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Decision No. 776

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April 21 1996
In Re: Review of Bishop's Decision of Law in the Iowa Conference Concerning Validity of Request for Surrender of Credentials

Digest of Case

The additional documents from the Board of Ordained Ministry and Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan, which were requested in Decision 772, related to the bishop's rulings on items 20 and 21, submitted during the June 1995 Annual Conference. The rulings of the bishop are affirmed to the extent that suspension from clergy responsibilities were recommended by the executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the reference on page 412 of the Pastoral Record of the Iowa Conference Journal 1995 constitutes consent to the continuation of suspension of the clergy member until the verdict of the Trial Court is effected. Tom Matheny, President Wayne Coffin, Secretary

Statement of Facts

The additional documents from the Board of Ordained Ministry and Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan, which were requested in Decision 772, related to the bishop's rulings on items 20 and 21, submitted during the June 1995 Annual Conference. The rulings of the bishop are affirmed to the extent that suspension from clergy responsibilities were recommended by the executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the reference on page 412 of the Pastoral Record of the Iowa Conference Journal 1995 constitutes consent to the continuation of suspension of the clergy member until the verdict of the Trial court is effected. Under Par. 454.1(b), the bishop is allowed to suspend a person for a period of sixty days from all clergy responsibilities upon recommendation of the executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry. Or, suspension may be applied when five or more members of the Committee on Investigation under Par. 2625.3(d) recommend temporary suspension from all clergy responsibilities. (Note Decision 498) The Constitution in Paragraph 36 of the 1992 Discipline grants to the ministerial members of the Annual Conference the right to vote "on all matters relating to the character and conference relations of its ministerial members." At no place in the Constitution is this power given to the bishop. The only submitted reference on page 412 of the Pastoral Record of the Iowa Conference Journal 1995 simply indicates that the clergy member was not appointed in 1995. In this instance, the Judicial Council's recommendation for remedy would be to remand the case back to the executive committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Iowa Conference to the point of recommendation to the bishop for the suspension process of Par. 454.1(b). Since recent data indicate that the properly requested trial was set for February 26, 1996, this issue is moot. In Par. 2626.1(a)(3) on Trial Procedures, the process allows opportunity for correction of errors of procedure by appeal to the presiding officer of the Trial Court before the convening of the Trial Court. Otherwise, the right to appeal on such matters is forfeited. There was no information provided to the Council on any such appeal. If the February 26, 1996 trial is completed, the Council concludes that any error in procedure is moot. The conference is commended for properly providing the clergy person under suspension from all clergy responsibilities with compensation, housing allowance, and benefits during the period prior to the trial.

Decision

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