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Decision No. 191

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October 20 1961
In Re: Request of the North Carolina Annual Conference (SEJ) for a Declaratory Decision Interpreting the Powers of the Conference Board of Education and the Conference Commission on Higher Education as Set Forth in Paragraphs 1450 and 1452 of the 1960 Discipline

Digest of Case

The Conference Board of Education has the duty to determine and present to the Commission on World Service and Finance the financial needs of the colleges and Wesley Foundations related to the Conference. It also is responsible for determining the allocation and distribution of funds raised within the conference for these institutions. The Conference Commission on Higher Education reports both to the Conference Board of Education and to the Annual Conference, provided its recommendations to the Annual Conference with regard to items for which the Conference Board of Education has responsibility are in harmony with the recommendations of the Conference Board of Education. The Conference Board of Education may modify those items in the report of the Commission on Higher Education which it has the responsibility of determining.

Statement of Facts

The following communication was received by the Secretary of the Judicial Council from the Secretary of the North Carolina Annual Conference (SEJ). "Resolution Concerning the Clarification of Paragraphs 1450 and 1452 of the 1960 Discipline of The Methodist Church: "Because the Conference Board of Education historically has been charged with solemn responsibilities in the field of Christian Higher Education, it has examined carefully questions relating to its functions in this particular area. In order to insure that there be no division in our common effort and loyalty to our magnificent program of Christian higher education, it has passed without dissent the following resolution for presentation to the North Carolina Conference: "We call attention to an apparent conflict of duties of the Annual Conference Board of Education and the Annual Conference Commission on Christian Higher Education as described in Paragraphs 1450 and 1452 of the 1960 Discipline of The Methodist Church, to wit: "Paragraph 1450 states, 'The President, or someone designated by him, shall present to the Commission on World Service and Finance of the Conference the needs of the colleges and Wesley Foundations related to the Conference (as determined by the board on recommendation of its Committee or Commission on Christian Higher Education) - The board shall determine the distribution of the funds thus received to each of the general interests under the care of the board.' "Paragraph 1452-4. states: 'The Committee or Commission shall: - (c) Reportannually to the board and the Annual Conference on the programs of those institutions of learning and Wesley Foundations related to the Conference and supported by it, including a statement concerning the capital and current financial needs of each and their program of service to The Methodist Church. - (d) 'Recommend annually to the board, for presentation to the Annual Conference, a minimum goal for the support of educational institutions, and Wesley Foundations; or, if none are related to the Conference, recommend the method of distributing to Methodist Educational institutions, either directly or through the Division of Higher Education, the funds raised for higher education.' "Therefore, be it resolved that the North Carolina Conference, Southeastern Jurisdiction, The Methodist Church, in session at Trinity Church, Durham, N. C., June 28, 1961 hereby petitions the Judicial Council of The Methodist Church to make a ruling in the nature of a 'declaratory decision' under Paragraph 914 of the 1960 Discipline of The Methodist Church, clarifying the responsibilities of the Annual Conference Commission on Christian Higher Education as related to the Annual Conference Board of Education as set forth in Paragraphs 1450 and 1452 of the 1960 Discipline of The Methodist Church. Specifically, we request answers to the following questions: 1. Which of the two Annual Conference agencies has the duty of determining the financial needs of the Colleges and Wesley Foundations related to the Conference for presentation to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance? 2. Which of these two Annual Conference Agencies has the responsibility of determining the allocation or distribution of funds raised by the Annual Conference to sustain its institutions of higher education? 3. Does the Conf. Commission on Christian Higher Education report direct to the Annual Conference or to the Annual Conference Board of Education for presentation by the Conf. Board of Education to the Annual Conference? 4. Does the Conf. Board of Education have authority to modify the report and recommendations of the Conf. Commission on Christian Higher Education before presenting the report to the Annual Conference? (s) Leon Russell, Chairman Brooks Patten, Secretary (The foregoing resolution was adopted by the North Carolina Conference in its Annual Session, June 28, 1961, Trinity Methodist Church, Durham, N. C.) (s) W. Carleton Wilson, Secretary North Carolina Conference, SEJ." JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction in this matter under Paragraph 914 (8) . ANALYSIS The above quoted resolution passed by the North Carolina Annual Conference specified four questions to which answers are requested to clarify the responsibilities of the Conference Board of Education and the Conference Commission on Higher Education as set forth in paragraphs 1450 and 1452 of the 1960 Discipline. We shall deal with these in order. The first question is: "Which of the two Annual Conference agencies has theduty of determining the financial needs of the colleges and Wesley Foundations related to the conference for presentation to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance?" The answer to this question is that the Conference Board of Education has this duty. Paragraph 1450 clearly states "The president, or someone designated by him, shall present to the Commission on World Service and Finance of the conference the financial needs of the colleges and