The Episcopal Fund
¶ 817. Purpose-1. The Episcopal Fund, raised in accordance with ¶ 817.3, shall provide for the salary and expenses of effective bishops24 from the date of their consecration and for the support of retired bishops and surviving spouses and minor children of deceased bishops. Subject to the approval of the General Council on Finance and Administration, the treasurer shall have authority to borrow for the benefit of the Episcopal Fund such amounts as may be necessary for the proper execution of the orders of the General Conference. The General Commission on Communication shall promote the Episcopal Fund.
2. Requirements-The council shall recommend to each quadrennial session of the General Conference for its action and determination: (1) the amounts to be fixed as salaries of the effective bishops or a formula by which the council shall fix the salaries; (2) a schedule of such amounts as may be judged adequate to provide for their office expense; (3) provision for an annual operating budget for the Council of Bishops, including the offices of the secretary and the ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops; (4) guidelines governing the payment of bishops’ travel expenses, including all travel authorized by the Council of Bishops; (5) the minimum amounts to be fixed as annual pensions for the support of retired bishops and/or the method by which their annual pensions shall be determined; and (6) provisions for allowance for the surviving spouses and for the support of minor children of deceased bishops. From the facts in hand, the council shall estimate the approximate total amount required annually during the ensuing quadrennium to provide for the items of episcopal support mentioned above and shall report the same to the General Conference. This amount as finally determined shall be the estimated episcopal budget. The administration of the Episcopal Fund budget as determined by the General Conference shall be under the direction and authority of the General Council on Finance and Administration, including annual fiscal statements and audits. Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude the annual conference or conferences of an episcopal area from including in their budgets amounts for an area expense fund.
3. Proportionality-The amount apportioned to a charge for the Episcopal Fund shall be paid in the same proportion as the charge pays its pastor (see also ¶ 621).
4. Bishops’ Salaries-The treasurer of the General Council on Finance and Administration shall remit monthly to each effective bishop one-twelfth of the annual salary as determined by the General Conference, less such deductions or reductions from the salary as each bishop may authorize. Allowances for retired bishops and for the surviving spouses and minor children of deceased bishops shall be paid in equal monthly installments.
5. Housing Expenses-The General Council on Finance and Administration shall provide an annual grant from the Episcopal Fund to share in the costs of providing an episcopal residence, the amount of such grant to be approved by the General Conference on recommendation of the council. The treasurer of the General Council on Finance and Administration shall remit the annual grant to the office designated by the episcopal residence committee to receive such housing payments. The treasurer shall also remit periodic installments of the amount approved by the council as office expenses to each bishop, or to the office designated by the bishop to receive such payments.
6. Episcopal Expense Reimbursement and Honoraria Policies-The treasurer of the council shall pay monthly the claim for the official travel of each bishop upon presentation of an itemized voucher with such supporting data as may be required by the General Council on Finance and Administration. Official travel of an effective bishop shall be interpreted to include: (1) all visitations to local churches and to institutions or enterprises of The United Methodist Church within the
area; (2) such travel outside the area, but within the jurisdiction, as is approved by the College of Bishops; and (3) such other travel as may be consistent with guidelines approved by the General Conference as being within the meaning of official travel. No part of the expense and no honoraria for any such visitations shall be accepted from local churches or enterprises or institutions of The United Methodist Church, such expense being a proper claim against the Episcopal Fund. Nothing in this interpretation is intended to preclude special or nonofficial engagements of a bishop other than the oversight of the temporal and spiritual affairs of the Church, such as series of lectures in educational institutions, baccalaureate addresses, and preaching missions for several days’ duration when such engagements do not interfere with official duties, nor does it preclude the acceptance of honoraria for such services.
7. Audit of Episcopal Area Offices-Fiscal reporting and audit procedures of each area office shall be determined according to a schedule as set forth by the council upon recommendation of the Committee on Episcopal Services.
8. Episcopal Pensions-The pensions for the support of retired bishops elected by general, jurisdictional, or central conferences and the surviving spouses and minor dependent children of such deceased bishops shall be administered by the General Council on Finance and Administration in consultation with the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits and in accordance with such program and procedures as may from time to time be determined by the General Council on Finance and Administration with the approval of the General Conference. For service years beginning January 1, 1982, and thereafter, the pensions for the support of bishops elected by jurisdictional conferences and those of their surviving spouses and dependent children shall include the benefits provided by the Ministerial Pension Plan, amended and restated effective January 1, 2007, as the Clergy Retirement Security Program, and the Comprehensive Protection Plan of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
9. Bishops Whose Service Is Interrupted-Should any effective bishop in the interim of the quadrennial sessions of the jurisdictional conference be relieved by the College of Bishops of the jurisdiction from the performance of regular episcopal duties on account of ill health or for any other reason, the president of the said College of Bishops shall so notify the treasurer of the Episcopal Fund. Beginning ninety days after such notification, the said bishop shall receive at least the minimum regular pension allowance of a retired bishop; the amount of such benefit for which the Episcopal Fund is responsible shall be reduced by the amount of any disability benefit payable from the Comprehensive Protection Plan of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Such pension allowance shall continue until the regular duties of an effective bishop are resumed or until the bishop’s status shall have been determined by the jurisdictional conference. Assignment of another bishop or bishops to perform the regular episcopal duties of a bishop so disabled or otherwise incapacitated, for a period of sixty days or more, shall be interpreted as a release of the said bishop from the performance of regular episcopal duties.
10. Retired Bishops Appointed to Ad Interim Service-Should any retired bishop, in the interim of the quadrennial sessions of the jurisdictional conference, be called into active service and assigned to active episcopal duty (¶ 407.3), that bishop shall be entitled to remuneration for such service. The Episcopal Fund shall be responsible for the difference between the pension of the retired bishop and the remuneration of an active bishop. In the event of such assignment of a retired bishop to active episcopal duty, the president or secretary of the Council of Bishops shall notify the treasurer of the Episcopal Fund. The treasurer of the Episcopal Fund shall make remittance accordingly.
24. See Judicial Council Decision 781.