CONSTRUCTIONS OF LAW BY THE GENERAL
DECISIONS OF SUPERINTENDENTS AND BISHOPS
Approved by General Conferences, and General Conference
From Journal of 1866
¶ 397. On Hop-Growing-—Resolved, That in our opinion, the raising of hops for the general market is a violation of the rule of Discipline prohibiting “evil of every kind;” and also of the rule prohibiting the “doing of what we know is not for the glory of God.”
¶ 399. Disapproval of Conference Action.—Resolved, 1. That the action of the Susquehanna Conference in passing a certain resolution on the use of tobacco, be disapproved; the said conference having transcended its powers in attempting to enact laws. (The resolution referred to was passed by the Susquehanna Conference in 1886, and read as follows: “Resolved, That if any of the preachers of this conference are known to indulge in the use of tobacco, either by chewing or smoking, during the coming year, they shall, at the next session of the conference, be discontinued from the traveling connection.”)
2. That the action of the Susquehanna Conference, in receiving a preacher in full connection after but one year’s trial, be disapproved.
Conference voted nay, 12 to 5.
¶ 401. On the Admission of Ministers.—It was decided by the president that as all the disciplinary questions may be acted on at any time during the session of an annual conference it is right to report ministers received into full connection as having a seat in the conference. On motion, conference sustained the decision.
¶ 402. On Conference Resolutions—No annual conference shall pass resolutions or adopt reports interpreting Discipline, and then hold any minister or member to trial for violating such resolution or reports.
The president held that in the admission of a dele gate to which objection is made, an annual conference may inquire,
1. If the society meeting was held and the election fairly conducted according to Discipline.
2. If the returns were correctly made.
3. If the person elected was eligible.
But the chair decided that each society has the right to determine who are its members; that an annual conference has no right to decide who are or who are not members of any particular society.
This decision was appealed from, and the conference voted not to sustain the chair—by 11 nays, 5 yeas.
This action was reported by the committee on conference records, of the General Conference of 1878, as a violation of Discipline. The report was adopted, thus sustaining the decision of the president.
1. Are preachers on probation in an annual conference still members of a society? Answer, No.
2. Should they be reported from the circuit as local preachers? Answer, No.
3. Should their licenses be renewed by the quarterly conference, as others? Answer, No.
1. If a preacher believes the Bible to be opposed to women taking a part in the government affairs of the church, and has not hitherto regarded the language of the Discipline as admitting of the election of women as delegates to the annual conference is he bound by the action of this conference to rule that the Discipline does now admit of it?
Answer—By President B. T. Roberts: It is my opinion that he is.
2. Would it be maladministation of Discipline to rule that it is ‘not disciplinary to elect women as dele gates?
Answer—In my opinion it would.
The General Conference approved these answers as correct.
¶ 412. Absent Delegates. Resolved, That it is the sense of this conference, that a delegate is not a member of au annual or a General Conference until he is present, and has presented his credentials.
¶ 413. Preserving Original Minutes. Resolved, That the secretaries of the several conferences be required to keep the original or so-called rough minutes, as approved by the conference, in a book to be pre served with the journal.
1. If a certificate of membership be given a member of one of our churches, and that member shall, at a subsequent time, present his certificate of membership to one of our churches in some other place, he having, since the reception of the certificate, been guilty of Unchristian conduct, is the church to which the certificate shall be presented obliged to receive the certificate?
Answer—By President B. T. Roberts: It is.
2. When an annual conference organizes a circuit and appoints a preacher to it, but the preacher declines to travel it, and the chairman being unable to supply it with another preacher, may he unite the unsupplied circuit with an adjacent circuit without the consent of the official board of the unsupplied circuit?
Answer—By President B. T. Roberts: I think he could not.
3. When a preacher has been appointed to a circuit, has the chairman a right to appoint said preacher to the charge of another circuit while he retains charge of the first?
Answer—By President B. T. Roberts: No. He may add to the circuit, but cannot appoint a preacher to two circuits at the same time.
¶ 415. The following question was asked at the sixteenth session of the Kansas Annual Conference, and was answered by President B. T. Roberts; from whose decision an appeal was taken to the General Conference of 1886, by which the decision of the president was unanimously sustained:
If a man in his sinful state be divorced from his wife, but not on scriptural grounds, and she be married to another man, after which the divorced man becomes converted and joins the church, do the facts in the case as afore-stated clear him in the eyes of the law, the eyes of God and the eyes of our Discipline, so that he has the right to marry again? The president decided that in the case stated, the legal divorce separates the man from his wife in the eyes of the law, and that the subsequent marriage of the woman separates the man from the woman in a scriptural sense; he is there fore entitled to a divorce on scriptural grounds; but as he cannot obtain it, he is in the sense of the Scripture entitled to marry again.
¶ 416. Resolved, That the reports adopted by the annual conference should be kept on file and not re corded in the journal, except the financial reports, and such as may be recorded by order of the annual conference.
¶ 417. Whereas, Conflicting decisions by the general superintendents in the intervals of the General Conference are liable to make divisions, and tend to annoy and confuse the spirit of harmony among us, therefore,
Resolved, That when one of the general superintendents has rendered a decision on any point of law in any annual conference, in a case which grows out of the conference proceedings, said decision shall be the rule in the case until the decision is reversed by the General Conference. (See Paragraph 439.)
¶ 418. An elder of the North Michigan Conference, having withdrawn from the church, was given a letter by Superintendent Hart, stating that he had been an ordained elder in the North Michigan Conference, and recommending him “to all Christian people.” He after wards presented the letter to the same conference, and Superintendent Coleman decided that he could not be received on the letter—that he was out of the church. The committee on general superintendencey recommended that the decision be approved. The recommendation was adopted by the conference.
Answer by the Chair.—”In the decision, I would say, It must confine itself to the grounds of the appeal in the case. It is entitled, however, to all that will throw light upon the appeal as presented.”
¶ 420. “Does the Discipline make final the decision of the committee on appeals without approval by the General Conference when such committee renders its verdict while the General Conference that appointed it is in session?”
Answer—”The Discipline makes the decision of a committee on appeals final. There can be no appeal therefrom.”
¶ 421. At the close of the election of the general superintendents, E. P. Hart moved, That it is the sense of the conference that W. T. Rogue is entitled to his seat and office as general superintendent until the close of this session. Superintendent Coleman in the chair decided that it would be proper to place the newly-elected superintendent in the chair if the conference saw fit to do sq. An appeal was taken from the decision, and the confer4nce refused to sustain the chair. W. T. Hogue was thus authorized to act as superintendent until the final adjournment of the conference.
“It is the sense of the conference that this matter is one concerning which ‘every man should be fully persuaded in his own mind,’ and guided by his personal convictions.”
“Is previous labor necessary before bringing charges against a preacher belonging to an annual conference?”
The president decided that no previous labor is necessary in case of charges at the annual conference, as that body has original jurisdiction over the preachers composing it.
The decision of the president was sustained by the General Conference.
1. “If a man obtains a divorce from his wife on other than scriptural grounds and afterwards marries a woman who had obtained a divorce from her husband without scriptural reason, would the parties thus divorced and remarried be entitled to membership in the church?”
Answer—I think they would not.
2. “Is it a violation of Discipline for a minister to receive a person into the church who has obtained a divorce on other than scriptural grounds?”
Answer—In my opinion it is.
