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Decision No. 483

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April 11 1980
In Re: Method of Amendment of Constitution.

Digest of Case

No portion of the Constitution, unless specifically so provided in the Constitution itself, may be amended or deleted by General Conference action without the required vote in the Annual Conference.

Statement of Facts

On April 23, 1980 the General Conference requested the Judicial Council to determine the constitutionality of deletion by the General Conference of provisions of the Constitution no longer relevant because of passage of time, without action by the members of the several Annual Conferences. Specific reference was made to Pars. 21, 39 and 41. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2507.2 of the Discipline. ANALYSIS There are a number of paragraphs of the Constitution containing provisions apparently intended to be effective for only a limited time after the union of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church in 1968. That time has passed and the question is whether these portions may now be deleted by action of the General Conference alone without the vote of the members of the several Annual Conferences required by Par. 64 which governs amendments to the Constitution. In addition to Pars. 21, 39 and 41 specified in the request for a determination, such provisions can also be found in Pars. 26 and 40. Par. 21, which is Article VII of Section III specifically provides in the last sentence: At the termination of the first three quadrenniums following union, this Article VII shall be automatically deleted from the Constitution. The quoted sentence is part of the Constitution. It is unambiguous. It must be observed and that Section is deleted by the Constitution itself without action by the General Conference or voting in the Annual Conferences. The situation is quite different, however, with respect to the other portions referred to. They are parts of the Constitution. The Constitution in Pars. 64-67 expressly provides how it may be amended and such provisions constitute the exclusive method of amendment with respect to any portion other than Par. 21.

Decision

No portion of the Constitution, unless specifically so provided in the Constitution itself, may be amended or deleted by General Conference action without the required vote in the Annual Conference.

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