Discipline ¶369

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  ¶ 369. Transitional Provisions for Those Beginning Candidacy Before January 1, 1997-1. All persons having begun candidacy for diaconal ministry, deacon’s and elder’s ordination and conference membership, or full-time local pastors prior to January 1, 1997, will be allowed to proceed under the provisions of the 1992 Book of Discipline (¶¶ 305-306, 419-421). These continuing procedures must be completed under the provisions set forth in the 1992 Book of Discipline prior to December 31, 2008, after which date the provisions of the current Book of Discipline will govern the process by which persons enter ministry. All persons continuing as diaconal ministers will be cared for under ¶¶ 305-317 of the 1992 Book of Discipline.
2. Persons with the status of associate members in good standing as of January 1, 1997, may, upon the recommendation of the conference board of ordained ministry and election by a two-thirds vote of the clergy session, be elected full members of the annual conference and ordained elders. This option shall be available until December 31, 2004. The following qualifications shall be fulfilled prior to the board’s recommendation to the clergy session:
    a) Fulfilled the provisions of ¶ 304.
b) Received the recommendation of the cabinet.
c) Have completed or demonstrated that they have completed a minimum of twenty-four semester hours of the basic graduate theological studies of the Christian faith, including the areas of: Old Testament; New Testament; theology; church history; mission of the church in the world; worship/liturgy; and United Methodist doctrine, polity, and history. This requirement may be fulfilled in either a school of theology approved by the University Senate or in a special Course of Study provided by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
d) Provide a written statement demonstrating an understanding of the theology of the ordination of deacons and elders and a willingness to fulfill the purposes of those ordinations.
  3. Diaconal ministers who are in good standing with the annual conference and have completed a minimum of three years in an approved service appointment may become ordained deacons in full connection provided the following requirements are completed:
    a) Applied in writing to the conference board of ordained ministry for the transfer of their credentials to ordained deacon in full connection.
b) Completed a continuing formation and education program developed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. This program shall include an understanding of the meaning of appointment by a bishop, ordination, and the interrelatedness of worship and the world.
c) Demonstrated an understanding of the call to the order of deacon, and whose ministry fulfills and exemplifies the definition and description of the ordained deacon (¶¶ 328, 329), and who has either met the educational requirements of the diaconate (¶ 330), or whose competence and experience is determined to be equivalent by the board of ordained ministry through the Division of Deacons, if constituted.
d) Received a two-thirds positive vote of the clergy session.
  The bishop shall ordain these persons by the laying on of hands at the service of ordination of the annual conference and shall provide deacon’s credentials to these deacons in full connection.
Diaconal ministers who seek to become ordained deacons in full connection shall apply before December 31, 2004.
4. The work of the former conference boards of diaconal ministry will be cared for by the conference boards of ordained ministry effective January 1, 1997.