3. “Would the preacher receiving into the church persons thus divorced be liable to the charge of mal administration?”
Answer—I think he would.
These decisions were approved by the General Conference.
¶ 425. Resolved, That in no case shall the report of the committee on ministerial relations be expunged from the records of an annual conference without the consent of the minister whose case had been under consideration.
¶ 426. Quarterly Conference Relation of Preacher Supplying in Conference Other Than His Own.—The committee on examining quarterly conference records presented the following appeal found on page 365 of the Chicago district records, Illinois Conference, reading as follows:
A question was raised as to whether C. B. Ebey was a member of this quarterly conference. The district elder ruled that he was, by virtue of his being pastor at Melrose Park. An appeal was taken from this ruling by W. P. Ferries.
The president, Wilson T. Hogue, decided “that no preacher in the Free Methodist Church can be a member of two quarterly conferences at the same time. As C. B. Ebey is a member of the Southern California Conference, and, as such, has his quarterly conference relation fixed within that body, it follows that he cannot be a member of any quarterly conference of the Free Methodist Church except his own.” Decision sustained.
¶ 427. Surrender of Parchments.—At the forty-fourth session of the Genesee Conference, an elder re quested a certificate of withdrawal from the conference. The president, B. H. Jones, ruled “that he was entitled to a certificate of withdrawal only upon condition that he surrender his ordination parchments.” Approved by committee and adopted by the conference.
¶ 428. Only Annual Conference Empowered to Render a Superannuate Effective.—At the annual session of the Genesee Conference held in Buffalo, N. Y., September 5-9, 1906, in the case of Rev. William Manning, the president, W. A. Sellew, in answer to a question raised, decided “that the appointment of a superannuated preacher to a circuit on a charge by the district elder, according to the Discipline, and with the consent and co-operation of the preacher, made him effective. He cannot be superannuated and effective at the same time. I decide that he has been effective during the past year, and cannot draw his superannuated allowance.” Decision disapproved.
¶ 429. Ruling on a Question of Jurisdiction.—At the Oil City Conference in 1906 the committee on claimants and claims submitted the following resolution in case of Mrs. H. D. W. Showers to the president for a decision:
Whereas, The application of Mrs. H. D. W. Showers, widow of the late Rev. A. C. Showers, has been presented to the committee on claimants and claims; and,
Whereas, At the time of his death Brother Showers was a member of the Pittsburgh Conference, and the Oil City Conference did not exist; therefore,
Resolved, That it is the sense of this committee that the said application does not legally come before this conference, and that we respectfully ask the chair to render a decision upon this point.
General Superintendent, Walter A. Sellew, ruled “that the application should not be presented to this conference, but to the Pittsburgh Conference.” Decision sustained.
¶ 430. As to Right of Preacher in Charge to Vote in Business Meetings of the Circuit.—At the session of the West Iowa Conference held in 1903 a question was raised as to whether a preacher in charge has a right to vote in the business meetings of his circuit. The president, E. P. Hart, ruled that “he has a right to vote in the official meetings, but not in the circuit or society meetings.” Decision sustained.
¶ 431. Forfeiting Conference Relation by Withdrawal.—The Journal of the Texas Conference, page 236, shows that the name of M. M. Lowerys was called, and he was reported to have joined the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Since doing so, however, he had again united with the Free Methodist Church, by letter.
The chair ruled that in uniting with another church he bad forfeited his relation to this conference, and that it would be necessary for him to come up by regular process, if desirous of renewing his relation with the conference. Decision sustained.
¶ 432. An Elder Withdrawn from Church and Conference May Not Be Received Back into the Conference on His Ordination Parchments.—An elder in the Illinois Conference, who bad withdrawn from the church and conference and united with an organization not giving letters of dismissal, and who had since united with the Free Methodist Church on probation and was recommended for restoration to his former conference relation on his ordination parchments, the question was asked of the chair, “Can he be legally received on the parchments aforesaid ?“
The president, W. A. Sellew, rendered the following decision in the case: “If this elder had come to ns with a regular certificate of his standing as a Christian minister from the church organization to which he has belonged since he left us, we would be warranted in receiving him into full membership in the conference, as he holds our ordination papers as an elder. Now, as he cannot obtain such a certificate, because of the refusal of this organization to give such certificates, and not because of any fault or failure of conduct on his part, I decide he may be received into full membership in the conference on his ordination papers, and by vote of this conference adopting the resolution now before the conference.” Decision disapproved.
¶ 433. On Use of Instrumental Music in Sunday schools.—At the session of the New York Conference of 1903 the question was asked of the president, B. R. Jones: “Is it a violation of the Discipline of the Free Methodist Church to use instrumental music in the Sunday schools of the church?” The president decided that it is. Decision sustained.
¶ 434. Transfer of Membership by Missionaries to Africa.—The committee on missions recommends the following: “That we require all missionaries now on the African field, or who may go to that field in the future, to transfer their church membership to some society on that field.” Adopted.
¶ 436. On referring cases to the committee on ministerial relations it was resolved as follows: “It is the sense of this General Conference that the character of ministers shall not be referred to the committee on ministerial relations, except in case of reported un soundness in doctrine or irregularities of life; and that in all instances where the case is noticed in the permanent records, such records shall show the nature of the offense, and the final disposition of the case.”
“Whereas, We find numerous instances recorded in various conference journals where persons have been received on trial into the traveling connection without having passed examination in the preliminary course of study, and admitted to full membership and elected to deacon’s orders without having passed examination in the second year’s course of study, and in some in stances of persons elected to elder’s orders who have not completed the fourth year’s course of study; and,
“Whereas, The practice referred to is a plain violation of the Discipline, Paragraphs 150, 151, 155, 156; therefore,
“Resolved, First, that this committee recommend the General Conference to express its disapproval of such action on the part of the conferences involved, and call upon them to discontinue such action in the future. Second, that the honored bishops be, and that they hereby are, instructed to inform all conferences where such action may be proposed in the future that the contemplated action is illegal.”
¶ 438. Right of an Elder Presiding in Conference by Appointment of a Bishop to Transfer a Preacher. -- A question regarding this matter arose, and on motion it was decided “that an elder acting as president of an annual conference by appointment of a bishop, has authority to transfer a preacher into that conference while so acting.”
Resolved, That whenever a bishop shall decide upon a point of law in an annual conference, which does not grow out of the conference proceedings, he shall immediately report the same to the other bishops, and secure their approval or disapproval in writing. His decision shall not be binding upon the other bishops unless they are notified that at least two of them have approved it in writing. The resolution was adopted. (See Paragraph 417.)
“Resolved, First, that it is the sense of this body that there should be a woman’s auxiliary missionary board; second, that the executive board of the woman’s foreign missionary society should be such auxiliary board, before whom women candidates for the foreign field shall pass first examination.”
This was referred to the committee on missions, which reported as follows: “Your committee recommends that we grant the foregoing request, and that this auxiliary board shall consist of the three women members of the General Conference missionary board and such others of the general officers of the woman’s foreign missionary society as may be present at their annual meeting.” The recommendation was adopted.
“The committee on credentials asked the chair to rule on the following question:
“If a majority of a society vote to move to a new locality, and a minority part does not wish to remove to that locality, which is the original society, the one removing to the new locality or the part remaining in the original place?
“The chair ruled that the majority part, moving to the new location, constituted the original society.”
