UPCI Letter of Transfer

by Lois E. Gibson

"When we were in Houston, we were not being used at the church we were attending and the pastor of a new, small church wanted us to come and help them. Our pastor said no, its not God's will, you can't go. He also said he was going to use us more at his church, which never happened. I know of several people at his church that he refused a transfer for. There was also a woman from another local church that wanted to come to our church to help with music, but her pastor said no. When we later decided to move to florida, we made sure the pastor was the last to know and we didn't ask, we just told him. That didn't go over too well with him. I think he said something against us to the pastor here in florida. So even if they allow a transfer and even write a letter, who's to know what they write in that letter? Either way you figure it, you are stuck under their controling hand." Posted May 27, 2006 on the Christian-Koinonia Support Group. The author wishes to remain anonymous. The incidents happened in the late 1990s.

Through the years as I have had contact with many current and former United Pentecostal Church members, I have received reports where a member of a UPCI church requested to relocate to another church in the organization and was denied a letter of transfer from their pastor. In fact, I heard it happened at one of their churches in Arizona earlier this year. It is not simply a thing of the past.

For those unaware, the pastor of a UPCI church is not to accept into membership someone from another church in the organization without a letter of transfer from the previous pastor. The ministerial Manual shows that the current pastor is not permitted to refuse such requests unless there is proof of misconduct, either convicted or confessed.

The Manual, in the 2005 edition, states as follows (Article VII, Section 7, Paragraph 33): "No minister affiliated with us shall accept any individual recognized as a member from a church pastored by another United Pentecostal Church International minister without a letter of release or transfer. No minister affiliated with us shall refuse a letter of release or transfer to an individual recognized as a member desiring to withdraw from his or her assembly unless proven guilty of misconduct by confession or conviction prior to his or her request for transfer."

The only other reason for not allowing a transfer is if one is a UPC Bible College student. The Manual, in the 2005 edition, states as follows (Article VII, Section 7, Paragraph 30): "No licensed minister who is a student in a recognized Bible school shall be permitted to transfer from his or her home district into the district where he or she is a student in said Bible school as long as he or she is enrolled as a student in same."

These are not new rules, but have been in effect for many years.

Unfortunately, the ministerial Manual is only made available to currently licensed ministers of the United Pentecostal Church. Most members and constituents of these churches have never seen or heard of the Manual and are therefore unaware of the rules ministers are to follow. Because of this, some have remained at the churches they wanted to leave because they felt they had no choice since their pastors denied them a letter of transfer and/or told them they could not leave. I am writing this brief article to educate current members so they can know their rights and be free to attend the church of their choice within the UPCI.

If you have been told you cannot leave a UPC church and/or the pastor has denied you a letter of transfer and there is no proven misconduct as mentioned in the Manual, I would suggest that you contact the pastor of the church you wish to attend and inform them and/or a member of your District Board. Do not allow the refusal of a transfer to stop you from attending a different church if you feel that is where God wishes you to be. You are within your rights to do so. If a UPC pastor is denying your request for reasons not mentioned in the Manual, he/she is doing so wrongfully and you are free to leave and attend another church.

You may write Lois at the email address displayed in the image. No correspondence that seeks to debate will be answered as I have no desire to debate. Understand that due to the volume of mail, not every email may be acknowledged.
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Copyright 2006

Posted July 23, 2006

In His Image

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