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Decision No. 425

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April 22 1977
In Re: Petition from the General Council on Ministries for a Declaratory Decision as to the Specific Status of the National Youth Ministry Organization, its Lines of Relationship with the Board of Discipleship and/or General Council on Ministries and to Whom it is Accountable and Amenable.

Digest of Case

The United Methodist Youth Ministry Organization relates to the General Council on Ministries through the Board of Discipleship and its Division of Lay Life and Work and is not entitled to voting membership on the General Council on Ministries. Though it is responsible for its own administrative budget and has many functions and purposes similar to an independent commission or program agency, it is not designated as such in the 1976 Discipline.

Statement of Facts

Paragraphs 1401, 1402, and 1403 of the 1976 Discipline provide for the establishment of a National Youth Ministry Organization to be composed of a National Youth Ministry Convocation and a National Youth Ministry Steering Committee. Since the provisions of those paragraphs were thought to be vague as to the specific status, lines of relationship and accountability of the Organization, the General Council on Ministries has requested a declaratory decision as to the specific status of the National Youth Ministry Organization, its lines of relationship with the Board of Discipleship and/or General Council on Ministries and to whom it is accountable. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has Jurisdiction under Paragraph 2512.2(c) of the 1976 Discipline. ANALYSIS Paragraphs 1401 and 1402 give attention to the establishment, functions, membership and meetings of the National Youth Ministry Organization, the National Youth Ministry Convocation and the National Youth Ministry Steering Committee. Paragraph 1403 deals with the Youth Service Fund. While it is true that Paragraphs 1401-1403 provide for the functions, meetings and finances of the National Youth Ministry Organization to be composed of two basic units: (1) a National Youth Ministry Convocation and (2) a NationalYouth Ministry Steering Committee, it is also true that the language is not precise as to the lines of relationship between this Organization and the Board of Discipleship. Nonetheless, the implication is clear that the Organization maintains its relationship to the program agencies of the Church through the Board of Discipleship. It is instructed "to make recommendations to the Board of Discipleship and/or other appropriate boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church on concerns vital to youth; (Paragraph 1401.1(i)) "to cooperate with the Board of Discipleship and/or other appropriate boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church on ways to strengthen youth ministry;" (Paragraph 1401.1(n)) The National Youth Steering Committee is to fulfill its responsibility through ten specific functions, including "communicating the actions of the National Youth Ministry Organization to the Board of Discipleship through the Division of Lay Life and Work for its information and response." (Paragraph 1402.4 (j)) Any staff needed shall be nominated by the steering committee and elected by the Board of Discipleship. Further "the Board of Discipleship shall provide access to office space and support services to the staff of the National Youth Ministry Organization. The staff shall be governed by the personnel policies and guidelines of the Board of Discipleship." (Paragraph 1420.5) Among the responsibilities of the General Board of Discipleship, its Division of Lay Life and Work is to have coordination and management of four functions, including "(3). To provide administrative and program liaison relationships with the United Methodist Youth Organization." (Paragraph 1322.3) Paragraphs 802.6 and 803 refer to the accountability and amenability of the program agencies of the Church. It is specified that all general agencies constituted by the General Conference are amenable to the General Conference "except as otherwise provided." Paragraph 803 then sets forth the agencies that are accountable to the General Council on Ministries. The Youth Ministry Organization is not included. To answer specifically the questions set forth in the inquiry by the Board of Discipleship, the United Methodist Youth Ministry Organization is related to the Board of Discipleship through its Division of Lay Life and Work. It is a part of the responsibility of the Board of Discipleship, though the Discipline is quite clear that the National Youth Ministry Organization is responsible for its own administrative budget. Its relationship to the General Council on Ministries is through the Board of Discipleship.

Decision

The United Methodist Youth Ministry Organization relates to the General Council on Ministries through the Board of Discipleship and its Division of Lay Life and Work, and is not entitled to voting membership on the General Council on Ministries. Though it is responsible for its own administrative budget and has many functions and purposes similar to an independent commission or program agency, it is not designated as such in the 1976 Discipline. TOM MATHENY, President HOOVER RUPERT, Secretary

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