Methodists/membership roll


Rev Neal:  our Church Council has appointed a sub-committee, of which I am a member, to "clean up" our membership rollbook.  There are many names on the roll of people we know are now members of other UMC's as well as other demoninations.  My question is:  we have some families that are no longer with us where the parents' membership has been transferred, but their children are still on our roll; many of these are/were baptised but unconfirmed children.  All are under the age to drive and therefore are necessarily worshipping with their family.  Given this status, should the children be automatically transferred with the parents and removed from our roll or do we need to go through the process of Charge Conference removal?  Thanks in advance for your response.

The Baptized-membership status of Baptized but unconfirmed children should have transferred to wherever it is that they are now worshipping; this should have happened automatically with the transfer of their parents/guardians.  The process for doing this is outlined in the 2012 Book of Discipline at paragraph 226.2(d).

According to the 2012 Book of Discipline, paragraph 215.1 on "Definition of Membership" --

"The baptized membership of a local United Methodist church shall include all baptized people who have received Christian baptism in the local congregation or elsewhere, or whose membership has been transferred to the local United Methodist church subsequent to baptism in some other congregation."

To interpret, presence on a Baptized Membership roll has to do with one's presence in a congregation.  Hence, any and all transfers from or to this roll should occur commensurate with the transfer of their parent's Professed membership.  When the parents moved to another church, taking their children with them, their children's presence on the Baptized Membership roll also transferred.  When the parent's transfer of membership was effected, the children's status as having been baptized members (and the date of their baptisms) should have been included in the notice of transfer.  And, once the children's names had been included on the receiving church's Baptized Membership roll, notice of transfer should have been made on the originating Church's Baptized Membership roll.  This process is outlined in the Book of Discipline at 226.2(d).

I hope this helps.  If you would like to follow-up on this question for clarification purposes, or if you have further questions, please feel free to write at any time.


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Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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