Doctrines and Discipline of the Free Methodist Church of North America - 1939 Edition



I. Organization, Powers

     ¶ 117. 1. The Board of Administration shall constitute the Board of Education. The Commission on Christian Education shall consist of one bishop appointed by the Board of Administration, and six other persons.

     2. The officers of the commission, except the general Sunday-school secretary, who shall be elected by the General Conference, shall be elected by the commission at the first annual meeting of the quadrennium.

     3. The Commission on Christian Education shall sustain a veto power in relation to location of schools, the erection of buildings, and financial campaigns for the same and an advisory relation in matters of general business and policy. It shall administer such funds as may be committed to it from time to time. It shall solicit bequests, money, property, and other securities to be used in building up an endowment fund to be held in trust for the cause of Christian education in the Free Methodist Church of North America. It shall be empowered to acquire, hold, and convey real estate, and to establish a placement bureau for teachers and for young people who are consecrated and prepared for the ministry or any other form of Christian service.

     4. The commission by two-thirds vote of its membership, and by and with the consent of the trustees of the schools affected thereby, may merge two or more of our educational institutions, and with the consent of said trustees, move any of them, whenever in its judgment the highest educational interests of the denomination will be conserved by so doing.

     5. The permanent endowment fund comprises all moneys for permanent investment, and shall be invested in securities approved by the Finance Committee. The interest there from shall be paid quarterly to our educational institutions for their use and benefit. Annuities and undesignated gifts now held, or which shall be acquired in the future, shall be placed in the permanent endowment fund.

     6. No educational institution shall be inaugurated in the church without first securing the approval of the commission. Neither shall any recognized school of the church change its classification or its location without first securing the consent of the commission.

     7. Whenever a school desires to change its location, or its classification, it shall notify the secretary of the commission of such a desire, at least three months before the next annual meeting of the commission. It shall be the duty of the secretary to notify the adjacent schools of such desire so that any objection such schools may have may be presented to the commission when such request is heard.

     8. The commission shall take oversight of our schools so as to eliminate as far as practicable the element of competition and make the Junior Colleges contributory to the Senior Colleges.

     9. The commission shall have supervision of the patronizing territory of each of our schools and shall exercise such supervision as to give to each institution proper territory for its prosperity in common with the other schools of its class. But it shall not change the relation of any previously assigned territory without the consent of the annual conference holding jurisdiction over the territory in question. The commission shall not give its recognition to any new institution as a college within a radius of one thousand miles of those already recognized, or to any secondary schools within a radius of five hundred miles of any recognized educational institution. This shall not apply to schools located, one in the United States and the other in Canada.

     10. The commission shall investigate from time to time the educational standards of the various schools recognized by the commission. The problems of the schools shall be studied in relation to local needs with a view to improving their educational programs. Through suggestions and helpful guidance the commission shall foster and encourage the institutional growth in harmony with our denominational program of Christian education.

     11. The commission may solicit throughout the entire church, create and administer a fund for the endowment of Free Methodist schools.

     12. Before any campaign for raising funds for buildings, the cost of which shall exceed $10,000.00, is launched, or building operations are begun, financial plans and preliminary building plans with the estimated cost must be submitted to the commission, and its approval secured before either the financial campaign or the building operations can be started. For the violation of the above, the rules of Paragraph 121, subdivision 7, shall apply.

     13. The commission may adopt by-laws for the regulation of its affairs not inconsistent with the character of the rules and regulations of the Free Methodist Church.

     14.- The Executive Commission shall determine and pay the salary of the general educational secretary and meet all expenses of his office.

     15. It shall be the duty of the Commission on Education to formulate, in co-operation with the colleges, a comprehensive, unified and integrated plan for theological education in the Free Methodist Church. It is recommended that the Bible School program of the colleges be made responsive to the needs of the local territory, but coordinated with the program of one graduate school of theology, which it is recommended shall be established.

     16. The acts of the Commission on Christian Education shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Administration. 

II. Duties of Officers

     ¶ 117 1/2. 1. The general educational secretary shall seek to promote the general educational interests of the Free Methodist Church. He shall be the executive officer of the educational department of the commission.

     2. It shall be the duty of the president of the commission and the general educational secretary to visit the colleges with a view to improving and strengthening the educational, financial, and spiritual phases of their work. He shall co-operate with the presidents of our schools in planning for Bible conferences and youth evangelism. He shall suggest financial and educational policies, assist in new student promotion and in the placement of teachers and ministers. Each school may call for a proportionate share of his time for specific promotional work, subject to the approval of the commission.

