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Decision No. 196

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October 11 1962
In Re: The Eligibility of a Member of the Judicial Council for Administrative Service on the Annual Conference or District Level

Digest of Case

A member of the Judicial Council is eligible for administrative service on the Annual Conference or District level, in the positions of Executive Secretary of an Interboard Council, in full-time administrative service for any board or agency of an Annual Conference, or in the position of a District Superintendent serving within an Annual Conference.

Statement of Facts

The following resolution was adopted by the North Mississippi Annual Conference in session at Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, June 8, 1962: "WHEREAS, John D. Humphrey, a member of the North Mississippi Annual Conference, was elected by the 1960 General Conference of The Methodist Church as an alternate member of the Judicial Council for the term 1960-68; and, "WHEREAS, a vacancy now exists iii the Judicial Council due to the death of W. Lemuel Clegg, whose lawful successor for the unexpired term should be John D. Humphrey; and, "WHEREAS, Paragraph 902 of the 1960 Discipline reads, 'Members of the Council shall be ineligible for membership in the General Conference or Jurisdictional Conference or in any General or Jurisdictional Board or for administrative service in any connectional office'; and, "WHEREAS the glossary of terms in the 1960 Discipline specifically defines connectional as being 'of or pertaining to the organization or functioning of The Methodist Church other than on a local-church basis'; and, "WHEREAS, there may be some doubt concerning the Eligibility of John D. Humphrey as a member of the Judicial Council because of his responsibility as the Executive Secretary of The Interboard Council of the North Mississippi Annual Conference; "NOW, THEREFORE be it resolved by the North Mississippi Annual Conference of The Methodist Church that this matter be submitted to the Judicial Council with a request that the Judicial Council render a Declaratory Decision, as to whether or not the words in Paragraph 902 of the 1960 Discipline of The Methodist Church reading, 'for administrative service in any connectional office,' refers to administrative service on the Annual Conference or District level in the positions of Executive Secretary of an Interboard Council, in full-time administrative service for any Board or Agency of an Annual Conference or in the position of a District Superintendent serving within an Annual Conference. Respectfully submitted, (s) A. L. Meadows (s) Johnny A. Dinas "I hereby certify that the enclosed resolution was passed by the North Mississippi Conference in session at Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, June 8, 1962. (s) Walter D. Smith Walter D. Smith Secretary North Mississippi Conference" Jurisdiction The Judicial Council, under Paragraph 914.8 takes jurisdiction in this case. Analysis Paragraph 902 of the 1960 Discipline prohibits a member of the Judicial Council having membership in the General and Jurisdictional Conference and in any general or jurisdictional board. It does not prohibit membership in the Annual Conference or on the boards of an Annual Conference. It is in this context that Paragraph 902 provides that: "Members of the council shall be ineligible for membership in the General Conference or Jurisdictional Conference or in any general or jurisdictional board or for administrative service in any connectional office." Considering the context in which this restriction appears, it would seem that the meaning of the Discipline does not refer to administrative service on the Annual Conference or District level in the positions of Executive Secretary of an Interboard Council, in full-time administrative service for any board or agency of an Annual Conference, or in the position of a District Superintendent serving within an Annual Conference. We are aware that in the glossary "connectional" is defined as "other than on the local church basis." The glossary, however, is not a part of the law of the Church even though included in the volume known as the Discipline. In addition to the above stated assumption, however, the Discipline clearly differentiates between "matters distinctively connectional" and administrative procedures on the Annual Conference level. Paragraph 22 of the Discipline, which is Section VII, Article II of the Constitution, states: "The Annual Conference is the basic body of the Church and as such shall have reserved to it the right to vote . . . on the election of ministerial and lay delegates to the General and the Jurisdictional or Central Conferences . . . and such other rights as have not been delegated to the General Conference under the Constitution. . . ." We interpret the Annual Conference as a unit in our connectionalism. Although the General Conference defines and fixes the broad powers and duties of the Annual Conferences, these functions are administered by the Annual Conferences and are in no way subject to the influence or control of other Annual Conferences. Thus, the Annual Conference is an entity in the administration of its own affairs within the limitations of the Discipline. The "connectional" agencies of the Church are constituted by the General Conference which is a composite body composed of ministers and laymen elected by the Annual Conferences. Paragraph 8.8, of the Discipline, which is within Section I, Article IV, of the Constitution, directs the General Conference as follows: "To initiate and to direct all connectional enterprises of the Church, such as publishing, evangelistic, educational, missionary, and benevolent, and to provide boards for their promotion and administration." Thus we have what are known as the General Boards whose memberships are composed from the Annual Conferences and are thereby composite or connectional boards. The General Boards hold only an advisory relation to the Annual Conference Boards which are defined by the Discipline but constituted and administered by the Annual Conference, being thus neither composed of nor administered by the connectional structure of the Church. Paragraph 8.9 of the Discipline, which is within Section I, Article IV, of the Constitution, directs the General Conference: "To determine and provide for raising the funds necessary to carry on the connectional work of the church." (Emphasis added.) In exercising this responsibility, the General Conference fixes the budgetary askings required to carry on the connectional work of the Church quadrennially, and apportions the askings to the Annual Conferences. Procedures are defined by the Discipline whereby the Annual Conference may provide funds to carry on the work on the Annual Conference level, but Annual Conference Boards do not by right share in the distribution of the funds provided by the General Conference "to carry on the connectional work of the Church." The financing and administration of the enterprises of the Church on the Annual Conference and District level are strictly Annual Conference responsibility. Inasmuch as Annual Conference Boards are not composed of "connectional" personnel, and do not derive their support from the funds ordered and distributed by the General Conference "to carry on the connectional work of the Church," we can only conclude that the Constitution and legislative paragraphs of the Discipline do not construe "the administrative service on the Annual Conference or District level" as being a connectional office.

Decision

It is therefore the decision of the Judicial Council that Paragraph 902 of the 1960 Discipline, making members of the Judicial Council ineligible "for administrative service in any connectional office," does not refer to administrative service on the Annual Conference or District level in the positions of Executive Secretary of an Interboard Council, in full-time administrative service of any board or agency of an Annual Conference, or in the position of a District Superintendent within an Annual Conference.

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