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Decision No. 21

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April 30 1944
In Re: Election of Missionary Bishops by General Conference

Digest of Case

As the only provision in the Constitution relating to election of Bishops is that they shall be elected by the respective Jurisdictional and Central Conferences, it would be unconstitutional for the General Conference to elect Missionary Bishops.

Statement of Facts

On Monday, May 1, 1944, the General Conference passed the following resolution: "Resolved, That in order to provide adequate supervision for Central Conferences and Provisional Central Conferences, as need may arise, the General Conference shall elect one or more Missionary Bishops for administration in such areas." An appeal was taken by more than the necessary number to the Judicial Council, on the question of constitutionality.

Decision

The Constitution, Paragraph 35, Article 11, reads as follows: "The Bishops shall be elected by the respective Jurisdictional and Central Conferences, and ordained or consecrated in the historic manner of Episcopal Methodism, at such time and place as may be fixed by the General Conference." There is no provision for the election of a Bishop by the General Conference. Since the General Conference cannot go beyond the clear powers granted in the Constitution, we must declare that it would be unconstitutional for the General Conference to elect Missionary Bishops. The Judicial Council is unanimous in this opinion.

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