Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gray Areas

Is the Book of Discipline to be interpreted by implication or literally?

This question is raised over an issue of para. 359.5 Charge conference membership (page 267 of 2004 BOD). Literally, the Book of Discipline states: " All retired clergy members who are not appointed as pastors of a charge, after consultation with the pastor and the district superintendent, shall have a seat in the charge conference and all the privileges of membership in the church where they elect to hold such membership except as set forth in the Discipline. They shall report to the charge conference and to the pastor all marriages performed, baptisms administered, and other pastoral functions..." Thie issue raised was whether an Elder is amenable to a Local Pastor in this situation. If an Elder has his/her membership in a certain charge conference (local church). Is he/she amenable to the appointed pastor in charge of that church/charge, even if that pastor-in-charge is only a Local pastor and not an Elder?
Is the Elder accountable to the appointed Pastor in Charge even if the appointed pastor in charge is not an Elder? Literally, the wording states that the Elder would be amenable to the pastor-in-charge, but some people interpret by implication and say that an Elder is NEVER under authority to a Local Pastor. Is an Elder considered NEVER under authority to a Local Pastor? Does a Local Pastor of a church have NO denominational "rights" when an Elder is involved? Why is the Book of Discipline so ambiguous in this, and many other matters? Since Elders are appointed as Mentor to Local pastors does that imply that Elders are NEVER under authority to a Local Pastor?----- comments and responses appreciated!

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