POLICY: Removal of a Pastor (Ordained or Licensed Minister)
Applies to: Settled, Interim, Intern, Associate, Assistant, Youth or Other Pastors. Only ordained or licensed Ministers may be considered Pastors
Introduction: It may become necessary to remove a Pastor who has become unable or unsuitable to carry out required duties. The basis may be infirmity, misconduct, or some other reason.
Proposal for Removal: A proposal for removal of a Pastor may be made as follows:
A) By a Council Member at a meeting of the Council, preferably in executive session. If the Pastor being proposed for removal is a Council member, that person should withdraw (recuse themselves) from further discussion. (see Conflict of Interest) The Council must vote on whether there is sufficient reason for an investigation to proceed.
B) At least five members of Our Congregation petition the Council to call a meeting of Our Congregation to act on their proposal for removal. Spouses, or children less than 18 years of age, of a petitioner may not be a co-petitioner. Members of Our Congregation less than 18 years of age may be a petitioner provided their parents, or siblings less than 18 years of age, are not.
If there will be an Investigation, the Pastor may be suspended with pay by vote of the Council.
Investigation: The Council shall investigate any and all issues surrounding proposed removal. Any interviews of individuals, including the Pastor, shall preferably include the entire Council, but must include at least half of non-recused members. The investigation shall not exceed four weeks unless extended by a two-thirds or more majority vote of the Council.
Recommendation for Removal: Once the investigation is concluded the Council shall vote on a recommendation for removal.
A) If proposal was by a Council member and the recommendation for removal does not pass, removal process is ended.
B) If proposal was by membership petition and the recommendation for removal does not pass the Council, petitioners shall be asked if they wish to proceed.
C) If there is a recommendation for removal, or if petitioners wish to proceed without Council recommendation, the Council shall call a Special Meeting of Our Congregation following all regular Membership Meetings of Our Congregation policies. The Warrant for the meeting shall include at least two articles, one requiring a hearing on the recommendation for removal and one calling for a vote.
A) Hearing article. At the discretion of the Council, this hearing may be open to all or just Our Congregation’s membership. The Pastor may be present, or be represented by a person of their choosing, or have legal council. All shall be heard. Our Congregation’s membership may also interview other persons with applicable information.
B) Voting article. The vote shall be confidential with a two-thirds or more majority required for removal. If removal is voted, the terms of the Pastor’s contract regarding notice of termination shall be followed. Our Congregation may additionally vote to terminate all Pastoral services immediately but continue compensation for the contracted notice period.
Other: Except for settled Pastors, Ordained or Licensed Ministers are called by the Council. These contracts tend to be annual. The Council may choose to not renew a contract. This is not considered removal and, as such, does not require a vote of Our Congregation.
Anyone other than an ordained or licensed Minister compensated for fulfilling the duties of a Pastor (e.g. Youth leader) is considered Paid Staff . Any non-compensated individuals are considered volunteers.
See also: Voting