“A lady evangelist having been recommended by the Toledo district quarterly conference as being eligible to a seat in the annual conference, her case was considered; but she being only a supply on the circuit of which her husband was preacher in charge, the president of the conference decided that she was not entitled to a seat in the conference.”
¶ 444. At the Central Illinois Conference, Bishop Sellew presiding, a communication was received from an elder stating: “I have returned to my old conference, i.e., the Wisconsin. The Greenville district sent me a certificate of good standing about a year ago. Upon that certificate I have been received and given work by the Wisconsin Conference.”
The secretary of the Greenville district stated that the above certificate was issued before the last annual conference.
The president of the conference ruled that the above certificate expired at the time of the last session of the conference and is null and void.
Genesee Conference, a Decision of Law by Bishop W. A. Sellew.—The committee on claimants and claims reported through the president that the question had arisen as to how many years should he counted as “active service,” according to the Discipline, in the case of a claimant in the conference. The president was asked whether the six years that he served the Orphanage and Home at Gerry, New York, as manager, and the four years that he served the same institution as financial agent, ten years in all, should be counted as years of “active service” in estimating such claim.
The president, W. A. Sellew, decided that they were not to be counted, for the reason that they were years in which he served the said institution by a business contract made and entered into each year in advance of the annual sitting of the Genesee Conference. That the Genesee Annual Conference had nothing to do with that contract, either in making of it or in fixing the nature of service required, or in fixing the compensation; neither did the conference in any way examine into or inquire about that service, as to whether it was satisfactory or not. The Whole matter was a business proposition entered into by a conference preacher and a corporation.
The fact that the name of the claimant appears in the appointments of said conference as occupying such a position only shows that the conference permitted him to retain his standing in the conference after the contract was made, but such permission does not constitute sufficient authority for counting those years so spent as years of “active service,” according to Discipline.
Whereas, It has occurred in some instances that an annual conference has elected its presiding officer to act on the committee on ministerial relations; and,
Whereas, The findings of such a committee may call for the appointment of a trial court, at which the president must preside; therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of this conference that the election of a bishop on the committee on ministerial relations in an annual conference is exceedingly irregular, and for the bishop to act in such capacity is highly improper.
“Is a person appointed by an annual conference as a supply on a circuit the preacher in charge of that circuit?”
Answer. “He may be. Page 37, Paragraph 87, of our book of Discipline, 1903, reads : ‘A preacher may be appointed to a circuit without having charge of the same; in such cases the administration of the circuit shall devolve upon the district elder and the official board.’ But there may be preachers who are members of other conferences, and who are fully fitted to ad minister circuits to which they may be appointed as supplies. It is my opinion, therefore, that a preacher appointed by an annual conference to a circuit, as sup ply, is preacher in charge of that circuit, unless the annual conference appointing him shall specify in making such appointment that the administration of the circuit shall be fixed as provided for in the paragraph referred to.
“Freeborn D. Brooke, District Elder,The president of the Illinois Annual Conference rendered the following decision:
“Elgin District, Illinois Conference.”
“From the above opinion W. C. Willing appealed,
“George H. Behner, Secretary.”
“I approve of the above decision.
“Walter A. Sellew.“September 13, 1907.”
¶ 448. At the Kansas Conference, August 27, 1909, an appeal from the Iola District was taken up. Upon the records of the quarterly conference of the Iola District the following appears under question 5, pages 115 and 116:
The name of Brother ------------------------ was called and it was reported that he had been working with the Salvation Army, there being no Free Methodist society where he lived (Parsons, Kansas); also that he had joined the Salvation Army, and that at present he wished his church relation to remain in the Free Methodist Church.
When he retired the district elder ruled that his joining the Salvation Army severed his connection with the Free Methodist Church, and accordingly decided that his case need not go on record.
The brother appealed from said decision to the annual conference to be held at Solomon, Kansas, August 25, 1909.
The bishop (W. A. Sellew), upon hearing the appeal, made the following decision:
(1) “The president of the Kansas Annual Conference hereby decides that the Salvation Army is a regular church organization and that a member of our church who joins the Salvation Army severs his connection with the Free Methodist Church. The decision of the district elder is therefore approved.”
(2) “But as the brother joined the Army under a misapprehension, and now expresses a desire to re main a member of the Free Methodist Church, be should be given a reasonable time in which to sever his connection with the Army. If be does so he may retain his membership in the Free Methodist Church.”
“June B. Horning, having been recommended by the quarterly conference as a suitable person to be received on trial in the annual conference, was, on motion, received.”
The bishop ruled that this action would deprive her of her seat in the conference held under 172 (4) of the Discipline.
“Winnie Ashcraft’s name! was called and her character passed. She had a standing of 85 in Bible doctrine. On motion, she was discontinued from probation, Bishop Jones having decided that those women whose home duties interfered with their being free to take any appointment were not eligible for reception on trial in the traveling connection.”
¶ 451. Oil City Conference. Ruling of Bishop Wilson T. Hogue. Page 318 of Journal. The secretary read a letter from T. C. Goodrich, a former member of the conference, requesting a certificate of standing, and Bishop Rogue ruled that he not being a member of the church his request could not be granted.
“The following communication from Bishop W. T. Hogue, in reply to a communication from the secretary of the conference in regard to the resignation of District Elder B. F. Smalley and the appointment of W. E. Goode as elder, was accepted as the decision of the conference:
‘Replying to yours of March 28th would say: Brother Smalley did not indicate to me that the last quarterly conference had been held or I should have made no appointment, inasmuch as any appointment I might make would require the ratification of that body. As it is, the conference on assembling will have to elect some one to sit on the stationing committee in Brother Smalley’s place.’”
W. A. Sellew. Conference Journal, pages 156, 157.
“H. L. Crockett, attorney for the church, notified Rev. W. B. Roupe that the charges upon which he had been suspended by the committee would be presented to the annual conference at its next session. Rev, W. B. Roupe then notified H. L. Crockett as follows:
“‘I hereby withdraw from the Free Methodist Church and the Susquehanna Conference.’
“H. L. Crockett then states he received a letter from W. B. Roupe, a few weeks later stating, ‘Since I have become able to make this defense I would request that you destroy the letter of withdrawal and go on with the trial, unless the charges are withdrawn, in which case also destroy the letter.’
“The president of the conference stated to the conference that it was their prerogative to decide whether they would accept the withdrawal of W. B. Roupe from the church and conference, as mentioned above, or would permit him to withdraw it as requested in the second communication and permit the trial to go on.
“Pending the consideration of this case, the question was raised, Were these communications from W. B. Roupe to be considered as officially received by the conference, since they were addressed to H. L. Crockett, attorney for the church in the case, and not ad dressed to the secretary or some official of the conference? The president decided that they were officially received by the conference.
“On motion the conference decided to accept his withdrawal from the church and conference under charges, as stated in his first communication.
“O. B. Russell, who had been requested by W. B. Roupe to act as his attorney, took an appeal to the General Conference from the ruling of the president and the action of the conference.”
“Upon a question submitted to the chair for decision, i.e.: Whether A. G. Miller is eligible to a re-election to the Wilkes-Barre District, having served same as such together with the Windsor District, for two years successively, and then independently of said Windsor District for two successive years more, making four consecutive years of travel as district elder over both districts. Chair decided that the Discipline was ‘incontrovertibly plain’ on this point, and hence A. G. Miller was not eligible to a re-election to the Wilkes-Barre District.”
