Petition 81361

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Ministerial Education Fund (81361-FA-¶816)

Amend ¶816.1 and 816.2 as follows:
¶816.1.  Of the total money raised in each annual conference for the Ministerial Education Fund, 25 40 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.  
At least 70 percent of the money retained shall go directly to student scholarships, grants, loan repayment assistance, or other direct subsidy of students’ theological education.  The board of ordained ministry will confer concerning use of the ministerial . . .
¶816.2.  Of the total money raised in each annual conference for the Ministerial Education Fund, 75  50 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  70 percent of the amount received by the divisions shall be distributed to the theological schools of The United Methodist Church on a formula . . .
      ¶816.3.  Of the total money raised in each annual conference for the Ministerial Education Fund, 10 percent shall be remitted by the conference treasurer to the treasurer of the council for distribution to the Central Conferences on a pro rata basis by membership for the support of ministerial education in ways approved and administered by each Central Conference.  Administrative costs shall be born directly by the Central Conferences and shall not be paid for by Ministerial Education Fund money.

Rationale

Changing percentages would help relieve the astronomical debt load of seminary graduates in pastoral ministry.  It would increase annual conferences’ incentive to ensure payment of MEF apportionments.  It is vital to ensure a steady income stream for theological education in the developing world, where trained church leaders are desperately needed.