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FAQ

what happens to a church when they decide to pull out of the conference.
Paragraph 2503 about the Trust Clause makes it difficult for a group of church members to leave AND take their property from the UMC. Paragraph 2503.6 is especially informative. The local church owns the property, however it reverts to the annual conference if it is abandoned. There is more information available, and people are encouraged to stay in the UMC. We need everyone!

Is the South Carolina Conference UMC currently sponsoring or promoting any mission trips to the Dominican Republic?
We have an orphanage in the Dominican that we are trying to get an additional floor on. For more information please contact Caroline Dennis or visit the UMVIM website at http://www.umvim-sc.org

What email address is required to subscribe to THE INFORMER in 2013?
I assume you are referring to the Informer newsletter by the Rock Hill UWM. If that is the case I assume any email address will be fine, but you can contact Ann Alexander at mhaall5@bellsouth.net if you need further assistance.

Who do I report abuse of power by DS?
This would need to be reported in writing to the Bishop.

What is the apportionment formula for the amount local churches pay?
Below is a link to a pdf that will show you how local church apportionments are calculated. This pdf can also be found on the treasurers page of umcsc.org http://www.umcsc.org/PDF/treasurer/HowApportionmentsAreCalculated2013.pdf

At your charge conference (local church) can you make DS aware of unsatisfactory ministry in your congregation?
Yes, it's allowed but ti would be better if it came through the Staff-Parish Committee.

If a person is nominated by their pastor for the position of Trustee for a college that is listed on the UMC Trustee Nomination form, what is the general process or guidelines for a person to be a Trustee? What is the job description or what does the position entail for a Trustee at a college or university?
Each board of trustees has their own expectations and job descriptions for their members. After DS' hold charge conferences the nominations forms that are collected are given to the AC Nominations Committee.

I think I already know this question, however I need an official answer. Do individual Methodist Churches (Congregation) own their own buildings? I am having a debate with someone from another denomination, it's funny how misconceptions about denominations come about.
Property in the UMC is held in trust. The specific language that deals with this can be found in paragraph 2501 in the Discipline: 2501. Requirement of the Trust Clause for All Property—1. All properties of United Methodist local churches and other United Methodist agencies and institutions are held, in trust, for the benefit of the entire denomination, and ownership and usage of church property is subject to the Discipline. This trust requirement is an essential element of the historic polity of The United Methodist Church or its predecessor denominations or communions and has been a part of the Discipline since 1797. It reflects the connectional structure of the Church by ensuring that the property will be used solely for purposes consonant with the mission of the entire denomination as set forth in the Discipline. The trust requirement is thus a fundamental expression of United Methodism whereby local churches and other agencies and institutions within the denomination are both held accountable to and benefit from their connection with the entire worldwide Church. In consonance with the legal definition and self-understanding of The United Methodist Church (see ¶ 140), and with particular reference to its lack of capacity to hold title to property, The United Methodist Church is organized as a connectional structure, and titles to all real and personal, tangible and intangible property held at jurisdictional, annual, or district conference levels, or by a local church or charge, or by an agency or institution of the Church, shall be held in trust for The United Methodist Church and subject to the provisions of its Discipline. Titles are not held by The United Methodist Church (see ¶ 807.1) or by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, but instead by the incorporated conferences, agencies, or organizations of the denomination, or in the case of unincorporated bodies of the denomination, by boards of trustees established for the purpose of holding and administering real and personal, tangible and intangible property. 2. The trust is and always has been irrevocable, except as provided in the Discipline. Property can be released from the trust, transferred free of trust or subordinated to the interests of creditors and other third parties only to the extent authority is given by the Discipline. 3. Local churches and other United Methodist agencies and institutions may acquire, hold, maintain, improve, and sell property for purposes consistent with the mission of the Church, unless restricted or prevented by the Discipline.

Where on web site do you go to fill out a background chech?
The Conference Safe Sanctuaries Page has all of the information as well as the links you will need. visit http://www.umcsc.org/home/?page_id=1090

Is the Board of Trustees a fundraising group?
The duties of the Board of Trustees can be found in the Discipline starting with paragraph 2524. The trustees, with all leadership groups, should be good stewards of the church and to be able to talk about the mission and ministries of the local church. If specifically requested by the charge conference or church council to help lead or participate in a fundraising effort the Trustees should consider how they may help.

The Pastor applied for a grant for our church only a few people knew about it. If monies are not used properly is the church obligated tin anyway to refund the money?
It depends on the conditions of the grant. Paragraph 258.4.f of the Discipline does state that "Contributions designated for specific cause and objects shall be promptly forwarded according to the intent of the donor and shall not be used for any other purpose."

How do two churches become a charge? Does a church not have to be asked before they are changed to a charge?
The Book of Discipline in Paragraph 423.11 says it’s up to the District Superintendent to recommend to the Bishop any realignment of charge lines and report them to the Annual Conference. It does not say that churches can veto this decision, however, every DS that I know always confers with the churches involved in some way.

What steps are required by a congregation interested in becoming a station church? Do apportionments and expenses usually increase when a church decides to become station and not share a pastor with another congregation?
First talk to DS. Basic rules: 250 resident members, 125 avg attendance, 100% apportionments, no more than 40% of budget for clergy expenses including direct billing for insurance and pension. Apportionments and other costs don't necessarily go up unless the church's expenditures go up. They logically will since a single church is bearing the sole cost of ministry.

Churches on a 3 point Charge. Is each church sent a bill for direct billing and pension? Is the church's name on the bill and sent to the church's address or the pastor's name on the bill sent to the church's address? Is the church responsible for 100% of direct billing and pension or is there a portion that pastor's pay?
For direct billing cost, i.e. what comes on a whit sheet, the church is responsible for 100%. We prefer to bill just the charge, but can break up the bill among churches if possible. The church should be withholding the personal premium from the pastor’s paycheck. This represents 30% of the total premium cost billed to the Conference by the health insurance company. This amount is billed on a yellow sheet of paper. If the church is withholding the amounts from the pastor’s paycheck they have a fiduciary reasonability to remit 100% of what is withheld. We will send the bill to where the church request. These are questions asked during the charge conference.

I saw in the Discipline once, the term for a position. I think it was three years with one additional continual three years. Also, what is the number of hours an elder must work per week?
The Discipline (2012) in Par. 247.7 says that the charge conference MAY establish a limit to terms of office…except as otherwise determined. The exceptions are that Lay Members of Annual Conference, Lay Leaders, and Trustees may succeed themselves in perpetuity if the charge conference so decides. There is no number of hours that an elder is required to work a week although an elder by annual conference policy may not work more than 10 hours outside of their appointment. It is commonly understood but not stated that an elder works a minimum full-time work week; i.e., 40 hours. However, there are always weeks where that number is exceeded due to church crises and there are weeks where that number may be less. Pastors are not hourly employees. Any questions should be referred to the District Superintendent of that specific church per Par. 419.10.


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