Skip Navigation

Judicial Council Decisions Search


Decision No. 148

Back to Search

October 16 1958
In Re: The Right of a Conference Commission on World Service and Finance to Use the Service of an Interboard Council as a Budget Review Committee

Digest of Case

An Interboard Council may serve as a budget review committee for the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance. An Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance may utilize the services of an Interboard Council in the preparation of its report to the Annual Conference, provided the right is reserved to every conference agency to appear before the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance for the purpose of presenting its cause to said Commission

Statement of Facts

Since the year 1951 the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference has had an Interboard Council which now operates under the provision of Paragraph 679 of the 1956 Discipline. This Interboard Council is composed of representatives of the various boards and commissions of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, the Bishop, his Cabinet, and other administrative officers. With the consent of the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, this Interboard Council has acted as a budget review committee for all of the Boards and Commissions represented thereon. These Boards and Commissions annually have their representatives appear before the Interboard Council to present their financial askings for the year. The Interboard Council reviews these askings in the light of the needs and probably available funds and makes its recommendation thereupon to the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance. This report is then reviewed by the Commission on World Service and Finance. The right is reserved to every Board or Commission seeking such financial assistance to appear before the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance to present its cause if it feels aggrieved by the recommendations of the Conference Interboard Council. The Conference Commission on World Service and Finance after such review presents its recommended budget in the usual way to the Annual Conference for action. On June 6, 1958, by a vote of 280 to 0, the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The Methodist Church requested a ruling from the Judicial Council in the nature of a declaratory decision on the two following questions: 1. Does the action of the Interboard Council, in acting as a budget review committee for the Annual Conference Boards and Commissions, exceed its authorities as set forth in Paragraph 679, 1956 Discipline? 2. Can the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance delegate its authority as outlined in Paragraph 793, 1956 Discipline, provided that the Chairman or other duly authorized representative of each conference agency is still afforded the opportunity of representing the claims of his agency before the Commission on World Service and Finance? JURISDICTION Under Subsection 8, Paragraph 914 of the 1956 Discipline, the Judicial Council has jurisdiction to render a declaratory decision on the questions thus submitted to it by the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The Methodist Church. ANALYSIS By Decision 98, the Judicial Council of The Methodist Church decided that an Annual Conference may create a Commission or Council for the purpose of correlating a promoting the work of the various agencies of the Conference, but without authority over the various boards, commissions and committees of the Conference whose duties and powers are defined in the Discipline. Thereafter, apparently to remove any doubt upon the point, the General Conference of The Methodist Church adopted Paragraph 679 of the Discipline reading as follows: "Paragraph 679. There may be in any Annual Conference a Conference or Interboard Council composed of representatives of all Conference Boards and Commissions, the Bishop and his Cabinet, other administrative officers, and other agencies as the Conference may determine for the purpose of correlating the planning and promotion of the program of the church." The answer to the first question stated above is negative. Paragraph 679 of the 1956 Discipline, which provides for the appointment of a Conference or Interboard Council sets forth the functions of said Council as follows: "for thepurpose of correlating the planning and promotion of the program of the Church." Certainly one phase of the planning and promotion of the program of the church relates to the way in which the benevolent funds of the Conference shall be distributed among the agencies and boards of the Conference. If a Conference Interboard Council can render any assistance to the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance in arriving at recommendations for the distribution of these funds, it would be engaged in the task of "correlating the planning and promotion of the program of the Church." The answer to the second question stated above is not susceptible of such a brief or easy answer. The Conference Commission on World Service and Finance cannot delegate its responsibilities and authority as outlined in Paragraph 793 of the 1956 Discipline. Under this paragraph of the Discipline, a Conference Commission on World Service and Finance is obligated and required to do the following things: (a) To hear the representations of the Chairman or authorized representative of every Conference agency. (b) To make diligent effort to secure full information regarding all Conference benevolence and service causes to see that none are neglected, jeopardized or excluded. (c) To recommend to the Annual Conference, for its action or determination, the total amount to be apportioned for Conference causes and included in the Conference benevolence budget. (d) To review the audited reports showing receipts and disbursements in detail of every agency making requests for financial assistance from the Annual Conference. It is our opinion that in the performance of these responsibilities and duties, the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance may, if it so desires, receive such assistance as may be possible and as will be helpful to it from a preview of the askings of a Conference agency by an Interboard Council of the Conference. This does not constitute a delegation by the Commission on World Service and Finance of its authority but, instead, is an effort on the part of the Commission to base its report to the Conference on the best available information. In such a case, the report or recommendation of the Interboard Council is not a report of the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance. It is only a recommendation to the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance containing information which may be helpful to the Commission in the discharge of its duties. Such a recommendation does not bind the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, especially since the right is reserved to every agency to appear before the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance and to make its representations to the Commission.

Decision

It is, therefore, the decision of the Judicial Council: 1. That an Interboard Council which assists the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, in acting as a budget review committee for the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance, does not exceed the authority vested in such a Council by Paragraph 679 of the 1956 Discipline. 2. The Conference Commission on World Service and Finance cannot delegate its fundamental authority as outlined in Paragraph 793 of the 1956 Discipline. But, the utilization of the services of an Interboard Council by the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance in the preparation of its report to the Annual Conference is not a delegation of the authority of the Conference Commission on World Service and Finance when the Commission on World Service and Finance receives the recommendations of the Interboard Council, affords every Conference agency seeking financial assistance from the Conference to appear before it for the purpose of representing its cause, and then submits its report to the Annual

Back to Search