“Following a motion for the renewal of deaconess’ license of persons who were also evangelists the president called attention to Paragraph 154, and stated that in his opinion persons who held an evangelist’s license were not entitled to deaconess’ license, but because some have been granted by his predecessors he would permit the motion to pass, enter his protest and refer the matter to the forthcoming General Conference.”
Opinion expressed by the bishop approved.
“If an annual circuit meeting has met and elected a delegate to the annual conference, can one of the points on the circuit be set aside to form a new circuit and a delegate be elected to represent said circuit? In which case what is the standing of the delegate who is first elected ?“
1. The district elder may divide the circuit, ac cording to the Discipline, Paragraph 140, even after the annual circuit meeting has been held and a delegate has been elected.
2. If the circuit is so divided, the delegate first elected represents the other part of the original circuit.
“Is it illegal for a quarterly conference held at the close of the conference year to fix time or place for a camp meeting to be held the coming year?”
Answer: “Ordinarily such action would not be considered strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Discipline, but conditions sometimes arise which justify such action.”
¶ 458. North Indiana Conference. Ruling by Bishop B. R. Jones. Records of 1912, page 113. “The legality of the election of Bert Mellott, a lay delegate of the newly-organized circuit, West Side, South Bend, was called in question. The chair ruled that, as Monroe Williams’ name appeared upon both credentials and as E. J. Bean was still a member of South Bend class, that the two named circuits are only one; therefore, B. Mellott’s election as delegate was illegal. B. Mellott retired.”
“If a person having been recommended by the district quarterly conference of which he is a member for admission on trial, and the same person is recommended by the same district quarterly conference for local deacon’s orders, could such a person at the same session of the annual conference be received on trial and ordained local deacon?”
The president ruled as follows: “In my opinion, he cannot, because as soon as he is received on trial he ceases to be a local preacher.”
“The facts agreed upon in the case are as follows:
In 1915, at its annual session, the Kentucky and Tennessee Conference granted to W. R. Garrison a certificate of his good standing with a view to his being transferred to the Central Illinois Conference. At the annual session of the Central Illinois Conference, held at Cowden, Illinois, September 13-16, 1916, this certificate was presented to the conference and W. R. Garrison was duly received into the conference after having been transferred by Bishop W. T. Hogue.
“It appears, however, that the Kentucky and Tennessee Conference held its annual session for 1916 on the same week as Central Illinois, and that the Kentucky and Tennessee Conference was in session at the same time that this certificate was received by the Central Illinois Conference.
“This fact made this certificate null and void, and W. R. Garrison was actually a member of the Kentucky and Tennessee Conference at the time he was received by the Central Illinois Conference.
“I, therefore, decide that the transfer made by Bishop Hogue and his reception by the Central Illinois Conference were both illegal, and that W. B. Garrison is not a member of this conference but of the Kentucky and Tennessee.”
¶ 462. Decision of Bishop W. A. Sellew In the Oregon Conference. The case was substantially as follows: The amount assessed for conference claim ants at the time of its session in 1915 was 45 cents a member. During the ensuing conference year the executive committee increased the apportionment to 50 cents. At the next session of the conference in 1916 the question was raised as to whether the conference would be expected to pay 45 cents or 50 cents a member for the year just closing. The president rendered the following decision:
“In my opinion only 45 cents can be assessed against the conference this year.”
¶ 463. Decision of Bishop W. A. Sellew, at the North Michigan Conference in 1915: A recommendation for evangelist’s license was brought before the quarterly conference at the first session of the year. having been made by a society meeting prior to the last session of the annual conference. There was a question raised as to the legality of granting the license. The district elder ruled that it was legal. The case was appealed to the annual conference to be answered by the bishop.
The president decided that in his opinion it was legal, as it was acted upon by the first session of the quarterly conference after the recommendation was made by the society.
¶ 464. Decision by Bishop W. Pearce: ‘A district elder said, “My decision in case of a preacher going into a new place to hold meetings and to raise up a Free Methodist society is that he should not use an instrument (or instruments) of music. That it would not be disciplinary to do so, and would result in diversion and failure.”
The bishop ruled, “It would not be advisable.”
The question of granting a quarterly conference evangelist’s license to Mrs. Rose Cooper was rejected by the Pueblo District quarterly conference on the grounds taken by the district elder that she was not present and had not brought up her course of studies.
The president ruled that under the circumstances, and inasmuch as Mrs. Rose Cooper was an efficient missionary among us, the license could have been granted.
A sister with an annual conference evangelist’s license verbally withdrew from the church. The official board finally at a second (not verbal but written) announcement of withdrawal, accepted it. Afterward she requested to be received again into the church and accordingly her request was granted in harmony with Paragraph 78 of the Discipline. Does this action include reinstatement as an annual conference licensed evangelist?”
The president decided that the restoration of her membership by the official board did not apply to her evangelist’s license which could only be granted by the quarterly conference.
At the third sitting, Edward K. Inaba, lay delegate from the Port Los Angeles work, handed in his credentials and took a seat in the conference.
At the fourth sitting, Edward K. Inaba, having been recommended by the Los Angeles District quarterly conference as a suitable person to be received on trial and the committee on the preliminary course of study having reported that be had passed a satisfactory examination, on motion, he was received on trial.
At the fifth sitting, the president ruled that since Edward K. Inaba had been received on trial, in harmony with the Discipline, his relation as lay delegate has automatically ceased. His name was therefore stricken from the roll.
“If a conference minister fails to use his certificate of good standing and general acceptability, given with a view to transfer, when does the life of said certificate cease?
“Resolved, That it is the sense of this committee that the life of such certificate ceases at the calling of the toll at the first sitting of the ensuing session of the annual conference giving it.
“Also, that such a certificate given by a quarterly conference expires at the calling of the roll at the first sitting of the ensuing session of the annual conference within whose bounds the quarterly conference is located.”
“If a minister shall present a certificate of good standing and general acceptability to an annual conference, and be transferred to said conference by the presiding bishop, such transfer having been made after the conference granting said certificate had convened in its next annual session following the session in which the certificate was given; where does such preacher bold his membership?
“Resolved, That it is the sense of this committee that the transfer was legal, and the membership of said preacher is in the conference to which the transfer has been made.”
“Resolved, That it is the sense of this conference that forcing a workman to join the union or leave his job constitutes coercion.”
“On a complaint from the Wichita charge in regard to the division of the circuit, and since there seems to be a discrepancy between the constitution of the Mission of Redeeming Love and Paragraph 160, section 11, of the Discipline on that point, we the quarterly conference of the Wichita District, appeal to the bishop of the conference for a decision on this action.”
The bishop’s ruling follows: “I decide, 1. That it was a violation of the Discipline for the district elder to divide the Wichita circuit without the consent of the preacher in charge and the official board. The Discipline, Paragraph 160, section 11, must take precedence over the constitution of the Mission of Redeeming Love, even though the latter may have been approved by action of the General Conference.
2. That the society formed as the Mission Society is still a regular society and cannot be dissolved except as provided for in the Discipline.”
The decisions of the bishop were approved.
