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Decision No. 93

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November 24 1952
In Re: Ruling of Bishop W. T. Watkins of the Kentucky Conference, August 29, 1952, on Question of Quorum Necessary for Quarterly Conference Business

Digest of Case

No quorum is necessary for a session of the Quarterly Conference and it is legal to reduce the number of the Trustees in a church from nine to three to comply with the State law.

Statement of Facts

The first Quarterly Conference of the Mead Memorial Church, Russell, Kentucky, was held October 31, 1951. At the fourth Quarterly Conference held on July 13, 1952, the legality of actions taken at the first Quarterly Conference was questioned on the ground of there being no quorum present and also on the ground that the Quarterly Conference had no legal authority to reduce the number of Trustees from nine to three. The District Superintendent ruled that it does not require a quorum for a Quarterly Conference to transact business and that the Quarterly Conference had the authority and duty, as it did, to reduce the number of Trustees to three in order to comply with State law. Appeal was made from the District Superintendent's ruling to the presiding Bishop who in the session of the Kentucky Annual Conference on August 29, 1952, sustained the ruling of the District Superintendent. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 909 of the 1952 Discipline which authorizes the Council to "pass upon the Decisions of Law made by the Bishop in Annual and District Conferences ..." ANALYSIS Provisions of the Discipline governing Quarterly Conferences do not include any statement concerning quorums. (1952 Discipline, Paragraphs 137-154.) Neither by law, tradition, or practice is a quorum required for a Quarterly Conference. Such requirement is provided for only two of the Conferences of Methodism, namely, the Jurisdictional Conference (1952 Discipline, Paragraph 527) and the General Conference (1952 Discipline, Paragraph 503.) In Decision No. 36, May 9, 1946, the Judicial Council held that no quorum for an Annual Conference is established in the law of the Church. The action of the Quarterly Conference reduced the number of Trustees to three as required by the Statutes of Kentucky (Kentucky Revised Statutes, 1948, 273.100). This Statute provides for a religious society to have from "one to three Trustees in whom legal or equitable title to the society's property shall be vested for the use of the society." The Discipline of 1952, Paragraph 721, states that "Whenever the law of the State, territory, or country in which is located any property of The Methodist Church, its agencies or subdivisions, or the provisions of an existing charter of a corporation organized and holding property for such purposes, require otherwise than in this chapter prescribed, such law or charter shall apply and be substituted for such of the provisions of this chapter as are in conflict with such law or charter." The action of the Quarterly Conference in reducing the number of Trustees to the maximum number permitted by Kentucky State Law is in harmony with this Paragraph and the Quarterly Conference therefore acted properly in the premises.

Decision

The ruling of the Bishop that no quorum is necessary for a session of the Quarterly Conference, and that a regular Quarterly Conference with a limited number present was within its authority, and in compliance with the Kentucky Statutes, in reducing the number of its Trustees to three, is correct. The ruling of the Bishop is therefore affirmed

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