Discipline ¶327

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  ¶  327. Eligibility and Rights of Probationary Membership-Probationary members are on trial in preparation for membership in full connection in the annual conference as deacons or elders. They are on probation as to character, servant leadership, and effectiveness in ministry. The annual conference, through the clergy session, has jurisdiction over probationary members. Annually, the board of ordained ministry shall review and evaluate their relationship and make recommendation to the clergy members in full connection regarding their continuance. No member shall be continued on probation beyond the eighth regular session following their admission to probationary membership and commissioning.
1. Probationary members who are preparing for deacon’s or elder’s orders may be ordained deacons or elders when they qualify for membership in full connection in the annual conference.
2. Probationary members shall have the right to vote in the annual conference on all matters except the following:
    a) constitutional amendments;
b) election of delegates to the general and jurisdictional or central conferences;
c) all matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
  3. Probationary members may serve on any board, commission, or committee of the annual conference except the board of ordained ministry (¶ 634.1). They shall not be eligible for election as delegates to the General, central, or jurisdictional conferences.
4. Probationary members shall be amenable to the annual conference in the performance of their ministry and are subject to the provisions of the Book of Discipline in the performance of their duties. They shall be supervised by the district superintendent under whom they are appointed. They shall also be assigned a deacon or elder as mentor by the board of ordained ministry. Probationary members preparing to become elders shall be eligible for appointment by meeting disciplinary provisions (¶ 315).
5. Probationary members in appointments beyond the local church shall relate themselves to the district superintendent in the area where their work is done. The district superintendent shall give them supervision and report annually to their board of ordained ministry.
6. Discontinuance from Probationary Membership-Probationary members may request discontinuance of this relationship or may be discontinued by the annual conference upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry. When probationary members in good standing withdraw to unite with another denomination or to terminate their membership in The United Methodist Church, their action shall be considered a request for discontinuance of their relationship and their credentials shall be surrendered to a district superintendent. Prior to any final recommendation of discontinuance without consent, a probationary member will be advised of the right to a hearing before the executive committee of the conference board of ordained ministry. A report of the action will be made to the full board. The provisions of fair process (¶ 362.3) shall be observed and there shall be a review by the administrative review committee under ¶ 635 prior to hearing by the annual conference. When this relationship is discontinued, they shall no longer be permitted to exercise ministerial functions and shall return their credentials to the district superintendent for deposit with the secretary of the conference, and their membership shall be transferred by the district superintendent to the local church they designate after consultation with the pastor. The board of ordained ministry shall file with the resident bishop and the secretary of the conference a permanent record of the circumstances relating to discontinuance as a probationary member as required in ¶ 634.3d. After discontinuance, probationary members may be classified and approved as local pastors in accordance with the provision of ¶ 316.