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Decision No. 431

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October 28 1977
In Re: A Ruling of Bishop Cannon in the Philippines Central Conference on Question of the Number of Delegates from the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference to the 1976 Session of the Central Conference.

Digest of Case

On the basis of the information provided him Bishop Cannon was correct in his ruling that the 1972 Discipline was the Discipline in effect, and that the number of delegates to which the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference was entitled was five ministerial and five lay.

Statement of Facts

Between November 24-28, 1976, the Philippines Central Conference was in session. After the roll call on November 24, the number of five ministerial, five lay, three ministerial reserve, and one lay reserve delegates from the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference was challenged upon the basis of the legislation in the 1976 Discipline. When; on the evening of the same day; the Committee on Credentials supported the number of ministerial and lay delegates (no reference to reserves) on the basis of the 1976 Discipline, and upon the basis of a report of thirty ministerial members of the conference as of that date, November 24, 1976, appeal was made to the presiding bishop, Bishop William R. Cannon. Bishop Cannon, supported by the College of Bishops of the Philippines Central Conference, decided, upon the basis of the 1972 Discipline, to uphold the seating of the five ministerial and five lay delegates from the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference, whereupon the Central Conference voted to appeal the ruling to the Judicial Council. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 2511 of the 1976 Discipline. ANALYSIS Four issues appear in the instant case: (1) the particular Discipline to beemployed with reference to the number of delegates; (2) the authority or right of a Provisional Annual Conference within a Central Conference outside the United States to elect delegates to the said Central Conference; (3) the minimum number of delegates to which the Provisional Annual Conference was entitled; and (4) the specific number of ministerial and lay delegates the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference was entitled to send to the 1976 session of the Philippines Central Conference. We deal with each of these in the order listed. When the Philippines Central Conference met in November, 1976, it did so subsequent to the 1976 session of the General Conference April-May, 1976. Further, it met subsequent to the sessions of the Annual Conferences and the Provisional Annual Conference during which sessions delegates and/or other representatives to the General and Central Conferences of 1976 were elected. According to information supplied to Bishop Cannon by the College of Bishops of the Philippines Central Conference, the Annual Conferences and the Provisional Annual Conference had met in 1975 at which time they had elected delegates and/or other representatives. Thus the elections were held under the 1972 Discipline, and this is the Discipline that applies or is in effect in the instant case. The authority or right of a Provisional Annual Conference in a Central Conference outside the United States is established and set forth in Paragraph 648 of the 1972 Discipline which states in part: ... A Provisional Annual Conference within the territory of a Central Conference or of a Provisional Central Conference may elect delegates to a Central Conference or Provisional Central Conference on the same basis as an Annual Conference but may not elect delegates to a General Conference. With reference to Paragraph 648 of the 1972 Discipline, the Judicial Council pointed out that in enacting the said paragraph the General Conference provided for a Provisional Annual Conference within the territory of a Central Conference or a Provisional Central Conference to elect delegates to a Central Conference or a Provisional Central Conference on the same basis as the Provisional Annual Conferences in the United States have to their Jurisdictional Conferences (Decision No. 403). Just as Paragraph 648 of the 1972 Discipline establishes and sets forth the right of the particular Provisional Annual Conference to elect delegates to the aforestated Central Conference, so does Paragraph 630 of the same Discipline set forth the minimum and maximum number of delegates to which that Provisional Annual Conference is entitled: "The Central Conference shall be composed of ministerial and lay members in equal numbers ... Each Annual Conference and Provisional Annual Conference shall be entitled to at least two ministerial and two lay delegates, and no other selection of delegates shall be authorized which would provide for more than one ministerial member for every six ministerial members of an Annual Conference, except that a majority of the number fixed by a Central Conference as the ratio of representation shall entitle an Annual Conference to an additional ministerial delegate and to an additional lay delegate. . . ." Given two ministerial and two lay delegates as the minimum number that the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference was entitled to elect to the Central Conference, the definite and specific maximum number to which it was entitled is contingent upon the number of ministerial members in 1975 when election of delegates and/or other representatives to the General and Central Conferences was held. In the absence of the conference Journal which would give the number, we turn to a certified copy of page 3 of the Minutes of the Coordinating Council of the Philippines Central Conference dated March 1-2, 1976. These Minutes record that when the Council on Ministries of the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference met on February 26, 1976; twenty-six conference members were reported: nineteen full members; three members on trial;and four associate members. It is this number rather than the thirty that appears to have been reported at the time the Central Conference was held, November, 1976. It nowhere appears that the Central Conference changed the maximum ratio (Paragraph 630) to fewer than one delegate for every six ministerial members. Therefore the maximum number to which the Provisional Annual Conference was entitled by law, upon the basis of twenty-six ministerial members, was four ministerial and four lay (cf. Judicial Council Decisions No. 371 and No. 403). Inasmuch as the appropriate number of reserve ministerial and lay delegates is not an issue, and was an optional matter, we do not deal with it (see Paragraph 38. Article III, 1972 Discipline).

Decision

Under the 1972 Discipline which was in effect at the time of election of delegates to the 1976 sessions of the General Conference and the Philippines Central Conference, the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference was entitled to elect four ministerial and four lay delegates to the 1976 session of the Philippines Central Conference, provided that the number of ministerial members was twenty-six; five, provided that the number was thirty. In the absence of the 1975 Journal of the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference we retain the matter on the docket. We hold that Bishop Cannon was correct in his ruling that the 1972 Discipline was in effect. We further hold that on the basis of information provided him the number of delegates to which the Southwest Philippines Provisional Annual Conference was entitled was five ministerial and five lay. Gene E. Sease was absent.

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