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Legal Services


Disciplinary Responsibilities

The Legal Services Department at GCFA has a number of disciplinary responsibilities. We take all necessary legal steps to safeguard and protect the interests and rights of the denomination; in addition to maintaining a file of legal briefs related to cases involving the denominational interests of The United Methodist Church. We desire to make provision for legal counsel where necessary to protect the interests and rights of the denomination. We take the responsibility to recommending uniform procedures for clergy housing allowances and to preserve the tax-exempt status of the denomination's constituent organizations. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to supervise the use of the official United Methodist insignia, the Cross & Flame and to supervise the use and maintain registrations of the name “United Methodist”.

Additional Responsibilities

In addition to our disciplinary responsibilities, we are responsible for serving as legal counsel to GCFA. In doing so, we provide general legal guidance to GCFA’s council members, executive team, general secretary, and staff to assist them in carrying out the mission and operation of GCFA. Additionally, it is our responsibility to initiate and defend litigation in the civil courts, when and where necessary to protect the interests of the United Methodist denomination. Legal Services is responsible for identifying and monitoring litigation of interest to the United Methodist denomination. In doing so, we are prepared to assemble “friend of the court” briefs in litigation matters and appeals in cases of interest to the denomination. In summation, it is our responsibility to serve as a resource to annual conference chancellors (the locally-licensed attorneys for the annual conference) and treasurers and to provide training for bishops, annual conference officers, chancellors, treasurers, district superintendents, general Church agencies, and other groups on matters of church and civil law.

Group Ruling

GCFA has automated the process of obtaining the Group Ruling (501(c)3 documentation for your church or other United Methodist organization. ... Read More

Tax Packet

The GCFA Tax Packet contains numerous documents addressing a variety of tax matters pertaining to United Methodist clergy and local churches. Read More

GCFA Legal Manual

This resource provides basic information about legal issues common to organizations throughout The United Methodist Church. Read More

Administrative and Judicial Procedures Handbook

This resource is intended to serve as a guide to the denomination’s administrative and judicial processes. Read More

Additional Legal Resources

Looking for addtional resouces? Read More