After reading in open conference Paragraphs 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 of the Digest of Free Methodist Law, and after a statement that in the church record of the society he was about to leave, a preacher had made the notation opposite the name of his wife, “transferred to another circuit,” but had not given a church letter, the following questions of law were asked of the president of the conference:
Question 1. As no church letter was given, does not the membership of said person remain in said circuit, notwithstanding said notation?
Question 2. Is not said person amenable to said circuit for her conduct, notwithstanding said notation?
The bishop’s answer to both questions was, “Yes.”
The following question was submitted to the president for decision: Can a quarterly conference legally adjourn at its second sitting to meet in its third sitting in another place, several miles distant, and after an interval of nearly three weeks?
The decision was, “Yes.”
An appeal taken by W. J. Bone, from the decision of District Elder F. D. Brooke, of the Chicago district, as to the eligibility of Sadie Hill to a seat in the annual conference.
The district elder ruled that she was not eligible to a seat in the annual conference while on trial in that body. The bishop sustained the ruling of the district elder.
Decision of the bishop approved.
Question 1. If a pastor appointed to a circuit de clines to occupy the parsonage, has he the right to rent the parsonage to other parties without the con sent of the official board?
Answer: “I think not.”
Question 2. If a preacher appointed to a circuit declines to occupy the parsonage, has the official board the right to rent the parsonage without the consent of the preacher in charge?
Answer: “I think they have.”
Question 3. If the official board rents the parson age to other parties, has the preacher in charge the right to demand, and is the official board under obligation to pay, said rent to the preacher in charge?
Answer: “I think he is entitled to the rent.”
All three decisions approved.
The following question of law was submitted to the chair by J. M. Manchester: “Is it a violation of our rule on dress, according to our book of Discipline, for persons who are members of the Free Methodist Church to wear feathers and artificial flowers on their hats ?“
Answer: “In my opinion, it is.”
The president’s decision in the case of L. V. Maund: 1. The last annual conference imposed a penalty upon him, resulting from a bill of charges, of suspension from the ministry and from the church for two years. In my opinion the conference went beyond its authority in doing so, as suspension of minister can only be for one conference year. I decide that he has served out the time of suspension and is now entitled to a seat in the conference.
2. As his case has now been referred to a committee on ministerial relations by the conference, I decide that the committee cannot consider anything contained in the bill of charges upon which he was suspended at the last conference.
Both decisions approved.
The following questions were asked and answered by the president, from whose decision an appeal was taken to the answer on question 1.
Question 1. In forming a new society does Paragraph 77 of the Discipline provide for receiving into the church as full members persons who have had no previous connection with any church or religious society nor have served on six months’ probation?
Answer: It is my understanding that Paragraph 77 provides for receiving members in such manner in organizing a new society.
Question 2. Would it be a violation of Paragraph 75 of the Discipline to receive members into the church in full connection who have not been on probation or connected with any church or religious society or organization?
Question 3. Would a preacher receiving members in such a manner be deemed guilty of maladministration of the Discipline?
All three decisions sustained.
It was stated that the Bethel society had voted their intention to transfer in a body to the Ontario society at a future date, if permitted to sell their church property and take it with them as a part of a church building fund in Ontario, and requested permission of the conference to do so. It was moved and seconded, that the request be granted. It was moved and seconded, as a substitute, that $300.00 of the proceeds be appropriated to the Chino society. After some discussion the previous question was moved and seconded. Pending this a point of order was raised on the substitute. The president made the following ruling:
“Inasmuch as there is not at this time a bona fide sale of the property, and it appears there will be no sale of the property unless the proceeds of said sale may be taken to assist in building a church in Ontario, therefore the substitute motion is out of order.”
An appeal was taken from the ruling of the chair.
A resolution was introduced recommending that those districts of the conference which are served by one elder, where there is no district elder’s home, take steps to secure additional elders’ homes at suitable locations, and until this is done recommending that rent be raised for elders’ homes separate from elders’ salaries.
The chair ruled that it is not in the province of the annual conference to recommend that a district or districts which do not have a district elder’s home should provide the same or in lieu thereof pay the rent for a district elder’s home.
Resolved. That it is the sense of this General Conference that conviction of unchristian conduct would continue the suspension from said offices.
¶ 482. At the session of the Minnesota and Northern Iowa Conference, presided over by B. J. Vincent by appointment of Bishop W. H. Clark, September 13-19, 1925, the president was asked whether it was legal or disciplinary in reporting members to conference to omit the names of those members whose conference claims are difficult to collect or who have seemingly lost interest in the church.
The president ruled as follows: “The pastor is bound by the Discipline to include in the number of members which he reports to conference all the people whose names are retained on the membership records on the circuit.”
Has a pastor the right to refuse a certificate of membership, properly made out and signed, on the ground that the bearer lives nearer the church giving him the letter than the church to which he wishes his membership transferred?
The district elder, F. P. Brooke, ruled that the church bad no right to refuse her own paper and that the pastor should receive the certificate of membership.
An appeal was taken to the president of the next session of the annual conference. Bishop W. H. Clark decided, “I sustain the ruling.”
¶ 484. Ruling of Bishop W. A. Sellew in the West Kansas Conference. Question: Is it a violation of the Free Methodist Discipline for our members to join the Ku Klux Klan? Answer: In my opinion membership in the Klan is a bar to membership in the Free Methodist Church.
¶ 485. At the session of the North Michigan Conference of 1923 the following question was asked Bishop W. A. Sellew: “Can the quarterly conference at its last session for the conference year fix the time and place of holding the first session for the ensuing year?”
Bishop Sellew answered as follows: “In my opinion it has authority to fix either the time or place or both.”
¶ 486. The secretary of the Southern California Conference asked the president, Walter A. Sellew, the following question: How shall I list Lillian Pool Burnett in the conference minutes, she having been located according to Paragraph 120 of the Discipline?
The president rendered the following decision:
“When a woman who is a member of an annual conference and is an ordained deacon, marries a preacher who is a member of an annual conference and is located under Paragraph 120 of the Discipline, such a woman should be listed as an ordained local preacher.”
¶ 487. The president of the Pasadena District quarterly conference decided that a local preacher’s license could not be granted subsequent to the session of the quarterly conference on condition that the applicant appear before the district elder and give satisfactory answers to the disciplinary questions.
An appeal was taken from this decision to the annual conference.
Bishop P. S. Warner confirmed the ruling of the president of the Pasadena District quarterly conference.
¶ 488. At the Oil City Conference the question was asked: If an annual conference evangelist in the interim of conferences makes engagements for meetings beyond the ensuing conference, can it be legally said that he has broken the Discipline?
The president, Bishop Sellew, decided as follows: “It is my opinion that a preacher who has been appointed to the evangelistic relation by his annual conference is authorized to make evangelistic appointments beyond the date of the next annual conference to which he belongs, but such appointments must be conditioned upon the conference granting him an evangelistic relation for the following year. If for any reason his conference should not grant him that relation and should appoint him to a charge, he would be under obligation to cancel his evangelistic engagements and take the work assigned him by his conference.”
“Is it contrary to the law or spirit of our Discipline to retain or to receive members into the Free Methodist Church who pay their dues in any secret society for the purpose of keeping up their life insurance?”
The president’s answer was, “I think that it is.”
The following resolution was passed:
“At a joint meeting of the society and the official board of The Dalles Free Methodist Church, it was voted to discontinue their services indefinitely and to grant The Dalles Mission the use of the church building so long as it shall seem advisable. This action was unanimous.
