¶ 624. Equitable Compensation-1. There shall be in each annual conference a commission on equitable compensation or other structure to provide for these functions and maintain the connectional relationships. It shall be composed of an equal number of lay and clergypersons, including at least one layperson and one clergyperson from churches of fewer than two hundred members, who are nominated by the conference nominating committee and elected by and amenable to the annual conference. It is recommended that in selection of commission members, consideration shall be given to inclusiveness. In addition, one district superintendent named by the cabinet shall be a member.
2. It is the purpose of the commission on equitable compensation to support full-time clergy serving as pastors in the charges of the annual conference by: (a) recommending conference standards for pastoral support; (b) administering funds to be used in base compensation supplementation; and (c) providing counsel and advisory material on pastoral support to district superintendents and committees on pastor-parish relations. Once the base compensation supplementation has been paid by the annual conference, the annual conference shall have no further obligation or responsibility to the pastor, the charge or anyone else regarding the pastor’s compensation.
3. The commission shall carefully study the needs for additional support within the conference and the sources of income and shall recommend annually to the conference for its action a schedule of minimum base compensation for all full-time pastors or those clergy members of the annual conference appointed less than full-time to a local church, subject to such rules and regulations as the conference may adopt (¶ 338.1, .2).72
4. In some instances, for missional reasons, consideration may be given by the conference commission on equitable compensation to make funds available for the deacon in full connection when the primary appointment is to a local church.
5. Consistent with the provisions of this paragraph, the primary responsibility for the payment of pastoral base compensation remains with individual pastoral charges.73
6. On recommendation of the commission on equitable compensation, the annual conference may authorize the utilization of the Equitable Compensation Fund to provide for supplementing base compensation beyond the minimum base compensation schedule. Special attention shall be given to ethnic pastors serving ethnic ministries, with particular attention given to Native American pastors serving Native American ministries. In all cases (ethnic or nonethnic), emphasis shall be given to funding entry-level appointments in a teaching parish in a station church, circuit, or cooperative parish and/or equivalent, or to a cooperative parish.
7. In consultation with the commission on equitable compensation, the council on finance and administration shall recommend to the conference its estimate of the amount required to support the schedule of minimum base compensation and base compensation supplements for the pastors, as adopted by the conference. The conference council on finance and administration shall apportion the amount approved by the conference as an item of clergy support to the districts or the charges as the conference may direct (¶ 613.1e).74
8. The Equitable Compensation Fund, secured as described above in ¶¶ 613.1e and 624.7, shall be disbursed under the direction of the commission on equitable compensation.
9. The Equitable Compensation Fund, secured as described in 7, shall be used to provide each pastor who receives less than the minimum base compensation with an additional amount sufficient to make the base compensation approved by the pastoral charge plus the supplemental aid or income from other sources equal to the minimum base compensation approved by the conference. An annual conference may set a maximum amount to be used in attaining such minimum base compensation in any given case, and it may set its own policy regarding the number of years for which a pastoral charge is eligible to receive equitable base compensation funds, provided that no member in good standing who is appointed to a pastoral charge is denied the minimum base compensation (¶ 342).75
10. In light of our constitutional commitment to Ecumenical Relations (Division One-General, ¶ 6, Article VI), the commission should give consideration in setting standards for clergy support for those ministers who have had their orders recognized for service in The United Methodist Church (¶ 346.2) and whose years of service include ministry exercised in other denominations, especially those coming from the churches of the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation and Union and other member churches of the Churches Uniting In Christ.
11. The commission shall assemble and distribute to the charges and the district superintendents advisory material for use in the process of negotiating the total of each pastoral support package, the schedule of minimum base compensation, and other information relevant to the establishment of more equitable base compensation by all the charges of the conference.
12. The guidelines of the annual conference program of equitable clergy support shall, insofar as possible, be observed by the bishops and district superintendents in arranging charges and making appointments. Each full-time pastor or those clergy members of the annual conference appointed less than full-time under episcopal appointment to a local church are eligible for participation in the annual conference program of equitable base compensation (¶ 342.1, .2).
13. The commission may suggest to the annual conference for its consideration equitable base compensation ranges for the pastors and/or charges, and the annual conference may suggest such equitable base compensation ranges to the charges for their consideration.
72. See Judicial Council Decisions 383, 579, 741.
73. See Judicial Council Decision 461.
74. See Judicial Council Decisions 90, 179.
75. See Judicial Council Decisions 456, 492, 579, 587.