Retirement : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

What is the mandatory retirement law of the A.M.E. Church? Example Questions: If I am pastoring at age 80 and my Annual Conference does not meet until October 2004. Do I retire at the Annual Conference or at present?

If I am a Presiding Elder over age 75 do I retire at present or at the Annual Conference scheduled to be held in October 2004?

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2004


Yoo do not have to retire. The Bishop is not allowed to give you another appointment. If you are 75 or over. One of the persons elected as a delegate to the general conference retired at his annual conference and was not allowed to serve as a delegate. Bishop John H. Adams told him that the law of the church does not mandate retirement and had he supernumerated rated than annuaited then he would have been allowed to serve as a delegate.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2004

Now this issue really confused me, so let me get this straight: if a pastor is 75 by the annual conference, the Bishop cannot re-appoint him/her to the same charge and the pastor has the option of moving to supernumerary status? Or, does the law state that if a pastor is 75 by the annual conference, the Bishop cannot appoint him/her to another charge, yet they can stay at the same charge. I am really confused with the interpretation. God bless.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2004

Sister Jackson:

As I understand it all pastors are serving one year appointments. Thus the Bishops according to the new law cannot grant an appointment new charge or otherwise to an elder 75 or over. When an elder does not have a charge he or she by definition becomes a supernumerary unless he or she retires.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2004

I believe, during the General Conference, the Judicial Council explained how the "retirement" system works. No place in the Discipline will you find the word "retirement" for Pastors and Presiding Elders reaching age 75.

What the Discipline actually says(page 175, Section XIII, is that no itinerant minister beyond the age of 75 shall receive an appointment by his/her Annual Conference in 2004, except where the Annual Conference evaluates the need and makes special provisions for it. The Judicial Council states that such persons are not Superannuated but Supernumerary instead--in other words they are placed on the inactive roll as members of the Annual Conference without assignments.

The wording of course is legal and prevents persons who have reached this age from being able to sue the church for forcing him/her to retire. It also relieves the church of the responsibility of providing for these persons retirement--since the actual bill in the Discipline never states that such persons are tetired.

The only alternative is for persons placed on the Supernumerary Roll to appeal to the Annual Conference to extend their roll as Pasor/Presiding Elder or some other active position in the Conference to which he/she belongs. This is left totally to the discression of the Annual Conference and only when the Annual Conferrence deems there is a need for it.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2004

The legislative action taken by the 2004 General Conference affirms that no pastor or presiding elder having reached their 75th bithday, shall be able to receive an appointment. The actual wording of the law as adopted reads as follows: "No Itinerant Minister beyond the age of 75 by his or her Annual Conference in 2004 shall receive an appointment as Presiding Elder or Pastor" By adopting this legislation, the General Conference did away with the discretionary authority to make exceptions that had been previously granted to bishops upon approval of the Annual Conference. Apparently this discrentionary authority had already created controversy, confusion and a lack of consistant uniform application in the Annual Conferences held so far this year.

Itinerants need not "retire" unless they want to do so. If they have passed their 75th Bitrhday at the time of the 2004 Annual Conference, they will simply be ineligible to receive an appointment as a Pastor or PE at the hand of a Bishop. If they choose nor to formally "retire" they will be placed on "Supernumerary" (aka without appointment) status which leaves them eligible to serve as "Pulpit Supply" if needed by a Bishop or Presiding Elder.

The Conference also overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would have given those Pastors and Presing Elders affected by the "75 Rule" in 2004 an extra five years of eligibility. This provision was buried in the middle of a bill that otherwise appeared non-controvesial. The rational given was that it would give those affected an additional five years to make adequate financial provision. The Conference obviously felt that the four year notice given by the 2000 General Conference was adequate enough. The vote to delete this bill was an overwhelming one.

Yours in the Joy of Jesus,

Mike Barta

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2004

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