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Decision No. 667

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October 24 1991
In Re: Legality of Administrative Board Action Concerning Designated Gifts.

Digest of Case

The Administrative Board has the authority and the obligation to initiate planning and to determine policy in reference to the receiving of funds to be donated to the church or through the church. The ruling of the bishop is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

This matter came before the Judicial Council in reference to a policy for designated giving in First United Methodist Church, Morehead City, North Carolina, North Carolina Annual Conference. That policy said: The Church will accept financial gifts for the following: 1. Local Church Budget 2. Local Programs and Projects approved by Administrative Board 3. District Programs and Projects approved by District Council on Ministries 4. Special Conference Appeals approved by Annual Conference 5. Conference and General Advance Specials 6. Churchwide Special Sundays Offering approved by the Discipline 7. Any United Methodist Church Appeal that meets the requirements of the Discipline Recommendations of the Policy Committee: Designated gifts with conditions requiring the Church to channel funds to recipients other than those herein described will not be accepted. The matter arose because a lay member of the congregation and his wife desired to give a specific gift to be channeled through the Church but to a particular project, The Mission Society For United Methodists. A member of that church asked the District Superintendent of the New Bern District to rule on the legality of the action of the Administrative Board in adopting such a policy. The District Superintendent ruled in favor of the Administrative Board. This matter was appealed to the bishop and the letter from the conference secretary accurately reflects what was done: An appeal was made to the Bishop presiding in the North Carolina Annual Conference. During the 1991 session of the North Carolina Annual Conference, Bishop C. P. Minnick ruled that the District Superintendent was correct in his ruling, stating: "my ruling is that the District Superintendent was correct in his decision to rule in favor of the Administrative Board. Paragraph 256 of the 1988 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church clearly states under the section on 'Responsibilities' of the Administrative Board that 'the Administrative Board shall initiate planning, establish objectives, adopt goals, authorize action, and determine policy, receive reports, evaluate the church's ministries, and review the mission and ministry of the church.' Paragraph 269.4 states that 'the Committee on Finance, shall administer the funds received according to instructions from the Administrative Council or Administrative Board. The committee shall carry out the Administrative Council's or Administrative Board's directions in guiding the treasurer(s) and financial secretary.'" JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2615 of the 1988 Discipline. ANALYSIS The provisions of ¶ 269.4 clearly delegate that authority to the Administrative Board of the Church.

Decision

The Administrative Board has the authority and the obligation to initiate planning and to determine policy in reference to the receiving of funds to be donated to the church or through the church. The ruling of the bishop is affirmed.

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