¶ 816. The Ministerial Education Fund-The council shall recommend to the General Conference the sum that the Church shall undertake for the Ministerial Education Fund and the method by which it shall be apportioned to the annual conferences, in accordance with the provisions adopted by the 1968 General Conference in establishing the Ministerial Education Fund. The purpose of the fund is to enable the Church to unify and expand its program of financial support for the recruitment and education of ordained and diaconal ministers and to equip the annual conferences to meet increased demands in this area.23 The maximum amount possible from this fund shall go directly for programs and services in theological education, the enlistment and continuing education of ordained and diaconal ministers, and courses of study. When these funds are used to finance continuing education events sponsored by the board of ordained ministry of an annual conference, such events may be open to laity for their attendance and participation at the option of the board of ordained ministry of each annual conference.
1. Of the total money raised in each annual conference for the Ministerial Education Fund, 25 percent shall be retained by the annual conference that raised it, to be used in its program of ministerial education as approved by the annual conference and administered through its board of ordained ministry. The board of ordained ministry will confer concerning use of the Ministerial Education Fund. Administrative costs of the board of ordained ministry shall be a claim on the conference’s operating budget. No annual conference that participated in a 1 percent plan or other conference program of ministerial student scholarships and loan grants prior to the establishment of this fund shall receive less for this purpose than it received in the last year of the quadrennium preceding the establishment of the fund, provided the giving from that conference for ministerial education does not fall below the level achieved in the quadrennium preceding the establishment of the fund.
a) “Service Loans” from the conference portion of the Ministerial Education Fund may be considered repaid if the recipients served five years in the connection in appointments approved by their bishop.
b) In case the recipients of these loans do not satisfy the terms of the “Service Loans” by service in the “connection,” they would make arrangements to repay the loans with the conferences from which they received their loans.
2. Of the total money raised in each annual conference for the Ministerial Education Fund, 75 percent shall be remitted by the conference treasurer to the treasurer of the council for distribution to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for support of ministerial education and shall be administered by that board. It shall be distributed as follows:
a) At least 75 percent of the amount received by the divisions shall be distributed to the theological schools of The United Methodist Church on a formula established by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry after consultation with the theological schools. All money allocated to the theological schools shall be used for current operations, not for physical expansion.
b) The remaining portion of the amount received shall be used for supplemental distributions to the theological schools and for board use in its program of ministerial enlistment and development. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry will recommend to the general secretary of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry appropriate funding for divisional programs of ministerial enlistment and development.
3. Annual conferences shall regard this fund as a priority to be met before any additional benevolences, grants, or funds are allocated to a theological school or school of religion.
4. The General Commission on Communication shall promote the Ministerial Education Fund.
23. See Judicial Council Decision 545.