PASTORAL MINISTRY HANDBOOK | CHAPTER 12
Requests for Exemption from Service
All national conference ministers and elders are assumed to be available for assignment. The Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, recognizes that life situations may warrant a time of unavailability and establishes the following exemptions:
1. Leave of Absence
Ministers may seek to be exempted from service for personal reasons, to actively pursue more education, or because of ministry-related service in another position, such as chaplaincy, educational positions, or other positions where ministerial credentials are essential. Those who do may request a leave of absence.
This exemption will be granted for one year. Ministerial licenses are considered to be in good standing during this exemption period.
For those who request a leave of absence for personal reasons other than educational or ministry-related service in another position, this exemption may be renewed yearly for three consecutive years, after which the individual shall be considered inactive with cause.
2. Retired Status
At age 65, ministers may request retired status from the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team. This exemption does not need to be renewed. Ministerial licenses of retired ministers are considered to be in good standing.
3. Medical Leave
This exemption is for ministers who cannot perform their duties because of a physician-certified medical condition. These ministers will be considered to be in good standing with the national conference during this exemption period, and will enjoy all rights and privileges of their license. They will report yearly to the national conference.
4. Inactive with Cause for Personal Reasons
a. This exemption is for ministers who have requested a leave of absence from any ministry for an extended period of time for personal reasons, except for those who hold positions in chaplaincy, educational positions, or other positions where ministerial credentials are essential.
b. During this period, such ministers shall not perform any of the duties of the ministry except under the direct supervision of the bishop or the individual’s pastor.
c. After remaining in this status for two years, ministers shall surrender their credentials to the bishop to be held in trust until such time as they renew ministry.
d. Such individuals will report to the national conference.
5. Inactive without Cause
This exemption is used for ministers who have not reported to the national conference as required and who are not serving in a ministerial capacity in the church. These ministerial licenses are not considered to be in good standing during this exemption period. The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team shall attempt to contact such individuals to determine their desire for ministry, and the national conference or Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team shall have the authority to determine the future of their license.
During this period, ministers shall not perform any of the duties of the ministry. These ministers shall surrender their credentials to the bishop to be held in trust until such time as they renew ministry or the national conference or Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team `determines the appropriate course of action regarding their license.
a. This exemption is used for ministers who are living inconsistently with the expectations and obligations of ministers as described in the Discipline or who are under investigation for such.
b. Ministerial licenses are suspended during this probation period and can only be renewed to good standing after a full restoration process is completed.