¶ 205. Definition of a Pastoral Charge-1. A pastoral charge shall consist of one or more churches that are organized under and subject to the Discipline of The United Methodist Church, with a charge conference, and to which an ordained or licensed minister is or may be duly appointed or appointable as pastor in charge or co-pastor. Where co-pastors are appointed, the bishop may designate for administrative purposes one as pastor in charge.1
2. A pastoral charge of two or more churches may be designated a circuit or a cooperative parish.
3. A pastoral charge may be designated by the bishop and cabinet as a “teaching parish” when either a local church with a pastor or a cooperative parish with a director is available to serve as a counseling elder for a probationary, local, or student pastor appointed or assigned to the teaching parish. A teaching parish shall have a demonstrable commitment to a cooperative or team ministry style and the training of pastors.
4. When a pastoral charge is not able to be served by an ordained or licensed minister, the Bishop, upon recommendation of the Cabinet, may assign a qualified and trained lay person, lay minister or lay missioner to do the work of ministry in that charge. The lay person is accountable to the district superintendent or another ordained or licensed minister appointed to oversee the charge, who will make provision for sacramental ministry and provide guidance and mentoring to the lay person assigned. The lay person assigned is also accountable to the policies and procedures of the annual conference where assigned.
1. See Judicial Council Decisions 113, 319.