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



     ¶ 208. It shall be the duty of the district elder:

     1. To look after the spiritual and temporal interests of the church within his district; to take the charge of all circuits without a preacher, and the oversight of the work on his district, according to the Discipline.

     2. To see that every part of the Discipline is duly enforced.

     3. To visit every circuit on his district whenever be may judge it expedient. The district elder is especially directed and required to visit any circuit in his district, when so requested by the official board, in case of any dispute or difficulty, or any emergency that may arise. In such cases he shall have power to call an official, society or circuit meeting, and to preside over the same. The circuit sending for him shall pay his traveling expenses.

     4. It shall be the duty of the district elder to hold four district meetings on his district during the year and a quarterly meeting on each circuit once in three months, except where the conditions are such that the annual conference shall by a two-thirds majority decide that the work can be better conserved by two or three such meetings during the year. He shall also make a statement of the growth and progress of the work on the district at each general quarterly meeting.

     5. It shall be the duty of the district elder to labor as an evangelist within his district, if in the judgment of the annual conference the cause of God can be best served thereby.

     6. When a district has a traveling district elder he may hold an official, circuit or society meeting on each Circuit, in connection with his quarterly meetings; or he may appoint a supply, subject to the approval of the pastor.

     7. To appoint, receive, suspend and change preachers in his district or districts in the intervals of the conference sessions; provided lie shall not change any preacher contrary to his wishes, unless by the request of two-thirds of the members of the circuit; provided also that a preacher shall not be appointed to a circuit without the concurrence of the official board of that circuit.

     8. To see that deeds of lands upon which it may be proposed to build any church or parsonage within the bounds of his district are properly made out and recorded, or that a good and sufficient bond or contract is given for such deed before such building is begun.

     9. To give the bishop all the necessary information of the state of his district.

     10. The district elder shall not have power to employ a preacher who has been rejected by the annual conference, without permission of said conference.

     11. The district elder may, with the consent of the preacher in charge and the official board, divide a circuit in the intervals of the annual conference, if the interests of the work require it.

     12. No district elder shall preside over the same district in the same conference more than four years in succession, except that in conferences having only one district elder he may serve eight years in succession; nor shall any minister serve in the office of district elder in any conference for a term exceeding eight consecutive years.

     13. Both traveling and stationed district elders shall be elected by ballot in open conference, without debate, and shall be assigned to their respective districts either by an election to the districts direct or by appointment by the stationing committee, as the conference shall decide.

     14. In case there should be a vacancy in the office of district elder during the interval of the sessions of any annual conference, the bishop who presided (or who was to have presided) or his successor, shall have power to fill such vacancy, subject to the approval of the ensuing quarterly conference of the district; but if such vacancy should he filled after the last session of the quarterly conference of the conference year. then the secretary of the quarterly conference shall have power to call a special session for the sole purpose of confirming the appointment of the president.

     15. Whenever in the judgment of an annual conference the interests of the work can he best sub-served thereby, the same district elder may be appointed to more than one district at the same time.

     16. The district elder shall be a member of the quarterly conference on the district which he serves; and, in case he be appointed to two or more districts, the stationing committee shall fix his quarterly conference relation.

     17. The district elder shall be supported by the conference or district to which he is elected, each circuit contributing its proportion as agreed upon by the annual or quarterly conference. In case he is elected stationed district elder he shall he supported by the circuit to which he is appointed. The district shall assist, when necessary. We recommend a conference or district budget for the traveling district elder’s support.