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Decision No. 423

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April 22 1977
In Re: A Petition from the General Council on Ministries for a Declaratory Decision on the following: "Does General Council on Ministries Have the Power and Authority to Add Voting Persons to Its Membership Beyond Those Designated by Paragraph 1006 of the 1976 Discipline?"

Digest of Case

The General Council on Ministries does not have the power and authority to add voting persons to its membership beyond those designated in Paragraph 1006 of the 1976 Discipline.

Statement of Facts

This matter is before the Judicial Council as a result of a request by the General Council on Ministries for a declaratory decision. The substance of the General Council on Ministries request is as follows: "BE IT RESOLVED, that General Council on Ministries request from the Judicial Council, under Paragraph 2515 of the 1976 Book of Discipline, for a declaratory decision on the following: "Does General Council on Ministries have the power and authority to add voting persons to its membership beyond those designated by Paragraph 1006 of the 1976 Book of Discipline." Briefs were filed by the General Council on Ministries and the United Methodist Youth Ministry Organization, and oral arguments presented by their representatives on April 21, 1977. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 2515 of the 1976 Discipline. ANALYSIS The membership of the General Council on Ministries is determined by Paragraph 1006 of the 1976 Discipline and in particular Paragraph 1006.1(a) which states: "1. Membership.-a) The membership of the council shall consist of: one member from each Annual Conference within the United States elected by the Jurisdictional Conference from a list of three nominees submitted by each Annual Conference which shall include one laywoman, one layman, and one from the clergy (with special attention to the inclusion of clergywomen). The nominations from the Annual Conference shall be made from the General Conference delegates. If there is not an adequate number of persons for the nominees, additional nominees may be selected from the jurisdictional delegates, and if additional nominees are further required, they may be selected from the membership of the Annual Conference. The above members shall consist, so far as possible, of one-third laywomen, one-third laymen, and one-third clergy; a bishop from each jurisdiction and one bishop from overseas selected by the Council of Bishops; one youth from each jurisdiction under the age of 18 at the time of their election nominated by the jurisdictional youth caucus and elected by the Jurisdictional Conference; one young adult under age 30 at the time of their election from each jurisdiction elected by the Jurisdictional Conference; one non-staff representative or alternate selected by each of the general program agencies; fifteen members at large to be elected by the council; three persons from Central Conferences nominated by the Council of Bishops and elected by the Council on Ministries. The secretary of the Council of Bishops; the general and executive secretaries who serve as the chief executive officers of the general program agencies; the publisher and a representative selected by the Board of Publication; and the director of the Advance shall be members with voice but without vote. The general program agencies related to the General Council on Ministries may appoint additional persons to attend the meetings of the council as observers at the expense of the agency involved." In addition, sub-paragraphs (b-h) of Paragraph 1006.1 are explicit in determining a broad range of representation on the General Council on Ministries. It is clear that its membership must be limited as defined by Paragraph 1006.

Decision

The General Council on Ministries does not have the power and authority to add voting persons to its membership beyond those designated by Paragraph 1006 of the 1976 Discipline. TOM MATHENY, President HOOVER RUPERT, Secretary

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