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Decision No. 617

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April 20 1989
In Re: Request from the Tennessee Annual Conference for a Ruling on a Proposed Resolution.

Digest of Case

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction to consider the request from the Tennessee Annual Conference.

Statement of Facts

The Tennessee Annual Conference at its 1988 Session considered a resolution concerning mandated representation from small membership churches in its General Conference delegation. The record does not reflect that the Conference voted on the resolution, but rather it voted to refer the matter to the Judicial Council for a ruling. JURISDICTION The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction for the reasons stated in the analysis. ANALYSIS At its 1988 session the Tennessee Annual Conference before it a resolution mandating inclusion of a certain number of persons from small membership churches in its General Conference delegation. The Committee on Resolutions voted nonconcurrence, but on the floor of the Annual Conference the resolution was never voted on. Rather, the Annual Conference voted to submit the resolution to the Judicial Council for "a ruling." While we might assume that a ruling on the constitutionality of the proposed amendment is what was meant, that is not stated. Neither is there any reference made to portions of the 1984 Discipline with which the resolution may be in conflict. Further, the request for a ruling submitted by the Tennessee Annual Conference does not reflect that the Conference either adopted or refused to adopt the resolution. We have no assurance that we would be ruling on the final resolution adopted by the Conference. Ruling at this point would be simply speculative. The proper procedure here would be for the Tennessee Annual Conference to vote on the proposed resolution. If the resolution is passed, a ruling on its validity could be requested from the bishop. The ruling of the bishop may then be appealed to the Judicial Council under Par. 2611 or reviewed by the Judicial Council under Par. 2612.

Decision

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction to consider the request of the Tennessee Annual Conference. Concurring Opinion While I concur with the disposition made by the majority I believe it is important to emphasize that qualifications for elections to General Conference, beyond those found in the Discipline, cannot be made by an Annual Conference. It might be laudable for an Annual Conference to elect its General Conference delegates in proportion to the large and small churches in the Conference. Indeed, this may now be done through the normal election process. What the Annual Conference cannot do, is prior to an election limit the qualifications of those elected beyond those qualifications already found in the Discipline. James M. Dolliver

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