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Decision No. 813

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October 24 1997
In Re: Review of Decision of Law of Bishop Neil L. Irons Relating to the Actions of the Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference in Defeating an Amendment to the Connectional Ministries Budget (Par.611 of the 1996 Discipline.).

Digest of Case

Based on Par. 611.3(c) of the 1996 Discipline, Bishop Neil L. Irons properly ruled that the challenge to the action of the Annual Conference in placing Item E.9. Conference Program in the Connectional Ministries Budget is upheld, with the exception that E.9.b. Capital Funds for Camp Properties, and E.9.c. Wesley Foundation should be retained in their present location in the Budget; which means that only E.9.a. Program would be placed in the Benevolence Budget. The bishop is affirmed in the ruling.

Statement of Facts

During the regular session of the June 1997 Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference a ruling of the bishop was requested following the defeat of an amendment made by a clergy member to move budget Item E. 9. in the Connectional Ministries Budget to become a new Item F in the Benevolence Budget. The clergy member requested the ruling based on the legality of placing Connectional Ministries Budget E.9. in its current location, contending that this particular item properly belongs in the Benevolence Budget. Par. 611.3(c) states: The term conference benevolences shall include those conference allocations and expenditures directly associated with the program, mission, and benevolent causes of annual conference program agencies and institutions. Annual conference program agencies and institutions shall be defined as those agencies with responsibilities parallel to those of the program-related general agencies (P 703) and institutions whose work is within the field of responsibility of one or more of those agencies. Administrative expenses that are directly related to the program, mission, and benevolent causes of conference program agencies, including the expenses of the conference council on ministries or alternative structure, may also be included in the conference benevolences budget. The term conference benevolences shall not include allocations and expenditures for other conference agencies and officers whose work is primarily administrative. It shall likewise not include annual conference clergy support funds as set forth in PP 617-625, allocations and expenditures of conference agencies responsible for administering clergy support funds, or apportionments made to the annual conference by the General or jurisdictional conferences. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2613 of the 1996 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale The bishop ruled: The challenge to the action of the annual conference in placing Item E.9. Conference Program in the Connectional Ministries Budget is upheld, with the exception that E.9.b. Capital Funds for Camp Properties, and E.9.c. Wesley Foundation should be retained in their present location in the Budget; which means that only E.9.a. Program would be placed in the Benevolence Budget. The bishop noted that Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference is working on a new structure and using budget labels to help interpret the work of the church. However, the budget headings do conform to the divisions of the budget as outlined in Par. 611 of the 1996 Discipline. Par. 611.3(c) states: "The term conference benevolences shall include those conference allocations and expenditures directly associated with the program, mission, and benevolent causes of annual conference program agencies and institutions." Further, Par. 611.3(c) allows for inclusion in the benevolence budget only administrative expense directly related to the program, mission, or benevolent cause. Par. 611.3(c) expressly prohibits inclusion in the benevolence budget the primarily administrative allocations and expenditures for other conference agencies and officers. Connectional Ministries Budget Item E.9.a. for "Conference Program" is consistent with the defined "conference benevolences" in Par. 611.3(c). This item is properly moved to the 1998 Benevolence Budget of Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference. The bishop is affirmed in the ruling. Connectional Ministries Budget Item E.9.b. for "Capital Funds for Camp Properties" and Item E.9.c for "Wesley Foundation" maintenance are defined primarily as administrative items. Par. 611.3(c) excludes these items from the Benevolence Budget. These items are properly continued in the Connectional Ministries Budget. The bishop is affirmed in the ruling.

Decision

Based on Par. 611.3(c) of the 1996 Discipline, Bishop Neil L. Irons properly ruled that the challenge to the action of the Annual Conference in placing Item E.9. Conference Program in the Connectional Ministries Budget is upheld, with the exception that E.9.b. Capital Funds for Camp Properties, and E.9.c. Wesley Foundation should be retained in their present location in the Budget; which means that only E.9.a. Program would be placed in the Benevolence Budget. The bishop is affirmed in the ruling. This copy subject to final editing and correction.

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