Petition 80186

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Associate Elders (80186-MH-¶321)

Amend ¶¶ 321 & 322 as follows:
Section V. Associate
Members Elders  
¶ 321. Eligibility and Rights of Associate Members Elders
  
Associate members  Elders of an annual conference are in the itinerant ministry of the Church and are available on a continuing basis for appointment by the bishop.  . . .
1. Associate members  elders shall have a right to vote in the annual conference on all matters except the following: (a) constitutional amendments; (b) election of delegates to the general and jurisdictional or central conferences; (c) all matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy .
2. Associate Members Elders may serve on any board, commission, or committee of an annual conference. They shall not be eligible for election as delegates to the general or jurisdictional or central conferences.
3. Associate Members Elders shall be subject to the provisions governing sabbatical leave, leave of absence, location, retirement, minimum salary, and pension.
4. Associate Elders have professional responsibilities that they are expected to fulfill and that represent a fundamental part of their accountability. These shall include:
    a)  Growth in vocational competence and effectiveness through continuing formation.
    b)  Annual participation in a process of evaluation with committees on pastor-Parish relations or a comparable body.
    c)  Annual participation in evaluation with his or her district superintendent.
    d)  Willingness to assume supervisory and mentoring responsibilities within the connection.
¶ 322. Requirements for Election and Ordination as Associate Members Elders
1. All persons currently serving as associate members of an annual conference shall be ordained as associate elders.

   1 . 2. In addition Local pastors may be elected to associate membership and ordination as Associate Elder by vote  . . .  
2.  3. Upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry . . .
3 . 4. Associate Members Elders may retire under the provisions of ¶ 359 of the Discipline.  . . .
4 . 5. Associate Members Elders may be received as probationary members in the annual conference under conditions as set forth in ¶ 324.6 upon receiving a three-fourths majority vote of the clergy members of the conference in full connection, present and voting.
6. The Service of Ordination of Associate Elders shall be at the Annual Conference session following the guidelines established by the Division of Elders and Local Pastors of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Rationale

The United Methodist Church recognizes a great need of trained clergy in all our local churches and has a commitment to quality education, evaluation for readiness, fitness, and effectiveness of all clergy.  This petition grants ordination  for Associate Elders clarifying their sacramental responsibilities and recognizing their worth.