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Decision No. 437

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April 13 1978
In Re: Request of the Council of Bishops for a Declaratory Decision as to the Right of Missionary Conferences to Ordain Ministers.

Digest of Case

Paragraph 2515.3 provides: "When a declaratory decision is sought, all persons or bodies who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the declaration shall be parties to the proceeding, and the petition shall name such parties . . . " The petition does refer to the three Missionary Conferences, Oklahoma Indian, Red Bird and Alaska, but does not name them as parties. The purpose of the provision is to ensure that those affected will be given notice and an opportunity to be heard. In this instance the petition comes from the Council of Bishops which includes the bishops who are presently in charge of the three Missionary Conferences pursuant to Paragraph 691.1, so to that extent the Conferences have been notified, but the issues and ramifications of this petition may be so major and of such lasting consequences for these Conferences that we have decided to hold the matter on our docket for consideration in our session now scheduled to begin in Denver, Colorado on October 25, 1978. We are making the Conferences parties to the proceedings and are sending copies of the petition and this memorandum to the bishops, conference superintendents and secretaries of the Missionary Conferences so that they or their representatives may, if they choose, submit information and statements, either in writing or in person, at that session.

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