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Decision No. 474

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April 11 1980
In Re: Request for a Declaratory Decision Relative to a Number of Questions Relating to Actions Taken at a Local Church Charge Conference.

Digest of Case

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction to consider the request because the Council's authority to issue declaratory decisions is limited to the making of rulings as to the constitutionality, meaning, application and effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation passed by the General Conference, as provided for in Par. 2515 of the Discipline.

Statement of Facts

The North Carolina Annual Conference received a request from a member of a local church within that Conference. The petition asked the Conference to appeal to the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision under Par. 2515 and was referred to the Committee on Resolutions and Reference of that Annual Conference. The Committee on Resolutions and Reference recommended that the Annual Conference not ask the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on the questions contained in the petition. The Annual Conference session, however, rejected the report of the Committee and voted to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council. Amplifying material was forwarded to the Judicial Council by the Secretary of the Annual Conference and by the lay person who had originally presented the questions. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction. ANALYSIS The petition from the North Carolina Annual Conference asks five questions relating to the action of a District Superintendent presiding over sessions of Charge Conferences. There is no request contained therein for a decision regarding the constitutionality, meaning, application and effect of the Discipline or a portion thereof, though specific reference is made to paragraphs of the Discipline and interpretation and application are requested about itemized references. While the material presented indicated that the questions had been referred to the Bishop there was no ruling made or even sought that would have permitted the Judicial Council to accept jurisdiction under Pars. 2511, 2512.

Decision

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction to consider the request because the Council's authority to issue declaratory decisions is limited to the making of rulings as to the constitutionality, meaning, application and effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation passed by the General Conference, as provided for in Discipline Par. 2515.

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