“On motion a board was created to be known as The Dalles Mission Board, this board to consist of the members of the official board of The Dalles Free Methodist Church, the pastor to be chairman of the board and superintendent of The Dalles Mission. The use of the organ in the mission services was ordered by the board.”
The bishop made the following decision: “In view of the above facts, I decide that the society at The Dalles has no disciplinary right to take such action, and that the Free Methodist society at The Dalles remains intact in spite of such action. The fact that they have sent a delegate here to this conference confirms this statement. I also decide that the use of the organ by them in this church has been a violation of the Discipline. I decide that their meetings are Free Methodist meetings.”
¶ 492. In the records of the Oregon Conference, page 344, the following decision is found: “When the name of a certain elder was called, objection was made to passing his character on the ground that he had co-operated in placing an instrument of music in the Central Church in Portland, of which he was pastor, and using the same in public worship, and a motion was made and seconded that his case be referred to the committee on ministerial relations.”
Bishop W. A. Sellew decided that the offense named was not of a character that could be referred to such a committee, and gave Paragraph 436 of the Discipline as the basis of his decision.
A question having arisen as to the legality of a probationer in the church sitting as a delegate in the annual conference, the president ruled that it was illegal for a member on probation in the church to serve as delegate to conference.
Question: Is a district elder eligible to serve on the conference evangelistic board, under Paragraph 119 of the Discipline? Answer: He is eligible.
Question: Can a local preacher’s license be revoked by the quarterly conference that issued it when in their judgment the local preacher has violated the conditions mentioned in said license? Answer: They can revoke it.
The president ruled that a quarterly conference recommendation for the renewal of an annual conference deaconess license is necessary for the renewal of such license by the annual conference.
The committee reported that they found that two women bad been licensed as local preachers and questioned whether or not this was regular. At this juncture a member of the conference submitted the following question: “Is it in harmony with our book of Discipline to license a woman as a local preacher?” The chair rendered the following decision: “I know nothing in the Discipline that forbids it.”
¶ 500. Decision by Bishop W. H. Clark in the Michigan Conference. Question: If a preacher with draws from the conference under censure, or is expelled, can a preacher or society receive him on probation or otherwise? Answer: It is a violation of rule 8, Paragraph 182, of the Discipline, and any preacher doing so is guilty of maladministration.
¶ 501. In the Iowa Conference an appeal to the chair for a decision concerning conference claims was answered by F. L. Baker, the president appointed by Bishop W. H. Clark, to the effect that the conference claims were not a personal assessment.
Bishop D. S. Warner ruled that it was irregular and undisciplinary.
Whereas, Complaint has been made to this board that from time to time certain derogatory statements have been made against the pastor by a member of this board; be it therefore,
Resolved, That we, the members of this board, do hereby instruct and direct our secretary to communicate with the said member and request him to be present at a meeting of the board in the church, to answer such complaints against him and to state his reasons for such remarks, he having been requested to do so at a meeting of this board held previously, and having failed or refused to do so.
The following record was made of a further action of the above named official board: “A communication was received from the said member and was read before the board. It was moved and carried that the secretary be instructed to write a letter to him expressing the regrets of the board in session that he has taken the attitude that he has toward the board and church and that this board requests him to refrain from taking part in public worship until such time as he meets with their request.”
The quarterly conference of the district took action requesting the president of the conference at its coming session to render a decision on the authority of the official board to take the before-mentioned actions.
Bishop W. A. Sellew rendered the following decisions in the case:
“It is my opinion:
“1. That the action taken by the official board, in the first instance, was a proper action, and that the presiding officer was justified in allowing the board to pass such action.” Decision approved.
“2. That the said official board had no right or authority to take the action it did in this case at the later meeting and that the presiding officer of the official board was guilty of maladministration of Discipline in allowing the board to pass such action.”
¶ 504. Resolved, That the proper officers of the various church boards and of the Publishing House be requested hereafter to make a full, detailed statement of the assets and liabilities and net worth, showing their financial standing, and it is ordered that the same be published in the Annual Minutes.
Is it a violation of our Discipline to use a musical instrument in our churches at weddings?
Answer: Inasmuch as a wedding ceremony is specifically a religious service, in my opinion such a procedure is a violation of Discipline.
Question: 1. After prayerful consideration and brotherly dealing, should Paragraphs 73, 470, and 209(21) be strictly adhered to?
Answer: In my opinion they should.
In considering the eligibility of J. W. Sherrell to sit as a delegate in this session, I find the following facts relative to his election:
1. That the said J. W. Sherrell requested letters be granted himself and family in 1926; that the pastor, Mrs. Grace Williams, was not sure what kind of a letter was desired; that a letter of inquiry was sent to the family, who were traveling in Oklahoma, and that the reply did not name a society, but requested a letter of good standing; that Mrs. Williams, the pastor, in the absence of more definite information, sent letters recommending them to membership in an other church.
2. That at the ensuing session of the Louisiana Conference, in 1927, upon the representation o J. W. Sherrell that they did not want letters of withdrawal, upon the advice of Frank L. Baker, president of the conference, Mrs. Grace Williams signed such certificate of membership for the five members of the family, said certificate bearing date of the original letter, November 30, 1926.
3. That this certificate of membership was given to the pastor of the Summerville circuit a few days prior to the date of expiration, near the last of November, 1927.
4. That when these letters were read to the Summerville society, that society, under the impression that they had a right to do so, refused to accept them.
5. That the following pastor, J. M. Manchester, ruled that the persons named were members of the Summerville society, on the ground that the church can not refuse her own paper.
6. That said J. M. Manchester gave said J. W. Sherrell and family regular certificates of member ship, upon which they were duly organized into a Free Methodist society at Monroe, Louisiana, and that said society held a circuit meeting and elected said J. W. Sherrell delegate to this conference.
In the light of the foregoing facts several irregularities are apparent, but it is my opinion that the society at Monroe is entitled to recognition as a Free Methodist society; therefore its delegate is entitled to a seat in this conference.
Joseph Westwood presented a request to be received into the conference on his certificate of location, granted him at his request by the West Kansas Conference, August 18, 1905. The legality of his being received on said certificate of location was questioned, and the president was asked to rule on this point. The president made the following statement and ruling:
I find that the following resolution was adopted by the West Kansas Conference in the fourth sitting of the 38th annual session:
“Whereas, Rev. Joseph Westwood was elected to deacon’s orders and ordained by the West Kansas Conference, and was located at his own request, and later united with the Methodist Episcopal Church by letter, and was recognized as an ordained local deacon; and,
“Whereas, He has again united with the Free Methodist Church by letter and was recognized as an ordained local preacher; therefore, be it
“Resolved, That he be recognized as a local deacon in the Free Methodist Church.”
Inasmuch as the Discipline of the Free Methodist Church has been interpreted by General Conference action as holding that uniting with another church forfeits all conference relationships (see Discipline, Par. 431), and inasmuch as a certificate of location is a conference paper containing conference member ship in status quo,
I rule that in joining another denomination Joseph Westwood forfeits the privilege dormant in such certificate of location; that he is now a local deacon in the Free Methodist Church, and that it will be necessary for him to come up by the regular disciplinary process if he desires to become a member of the annual conference.
Question: Has a district board of trustees the right to rent a district parsonage which has been purchased for a district elder’s home? If they do so, have they a right to keep the money received as rent?
