Discipline ¶359

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  ¶ 359. Retirement-Retired clergy members are those who have been placed in the retired relation either at their own request or by action of the clergy session upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry.48  (See ¶¶ 1506-1509 and the Ministerial Pension Plan, amended and restated effective January 1, 2007, as the Clergy Retirement Security Program, for pension information.) Requests for retirement shall be stated in writing to the bishop, cabinet, and board of ordained ministry at least one hundred twenty days prior to the date on which retirement is to be effective. The board of ordained ministry shall provide guidance and counsel to the retiring member and family as they begin a new relationship in the local church.
1. Mandatory Retirement-Every clergy member of an annual conference who will have attained age seventy on or before July 1 in the year in which the conference is held shall automatically be retired.49
2. Voluntary Retirement-a) With Twenty Years of Service-Any clergy members of the annual conference who have completed twenty years or more of service under appointment as ordained ministers or as local pastors with pension credit for service before 1982 or with full participation in the Comprehensive Protection Plan since 1981 prior to the opening date of the session of the conference may request the annual conference to place them in the retired relation with the privilege of receiving their pensions for the number of approved years served in the annual conference or conferences and such other benefits as the final annual conference may provide, payment to begin the first of any month after the ordained minister attains age sixty-two.50  If pension begins prior to the age at which retirement under ¶ 359.2c could have occurred, then the provisions of ¶ 1506.4i shall apply.
    b) With Thirty-five Years of Service or at Age Sixty-two-At their own request and by vote of the clergy members in full connection,
any clergy members who will have attained age sixty-two on or before July 1 in the year in which the session of the annual conference is held or will have completed thirty-five years of service under appointment as an ordained minister, or a local pastor with pension credit for service before 1982 or with full participation in the Comprehensive Protection Plan since 1981, as of the conference session may be placed in the retired relation with an annuity claim for an actuarially reduced pension (see ¶ 1506.4i).51
c) With Forty Years of Service or at Age Sixty-five-At their own request and by vote of the clergy members in full connection, any clergy members who will have attained age sixty-five on or before July 1 in the year in which the session of the conference is held or will have completed forty years of service under appointment as an ordained minister, or as a local pastor with pension credit for service before 1982 or with full participation in the Comprehensive Protection Plan since 1981, as of the conference session may be placed in the retired relation with the privilege of making an annuity claim.52
d) The dates specified in ¶ 359.1 and .2a-c notwithstanding, between sessions of the annual conference any member who attains the age and/or number of years of service specified in those sections may, upon the member’s own request and with the approval of the bishop, cabinet, and executive committee of the board of ordained ministry, be granted the retired relation ad interim, with applicable annuity claim, subject to the approval of the clergy members in full connection at the next annual conference session.
e) The annual conference, at its discretion, upon joint recommendation of the board of ordained ministry and the conference board of pensions, may designate any time within the ensuing conference year as the effective date of retirement of a clergy member who is placed in the retired relation under the provisions of § 2b or § 2c above.53
  
3. Involuntary Retirement-By a two-thirds vote of those present and voting, the clergy members in full connection may place any clergy members in the retired relation with or without their consent and irrespective of their age if such relation is recommended by the board of ordained ministry and the cabinet.54  The procedures for fair process in administrative hearings shall be followed in any involuntary retirement procedure. Written notice of the intended action shall be given to such member by the board of ordained ministry at least one hundred and eighty days prior to annual conference. Written notice also should be given to the chairperson of the administrative review committee.
The administrative review committee (¶ 635) shall ensure that the disciplinary procedures for involuntary retirement were properly followed. The entire process leading to the recommendation for involuntary retirement shall be reviewed by the administrative review committee, and it shall report its findings to the clergy session of members in full connection of the annual conference. Any clergy member who is placed in the retired relationship under this subparagraph shall be entitled to the privilege of receiving his or her pension for the number of approved years served in the annual conference or conferences and such other benefits as the final annual conference may provide, payment to begin the first of any month after the ordained minister attains age sixty-two. If pension begins prior to
the age at which retirement under ¶ 356.2c could have occurred, then the provisions of ¶ 1506.4i shall apply.
4. Preretirement Counseling-The board of ordained ministry in cooperation with the conference board of pensions shall offer to all clergy members anticipating retirement preconsultation at least five years prior to the date of anticipated retirement (¶ 634.2n). The purpose of the consultation will be to assist the clergy and spouses to plan and to prepare for the adjustments associated with retirement as well as providing guidance and counsel for their return to a new relationship in the local church. In preretirement counseling the board of ordained ministry and the conference board of pensions may relate to the annual conference association of retired ministers or similar organization where it exists. The boards shall take initiative in assisting retirees to establish such organizations.
5. Charge Conference Membership-a) 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. If they reside outside the bounds of
the conference, they shall forward annually to the conference where membership is held a report of their Christian and ministerial conduct, together with an account of the circumstances of their families, signed by the district superintendent or the pastor of the charge within the bounds of which they reside. Without this report, the conference, after having given thirty days’ notice, may locate them without their consent.
  6. Appointment of Retired Ordained Ministers-A retired ordained minister shall be eligible to receive an appointment when requested by the bishop and cabinet. A retired ordained minister appointed to a pastoral charge shall have neither a claim upon minimum compensation, nor further pension credit. Retired ordained ministers may serve on conference agencies.55
7. Return to Effective Relationship-A clergy member who has retired under the provisions of ¶ 359.2 may at his or her own request be made an effective member upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry, the bishop and cabinet, and by majority vote of the clergy members in full connection of the annual conference and thereby be eligible for appointment so long as he or she remains in the effective relation or until ¶ 359.1 applies. Each clergy member requesting return to effective relationship after voluntary retirement must meet the following conditions: (1) presentation of their certificate of retirement; (2) a satisfactory certificate of good health on the prescribed form from a physician approved by the board of ordained ministry. However, any pension being received through the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits shall be discontinued upon their return to the effective relationship. The pension shall be reinstated upon subsequent retirement.

48. See Judicial Council Decisions 87, 88, 531.
49. See Judicial Council Decisions 7, 165, 413, 578.
50. See Judicial Council Decision 717.
51. See Judicial Council Decision 428.
52. See Judicial Council Decision 379.
53. See Judicial Council Decision 769.
54. See Judicial Council Decisions 522, 769.
55. See Judicial Council Decisions 87, 88, 531, 558.