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Decision No. 388

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November 08 1974
In Re: Reconsideration and Clarification of Decision No. 356 on Request of the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference

Digest of Case

Reconsideration and Clarification of Decision No. 356 on Request of the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference

Statement of Facts

On May 14, 1974 the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference of The United Methodist Church requested the Judicial Council to review its Decision No. 356 in light of the fact that the Secretary of the General Conference finds it impossible to assure the percentages of representation of the former two denominations in the election of delegates to the 1976 General Conference as required by Paragraph 602.1 (1972 Discipline) and interpreted by the Decision. The Judicial Council in session November 7, 1974 on consideration of the request, by majority vote on its own motion, reconsidered its Decision No. 356. JURISDICTION Jurisdiction continues in this matter under Paragraph 1515.2 c) of the Discipline and Rule 13 of the Judicial Council Rules of Practice and Procedure. ANALYSIS The Judicial Council in full session has reviewed Decision No. 356, and considered the effect thereof as represented by the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference in its request for clarification, and the statement of the former Secretary of the General Conference. The Judicial Council reaffirms the primacy of the Constitutional Restrictive Rule (Paragraph 21) that the General Conference shall not do away with, and The (former) Evangelical United Brethren Church shall be assured of, effective representation in The United Methodist Church at the level of the General Conference, Jurisdictional Conferences, Central Conferences, and on all boards and agencies at the Annual Conference, Central Conference, Jurisdictional Conference, and General Conference levels and in every instance shall be chosen (emphasis added), during the first three quadrennia following union, in at least twice the number of representatives coming from the Evangelical United Brethren Church membership as the relative numerical membership in the particular conferences in relationship to the number of representatives coming from The Methodist Church. Legislation enacted by the General Conference to implement this objective in the three quadrennia after union as expressed in Paragraphs 602, 615 and 815 of the 1968 Discipline, and modified and re-enacted in Paragraphs 602, 615 and 818 of the 1972 Discipline must conform to the Constitutional mandate of Paragraph 21. Upon reconsideration of Decision No. 356, the provisions of Paragraphs 602, 615 and 815 of the 1968 Discipline insofar as they establish percentages of members coming from Evangelical United Brethren membership for the quadrennia 1972-76 and 1976-80 are found to be at variance with the intent, purpose and meaning of Paragraph 21 and should not be applied; that the percentages established in Paragraphs 602, 615, and 815 for the 1968-72 quadrennium are consistent with Paragraph 21 and should be applied in the remaining quadrennia as representative of the relative total numerical Evangelical United Brethren membership coming into The United Methodist Church. In the original Decision No. 356, the Judicial Council introduced another element in the representation formula not in the restrictive rule nor the legislation, namely the number elected or appointed from post 1968 new membership. The inclusion of this factor was obiter dictum and tantamount to judicial legislation which the Council intends to avoid. Subsequent figures regarding post 1968 membership in The United Methodist Church fail to support the assumed justification for the changed percentages in the quadrennia of 1972-76 and 1976-80. Therefore Decision No. 356 is hereby modified by rescinding and deleting from the Digest and Decision that element which reads to the extent that the number of persons elected or appointed from the post 1968 new membership is less than the percentage of representation to this group. We conclude that the percentage of post 1968 new members is relatively so small that its representation can be included, in equity, in the remainder of the church membership.

Decision

Decision No. 356 is modified to hold that Paragraph 21, as a Constitutional Restrictive Rule, established a principle of double relative numerical representation for members coming from The Evangelical United Brethren Church in relation to members coming from The Methodist Church during the three quadrennia following union. In order to provide for participation in decision making bodies during that period minimal percentages of representation have been established in Paragraphs 602, 615 and 815 of the 1968 Discipline for members coming from the constituent uniting denominations. The percentages thus established shall be divided in the ratio of 13% to members coming from The Evangelical United Brethren Church and 87% to members coming from The Methodist Church and those persons coming into membership of The United Methodist Church without prior membership in the constituent uniting denominations. When thus applied, Paragraphs 602.1, 615.1, 815.1 b) and 815.2 b) of the 1968 Discipline are in conformity with Paragraph 21; but the 1972 Discipline Paragraphs 602.1, 615.1, 818.1 b) and c) and 818.2 b) and c) are at variance with Paragraph 21 and should not be applied or given effect.

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