When an ordained minister is deceased whose credential was filed and who was in good standing at the time of death, the minister’s family may, upon written request to the general secretary, and approval by the district superintendent of the district where such filing is recorded, receive said minister’s certificate of ordination.
Section: Ministry and Christian Service
Any time a member of the clergy ceases to be entitled to exercise the rights and privileges of being a member of the clergy, the Ministerial Credentials Board will prepare a written report concerning the facts and circumstances of the change in status. The report shall include the recommendations of the Ministerial Credentials Board concerning whether or not a plan of rehabilitation is appropriate. Each district is encouraged to have a written plan in harmony with the Manual directives, to aid in the process of response, rehabilitation, reconciliation and possible restoration to ministry, of a member of the clergy involved in conduct unbecoming a minister. If a plan for rehabilitation is appropriate, the Ministerial Credentials Board shall, to the extent practical, work with the individual to apply the district plan for rehabilitation. The objective of the plan should be to return the individual to a place of spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. Primary responsibility for accomplishing the plan shall rest on the person being rehabilitated, but the facilitator(s) shall represent the church in providing support and assistance. The facilitator(s) or their designee shall report to the Ministerial Credentials Board once each quarter concerning the progress toward rehabilitation. The report shall be in the form established by the Ministerial Credentials Board. The Ministerial Credentials Board may revise the plan of rehabilitation from time to time as the circumstances warrant.
A member of the clergy who is not in good standing shall not preach, teach a Sunday School/Bible study/small group class, or hold any other position of trust or authority in the church or worship services, and shall not be given any ministerial role unless the District Advisory Board, the Ministerial Credentials Board, the district superintendent, and the general superintendent in jurisdiction determine that the individual has made sufficient progress toward rehabilitation to warrant once again allowing the individual to be of service in a position of trust or authority. Those considering approval shall carefully consider whether or not the individual who has lost good standing has appropriately repented of his or her misconduct. True repentance involves a deep sense of personal guilt coupled with a change of conduct which continues for a length of time sufficient to be evidence that the change is likely to be permanent. Approval to serve in a position of trust or authority may be granted with or without restrictions. (605.1–605.2, 605.5, 605.11–605.12)
A member of the clergy who has lost good standing may be restored to good standing and have his or her credential restored only by the following process:
- approval of the district superintendent;
- approval of the District Ministerial Credentials Board;
- a two-thirds approval of the District Advisory Board;
- approval of the Board of General Superintendents; and
- final approval of the district assembly where good standing was lost.
In considering whether or not to recommend that a credential be restored, progress on the plan of rehabilitation shall be the primary issue but passage of time shall be an additional consideration.
However, in the event the member of the clergy has committed sexual misconduct, the member of the clergy shall not be eligible to apply for restoration until four years have passed. A member of the clergy who has lost good standing as a result of sexual misconduct, must satisfactorily progress on a prescribed plan for rehabilitation for a minimum of four years, before good standing may be restored. (605.1–605.2, 605.5, 605.11–605.12)
Some types of misconduct are rarely the result of a one-time moral lapse, such as sexual misconduct involving children, or of a homosexual nature, or repeated marital infidelity. Individuals guilty of sexual misconduct that involves a high probability of repeated misconduct should not be restored to good standing. These individuals also should not be permitted to serve in any position of leadership, trust, or ministry in the local church. (605.1–605.2, 605.5, 605.11–605.12)