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Decision No. 305

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November 08 1968
In Re: Ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia Concerning the Definition of Quadrennial Election of Lay Delegates to the Annual Conference.

Digest of Case

The lay members of the Annual Conference, elected quadrennially as the Annual Conference directs, shall serve during the quadrennium as defined in Paragraph 1427 of the 1968 Discipline.

Statement of Facts

In the 1964 session of the Philippines Annual Conference, the Conference approved by a 33 to 27 vote an action which directed all Quarterly Conferences of the Annual Conference "to elect their lay members of the Annual Conference on a quadrennial basis beginning with the next Annual Conference." As a result thereof, lay members of the Conference were elected by their Quarterly Conferences to sit for one quadrennium starting with the conference year 1965-1966. From 1965 up to and including the 1968 session of the Philippines Annual Conference, there were only three intervening conference sessions, 1965, 1966, 1967. In the meantime, the District Superintendents held Quarterly Conferences immediately preceding the 1968 session of the Philippines Annual Conference and asked for the election of new lay members therein. In the 1968 session of the Philippines Annual Conference, during the opening regular session on June 19, 1968, Attorney Isaac S. Puno, Jr., lay member, presented a request for Episcopal Ruling, with the following questions: "1. In the light of the foregoing circumstances, who should be seated as lay members of the 1968 session of the Philippines Annual Conference-the 'old set' or the 'new set'? "2. When does a quadrennium start and when does it end? "3. Would not the election of new lay members to the 1968 session of the Philippines Annual Conference violate the above-mentioned action of the 1964 Philippines Annual Conference which is anchored under Paragraph 143(4) of the Discipline which instructs the Quarterly Conference to elect lay members or members of the Annual Conference 'annually or quadrennially as the Annual Conference may direct'?" In response to this appeal, Bishop Valencia reported his decision to the Annual Conference on June 19, 1968, as follows: "In Methodist Polity, the term 'quadrennial' refers to the four-year period from one regular session of the General Conference to the next regular session of the General Conference. When, under Paragraph 143.4, an Annual Conference directs the elections of lay delegates quadrennially, the terms of the lay delegates so elected expire at the close of the quadrennium for which they were elected which coincides with the regular session of the General Conference. Therefore, the Quarterly Conference must elect new delegates for the ensuing quadrennium whose terms begin with the first regular session of the Annual Conference after the regular session of the General Conference. The question of how many sessions of the Annual Conference are held within the quadrennium-whether three, four, five, or six (in case there are adjourned or special sessions) -is immaterial and in no way affects the terms of lay delegates elected for the quadrennium. "I, therefore, rule that lay delegates elected by the Quarterly Conference for this quadrennium, are members of the 1968 session of the Philippines Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and are seated in this conference session." JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under the provisions of Paragraph 1712 of the 1968 Discipline. ANALYSIS The questions submitted to Bishop Valencia and answered by him relate to the definition of the term, "quadrennium." Paragraph 1427 of the 1968 Discipline provides the definition. "Unless otherwise specified in the Discipline for a specific purpose, the term 'quadrennium' shall be deemed to be the period from the adjournment of a General Conference to the adjournment of the next regular quadrennial session of a General Conference." (Par. 1427) The provisions of Paragraph 143.4 of the 1964 Discipline and Paragraph 146.1 of the 1968 Discipline relating to the annual or quadrennial election of lay member (s) "as the Annual Conference directs" include no specifications for the term "quadrennial." Therefore, the subsequent definition of Paragraph 1427, an expression of former Methodist practice, is applicable.

Decision

It is the decision of the Judicial Council that lay members of the Annual Conference, elected quadrennially as the Annual Conference directs, shall serve during the quadrennium as defined in Paragraph 1427. The ruling of Bishop Valencia in this case is hereby affirmed.

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