be submitted to the Connexional Executive which shall make the final decision in the matter. Non-itinerant Ministers wishing to become itinerant should apply through Synod to the Connexional Executive. Should the application be received, normal stationing procedures will apply.

4.17 REGULATIONS FOR PART-TIME ‘TENT-MAKING’ ORDAINED MINISTERS



4.117.1 Definition These ministers are persons who are in secular employment but who are ordained after selection and training, and are allowed to minister only in the Circuit in which they reside and are appointed.

4.117.2 Motivation The motivation in the original documentation submitted to the Connexional Executive and approved thereafter by Circuit Quarterly Meetings and Synods stated: “Where the circumstances of a local church are such that the inability to afford a full-time Minister will have a negative impact on the health and growth of the Church and no viable alternative exists for a shared ecumenical appointment ......”

4.117.3 Training The selection process for part-time ministry shall be exactly the same as for full-time ministry. They shall serve probation, undergo such theological and pastoral training and satisfy all the requirements for ordination as the Conference, Connexional Executive and Education for Ministry and Mission Unit (EMMU) shall prescribe.

4.117.4 Stations and Removals They shall not be available for stationing and removal in the same way as Itinerant Ministers, but may be appointed to labour in terms of regulation 7 below.

4.117.5 Stipend and Allowances They shall neither receive a stipend nor shall pension contributions be made on their behalf. A travelling allowance and depreciation under the same conditions that apply to itinerant ministers, may if necessary, be paid by the Circuit. They shall not be entitled to benefits from the Extraordinary Affliction Fund.

4.117.6 Housing, Furnishing and Equipment They may, where necessary, be given allowances towards the cost of housing, furnishings and household equipment under the same conditions that apply to itinerant ministers.

4.117.7 The Work of These Ministers They may fulfil all such pastoral, preaching, educative and administrative functions as those performed by an Itinerant Minister except that they may not be appointed as Superintendent of a Circuit, preside over a Circuit Quarterly Meeting or be elected as a District Bishop or Presiding Bishop.

4.117.8 The Appointment of These Ministers

4.117.8.1 Procedure: A prospective part-time Minister shall apply to the April Quarterly Meeting of the Circuit in which he or she resides for a recommendation to be appointed to labour in that Circuit for a period of one year at a time. The application shall include a letter from the Circuit Quarterly meeting indicating their willingness to reimburse the Connexion for training costs incurred in respect of such minister should a decision be made by the Circuit to rescind the appointment during probation. Such a recommendation, suitably endorsed, shall then be examined by the District Synod. Should the Synod uphold the recommendation, the appointment shall then be made or not made at the final discretion of the Connexional Executive.

4.117.8.2 Term of Appointment They shall be appointed for one year at a time, without exception. It shall be incumbent upon these Ministers to apply to the April Quarterly Meeting each year for recommendation to be appointed by the Connexional Executive to continue to labour in that Circuit. In the Event that the Recommendation, Endorsements and Appointment are not made or given:

  • A part-time Minister who has applied but who has not been granted any or all of such recommendation, endorsements or appointment shall not be eligible to serve in a leadership capacity in the Circuit, be a member of a Society Leaders’ Meeting in the Circuit or the Circuit Quarterly Meeting for the year following the application, where after either a new application for recommendation may be made to the Quarterly Meeting, or the Minister may be recorded in the Minutes of Conference as being ‘without appointment’.
  • Such a Minister then has no status in the Circuit in which s/he resides distinct from that of any other member, except that the provisions of the Laws and Discipline pertaining to Ministers without appointment shall apply. Such a Minister may, at the discretion of the Circuit Local Preachers’ Meeting, be included on the Circuit preaching plan and be subject to the discipline of the Circuit Local Preachers’ Meeting.

4.117.9 Change of Status Part-time Ministers wishing to become full-time Itinerant Ministers may apply for a station through Synod to the Connexional Executive.
Should such persons be stationed, they shall thereby be regarded as having become itinerant Ministers.

(Endnotes) 1 These requirements were circulated through SYNODS in 2006 and accepted by CE in 2006. 2 These resolutions relating to ministers on transfer were circulated to SYNODS in 2006, amended and carried at the June 2006 EMMU meetings and accepted by CE in 2006.

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