Test Highlights
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Indianapolis

In actions on Monday, June 27, the General Assembly:

  • Voted general superintendent emeritus status to retiring general superintendents Jim L. Bond and W. Talmadge Johnson.
  • Reelected incumbent general superintendents James H. Diehl, Paul G. Cunningham, Jerry D. Porter, and Jesse C. Middendorf.
  • Amended Manual paragraph 509 so that the District Court of Appeals, previously composed of ordained elders, would be composed of two laypersons, the district superintendent, and two other ordained elders.
  • Added laypersons to district investigating committees and boards of discipline

In legislative actions on Tuesday, June 28, the General Assembly:

  • Adopted a motion giving the presiding general superintendent discretionary power to ordain divorced persons to the office of elder or deacon. This previously required action by the entire Board of General Superintendents.
  • Changed the name of the General Rules to the Covenant of Christian Character.
  • Voted to change rules regarding amending the church constitution to make such changes possible by a two-thirds vote of General Assembly delegates present and voting. The procedure two-thirds of all delegates officially registered).
  • Narrowly rejected a motion to require two consecutive General Assemblies to approve changes to the Articles of Faith before sending the action to the districts for ratification.
  • Removed the requirement for general superintendent approval before a clergy member ¿not in good standing¿ resigns his or her credential, requiring only district advisory board approval.
  • Rejected a proposal to make Christian baptism a requirement for membership in the Church of the Nazarene.
  • Referred for study six resolutions that collectively proposed changes to four of the church¿s sixteen Articles of Faith. The General Assembly directed that these resolutions be studied ¿by a body with theologians¿ whose composition ¿reflects the world-wide nature¿ of the denomination. The resolutions sought changes in Articles 1 (God), 6 (Atonement), 7 (Prevenient Grace), and 15 (The Church). Articles of Faith are part of the church¿s constitution and changes to them require a two-thirds favorable vote by the General Assembly and ratification by two-thirds of the church¿s phase 2 and 3 districts. While changes are relatively infrequent, the 2001 General Assembly approved three changes. A current resolution called for reversing one of those actions.
  • Voted to remove the 903 section from the Manual and place its content in the rulings of the Board of General Superintendents.
  • Referred to the Board of General Superintendents a resolution that sought to institute a conflict resolution process in place of the current provisions that allow laypersons charged with misconduct to insist upon and receive a trial.

The General Assembly took the following legislative actions on Wednesday, June 29:

  • Voted to delete the Boundaries section from the Manual. Because there are currently over 400 districts, Manuals have not included the boundaries of districts from all world regions.
  • Rejected a proposal to place the General Assembly schedule on a five-year track.
  • Restricted missionaries from membership on regional advisory councils and directed that the RAC¿s members be elected by the regional caucus at General Assembly.
  • Approved a process for the review of the regional director before his/her re-election.
  • Referred for further study the International Church Committee¿s recommendation that search committees comprising the General Board members from a region identify three nominees for their region¿s director.
  • Changed the ¿field director¿ to ¿field strategy coordinator.¿
  • Acted to remove from the Manual the following paragraphs: 129.12, 231.2, 307.8, 333.15, 144.3, and 145.
  • Made the director of the Church of the Nazarene Canada and the president of the Church of the Nazarene Foundation ex officio members of the General Assembly.
  • Rejected a proposal to raise to 70 the maximum age for election to the Board of General Superintendents. The maximum age currently is 68.
  • Adopted a resolution affirming the value of diversity of experience in leadership boards and positions of the church.
  • Provided for a multi-congregational church to exist under a single church name.
  • Voted to require general superintendent approval before declaring a local church in crisis.
  • Turned aside a proposal to eliminate district assembly approval before a local church can change its name.
  • Voted to require that the ¿Church of the Nazarene¿ name appear on church signs, official stationary, and publications of the local church.
  • Voted to require that the local church treasurer be a member of that local church.
  • Affirmed that ¿the pastor shall have access to all records of the local church¿ that he or she serves.
  • Approved a number of Manual changes that make it linguistically more reflective of the language necessary for an international church.
  • Acted to require all assigned and unassigned licensed and ordained ministers to report ¿on their progress in a program of lifelong learning as part of their report to the district assembly,¿ and acted to ¿expect¿ rather than simply ¿recommend¿ at least 20 contact hours (or 2 accredited continuing education units) or its equivalent annually.
  • Placed new paragraphs in the Manual pertaining to the International Course of Study Advisory Committee and to regional course of study advisory committees.
  • Adopted language stating that congregations should provide sabbatical leaves for pastors after seven years of service to a local church.
  • Added a paragraph to the Manual regarding the theology of ordination.
  • Acted to require a member of the clergy who has been unassigned for over four years to file his or her credential.
  • Referred to the Board of General Superintendents proposals to study the office of deacon and consider whether or not the denomination should return to the single ordination credential of elder.
  • Took action allowing a district to issue, in unusual circumstances, a district license to a person who will not be moving toward ordination. A district license expires after one year and must be renewed.
  • Directed that appropriate background checks be conducted of those issued a district minister¿s license, leaving to the district advisory board the definition of what constitutes an ¿appropriate¿ background check within a district¿s particular context.
  • Raised from two to four years the length of time a person on the deacon¿s track must serve as a licensed minister before they may be ordained a deacon.
  • Raised from two to three years the length of time a person on the track for ordination as an elder must hold a district license before ordination, and raised the length to four years for one who has served as associate or assistant pastor.
  • Rejected an attempt to raise to 16 the age at which one can receive a local license.
  • Amended the note in Manual para. 802 to remove the stipulation that only unleavened bread be used in the sacrament of the Lord¿s Supper.
  • Added a line to the Manual to encourage extending the Lord¿s Supper to homebound persons.
  • Endorsed the establishment of Brazil Nazarene College/University in Campinas, Brazil.
  • Determined that when an unretired elder or deacon ceases from active service as a member of the clergy and takes full-time secular employment, he or she may be required to resign from the clergy after two years (formerly four years).
  • Discussed current ethical issues regarding sexual misconduct and appropriate remedies.

