Judicial Council Decisions Search
Decision No. 478
April 21 1980
In Re: Constitutional Authority of the General Conference to Amend Ministerial Education Fund Legislation.
Digest of Case
The General Conference has the power to revise its previous actions so long as such revision is not in conflict with the Constitution. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2507.2 of the Discipline.
Statement of Facts
At the 1976 session of the General Conference, action was taken which permits an Annual Conference to retain a portion of the Ministerial Education Fund to be used in its program of enlistment and the preparation and professional growth of clergy. Some Annual Conferences have used these funds to make grants and loans for ministerial education. In some instances, Boards of Ordained Ministry have adopted loan provisions whereby if a recipient does not serve a specific number of years in that Conference, either (1) the grant or scholarship becomes a loan which must be repaid, or (2) the loan is not forgiven as it would otherwise be. An amendment was proposed by the Council of Bishops to prevent restricting service in repayment of the loan to a particular annual conference. The question was referred to the Judicial Council asking whether such revision to Par. 731.2(l) is constitutional. ANALYSIS The Ministerial Education Fund was adopted by the General Conference as a fund to encourage and support ministerial education in the Church. While the funds are designated to be retained by the Annual Conference, each Annual Conference has the right to use these funds as it sees fit, so long as that use is consistent with Par. 731.2. The General Conference in session April 21, 1980, requested the Judicial Council to render a declaratory decision on a proposed addition to Par. 731.2(l): ... provided that terms of repayment or forgiveness of loans from M.E.F. moneys shall not be conditional on the recipient's serving a period of years in a particular Annual Conference. While it is the right of the General Conference to add this sentence and revise the program for funding ministerial students, we call attention to the fact that this legislation would be inconsistent with Par. 731.2(n) which provides for precisely what some Conferences are now doing, since M. E. F. funds are retained and controlled by the Annual Conference through its Board of Ordained Ministry.
The General Conference has the power to revise its previous actions so long as such revision is not in conflict with the Constitution.