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Decision No. 349

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April 14 1972
In Re: The Effects of Constitutional Amendments V and VI upon Paragraph 36 of the Constitution.

Digest of Case

Constitutional Amendments V and VI must be read together in their effect upon Paragraph 36 of the Constitution.

Statement of Facts

Paragraph 36 of the Constitution as amended by Constitutional Amendment II (1968), prior to the proposed changes of Amendments V and VI, read as follows: "The Annual Conference shall be composed of ministerial members as defined by the General Conference, together with a lay member elected by each charge, the conference president of the Women's Society of Christian Service, the conference president of United Methodist Men, the conference lay leader, and the president of the conference youth organization. Each charge served by more than one minister shall be entitled to as many lay members as there are ministerial members. Except for the president of the conference youth organization, the lay members shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and shall have been for the four years next preceding their election members of one of the constituent churches forming this union or of The United Methodist Church." Two proposed amendments to this paragraph of the Constitution were approved by the 1970 session of the General Conference. On April 23, Calendar No. 64, Report No. 3 of the Committee on Conferences, entitled "Constitutional amendment removing age limit for Annual Conference membership," was presented recommending that Paragraph 36 be amended by deleting from the last sentence the words, "shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age." The committee accepted from the floor an additional change which would add to the last sentence the words, "and for one year next preceding their election as a member of the charge they are to represent." The Report noted that Paragraph 36 would then read: "The Annual Conference shall be composed of ministerial members as defined by the General Conference, together with a lay member elected by each charge, the conference president of the Women's Society of Christian Service, the conference president of United Methodist Men, the conference lay leader, and the president of the conference youth organization. Each charge served by more than one minister shall be entitled to as many lay members as there are ministerial members. The lay members shall have been for the four years next preceding their election members of one of the constituent churches forming this union or of The United Methodist Church, and for one year next preceding their election as a member of the charge they are to represent." The report was adopted by the General Conference by the necessary two-thirds vote (Journal of the 1970 General Conference, pp. 293 and 572-3) and, in the above form, was sent down to the Annual Conferences where it received the necessary two-thirds affirmative vote. It became Constitutional Amendment V. On April 24, Calendar No 203, Report No. 30 of the Committee on Conferences, entitled "Constitutional amendment to add youth members of Annual Conference" was presented. The report as amended from the floor recommended that the following words be added at the end of the first sentence of Paragraph 36, "and two young persons under twenty-five (25) years of age from each district to be selected in such manner as may be determined by the Annual Conference." Thus amended, the Report noted that Paragraph 36 would read: "The Annual Conference shall be composed of ministerial members as defined by the General Conference, together with a lay member elected by each charge, the conference president of the Women's Society of Christian Service, the conference president of United Methodist Men, the conference lay leader, the president of the conference youth organization and two young persons under twenty-five (25) years of age from each district to be selected in such manner as may be determined by the Annual Conference. Each charge served by more than one minister shall be entitled to as many lay members as there are ministerial members. Except for the president of the conference youth organization, the lay members shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and shall have been for the four years next preceding their election members of one of the constituent churches forming this union or of The United Methodist Church." The report was adopted by the necessary two-thirds vote of the General Conference (Journal of the 1970 General Conference, pp. 338 and 582) and, in the above form, was sent down to the Annual Conferences where it received the necessary two-thirds affirmative vote. It became Constitutional Amendment VI. The Council of Bishops on November 15, 1971, announced the passage of Constitutional Amendments V and VI. The Council noted, however, that the reported wording of Paragraph 36, after Amendment VI, had not taken into consideration the proposed changes of Amendment V. The Council of Bishops requested a review of the matter by the Judicial Council. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 1715 of the Discipline. ANALYSIS It is obvious that Constitutional Amendments V and VI must be considered parts of one amendment or simultaneous amendments in their effect upon Paragraph 36. Both of them originated in reports from the General Conference Committee on Conferences. Both were concerned with provisions for greater youth participation in the Annual Conference, Amendment V which through the deletion of words would remove the age limit for Annual Conference membership, Amendment VI which through the addition of words would increase the youth membership in the Annual Conference. There is no conflict between these purposes. Furthermore, there is no difference between them chronologically. Amendment VI does not follow Amendment V in the time of its effect. Both were adopted by the 1970 session of the General Conference, sent down to the Annual Conferences at the same time, and the passage of both of them announced by the Council of Bishops on November 15, 1971. Paragraph 64 of the Constitution on "Amendments" reads in part, "The vote, after being completed, shall be canvassed by the Council of Bishops, and the amendment voted upon shall become effective upon their announcement of its having received the required majority." Amendments V and VI, therefore, became effective at the same time. A reading of the actions taken by the General Conference and of the documents sent to the Annual Conferences indicates that the notations concerning how Paragraph 36 should read after each amendment contained inaccuracies. The notation concerning the effect of Amendment V omits the first phrase in the last sentence of Paragraph 36 "Except for the President of the Conference youth organization" which was not deleted by the action taken. The notation concerning the effect of Amendment VI did not take into account the proposed changes of Amendment V. The actions taken in Amendments V and VI must be considered together as they change the wording of Paragraph 36 by certain specific deletions and additions. If Paragraph 36 does not then read as intended, further amendments can be proposed.

Decision

It is the decision of the Judicial Council that Constitutional Amendments V and VI must be read together in their effect upon Paragraph 36 of the Constitution. That Paragraph, Division Two, Section VII, Article I of the Constitution now reads: "The Annual Conference shall be composed of ministerial members as defined by the General Conference, together with a lay member elected by each charge, the conference president of the Women's Society of Christian Service, the conference president of United Methodist Men, the conference lay leader, the president of the conference youth organization and two young persons under twenty-five (25) years of age from each district to be selected in such manner as may be determined by the Annual Conference. Each charge served by more than one minister shall be entitled to as many lay members as there are ministerial members. Except for the president of the conference youth organization, the lay members shall have been for the four years next preceding their election members of one of the constituent churches forming this union or of The United Methodist Church, and for one year next preceding their election as a member of the charge they are to represent."

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