Wesley Foundations related to the conference (as determined by the board on recommendation of its Committee or Commission on Christian Higher Education). . ." (Emphasis added) Paragraph 1452 (4) (c) states that the Commission on Higher Education shall, "Report annually to the board and the Annual Conference on the programs of those institutions of learning and Wesley Foundations related to the conference and supported by it, including a statement concerning the capital and current financial needs of each and their programs of service to The Methodist Church." This paragraph does not state that this commission shall determine these needs but rather report them and, inasmuch as paragraph 1450 specifically assigns the responsibility of determining them to the Annual Conference Board of Education upon recommendation of its Commission on Higher Education, we conclude that the duty is that of the Conference Board of Education. The second question asks, "Which of these two Annual Conference agencies has the responsibility of determining the allocation or distribution of funds raised by the Annual Conference to sustain its institutions of higher education?" Again, the answer is the Conference Board of Education. Paragraph 1450 contains the following: ". . . The board shall determine the distribution offunds thus received to each of the general interests under the care of the board." (Emphasis added) Paragraph 1452 (4) (d) provides that the Commission on Higher Education shall, "Recommend annually to the board, for presentation to the Annual Conference, a minimum goal for the support of educational institutions and Wesley Foundation; or, if none are related to the conference, recommend the method of distributing to Methodist educational institutions, either directly or through the Division of Higher Education, the funds raised for higher education." (Emphasis added) These would seem to indicate that the responsibility for determining the distribution of funds rests with the Conference Board of Education and the function of the Commission on Higher Education is that of making recommendations to the board. The third question asks, "Does the Conf. Comm. on Christian Higher Education report to the Annual Conference or to the Annual Conference Board of Education for presentation by the Conference Board of Education to the Annual Conference?" Paragraph 1452 (4) (c) provides that the Commission on Higher Education shall, "Report annually to the board and the Annual Conference on the programs of those institutions of learning and Wesley Foundations related to the conference and supported by it, including a statement concerning the capital and current financial needs of each and their program of service to The Methodist Church." Paragraph 1449 referring to the Conference Board of Education states, "The board shall report its proceedings and policies to the Annual Conference. . . ." Since the Conference Board of Education has responsibilities relating to higher education as indicated above it would include these in its report to the Annual Conference. Both agencies therefore have the responsibility of reporting to the Annual Conference. Since these reports would in some measure be duplications it would seem that these two agencies might have an agreement as to the division of material to be contained in each report or agree to submit a joint report. However, legally both have a right to report to the Annual Conference. The fourth question raised is, "Does the Conf. Board of Education have authority to modify the report and recommendations of the Conference Commission on Christian Higher Education before presenting the report to the Annual Conference?" The answer is that the Conference Board of Education can modify those items of the report of the Commission on Higher Education which are presented to it as recommendations and for which it has the responsibility of determining. Otherwise the Commission would not be recommending but determining. The exception to this would seem to be a report on the programs of the institutions of learning and Wesley Foundations related to the conference and supported by it and their program of service to the church. Apart from the recommendations concerning the employment of a staff, the only disciplinary requirements pertaining to the report of the Conference Commission on Higher Education to the Annual Conference are those relating to the programs of the educational institutions and Wesley Foundations related to the Conference and their service to the church. While the interpretations given above are based on the language contained in the 1960 Discipline, they are also in harmony with what seems to have been the intent of the General Conference in transferring much of the program of higher education from the special commissions which promoted it during the 1956-60 quadrennium to the Board of Education both on the General Church and Annual Conference levels. The General Commission on Higher Education was abolished and its work transferred to the Division of Higher Education of the General Board of Education. On the Annual Conference level an alternative was provided for either a Committee on Higher Education of the Conference Board of Education or a Commission on Higher Education closely related in membership and function to the Conference Board of Education.

Decision

It is therefore the decision of the Judicial Council that: 1. The Conference Board of Education has the duty of determining the financial needs of the colleges and Wesley Foundations related to the Conference for presentation to the Annual Conference Commission on World Service and Finance. 2. The Conference Board of Education has the responsibility of determining the allocation or distribution of the funds raised by the Annual Conference to sustain its institutions of higher education. 3. The Conference Commission on Higher Education reports both to the Conference Board of Education and to the Annual Conference. 4. The Conference Board of Education has authority to modify the report and recommendations of the Conference Commission on Higher Education insofar as they deal with matters recommended to it and for the determination of which it has responsibility.

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