Answer: It is my opinion that they have no right to do so without the consent of the district elder concerned. In case the property is so rented without a mutual agreement between the parties concerned, the district elder would have the right to demand for himself, and the board of trustees would be under obligation to pay, said rent, in harmony with Par. 474 of Discipline.
The following appeal from the Cedar Rapids district quarterly conference was presented:
“The district elder stated that the Cedar Falls society had restored the membership of 3. L. Kent, a former local elder of the Free Methodist Church, whose name had been dropped from the records, and as such his character was to be considered.
“It was moved and seconded, that inasmuch as J. L. Kent was out of the church, he had lost his ministerial relation.
“The district elder ruled that his restoration to membership restored his ministerial relation.
“On motion, an appeal was taken from the decision of the district elder to the annual conference.”
Bishop A. D. Zahniser, president of the conference, rendered the following decision:
“Inasmuch as the records show discrepancy between the statement of the appeal and the decision of the district elder and an irregularity regarding the local membership of the party in question, I decide that 3. L. Kent as a regularly ordained elder located, was a member of the quarterly conference and amenable to that body and held local membership at Cedar Falls. His name was unofficially dropped from the records, and later, by a vote of the official board, placed on the records. No action appears to have been taken at any time officially disposing of his quarterly conference relation; nor by the annual conference recalling or revoking his parchments. Therefore, he has been and now is a regular member in good standing both of the local church and of the quarterly conference.
Statement: An elder in the conference, whose case is under informal investigation, writes his district elder, requesting that he be allowed to withdraw from the conference and the church. The district elder granted him the privilege of withdrawing on condition that he surrender his credentials. Will an action by the annual conference approving this action make it valid and lawful?
Decision: The district elder acted as the medium of dealing in the case of the preacher in question, on behalf of the annual conference. Under pressure of investigation, the preacher wrote him a letter of withdrawal. The final decision of the case lies with the annual conference.
At the thirtieth session of the annual conference, held at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, September 26-30, 1928, complaints against a local preacher on trial were presented, and the question was raised as to whether the quarterly conference had jurisdiction in regard to his case or the annual conference.
The presiding officer made the following ruling:
“According to Par. 409 of the Discipline, a local preacher on trial in an annual conference is not a member of a local society. Par. 198, sec. 2, specifically declares that a preacher on trial holds his church membership in the annual conference. In the light of Par. 246, it is clear that in a case requiring specific charges and a formal trial, jurisdiction would lie in the quarterly conference of the district where the defendant held his appointment; but in the case of confession of wrong doing of a flagrant nature, in the light of the first two paragraphs cited, it is my opinion the annual conference has the right to permit a preacher on trial to withdraw from the church under complaints.”
The attention of the president has been called to the fact that Carrie H. Randall was elected reserve lay delegate to the General Conference, in the last sitting, while seated as a member of the conference. under the provision of Par. 220, sec. 4, and the question raised of her eligibility to serve.
Inasmuch as the Discipline specifically states that members of the conference by virtue of this provision shall be counted with the preachers in the transaction of conference business, I rule that Carrie H. Randall is not eligible to serve as a lay delegate to the General Conference.
The president was asked the following question:
Is it legal for a quarterly conference to grant a certificate of good standing and withdrawal to a conference preacher wishing to withdraw from the church in order to join another denomination?
Answer: While Par. 207, sec. 6, of the Discipline assumes that the quarterly conference is competent to give a conference preacher a certificate of his standing, it seems clear that the granting of such a certificate is for the one purpose, of the preacher’s transfer to another conference within the Free Methodist Church. The purpose of a conference preacher to withdraw from the Free Methodist Church to join another denomination is quite another matter; and I decide that only that body to which the preacher Is amenable, his annual conference, is competent to grant him a certificate of standing and withdrawal.
The president was asked the following question: Has a society a right to hold a camp meeting apart from the district?
Answer: While I know of no Discipline which specifically provides for a society or circuit holding a camp meeting, it is a custom of long standing among us for a society, and especially a circuit, to appoint and hold what is called a circuit camp meeting when the interests of the church can be furthered by holding such a meeting.
A question being raised as to the validity of the election of a conference Sunday-school secretary at the morning sitting, the one elected not being a member of the conference, the president decided that one not holding membership within the bounds of the conference could not become a conference official, and that, therefore, there had been no election of a Sunday-school secretary on the ballot taken in the morning sitting.
¶ 518. Resolution. The following resolution was adopted by General Conference as a substitute for the decisions of Bishop G. W. Griffith to the effect that societies in which musical instruments were used in violation of the Discipline were not entitled to representation in the annual conference, and for the action taken by the Executive Committee approving of said rulings:
Resolved, 1. That we sustain and approve of the action of the Executive Committee and of the rulings of Bishop G. W. Griffith for this emergency only; and,
Resolved 2. That this approval and sustaining of the Executive Committee and of Bishop G. W. Griffith shall not be construed as granting bishops the right to challenge the seat of a delegate in an annual conference of which they are not members, or to inflict a penalty when no such penalty has been made by the General Conference; and,
Resolved, 3. That we request the committee on judiciary to suggest suitable legislation to this conference for its adoption, providing for the trial and infliction of penalty upon a quarterly conference or an annual conference for the violation of the Discipline, and when it is reasonably believed they are in a state of insubordination and in contempt of the Discipline.
(See Paragraphs 260 and 261 for the legislation adopted.)
Question: “Has a board of trustees the right to place a musical instrument in a local Free Methodist Church for use for funerals, in view of Paragraph 81, sec. 6, of the Discipline?”
Answer by the President. “No. I call attention to Par. 505, an approved ruling. It is my opinion that the paragraph refers with equal force to f funerals.”
Question 1. “Is it disciplinary to remove a member from full relationship because of inability to pay conference claims?” Answer: “No.”
Question 2. “Is it permissible to carry a member on the roll of the local church without reporting the same to the annual conference?” Answer: “No.”
At the session of the California Annual Conference in 1930, R. E. Cochrane was granted an evangelistic relation with quarterly conference membership fixed on the Sacramento district. During the year a vacancy occurred at Oakland, California, a circuit on the San Francisco district, and R. E. Cocbrane was appointed pastor there by the district elder who was also district elder of the Sacramento district Does the quarterly conference relation of R. E. Cochrane remain ‘on the Sacramento district or is he a member of the San Francisco District quarterly conference by virtue of his being appointed pastor of the Oakland circuit?
Decision: Inasmuch as a district elder has power to “appoint” and “change” preachers on his district or districts in the interval of the conference sessions, and, inasmuch as the quarterly conference shall be composed of the traveling preachers and the members of the official boards of the district, therefore it is my opinion that the quarterly conference relation of R. E. Cochrane as transferred from the Sacramento district to the San Francisco district by virtue of his appointment as pastor at Oakland by the district elder.
Question 1. “If a preacher on trial in the annual conference is discontinued for cause and the stationing committee fixes his membership on a certain circuit, does that clear him of any charges that may have been brought against him?”
Answer: “It does so far as the conference is concerned for the reason that a preacher on trial in an annual conference is amenable to the conference for his administration only, and his discontinuance by the conference and his church relation fixed at some point in the conference, would carry the implication of full settlement of the case so far as the jurisdiction of the conference is involved.”
