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Decision No. 205

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April 28 1964
In Re: Tenure of Members of the General Committee on Family Life

Digest of Case

The provisions of Paragraph 1104 of the 1960 Discipline limiting the tenure of members of any division, board, commission or council to twelve consecutive years do not apply to or limit the tenure of members of the General Committee on Family Life.

Statement of Facts

The General Committee on Family Life presents its petition requesting a declaratory decision interpreting the provisions of Paragraph 1104 of the 1960 Discipline as the same relates to the tenure in office of members of that Committee. The Committee asks, "Does the twelve year rule (provided in that Paragraph) apply to members of this Committee?" JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction in this matter under the provisions of Paragraph 914.2 of the 1960 Discipline. ANALYSIS Part VII of the 1960 Discipline consisting of 16 chapters is entitled and relates to the administrative agencies of the Church. Chapter VIII of this Part is entitled "Board of Education" and contains the law of the Church relating to the organization and administration of the educational agencies of the Church. Paragraph 1417, which is a part of this chapter, provides that "There shall be a General Committee on Family Life which shall be related administratively to the Division of the Local Church and shall cooperate with its Department of the Christian Family to promote activities of a creative nature." Chapter I of Part VII consisting of Paragraphs 1101 to 1108, inclusive, contains general provisions relating to the administrative agencies of the Church. Paragraph 1104 provides that "Tenure on any division, board, commission or council except the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council shall be limited to twelve consecutive years." It is noted that the limiting provisions of this Paragraph make no reference to any "committee." The legislative history of this section is as follows: Prior to the GeneralConference of 1952 there was no such or similar provision in the law of the Church. At the General Conference held in April 1952 in San Francisco, California, certain recommendations were made to the Conference by the Survey Commission which had been established by the preceding General Conference. Among other things the Survey Commission proposed certain legislation, the major portion of which dealt with the administrative agencies of the Church. Various additions to and revisions of the law of the Church were suggested. The first of these suggestions was that there be added to the law of the Church a definitive statement with respect to administrative agencies as follows: "TheAdministrative Agencies of The Methodist Church, hereinafter called the General Agencies, shall include all committees, commissions, bureaus or sections, divisions, boards, departments and councils (except the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council) created by the General Conference for the purpose of performing a specific function or functions." The Commission also suggested and recommended the adoption of legislation as follows: "Tenure on any division,board, commission or council shall hereafter be limited to eight consecutive years." (emphasis added) The General Conference of 1952 having this report and recommendations before it adopted legislation codified as Paragraph 1104 of the Discipline as follows, "Tenure on any division, board, commission or council except the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council shall be limited to eight consecutive years, provided however that this limitation shall take effect from the General Conference of 1952 and shall not be retroactive," The General Conference did not define the administrative agencies to include committees as suggested by the Survey Commission and it did not include the word "committee" in Paragraph 1104. If the General Conference had intended to limit tenure on committees and other groups or bodies in addition to those specifically mentioned, it could and should have included the same in the law of the church at the time of the adoption of Paragraph 1104. This it did not do. The General Conference of 1956 amended the paragraph to provide that tenure be limited to twelve years. It did not modify or change the list of bodies upon which tenure was limited. Because of this legislative history and the further fact that Paragraph 1417, establishing the General Committee on Family Life, and Paragraph 1104, imposing limitations upon tenure without including the word "committees" in its limiting provisions, are included in the same Part of the Discipline, it is clear that the General Conference, as the legislative body of the Church, by its specific reference to certain designated categories of bodies of the Church and its omission to mention others therein intended that those bodies of the Church not designated as divisions, boards, commissions or councils be excluded and excepted from the provisions of Paragraph 1104 limiting tenure of members to twelve consecutive years.

Decision

It is, therefore, the decision of the Judicial Council that since Paragraph 1104 of the 1960 Discipline does not include committees in its limiting provisions it is not applicable to the membership of the General Committee on Family Life.

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