Skip Navigation

Judicial Council Decisions Search


Decision No. 13

Back to Search

Share:

April 28 1942
In Re: Recommendations for Apportionments for Conference Claimants by Annual Conference Board of Conference Claimants

Digest of Case

An Annual Conference Board of Conference Claimants is not required to submit its askings for appropriations to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance under the provisions of Paragraphs 832, 834, and 835, Discipline 1940, but reports its recommendations directly to the Annual Conference in accordance with Paragraph 1323, Article 2. To reconcile conflicting provisions in legislative enactment, the entire legislation must be considered, and the legislative intent is to be drawn from the act as a whole.

Statement of Facts

Due to the language of Paragraphs 832, 834 and 835 of the 1940 Discipline quoted hereinafter, considerable doubt has been indicated in several Conferences as to what control, if any, is to be exercised by the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, over the recommendations and asking for Regular and Emergency appropriations for Conference Claimants; or whether that matter is to be left entirely to the Annual Conference Board of Conference Claimants, to recommend directly to the Annual Conference. At the 1942 session of the Wyoming Annual Conference, a Ruling was requested by the Commission on World Service and Finance from the presiding Bishop, Adna W. Leonard, which request more fully states the case. REQUEST FOR RULING The Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance requests a ruling by the presiding Bishop upon the following question, which is herewith submitted in writing:Section IV of the Discipline of 1940 relating to Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance provides by three different paragraphs as follows: Paragraph 832. " ...YThe Chairman of each Conference Board or Commission, or some person appointed by it, shall have opportunity to represent the claims of his Board or Commission before the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance." Paragraph 834. "The Commission shall make diligent effort to secure full information regarding all Conference interests, that none may be neglected, jeopardized, or excluded, and shall recommend to the Annual Conference for its action and determination the total amount to be apportioned for each." and Paragraph 835. "The Commission shall recommend to the Annual Conference for its action the percentage of the total sum for Annual Conference interests which shall be allotted to each such interest." Paragraph 1323, being a part of the regulations for the Illinois Corporation for the support of the Conference Claimants provides inter alia as follows: "2. The apportionment to the Pastoral Charges for both regular Relief and Emergency appropriations for Conference Claimants who are in distress, because of inadequacy of the annuity to meet their needs, or because of other special circumstances, shall be recommended by the Board of Conference Claimants and approved by the Annual Conference." Question. Whether the Conference Board of Conference Claimants shall present their recommendations for apportionments to the Pastoral Charges for Relief and Emergency appropriations to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, to be approved by the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance and then submitted to the Annual Conference for adoption, or whether the Annual Conference Board of Conference Claimants presents its recommendations directly to the Annual Conference for approval or disapproval disregarding the Commission on World Service and Finance. RULING OF THE BISHOP The Bishop condensed the question on which the ruling was requested, and then ruled thereon as follows: Is the Annual Conference Board of Conference Claimants required to present its recommendations for apportionments to the Pastoral Charges for Relief and Emergency appropriations to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, to be approved by the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance and then submitted to the Annual Conference for adoption? Answer. It is not. Paragraph 1323 Discipline 1940. Article 2.

Decision

This ruling of Bishop Leonard is now regularly before the Judicial Council for review. From the history of the discussions leading up to this decision, it is evident that the inquiry was the outgrowth in an effort to reconcile the apparent conflict in the provisions of Paragraph 834 and Section or Article 2 of Paragraph 1323 of the 1940 Discipline, which Paragraphs are quoted in the Request for Ruling as hereinbefore stated. It is maintained on the one hand that the Discipline of 1939, re-enacted in 1940, in providing for the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, including many features somewhat new in Methodist financial procedure in the Annual Conference, intended to create a Commission in the Annual Conference which should have exclusive supervision over "all Conference interests" for which apportionments are requested. The proponents of this theory seem to rely chiefly on the language of Paragraphs 834 and 835 of the 1940 Discipline, and contend that the broad and inclusive language of these Paragraphs would require the submission of requests and estimates for Conference apportionments not only from other Conference Boards and Commissions, but also from the Annual Conference Board of Conference Claimants. It is a well-settled rule of legal construction that, in seeking to reconcile conflicting provisions in a legislative enactment, the entire legislation on the subject, or the entire act, must be considered, and that the legislative intent is to be drawn from the act as a whole and not merely from an isolated paragraph that may be in conflict with the underlying purpose and intent of the act. When that rule is followed with respect to the question under consideration we find preponderating evidences of the intention of the General Conference to make the Board of Conference Claimants amenable to the Annual Conference alone, and not to be required to subject its askings for both regular Relief and Emergency appropriations to the approval or disapproval of any other agency of the Annual Conference. In the first place, support for Conference Claimants is provided under the heading "Ministerial Support" (Paragraphs 804-805), and is therefore not a benevolence. Note the emphasis placed upon the same as an obligation in Paragraphs 551, 805 and 1316 of the Discipline: "Assumption of the obligation of the itineracy required to be made at the time of admission into the Traveling Connection puts upon the Church the counter-obligation of providing support for the entire Ministry of the Church. In view of this, the Claim for Ministerial Support in each Pastoral Charge shall include provision for the support of Pastors, District Superintendents, Bishops and Conference Claimants." In the next place, the Discipline, in Paragraph 806, fixes the basis for these apportionments for Ministerial Support, and in Subdivision 3 of Paragraph 1323 fixes a limitation upon apportionments for Conference Claimants, which limitation can be changed only by a majority vote of the members of the Annual Conference present and voting. Furthermore, other agencies of the Annual Conference, such as the Board of Missions (Paragraph 1038), Board of Education (Paragraph 1176), and Board of Lay Activities (Paragraph 1228) are specifically required to submit their askings to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, but no such provision exists specifically requiring the Board of Conference Claimants to submit its askings for regular Relief and Emergency appropriations to such Commission. This is particularly significant in view of the several provisions of Paragraph 1314, and of Paragraph 1323 above quoted. Subdivision 1 of Paragraph 1314 provides that the Board of Conference Claimants "shall have charge of the interests and work of providing for the support of Conference Claimants of the Annual Conference, except as otherwise provided for by the Board of Pensions." Subdivision 3 of said Paragraph 1314 provides for the Board of Conference Claimants to report to the Annual Conference "the names of those who have died during the year, the names of the dependent children of deceased members of the Conference, and any other useful information, and show separately the amount paid to each by the Conference from the Annuity and necessitous fund and by the Board of Pensions." It provides further that "the appropriations to Conference Claimants shall be subject to the approval of the Annual Conference." It does not provide, however, that such askings shall first be submitted to the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, as other Paragraphs do with reference to the askings of other agencies of the Annual Conference. The same policy is reflected in Subdivision 2 of Paragraph 1323 in which it is specifically provided that the apportionments "for both regular relief and emergency appropriations for Conference Claimants who are in distress...shall be recommended by the Board of Conference Claimants and approved by the Annual Conference." These are subject only to the limitations placed thereon in Subdivision 3 of said Paragraph. In the opinion of the Judicial Council, these provisions as a whole show a clear intent on the part of the General Conference to exempt the Board of Conference Claimants from having to submit its askings for both regular relief and emergency appropriations to the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, and to provide that it submit its askings for same directly to the Annual Conference. The decision of Bishop Leonard being correct, it is hereby affirmed.

Back to Search

Share: