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Decision No. 452

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April 26 1979
In Re: Request of the General Council on Ministries for a Ruling on the Constitutionality of Pars. 632.1 and 620.1 of the Discipline Regarding Election of the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy and the Interjurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy in View of Par. 55 of the Constitution.

Digest of Case

The methods of election of the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy and the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy do not relate to the work of the General Council on Ministries within the meaning of Par. 2515.2 of the Discipline. Accordingly, the Judicial Council determines that it is without jurisdiction.

Statement of Facts

The Judicial Council received from the General Secretary of the General Council on Ministries a letter stating that the Council in its November 1978 session voted to request a declaratory decision regarding an apparent conflict between Par. 55 of the Constitution and Pars. 632.1 and 620.1 of the Discipline. A brief was filed contending that the paragraphs are unconstitutional. JURISDICTION Par. 2515.2(c) grants the Judicial Council jurisdiction to render declaratory decisions as to the constitutionality of any portion of the Discipline upon petitions by "any General Conference board or body, on matters relating to or affecting the work of such board or body;". The General Council on Ministries is a General Conference body, but we are obligated to determine whether the question raised relates to or affects the work of the Council. Its objectives, functions and authority are set forth in Pars. 1004 and 1005 of the Discipline. We cannot find therein any substantial relationship to the method of election of the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy or the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy. We also note that in Par. 803 neither of these committees is listed among the bodies amenable to the General Council on Ministries. Judicial Council Decision No. 301 deals with petitions from an annual conference and a jurisdictional conference. The reasoning is equally applicable to a petition from a General Conference board or body, in that the question must have a direct and tangible effect on the work of the body submitting the petition in order for the Judicial Council to have jurisdiction. Decision No. 29 emphasizes the obligation to construe strictly our limited authority to make declaratory decisions. To much the same effect is Decision No. 255. Since the Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction to decide this matter on a petition of the General Council on Ministries, this case is hereby dismissed.

Decision

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