     3. The general church treasurer shall be the treasurer of the Commission on Christian Education.

III. Annual Conference Board

     ¶ 118. 1. Each annual conference may organize within its bounds an Annual Conference Board of Education. This board shall consist of at least one and not more than three ministers and an equal number of laymen to be elected by the annual conference.

     2. The ministerial members of the Conference Board of Education shall report the acts and affairs of the conference board to the annual conference, and shall transmit the instructions and acts of the annual conference relative to education and educational institutions to the Commission on Christian Education.

     3. It shall be the duty of the Conference Board of Education, (1) to organize by the election of a president and secretary-treasurer to serve one year or until their successors are elected, and to appoint such committees as are necessary to accomplish its work; (2) to hold at least one meeting each year for the consideration and promotion within the annual conference of the general and local interests of education; (3) to provide for a visitation each year to the educational institutions with which it is associated; (4) to present the cause of education to the annual conference, and assist as far as possible in raising money to carry out the instructions of the annual conference.

IV. Educational Institutions

     ¶ 119. 1. The Commission on Christian Education shall recognize as under the auspices of the Free Methodist Church, and therefore entitled to be mentioned in its list of educational institutions and to receive aid from its educational funds, all those schools of the church which are now known to have the approval of the conferences in which they are respectively located and of such other conferences as may be associated in their management; and also, all such schools as shall be established hereafter in accordance with the foregoing conditions, and with the approval of the majority of the members of the Commission on Christian Education expressed by vote in one of its regular meetings.

     2. No educational institution shall be recognized by the commission as provided for in the foregoing part of this section, unless it is established and operated in accordance with the conditions hereinbefore mentioned, and unless two-thirds of the members of the board of trustees and of the members of the faculty shall be members of the Free Methodist Church, and no new school shall be approved unless the deed to the property shall contain the “Trust Clause” required by the Discipline for church property.

     3. In case any institution shall be hereafter established contrary to the provisions of the foregoing part of this chapter, the Commission on Christian Education, on formal complaint made to it by an annual conference or the trustee board of any of our recognized schools interested, shall fix the time and place of hearing the authorities of said institution, and other institutions affected thereby, and shall authorize such adjustment of the relations between them as shall seem wise and proper under the circumstances.

     4. The schools now and hereby recognized as under the auspices of the Free Methodist Church are:

     Senior Colleges: Greenville College, Seattle Pacific College. 

     Junior Colleges: The A. M. Chesbrough Seminary, Spring Arbor Seminary, Wessington Springs College, Los Angeles Pacific College, Central Academy and College, Lorne Park College (one-year college).

V. Duties of Pastors

     ¶ 120. 1. It shall be the duty of every pastor to preach on Christian education and to take a public collection once a year, in every congregation over which he presides, for general educational purposes. The money so collected shall be paid over to the treasurer of the annual conference auxiliary to the Commission on Christian Education, if such an auxiliary exists; but where there is no such auxiliary, the money shall be forwarded to the treasurer of the annual conference who shall forward same to the general church treasurer. The last Sunday in January is recommended as the time for taking such collections.

     This fund shall be administered by the Commission on Christian Education for general educational purposes.

     2. It shall also be the duty of every pastor to arrange for every Sunday school under his charge to observe the first Sunday in June, or, if that date is impracticable, the most convenient Sabbath in the month of June, as Children’s Day, in which one of the regular services shall be a religious service for the children. As a part of the service a collection shall be taken for the Sunday-school children’s fund. He shall forward the amount so collected directly to the treasurer of his conference.

     3. -This fund shall be administered by the commission and shall be used to aid those young people in the Free Methodist Church who feel called of God to some form of Christian work in the Free Methodist Church and who need financial help to continue their education in one of the church schools. Aid from the fund shall be granted only in the form of loans under conditions prescribed by the Commission. However, the Commission may by a two-thirds vote cancel loans for certain causes which to them seem sufficient.

VI. Guiding Principles

     ¶ 121. Educational institutions recognized by the Commission on Christian Education, and receiving funds through church channels most conform to the following guiding principles:

     1. No organizations or activities shall be permitted which are not in harmony with the fundamental principles of the Free Methodist Church, relating to amusements, campus fraternities, hazing, immodest attire, the use of tobacco, intoxicants, and gambling.

     2. Football and all interscholastic sport contests are forbidden.

     3. The rendering of class plays, dramas, and all amateur theatricals in public and private are forbidden. This shall not be construed as forbidding the proper and necessary instruction in education.