Question 2. “In a society meeting or any business meeting of a society, or quarterly conference, has the presiding officer the right to refuse to put a motion that may come before the meeting in the proper way in the regular order of business?”
Answer. “If the motion comes from a lawful member of the assembly and pertains to the prescribed powers and duties of the assembly, it is my opinion he does not.”
The following question was asked the presiding officer: “Where there Is an inter-church basket ball league in a town, is it a violation of our Discipline for one of our Sunday schools to organize a ball team and have them take part in the program of the league ?“
Decision rendered: “I think that inasmuch as the Discipline prohibits interscholastic games, that the same principle applies in this case.”
The matter of receiving Rev. F. G. Johnson into the church and conference on his elder’s credentials and certificate of good standing from the Church of the Nazarene was taken up. The question was raised as to whether he could be admitted to the conference in full connection without first uniting with a church society and receiving a recommendation by a quarterly conference recommending him as a suitable per son to be received. A decision was called for from the chair in the matter and he rendered the following ruling:
Ruling by the President: “A minister from an other orthodox church may be received into full connection in the traveling ministry, according to Para graph 70 of the Digest of Free Methodist Law, and Paragraph 200 of the Discipline, on condition of the presentation of properly accredited ordination papers, plus a certificate of up-to-date good standing and giving satisfactory answers to the questions which we propose to our members and ministers before receiving them into full membership, providing the annual conference is satisfied with his gifts, graces and usefulness and the candidate agrees with us in doctrine, discipline and government.”
The question was called for, which was on the substitute for the original motion, that Brother Johnson he received into the conference in full connection after giving satisfactory answers to the questions of the Discipline as to membership in the church and the questions propounded to ministers joining in full connection. The substitute carried. The conference president asked the questions to the candidate, which were answered satisfactorily, and he was received.
The following questions were asked the president:
1. Are the duties of a conference superintendent so varied and multiplied as to make the appointment of an advisory board or committee advisable?
2. Strictly speaking, is the conference superintendent a district elder?
3. Does the conference superintendent of necessity come under the terms of the time limit as prescribed for district elders in Paragraph 208 of the Discipline ?“
Answer by the president:
1. An annual conference may instruct its district elder to work under the general direction of an advisory committee or board of administration, providing there shall be no infringement of the Discipline.
2. There is no disciplinary provision for the election of a conference superintendent. Calling a district elder by some other name, or adding other duties or responsibilities to those which the Discipline pre scribes for him, does not make him less a district elder.
3. The district elder, acting as a conference superintendent, does of necessity come under the time limit prescribed in Paragraph 208, Section 12, of the Discipline.
Question: What is the conference relation of Boyers Boyce? It is argued in behalf of the appellant above named: 1. That be was ordained local deacon. 2. That he was ordained local elder. 3. That he now is a full member in the traveling connection. 4. That he is an elder in the traveling connection and entitled to all the immunities and privileges of that order and relation. 5. In support of these claims it is observed: a. That the appellant’s ordination was never forfeited. b. An elder is in no sense of a lower order: i.e., ordination elevates the whole man to whatever order be holds. c. Conference action did (though unwittingly) act as a waiver of conference rights in the matter of educational requirements.
Ruling: The chair rules that the admission of Boyers Boyce to full membership in the conference did not establish his relationship as a traveling elder. A conference member sustains a dual relationship, one as a minister of the church of God defined by his ordination parchments, and one as a member of the ecclesiastical organization. These two relationships do not invariably coincide, as when an ordained minister changes denominational relationships without surrender of ordination parchments, or a minister returns to the denomination after joining another organization and re-establishes conference relationship by repeating the original steps, without, however, submitting to reordination.
In the case in question, Brother Boyce’s ordination as an elder stands, empowering him to perform the full office of an elder in divine worship and the ordinances of the church, but his entry into the traveling connection did not automatically establish his conference relationship as that of a traveling elder. He must take the same steps to the highest conference relationship, that of traveling elder, as must the ordained elder when be returns to the Free Methodist Church from another denomination. Two of these steps Brother Boyce has already taken: (1) He has entered the traveling connection by way of probationary membership of two years in the conference. (2) He has completed the two-year course of study and has been admitted to full membership in the conference with the relationship of a traveling deacon. It re mains for Brother Boyce to complete the third and fourth year of the course of study and be admitted by vote of the conference to the relationship of traveling elder.
Question: What constituted gain or loss in member ship, as reported in the statistical blanks?
Answer by the president: Gain or loss refers to full members only.
Question: Is C. H. Foe eligible to re-election as district elder, having served eight years continuously, one year in the Platte River Conference and seven years in the Nebraska Conference following the merging of the Platte River and Nebraska Conferences?
Answer: It is the opinion of the chair that C. H. Foe is not eligible for re-election inasmuch as the Nebraska Conference is a continuation of the Platte River Conference, the latter not having disbanded but having merged with the former Nebraska Conference without transfer of membership.
Whereas, The bishops when presiding at the annual conferences are asked questions which require rulings on church law; and,
Whereas, The particular case which gives rise to the question may not be fully known to the bishop; and,
Whereas, The Committee on Superimitendency has been asked to approve or disapprove of the rulings which shall decide certain differences of opinion for particular cases on the basis of inadequate information; therefore be it
Resolved, That whenever a ruling is requested of a bishop, the question shall be submitted in writing, together with a full written statement of the facts concerning the particular case involved, if there be such, the statement of facts to be prepared by op posing parties in a disputed case; and, be it further
Resolved, That all of this information shall be placed in the hands of the Committee on Superintendency when such decision is referred to the committee.
“Resolved, That in the sense of this conference that the rule of our Discipline forbidding the wearing of gold applies to those who wear gold wedding rings, and that the wearing of any kind of finger rings or jewelry is a violation of the rule prohibiting the wearing of superfluous adornment.”
It is improper and contrary to the spirit of The Free Methodist Discipline for any person or organized group to circulate a petition which would effect the election of a district elder.
1. Children’s Day. Page 83, Par. 120, sec. 2.
2. Superannuate Day. Page 90, Par. 128, sec. 2.
3: Day of fasting and prayer for general evangel ism. Page 93, Par. 131, sec. 4.
4. Day of fasting on Friday preceding the session of the annual conference. Page 118, Par. 171.
5. Men and Missions Day. First Sunday after the second Tuesday in November.
1. To preach on missions. Page 75, Par. 113, sec. 10.
2. To hold one or more missionary meetings on his circuit during the year, Page 76, Par. 115.
3. To preach on Christian Education on the last Sunday in January. Page 82, Par. 120, sec. 1.
4. To hold a Children’s Day service the first Sun day in June: Page 83, Par, 120, sec. 2.
5. To preach a sermon on practical charity. Page 96, Par. 132, sec. 8.
6. To read Wesley’s sermon on evil speaking. Page, 142, Par. 194, sec. 2.
7. To read Wesley’s sermon on dress at least once a year in every society. Page 35, Par. 71, sec. 1.
8. To read the General Rules once a year in every congregation and once a quarter in every society. Page 158, Par. 209, sec. 16.
9. To see that a fast is held in every society on Friday preceding every quarterly meeting. Page 158, Par. 209, sec. 20.
10. To preach on the subject of Sunday schools and religious instruction. Page 92, Par. 129, sec. 1.
11. To preach to the children. Page 92,
par. 129, sec. 2.