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Decision No. 95

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June 25 1953
In Re: Ruling of Bishop Paul N. Garber at Virginia Annual Conference, October 11, 1952, as to Paragraph 1618, Section 4, Relating to the Listing of Special Appointments in the Conference Journal

Digest of Case

Special Appointments listed in the Annual Conference Journal in compliance with Paragraph 1618, Section 4, of the 1952 Discipline, showing annuity responsibility, must be the Special Appointments of the current Conference and not those of the previous Conference.

Statement of Facts

The Journal of the Virginia Annual Conference meeting in Norfolk, Virginia, records the following action: "Report No. 1 on Conference Claimants - R. P. Riddick presented Report No. 1 of the Board of Conference Claimants, and it was adopted." (See Appendix.) This Report as adopted contained the recommendations of the Board of Conference Claimants listing the Special Appointments with reference to their annuity claim as required in Paragraph 1618, Section 4 of the 1952 Discipline. In connection with the Report the following action was taken at the request of Bishop Paul N. Garber, the Presiding Officer: "The Board of Conference Claimants of the Virginia Conference, in session October 9, 1952, on proper motion, requested the presiding Bishop to rule on Paragraph 1618, Section 4, of the Methodist Discipline (1948 and 1952) as to whether it refers to the Special Appointments of the current Annual Conference or to Special Appointments of the preceding Annual Conference." In response to this request, on October 10, 1952, Bishop Garber read the following statement to the Conference: "This is a question that can be answered either way, for there are basic reasons to justify either answer. I feel that this is one question that should be settled by the Judicial Council. I, therefore, answer that Paragraph 1618, Section 4, of the Methodist Discipline, refers to Special Appointments of the preceding Annual Conference. I would appreciate it if my ruling should be appealed by our Virginia Annual Conference to the Judicial Council." The Journal then states: "R. P. Riddick moved that the Conference appeal the Decision above to the Judicial Council and the motion was adopted." JURISDICTION This question is properly before the Judicial Council for a Decision for the following reasons: 1. Paragraph 908 of the 1952 Discipline states: "The Judicial Council shall hear and determine any appeal from a Bishop's Decision on a Question of Law made in the Annual or District Conference, when said appeal has been made by one fifth of that Conference present and voting." 2. Paragraph 909 of the 1952 Discipline states: "The Judicial Council shall meet at least once a year and pass upon the Decisions of Law made by the Bishops in Annual and District Conferences upon questions submitted to them in writing, and reported in writing to the Council, with a syllabus of each case, and affirm, modify or reverse them. Before affirmation no Episcopal Decision shall be authoritative except in the case pending. When the Decisions are affirmed, they shall become the law of the Church." While the expressed purpose of Bishop Garber's ruling was to bring the question to the Judicial Council for Decision it does come to the Council both by an Episcopal Ruling in an Annual Conference and by an appeal of the Conference from the Bishop's Decision. The Judicial Council, therefore, is authorized to take jurisdiction. ANALYSIS Paragraph 1618, Section 2, of the 1952 Discipline, reads as follows: "The following years of approved service in the effective relation or On Trial in an Annual Conference of The Methodist Church, are eligible to be counted for the purpose of determining the annuity claims paid thereon: a) As pastor or associate pastor. b) As District Superintendent, Presiding Elder, Conference President, or as a full-time salaried official of the Conference. c) Service rendered under Special Appointment to an Institution, Organization, or Agency which in the judgment of the Annual Conference rendered to it some form of service, direct or indirect, sufficient to warrant granting an annuity from the Conference funds therefor, or to a community church; provided, however, that such institution, organization, agency, or community church accepts and pays annually such apportionments as the Annual Conference may require in accordance with the provisions as set forth in Paragraph 1623, Section 6 and provided furthermore, that any institution, organization agency, or community church may arrange for a pension related to such service through the Joint Contributory Annuity Fund administered by the Board of Pensions." The pertinent part of Section 4 of Paragraph 1618 reads as follows: "Upon recommendation of the Board of Conference Claimants and approved by the Annual Conference, Special Appointments shall be listed in the Conference Journal as follows: (1) With annuity claim (a) upon this Annual Conference, or (b) upon a General Board, an Institution or an Agency of The Methodist Church; (2) Without annuity claim upon this Annual Conference." It is clear that is was the intent of the provisions quoted above, that annuity responsibility should be determined before Special Appointments are made so that there may be no question either on the part of the minister involved or on the part of the Board, Institution or Agency to which he may be appointed as to where the annuity responsibility lies.

Decision

In view of the above it is the Decision of the Judicial Council that the recommendation of the Board of Conference Claimants concerning the annuity claim of persons in Special Appointments, the approval of the recommendation by the Annual Conference and the listing of same in the Conference Journal in compliance with Paragraph 1618, Section 4 of the Methodist Discipline 1952, applies to Special Appointments of the current Conference and not to Special Appointments of the preceding Conference. The ruling of the Bishop is hereby reversed.

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