The United Pentecostal Church
Judicial Procedure
Definitions & Guidelines

ARTICLE I

DEFINITIONS AND GUIDELINES

Section 1. Terms, Persons, and Committees.

1. Pronouns, nouns, and terms used in this judicial procedure shall include the masculine, feminine, neuter, singular, and plural forms thereof whenever appropriate to the context.

2. Evidence refers to objects, statements by witnesses, or any other primary information presented at a hearing or trial to establish a point in question.

3. A witness is someone who has personal knowledge of facts relevant to the truth of a complaint or charge. Each witness must be able to testify to a fact that establishes truth about the alleged violation. A witness may testify to the char­acter of the accused on issues related to the complaint or charge.

4. A counselor is a person selected by the District Board, the Executive Board, or a minister to assist, advise, and speak during a District Board action, hearing, trial, or appeal. He or she must be a licensed or ordained minister of the United Pentecostal Church International. He or she need not reside in the district in which the accused minister is tried. A counselor cannot be a member of the General Board unless he or she is assisting an executive representative.

5. The ministers appeal council consists of a regional presiding officer as defined in Article II, an executive presbyter, and five (5) ordained ministers. Each district conference may nominate one (1) ordained minister and submit it to the General Board; then the General Board shall select two (2) names from those nominated for each office that is open. These names shall then be presented to the General Conference for election. The term of service for the five (5) elected ministers shall be two (2) years, and they shall be elected on alternate years. They may not succeed themselves. The regional presiding officer shall be the chair of the coun­cil. This council hears appeals from action of District Boards (Article III), from the decision of an arbitration panel (Article IV), from District Board sentences (Article VI), and from verdicts and sentences given at trials (Article X).

6. Official notice refers to a written communication sent by certified mail with return receipt requested, or delivered in person by someone who obtains a writ­ten receipt or who is accompanied by another person as a witness. The date of official notice is the date of receipt.

7. The district representative is a member of the District Board designated by the District Superintendent to represent the District Board at a trial or appeal. The District Superintendent may designate himself.

8. The executive representative is a member of the Executive Board designated by the Executive Board to present the case in the trial of a general officer. The General Superintendent shall not serve in this capacity.

9. A conflict of interest is a conflict between a person's self-interest and his or her obligation to act for the benefit of the fellowship.

(a) To avoid a conflict of interest, no official working at Headquarters shall serve as a counselor or as a member of an investigative committee or jury. Exceptions are members of the Home Missions Division and Foreign Missions Division when they function under Articles XII and XIII.

(b) No immediate relative of the accused minister, the accusers, the district rep­resentative, or the executive representative shall serve on the jury, on the investigative committee, on the ministers appeal council, or as the regional presiding officer. An immediate relative is a spouse, parent, child, grand­parent, grandchild, brother, sister, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law of a per­son or his or her spouse.

(c) A person shall disqualify himself or herself from serving in any part of the judicial process if he or she lacks impartiality or if his or her serving could create the appearance of partiality.

Section 2. Type of Actions.

1. A grievance is a problem, disagreement, or offense between ministers.

2. A complaint is a written allegation that a minister has failed to abide by the ministerial rules and obligations, broken his or her ministerial trust, violated ministerial ethics, deviated from a tenet of faith, or exhibited conduct unbe­coming to a minister of the gospel. Such complaint must be signed by two (2) or three (3) accusers who state they have personal knowledge of the alleged misconduct. (See Matthew 18:16; II Corinthians 13:1; I Timothy 5:19.) The complaint shall state:

(a) Who committed the alleged act.
(b) What the alleged act was.
(c) Who the alleged act was with or against.
(d) Where the alleged act took place.
(e) When the alleged act took place.

3. An investigation is an official search or examination to uncover facts relative to a complaint.

4. A hearing is a meeting at which evidence is presented and testimony is given relative to a complaint to determine if the evidence warrants referring the case to a trial.

5. A charge is a formal written allegation by the District Board that a minister has failed to abide by the ministerial rules and obligations, broken his or her min­isterial trust, violated ministerial ethics, deviated from a tenet of faith, or exhib­ited conduct unbecoming to a minister of the gospel. It is the basis for a trial. It shall identify the alleged violation(s), specifying who committed it, where it occurred, and when it occurred. Multiple charges may be submitted at the same trial if they are based on violations of the same nature or if they arise from the same events. The District Board must determine that each charge can be sup­ported by evidence from two (2) or three (3) witnesses.

6. A trial is the process by which evidence is examined by a jury to determine the truth of a charge brought against a minister.

7. A verdict is the formal and official finding of a jury concerning the matter submitted to it in a trial.

8. A sentence is the consequence imposed upon a minister who has committed a violation.

Section 3. General Guidelines.

1. The scheduled time periods within this judicial procedure are designed to insure a fair and orderly processing of judicial matters, and all officers are required to adhere to the scheduled dates. However, exceptions may be made by the officer in charge of the committee, board, hearing, trial, or appeal process in the event of unanticipated or unavoidable interruptions such as ill­ness, disability, or other valid reason.

2. In the case of an appeal, any disciplinary action shall be suspended until the appeal has been resolved.

3. It is the responsibility of each minister to become familiar with the judicial procedure.

4. All trial officials, witnesses, jurors, counselors, and others involved in the investigation, trial, or appeal process must keep confidential all matters pertaining to the case.

5. All evidence, including names of witnesses, to be presented by both sides at the hearing and trial shall be made readily available to the accused minister, his or her counselors, the district representative, and his counselors.

6. In all judicial proceedings, testimony shall be limited to what is relevant to the matter under consideration. No one shall attack the character of the accused, the accusers, or the witnesses. No one shall seek to intimidate any of them, introduce irrelevant information about them, or speak to them discourteously.

7. In all judicial proceedings, the highest duty of every participant is to seek the truth about the matter under consideration. No one shall deliberately withhold or conceal information that is relevant to ascertaining the truth about the matter. No counselor shall knowingly present a witness who will testify falsely. If a coun­selor knows or discovers that any witness he or she has presented has testified falsely, he or she shall correct the false information in the judicial proceeding.

8. In all judicial proceedings, no participant, including a counselor, shall receive compensation for his or her services. He or she may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred.

9. Anyone who persists in violating any of the guidelines of the Judicial Procedure may be barred from a proceeding by the chair or presiding officer. He or she may also be barred from future proceedings within a district by action of the District Board and from future proceedings in all districts by action of the General Board.

The above is part of the judicial procedure of the United Pentecostal Church International and is provided for informational purposes.


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August 23, 1997
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