Discipline ¶409

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  ¶  409. Termination of Office-An elder who is serving as a bishop up to the time of retirement shall have the status of a retired bishop.5
1. Mandatory Retirement-a) A bishop shall be retired on August 31 next following the regular session of the jurisdictional conference if the bishop’s sixty-sixth birthday has been reached on or before July 1 of the year in which the jurisdictional conference is held.6
    
b) Pension as approved by the General Conference shall be payable on September 1 following the close of the jurisdictional conference.
c) If, however, the retired bishop accepts any one of the following assignments of churchwide responsibility, the General Council on Finance and Administration, after consultation with the Council of Bishops, shall set a level of compensation not to exceed a maximum determined by the General Conference on recommendation of the General Council on Finance and Administration: (1) assignment of
a special nature with direct relationship and accountability to
the Council of Bishops, or (2) assignment to a general agency or United Methodist Church-related institution of higher education. Only the difference between the compensation as established and the continuing pension shall be paid from the Episcopal Fund. Assignment of retired bishops to United Methodist Church-related institutions of higher education must be at the initiative of the institutions, with service not to exceed the mandatory retirement ages of the institutions.
  If a bishop is assigned to a general agency or United Methodist Church-related institution of higher education, that agency or United Methodist Church-related institution of higher education shall participate by payment of 50 percent of the difference between the compensation herein established and the pension of the bishop. The general agency or United Methodist Church-related institution of higher education shall further assume all responsibility for the bishop’s operational and travel expenses related to the assignment.
Compensation for any special assignment shall cease after the bishop has reached the mandatory age of retirement for all ordained ministers (¶ 359.1) or completes the assignment, whichever comes first, except that retired bishops elected by the Council of Bishops as Executive Secretary and Ecumenical Officer may continue to be compensated for such special assignment(s) throughout the terms of office. No assignment to a jurisdiction, central conference, annual conference, or non-United Methodist agency shall qualify for additional compensation from the Episcopal Fund under the provisions of this paragraph. The status of a retired bishop on special assignment shall, for purposes of housing and other benefits, be that of a retired bishop.
2. Voluntary Retirement-a) Bishops who have completed twenty years or more of service under full-time appointment as ordained ministers or as local pastors with pension credit prior to the opening date of the session of the jurisdictional conference, including at least one quadrennium as bishop, may request the jurisdictional conference or central conference to retire them with the privilege of receiving their pension as determined by the General Council on Finance and Administration, payment of which may begin the first of any month when such payments would be permissible under the provisions of the Ministerial Pension Plan, amended and restated effective January 1, 2007, as the Clergy Retirement Security Program. If the bishop has not reached age sixty-five or completed forty years of service at the time of retirement, the pension benefit for years of service prior to January 1, 1982, may be actuarially reduced as provided under guidelines adopted by the General Conference.
    b) Bishops who have attained age sixty-two or have completed thirty-five years of service under full-time appointment as an elder or bishop may request the jurisdictional or central conference to place them in the retired relation with the privilege of receiving their pension as determined by the General Council on Finance and Administration.
c) Any bishop who seeks a voluntary retired status shall notify the president of the Council of Bishops at least six months prior to the General Conference.
d) A bishop may seek voluntary retirement for health reasons and shall be so retired by the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy upon recommendation by the involved College of Bishops and upon presentation of satisfactory medical evidence. Such bishops shall receive their pensions as provided by the General Council on Finance and Administration in consultation with the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy.
e) Pension as approved by the General Conference shall be payable on September 1 following the close of the jurisdictional conference.
  3. Involuntary Retirement-a) A bishop may be placed in the retired relation regardless of age by a two-thirds vote of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy if, after not less than a thirty-day notice in writing is given to the affected bishop and hearing held, such relationship is found by said committee to be in the best interests of the bishop and/or the Church. Appeal from this action may be made to the Judicial Council with the notice provisions being applicable as set forth in ¶ 2716.
    b) A bishop, for health reasons, may be retired between sessions of the jurisdictional or central conference by a two-thirds vote of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy upon the recommendation of one third of the membership of the involved College of Bishops. The affected bishop, upon request, shall be entitled to a review of his or her health condition by a professional diagnostic team prior to action by the involved College of Bishops. Notification of action to retire shall be given by the chairperson and secretary of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy to the secretary of the Council of Bishops and the treasurer of the Episcopal Fund. Appeal from this action may be made to the Judicial Council with the notice provisions being applicable as set forth in ¶ 2716. Upon such retirement, the bishop shall receive a pension as determined by the General Council on Finance and Administration. See also  2d above.
  4. Resignation-A bishop may voluntarily resign from the episcopacy at any time. A bishop may resign from the office by submitting his or her resignation to the Council of Bishops. The Council of Bishops shall have authority to take appropriate actions concerning matters relating to the resignation, including the appointment of an acting bishop to act until a successor is elected and assigned. The consecration papers of a bishop in good standing so resigning shall be properly inscribed by the secretary of the Council of Bishops and returned. He or she shall be furnished with a certificate of resignation, which shall entitle him or her to membership as a traveling elder in the annual conference (or its successor) in which membership was last held. Notification of this action shall be given by the secretary of the Council of Bishops to the chairperson and secretary of the jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy. When the resigned bishop or surviving spouse and dependent children become conference claimants, the Episcopal Fund shall pay a pension as determined by the General Council on Finance and Administration.
5. See Judicial Council Decision 361, 407.
6. See Judicial Council Decisions 413, 578.