Petition 81276

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Voting Rights (81276-MH-¶35-C)

Amend ¶35, Article IV of the Constitution, and ¶¶316.6, 318.5, and 321.1 as follows:
¶35. The ordained ministerial delegates to the General Conference and to the jurisdictional or central conference shall be elected by the ordained ministerial members in full connection, associate members, and local pastors who have completed the prescribed Course of Study and from among the ordained ministerial members in full connection with the annual conference or provisional annual conference.
¶316.6  The membership of local pastors under full-time and part-time appointment is in the annual conference where they shall have the right to vote on all matters except constitutional amendments, election of delegates to general, jurisdictional, or central conferences, and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy, provided that local pastors who have completed the prescribed Course of Study shall be eligible to vote on the election of clergy delegates.

¶318.5   Local pastors, except student local pastors, may serve on any board, commission, or committee with voice and vote, except on matters of clergy character, qualifications, status, and ordination, except the board of ordained ministry and the district committee on ordained ministry. (¶634.1)  They shall not be eligible to vote on or serve as delegates to the general, jurisdictional, or central conferences.
  
¶321.1    Associate members shall have a right to vote in the annual conference on all matters except the following:  (a) constitutional amendments, (b) election of delegates to general and jurisdictional or central conferences, (c) all matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
  

Rationale

The change recognizes the contribution of local pastors who are disenfranchised on both lay and clergy sides, and grants them parallel voting rights to those who have been ordained.  Requiring the five-year Course of Study places a similar time framework to that of individuals pursuing seminary and probationary period.