Legislative summary for 29 June

Indianapolis, Indiana

On Thursday 29 June, the General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene took the following actions:

(Go to ga2017.com/resolutions to view the referenced documents.)

  • Adopted an “Affirmation and Declaration of Human Freedoms” that adds a new paragraph to Manual section “903, Current Moral and Social Issues.” The Affirmation’s early lines state: “Whereas, as Nazarenes, we embrace the divine call to a life of holiness, wholeness, and restorative living where all things and all peoples are reconciled to God. In response, the Holy Spirit brings freedom to the marginalized, oppressed, broken, and hurting, and justice to right injustices and cease selfish influence caused by sin, until all things are restored in God’s reign.” The paragraph addresses human trafficking and other forms of oppression. Further, it says: “We will speak for those who are not heard, and come alongside the vulnerable by offering practices that bring redemption, restoration, healing, and freedom.” (CA-700)
  • Adopted new sentences to Manual para. 903.2 that “renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings.” (CA-704a)
  • Adopted a new paragraph on “The Use of Social Media,” which includes "Clergy and laity alike must be mindful of how their activities on social media affect the image of Christ and His church and impact its mission within their communities. Our activities should be life giving and affirming and should seek to uplift all persons." (CA-709)
  • Referred JUD-804, “Article of Faith 6, Atonement” to the BGS for study over the next quadrennium.
  • Referred JUD-805 to the BGS, which calls for study of Article of Faith 16, “Resurrection, Judgment, and Destiny.”
  • Adopted the resolution that establishes a quorum for General Assembly business to be “a majority of the voting delegates who have been registered on site with the General Assembly Credentials Committee.” (JUD-817) 
  • Provided that changes to the church constitution will require a two-thirds vote for approval in the assemblies of Phase 2 and Phase 3 districts. (JUD-818)
  • Adopted JUD-819, which states that the Article of Faith Study Committee will give its report to the BGS, and the BGS will report to the following General Assembly.
  • Adopted JUD-821, which adds new paragraphs to the Manual pertaining to the “Ministry of Laypersons.” 
  • Adopted JUD-822, which requires General Assembly action to make edits or additions to any of the “Rituals” section of the Manual.
  • Deleted the Manual statement:  “The General Boundaries Committee shall fix the boundaries of assembly districts.” (JUD-823)
  • Added the mission statement, core values, and seven characteristics of the Church of the Nazarene to the Manual’s “Foreward.” (JUD-824)
  • Adopted a new paragraph on “Subsidiaries of the Church of the Nazarene, Inc.”  The paragraph establishes the Church of the Nazarene, Inc., as the sole member of all subsidiaries of the church. (JUD-825)
  • Took action to terminate the “global Manual” project, initially authorized in 2009. In its place, the action calls for a study group to review the Manual and recommend simplification and alteration from the standpoint of “global English.” (SR-753)
  • Amended Manual para. 514.4 to state that a local licensed minister “shall not be eligible to administer the sacraments.” (MED-516)
  • Voted to refer to the BGS an amended version of MED-518 ("Only assigned ordained ministers and district licensed ministers are to be conferred with any rank or title that includes the word 'pastor.'") after extended and sometimes passionate discussion. 
  • Provided that the members of the Church of the Nazarene, Inc., that shall be members of the General Assembly, shall be those “who have global responsibility.” (GA-314)
  • Added a new Manual paragraph regarding the role of the district superintendent. (DA-205)
  • Referred to the BGS the proposed revision for review of the district superintendent’s continued relationship to the district. (DA-209)
  • Retained the age restriction for election or re-election of a district superintendent, which is age 70. (DA-211)
  • Approved DA-202, “Election and Organization of a Board of Ministry,” which revises Manual para. 203.17. The changes state that ministers elected to serve on a District Board of Ministry will serve for four years.
  • Acted to make active lay missionaries and retired lay missionaries who were active at the time of their retirement members of the district assembly. (DA-206)
  • Acted to instruct district superintendents to provide an annual record of pastoral reviews to the District Advisory Board and the general superintendent in jurisdiction. (DA-212)
  • Provided that all district entities may meet by telephone conference or through other electronic media, and voting may be carried out electronically. (DA-214)
  • Acted to make the district secretary a voting member of the District Credentials Board if ordained, or a non-voting member if a lay person. (DA-216)
  • Adopted DA-217, “District Incorporation,” which adds a new paragraph to the Manual. The new paragraph includes the provision that when a District Advisory Board incorporates, it shall be governed by the provisions of the Manual. In the case of subsequent dissolution or attempt to leave the denomination, “the assets of the corporation will not be diverted from the Church of the Nazarene.” 
  • Adopted DA-221, which added the requirement that a person receiving a district license also “demonstrate appreciation, comprehension, and application of the Manual and the history of the Church of the Nazarene, and the doctrine of holiness, by successfully completing the related portions of a validated course of study.” 
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