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



I. Membership

     ¶ 140. There shall be three classes of membership as follows:

     1. Ministerial Members:

     (1) Missionaries and Japanese preachers holding membership in good standing in conferences in America, and those holding credentials as elders and deacons in Japan, shall on presentation of their certificates of standing or parchments become charter members of the conference.

     (2) Subsequent to organization, Japanese ministerial members shall be received into conference membership in the manner prescribed by the Discipline. (See Paragraphs 198-200.)

     (3) Subsequent to organization, foreign missionaries eligible to membership in this conference, shall have been on the field two years and shall have completed the required course of language study as pre scribed by the mission.

     2. Lay Members:

     Lay members shall be elected according to the Discipline. (See Par. 152).

     3. Special Honorary Members:

     All missionaries in Japan who are members of the mission in full relation and who are not eligible to conference membership shall be known as special honorary members.

II. Churches

     ¶ 141. 1. Organization of Churches.

     (1) When a church is to be organized it should receive the recognition of the annual conference through the recommendation of the quarterly conference in whose territory it is located.

     2. Classification of Churches.

     (1) Self-supporting Church. A self-supporting church is one which pays all of its current expenses and both the salary of its pastor and any other worker.

     (2) Aided Church. An Aided Church is an organized church which has not yet reached the status of a self-supporting church..

     (3) Mission Church. A Mission Church is a society which has been founded by the Mission and may be either organized or unorganized.

     (4) Evangelistic Hall. An’ Evangelistic Hall is a society ‘which has not yet reached the status of organization.

     3. Relation of Churches to the Conference.

     (1) Self-supporting Churches. Self-supporting churches shall be under the control of the conference and shall enjoy all the privileges of full relationship therein. (See Paragraph 152).

     (2) Aided Churches. Aided Churches shall be under the control of the conference and shall have equal privilege with the self-supporting churches. An aided church should endeavor to become self-supporting within a period of three years.

     (3) Evangelistic Halls. These shall be under the control of the conference and’ shall have the right of non-voting lay representation in the annual conference.

     (4) Mission Churches. Mission Churches shall be under the control of the Mission, and shall have nonvoting lay representation in the annual conference. When such a church desires to become an organized society it must receive the recognition of the annual conference through the recommendation of both the Mission and the quarterly conference in whose territory it is located, and it shall have the same voting privilege as an aided church.

III. Stationing Committee

     ¶ 142. 1. The district elders, those who have served during the past year, and an equal number of lay members to be elected by ballot the first day of the session, together with the president of the conference and the executive committee of the mission, shall constitute a stationing committee, of which the president shall be chairman, and have a casting vote. In case there is only one district elder in active service during the year, additional elders and lay members may be elected according to the number of districts.

     2. This committee shall appoint pastors, workers, district elders (when elected by the conference), and missionaries in charge of circuits, each year to their fields of labor, who may be returned to the same circuit or district whenever in the judgment of the stationing committee the needs of the work require it.

IV. Board of Administration

     ¶ 143. 1. There shall be a Board of Administration composed of three Japanese elders elected by the annual conference, and the Executive Committee of the Mission. When there is only one acting district elder he shall be a member of this Board without a vote of the conference.

     2. During the interim of the annual conference, this board’ shall manage all matters of business with in the jurisdiction of said conference.

     3. The Board shall elect one of its members chair man, but in case of only one acting district elder, he shall be chairman by virtue of his office as district elder.

     4. This Board shall choose its own secretary and treasurer.

     5. In case of necessity this Board shall have one or more advisers.

V. Finances

     ¶ 144. 1. Funds shall be classified under two heads as follows:

     (1) Funds appropriated by the Commission on Missions for the missionaries and their work, which shall be controlled by the mission.

     (2) Funds raised by the conference and by the churches for their work, which shall be under their respective control.

     2. Salaries of pastors and workers:

     (1) Salaries of pastors and workers serving self-supporting churches shall be determined by the local church.

     (2) Pastors and workers shall, in case of special financial need, present their request to the Board of Administration after said request has been approved by the official board of the circuit or society which they are serving.

     (3) All requests for funds from the Commission on Missions shall be made through the Mission.

     (4) Expenses of pastors, workers and delegates to the annual conference shall be defrayed by the lo cal societies which they represent, but in case of necessity, the expenses of pastors and workers only may be met by a fund created by the conference.

VI. Church Property

     ¶ 145. 1. All church and parsonage property in which the missionary board has funds invested shall be held in the name of the Shadan (Association of Missionaries) of the Japan Free Methodist Mission, and may be transferred or disposed of only by the permission of said board and on such terms as it may see fit to require.

     2. Church and parsonage property toward which the Commission on Missions and the Japanese churches together or the Japanese churches only have contributed funds, though held in trust by the Shadan, shall not be disposed of without duly consulting said churches, and upon terms to which they give their consent.

     3. All expenses for repairs on church and parson age property and all insurance on such property, whether purchased by mission funds wholly or in part, shall be paid by the local church having the use of the property; and it shall be the duty of the official board to notify the directors of the Shadan of all re pairs made and the cost of the same.

VII. Financial Educational Board

     ¶ 146. 1. This board shall consist of the executive committee of the mission, two Japanese preachers and two laymen to be elected by the conference.

     2. It shall be the duty of this board to raise and disburse funds for the education of the children of the workers. The payment of funds shall be according to the rules of this board.

     3. The funds of this board shall consist of: (1) Funds contributed by the mission. (2) Funds contributed by the Japanese churches. (3) Funds contributed from other sources.

VIII. Prerogatives Restricted

     ¶ 147. 1. This conference may elect delegates to the General Conference, provided it becomes responsible for the transportation expenses thus incurred.

     2. This conference shall not vote on constitutional changes. (See Paragraph 98).

IX. The Mission

     ¶ 148. 1. The mission shall be composed of foreign missionaries who hold credentials from the Com mission on Missions, the right of membership being subject to the conditions stated in the “Rules for Missionaries.”

     2. The work of the mission shall be administered by an executive committee composed of three of its members who may be nominated by the mission and who shall he elected by the Commission on Missions.

     3. The theological school shall be under the control of the mission and shall be administered by the mission in co-operation with the conference.

     4. The mission shall be under the control of the Commission on Missions and all its doings shall be subject to the approval of the Commission on Missions.

X. Appeals and Amendments

     ¶ 149. 1. All appeals made from the decisions and rulings of the president of the conference shall be presented to the Commission on Missions for final action.

     2. With the exception of Paragraph 148 these articles may be amended by the conference. subject to the sanction of the mission and the Commission on Missions.

     3. Paragraph 148 may be amended by the mission, with the sanction of the Commission on Missions, provided such amendment or amendments do not in any way conflict with the rights or privileges of the conference, in which case the consent of the conference must also be obtained.