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¶340 PASTORAL TRANSITIONS

  1. From time-to-time the conference ministerial education guidance and placement (MEGaP) committee will approve changes in pastoral appointments. The related process is called a “pastoral transition”. The bias of the committee is toward long tenures.
  2. An overview of the process for a pastoral transition is described briefly in ¶875 and in detail in the “Transitions Handbook” which is available from the director of personnel’s office or may be downloaded from the FMCIC website.
  3. A pastoral transition is announced by a letter sent by the bishop. It may be initiated in a number of ways:
  • by a signed letter of request jointly from the board and pastor to the bishop
  • by a signed letter of request from the pastor to the bishop
  • as a result of a performance appraisal which indicates to the MEGaP committee a need for a pastoral transition
  • by a signed letter of request to the bishop from the chair of the official board and delegate indicating that a strong majority (75%) of the official board has expressed in a recorded vote at a duly called meeting (see ¶325.4) that they have lost confidence in the pastor’s capacity to lead the congregation. Prior to the board’s request being sent, if necessary, a pastoral vote can be taken as provided for below.
  • by a decision of the MEGaP committee that a transition is necessary for the health of either the local church or the pastor
  • by a decision of the MEGaP committee to appoint the pastor to another charge
  • due to disciplinary action which necessitates a change in pastoral leadership
  1. Situations where a pastoral vote may be requested are:
  • a pastor needs a formal indication of the congregation’s level of support.
  • a division in the congregation is challenging the leadership of the pastor
  • the pastor’s relationship with the official board and/or congregation has seriously deteriorated.
  1. In these instances, the official board and/or pastor may request the bishop’s permission to conduct a vote of confidence with respect to the pastor’s leadership at a duly called special meeting of the society (see ¶315.3). The bishop may also request that a vote be taken. Only those who have attained the age of majority may participate.  If non-members and inactive members vote, their ballots shall be of a different colour.   (For the purposes of this vote, inactive members means those who have intentionally withdrawn from fellowship with the church and have not complied with the requirements of their membership commitment including: failing to attend the church for at least 3 months and not supporting the church with their resources.)The chair of the meeting (appointed by the bishop) and the secretary of the official board shall count the ballots privately, but the results of the vote shall be kept confidential. The tally and the ballots will be sent to the bishop who shall verify the count and then confer with the pastor and official board.The vote of the active members will be regarded as the direction of the congregation.  The votes of adherents and inactive members will be regarded as opinion to be considered by leaders when the results of the vote are known.A ballot shall typically say: “I agree that Pastor ___continue as pastor of this church.”  Yes___ No____

    If the affirmative vote of the membership is less than seventy-five percent, the bishop and/or director of personnel may begin to work with the official board and pastor to arrange for the church to go into transition.

    If there is a discrepancy between the results of the vote and the pastor’s preference, normally the vote of the members will take precedence.

  2. The Handbook on Local Church Organization provides additional guidance to the pastor and official board on this process. (See ¶374)
  1. The pastor or local church shall normally receive a minimum of 60 days notice of an approved pastoral transition, except for transitions resulting from disciplinary action.  This period of notice may be waived if a written agreement is approved and signed by the director of personnel, the pastor and the delegate (acting on behalf of and with the knowledge of the official board). The 60-day period begins on the date that the request for a transition is approved by the bishop or by MEGaP decision.  It ends with the termination of the pastoral appointment and related pastoral duties.
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