     4. Student publications shall be censored by the president or principal and major professors or teachers so that all material inconsistent with our attitude as a church devoted to separation from the world and committed to holiness shall be eliminated there from.

     5. All instruction in the various departments, particularly in science and the social sciences, shall be positively in harmony with the teachings of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Free Methodist Church and set forth in her Discipline.

     6. No presidents, principals, professors or teachers shall be employed or retained in our colleges or secondary schools who are not in harmony with the above rule, and any, upon evidence of conduct or teaching to the contrary, shall be subject to dismissal.

     7. In case of complaint for the infraction of any of these rules, said complaint shall first be presented to the Commission on Christian Education and in case it shall be found valid, said complaint shall be referred to the Board of Administration, which shall hear all the evidence, and apply the penalty to any school found guilty until such school shall harmonize with the foregoing provisions.

     8. Resolved, That the General Conference held at Winona Lake, Indiana, June, 1935, places itself unreservedly against the preaching and teaching of the doctrine of organic evolution.

VII. Endowment Funds

     ¶ 122. 1. All endowment moneys allotted to our colleges and seminaries shall he held for proper and safe investment by the Commission on Christian Education, and the interest accruing there from shall he paid annually to the proper representative of each school.

     2. The income on the permanent endowment fund now held by the commission, amounting to $100,000, shall be distributed pro rata among the different institutions as follows:

Greenville College 28.2%
Seattle Pacific College 18.8%
Central Academy and College 10.6%
Wessington Springs Junior College 10.6%
Los Angeles Pacific College  10.6%
A. M. Chesbrough Seminary  10.6%
Spring Arbor Seminary 10.6%

      3. The East Ontario, West Ontario, and Saskatchewan Conferences are each allowed to retain moneys raised for educational purposes. See Paragraph 150(7).

VIII. Sunday Schools—The General Work

     ¶ 123. 1. The Board of Administration shall constitute the Sunday School Board of the Free Methodist Church. The Commission on Christian Education shall promote and have general charge of the general Sunday-school interests. The general Sunday-school secretary shall be the executive officer of the Sunday-school department of the commission. The General Conference treasurer shall be treasurer of the commission.

     2. This commission shall supervise the teacher training work of the church, arranging its courses, deciding upon the necessary textbooks, providing for examinations and granting diplomas to those who complete courses of study.

     3. The expenses incurred by the meetings of the commission and the salary of the general secretary and his necessary office help shall be paid by the Sunday-school department of the Publishing House. The commission shall become responsible for all other expenses which it incurs.

IX. Conference Sunday-School Boards

     ¶ 124. 1. Each annual conference shall elect annually a conference Sunday-school board composed of not less than five members.

     2. This board shall organize by electing a president, vice-president, recording secretary, treasurer, and nominate a conference Sunday-school secretary. The conference secretary shall be elected by the annual conference.

     3. It shall be the duty of this board to promote and supervise the Sunday-school work of the conference in harmony with the direction and advice of the Commission on Christian Education,

     4. It shall be the duty of this board to encourage the organization and maintenance of a Sunday school in every society in the conference, and to establish mission Sunday schools wherever practicable,

     5. The board shall plan for the holding of a Sunday-school institute, if at all possible, in every society some time during the year, with the co-operation of the society where the institutes are to be held.

     6. The board shall provide for the holding of a convention on each district during the year, co-operating with district elder and district boards, when such boards exist, in planning these conventions.

     7. The board shall arrange for the holding of special services or conferences in the interest of Sunday-school work in our general gatherings, such as the general quarterly meetings, camp meetings, and annual conferences, in co-operation with those having charge of such gatherings.

     8. The board shall make annual reports to the Commission on Christian Education and also to the annual conference.

     9. It shall be the duty of the conference Sunday school secretary to administer the work outlined by the conference board.

X. District Sunday-School Boards

     ¶ 125. District Sunday-school boards may be organized wherever desirable and practicable. The district board shall be modeled after the conference board and shall be confined to the district, working always in harmony with the conference board.

XI. Local Sunday-school Boards

     ¶ 126. 1. A nominating committee consisting of not less than three nor more than nine persons shall be elected by ballot at the society meeting to serve with the pastor and the Sunday-school superintendent as a Sunday-school nominating committee.

     2. This nominating committee shall meet as soon as practicable after the annual conference for the purposes of nominating the officers and teachers for the ensuing year.

     3. These nominations shall be submitted to the society for a vote by ballot at a regularly called meeting of the society.

