Discipline ¶322

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  ¶ 322. Requirements for Election as Associate Members - 1. Local pastors may be elected to associate membership by vote of the clergy
members in full connection, upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry, when they have met the following conditions. They shall have: (1) reached age forty; (2) served four years as full-time local pastors; (3) completed the five-year Course of Study for ordained ministry in addition to the studies for license as a local pastor, no more than one year of which may be taken by correspondence or online/distance learning courses; (4) completed a minimum of sixty semester hours toward the Bachelor of Arts or an equivalent degree in a college or university listed by the University Senate;
(5) been recommended by the district committee on ordained ministry and the board of ordained ministry; (6) declared their willingness to accept continuing full-time appointment; (7) satisfied the board regarding their physical, mental, and emotional health (the annual conference shall require psychological reports, criminal background and credit checks, and reports of sexual misconduct and/or child abuse to provide additional information on the candidate’s fitness for the ministry); (8) for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the Christian gospel, and in consideration of his/her influence as a clergy member of the annual conference, be willing to make a complete dedication of himself/herself to the highest ideals of the Christian life; and to this end agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God; and (9) prepared at least one written sermon on a biblical passage specified by the board of ordained ministry and given satisfactory answers in a written doctrinal examination administered by the board of ordained ministry. (Consideration shall be given to the questions listed in ¶ 324.9.)
2. Upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry, an annual conference may equate part-time service to the requirement of full-time service. Such equivalence is to be determined in light of the years of service involved, the quality of that service, the maturity of the applicant, and other relevant factors.
3. Associate members may retire under the provisions of ¶ 359 of the Discipline. They shall retain their license for pastoral ministry for service in the local church and maintain their relationship as retired clergy members of the annual conference.  
4. Associate members may be received as probationary members in the annual conference under conditions as set forth in ¶ 324.6 upon receiving a three-fourths majority vote of the clergy members of the conference in full connection, present and voting.