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Decision No. 675

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October 29 1992
In Re: Appointive Power of Bishop in Relation to Consultation Process.

Digest of Case

There is no conflict between the consultation process and the authority of a bishop to make and fix appointments. Consultation is advisory only.

Statement of Facts

At the 1992 session of the North Carolina Conference, a motion was adopted "to petition the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on the effect of Paragraph 531 (Consultation and Appointment Making) on Paragraph 516 (Working with Ordained Ministers), with response to the question, 'Does the consultation process conflict with the authority of the Bishop to make and fix the appointments?'" JURISDICTION The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2615 of the 1988 Discipline. ANALYSIS The relationship of consultation to the making and fixing of appointments has been addressed in previous decisions of the Judicial Council. (See Decisions 101 and 501.) (See also Par. 57 of the Constitution.) There is no inherent conflict in that relationship. Par. 516 lists among the specific responsibilities of bishops the duty "to make and fix the appointments in the Annual Conferences, Provisional Annual Conference, and Missions as the Discipline may direct. (Paragraphs 530-534)" Par. 530 confirms that the bishop is "empowered to make and fix all appointments in the episcopal area within which the Annual Conference is a part. Paragraphs 531-534 describe the process which the Discipline directs the bishop to follow in the making and fixing of appointments. One important part of that process is consultation, in which the role of the Committee on Pastor-Parish Relations is defined as advisory. By Discipline, it is the bishop who finally makes appointment decisions; but also by Discipline, those decisions must follow an orderly process of which consultation is a mandatory part.

Decision

There is no conflict between the appointment-making responsibility of bishops and the responsibility to follow a process which involves consultation in arriving at those appointment decisions. The role of the Committee on Pastor-Parish Relations is advisory and does not impair the authority of the bishop to make the final decision.

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