On Thursday morning, June 30, the General Assembly:

  • Referred JUD-806 to a newly-created committee on discipline.
  • Rejected a resolution to create a committee to study the current methods of selecting district superintendents in the U.S. and Canada and recommend ways for more racial and gender diversity within the ranks of district superintendents.
  • Rejected a resolution to conduct district assemblies every second year rather than annually.
  • Changed the term of service of the district treasurer from one district assembly to the next to ¿a period of one to three years.¿
  • Narrowly rejected (by one vote) a resolution to limit membership on the district advisory board to members of churches that have ¿met all local, district, educational and general responsibilities the year preceding their election.¿
  • Changed the basic statement on the duties of a district superintendent (208.1) to read: ¿To organize, recognize, and superintend local churches . . .¿ The action was in response to lawsuits in which the previous wording, which stated that the district superintendent was to ¿supervise¿ local churches, has been used to hold districts and their leaders legally accountable for the willful misconduct of a local pastor.
  • Rejected a resolution that would have replaced the current process for re-electing district superintendents.
  • Approved a resolution requiring district staff members and other paid and unpaid district assistants to submit their own resignations upon the resignation or termination of the district superintendent.
  • Removed from the Manual the requirement that the district superintendent must retire within 30 days of his or her 70th birthday, permitting service in that office until a superintendent¿s 73rd or 74th year.
  • Extended from 30 to up to 180 days the tenure of a district superintendent who has not been re-elected to the office.
  • Established policies for a phase 2 and phase 3 district ¿in crisis.¿
  • Changed the requirement that a local church board¿s monthly meeting must occur in the first 15 days of the month.
  • Determined that when a pastor¿s spouse is a member of the local church board, the spouse shall not participate in the pastoral review process, and acted to give the district superintendent the power to conduct a portion of the review in the absence of the pastor.
  • Determined that ¿there is no provision for absentee voting in church meetings.¿
  • Rejected resolutions that would have raised the age limit for voting in church meetings from 15 to 18.
  • Acted to permit ¿alternative board and committee structure¿ for a local church provided that it is approved in writing by the district superintendent and the District Advisory Board.
  • Amended the Manual to allow churches to elect co-pastors subject to district superintendent approval and established a process for continuity in pastoral leadership when one co-pastor resigns.
  • Renewed for three more quadrennia the following paragraphs in the 900¿s section of the Manual: from Current Moral and Social Issues, 904.3, 904.7 (with amendment), 904.8, 904.9 (with amendment), 904.11, and a rewritten version of 904.13; and from Administrative Policies, 902.3 and 902.7.
  • Voted to make the Manual available for downloading from the Nazarene headquarters web site.
  • Referred to the General Board a proposal to merge the World Mission Department and the USA/Canada Mission/Evangelism Department.
  • The delegates voted to change the language from abortion to sanctity of life within the Manual. Included in this discussion was the rejection of human cloning. Also, scriptural guidelines regarding stem cell research were added.
  • The delegates voted overwhelmingly to notify the leaders of Canada, the U.S., Britain, and Australia of our strong opposition to induce abortion and stem cell research involving embryonic stem cells.