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Decision No. 472

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April 11 1980
In Re: Election of Jurisdictional Conference Committees on Episcopacy and the Constitutionality of Pars. 632.1 and 620.1 of the 1976 Discipline.

Digest of Case

Par. 632.1 is unconstitutional and in conflict with Par. 55 of the Constitution insofar as it provides for election of Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy by the Annual Conferences and insofar as it provides for the terms of such committees to expire on January 1 prior to the regular quadrennial meeting of the General Conference. Par. 620.1 is similarly unconstitutional insofar as it refers to election of the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy by the Jurisdictional Conference delegations. In other respects Pars. 632.1 and 620.1 are valid.

Statement of Facts

A petition was received from the Memphis Annual Conference asking for a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of Pars. 632.1 and 620.1 of the 1976 Discipline, concerning the election of the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy, in view of Par. 55 of the Constitution. JURISDICTION This petition from an Annual Conference raises the same questions as the request of the General Council on Ministries for a declaratory decision which we had before us in Decision No. 452. In No. 452 we were required to find lack of jurisdiction because it was not a matter relating to or affecting the work of the General Council on Ministries as required by Par. 2515.2 (c). Since Par. 632.1 provides for an election by Annual Conferences, the validity of which is here challenged, it is a matter relating to Annual Conferences and we therefore have jurisdiction under Pars. 2515.1 and 2515.2 (i). ANALYSIS The conflicts between Par. 55 of the Constitution and Pars. 632.1 and 620.1 of the 1976 Discipline are immediately apparent and irreconcilable. Under the Constitution the standing Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy must be elected by the Jurisdictional Conference. It therefore cannot be elected by the Annual Conference as provided in Par. 632.1 or by the Annual Conference Jurisdictional delegation as referred to in Par. 620.1. Since the Constitution calls for a standing committee, which means a committee with continuing existence, the provision of 632.1 to the effect that the term of the committee expires January 1 prior to the regular quadrennial meeting of the General Conference is also unconstitutional. The committee continues in existence and the members hold office until their successors are elected by the succeeding Jurisdictional Conference. With respect to the remainder of Par. 632.1 we find no conflict with the Constitution. As above stated, Par. 620.1 incorrectly refers to the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy as having been elected by the respective Jurisdictional Conference delegations. They are not elected by the delegations, nor by the Annual Conferences as specified in Par. 632.1, but by the Jurisdictional Conferences. We find no invalidity in the other provisions of Par. 620.1.

Decision

Par. 632.1 of the 1976 Discipline is in conflict with Par. 55 of the Constitution and hence unconstitutional insofar as it provides for election of Jurisdictional Conference Committees on Episcopacy by Annual Conferences, and insofar as it states that the terms of the members of such committees expire on January 1 prior to the regular meeting of the General Conference. In all other respects Par. 632.1 is constitutional. Par. 620.1 of the 1976 Discipline is in conflict with Par. 55 of the Constitution and unconstitutional insofar as it refers to election of the Jurisdictional Committees on Episcopacy by the Jurisdictional Conference delegations. The election must be by the Jurisdictional Conference itself. In all other respects Par. 620.1 is constitutional

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