     4. A Sunday-school board meeting shall be held in each society once a month whenever practicable, composed of the pastors, officers, teachers and department superintendents of the Sunday school. All officers and teachers regularly elected by the Sunday-school board shall be members of the board and hold office until their successors are elected.

     5. The officers of this Sunday-school board shall be a president, vice-president, a secretary and a treasurer, who shall be elected at the beginning of each conference year.

     6. It shall be the duty of the Sunday-school board to elect one or more assistant superintendents, who also shall be elected at the beginning of each conference year. The teachers shall he elected by the Sunday school board. The superintendent may nominate.

     7. In the organization of new schools, the preacher or preachers in charge and the superintendent shall appoint the teachers, and these with the preacher or preachers in charge and the superintendent shall constitute the Sunday-school board at its beginning.

     8. It shall be the duty of this board to decide upon the Sunday-school literature and to attend to all other business connected with the Sunday school not otherwise provided for in the Discipline.

     9. It shall be the duty of the board to provide for a proper Christmas service, but in no case shall Christmas trees be allowed. This board may also provide for proper outings for the Sunday school, with the distinct understanding that nothing shall be permitted out of harmony with the spirit and principles of the Free Methodist Discipline.

     10. The regular meeting of the board shall be regarded as the workers’ conference, and shall observe the following order:

     1. Devotional Exercises.
     2. Calling of the roll.
     3. Reading of the minutes of the previous meeting.
     4. Quarterly report of the secretary of the Sunday school.
     5. Report of the treasurer.
     6. Report of superintendent.
     7. Report of department superintendents.
     8. Reports of teachers upon the condition of their respective classes.
     9. Is the school properly graded?
     10. Consideration of the Sunday-school literature.
     11. Reports of committees.
     12. Unfinished business.
     13. New business and appointment of committees.
     14. Has the tithe been sent to the treasurer of the conference Sunday-school board? (See  128, sec. 1.)
     15. Are the teachers and officers supplied with the “Sunday School Worker?”
     16. Report of the directors of the Christian Youth Crusaders.
     17. Reading of the minutes.
     18. Adjournment.
XII. Sunday-School Superintendent

     ¶ 127. The superintendent of the Sunday school shall be elected by ballot at a society meeting. The preacher in charge may nominate. See Paragraphs 176(1), 178(3) and 180(3).

XIII. Offerings

     ¶ 128. 1. It shall be the duty of each Sunday school to forward each quarter one tithe of the regular offerings to the treasurer of the conference Sunday-school board, who will retain three-fourths of this amount for the annual conference Sunday-school work, and forward one-fourth to the general church treasurer of the Commission on Christian Education to be used in general Sunday-school promotion work throughout the denomination.

     2. The Sunday preceding Thanksgiving Day, or a Sunday as near that day as possible, shall be known as Superannuate Day. It shall be the duty of the Sunday-school board to arrange for a proper service and the offering of the day shall be turned over to the funds of the Board of Conference Claimants.

XIV. Duties of Pastors

     ¶ 129. For the moral and religious instruction of the children it shall be the special duty of preachers having charge of circuits, with the aid of the other preachers:

     1. To form Sunday schools in all our congregations where ten children can be collected for that purpose, and to engage the co-operation of as many of our members as they can; to visit the school as often as practicable; to preach on the subject of Sunday schools and religious instruction in each congregation at least once during the year; to form Bible classes wherever they can for the instruction of the larger children and youth, and where they can not superintend them personally, to see that suitable teachers are provided for that purpose; to establish and maintain mission Sunday schools wherever there is an opening, and in such schools members of the church shall be employed as officers and teachers so far as practicable.

     2. To enforce faithfully upon parents and Sunday-school teachers time great importance of instructing children in the doctrines and duties of our holy religion; to preach to the children, and to see that the church Catechism is taught them either in Sunday school or in special meetings appointed for that purpose.

     3. To pay special attention to the children, speaking to them personally and kindly upon the subject of experiential and practical godliness, according to their capacity, praying earnestly for them, and diligently instructing and exhorting all parents to dedicate their children to the Lord, in baptism, as early as convenient.

     4. He shall lay before each session of the quarterly conference, to he entered on its journal, the number and state of the Sunday schools and Bible classes in his charge, and the extent to which he has preached to the children and catechised them, and make the required report on Sunday schools to his annual conference. In reporting to the quarterly and annual conferences the total membership of the Sunday schools, he shall include, under separate heads, the home and cradle roll departments.

     5. He shall arrange for the Sunday schools under his charge to observe Children’s Day in June.