Judicial Council Decisions Search
Decision No. 817
October 24 1997
In Re: Review of Decision of Law of Bishop Joe A. Wilson in the Central Texas Annual Conference Relating to Fair Process in Surrender of Clergy Credentials.
Digest of Case
The Judicial Council declines to render a decision at this time and requests that the bishop, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the Respondent supply the council with all evidence and documents which show that fair process was followed from the beginning of this matter.
Statement of Facts
At the 1997 Central Texas Annual Conference, an elder in the Annual Conference presented Bishop Joe A. Wilson with the following five questions of law: 1) Was fair process denied Charles Rice if he was not advised of the processes available to him as required in para. 454.1a of the 1992 Book of Discipline before soliciting his withdrawal from ministry? (para. 2622 and JCD 4557) 2) When Charles Rice surrendered his credentials on November 17, 1995 under threat of the judicial process for an alleged offense which occurred in May 1991, which offense was outside the Statute of Limitations, was this act of surrender valid since he was not informed of the Judicial Council Decision in regard to the extension of the Statute of Limitations adopted by the 1992 General Conference? 3) Was Charles Rice denied fair process if he was told that his surrender of credentials would be "held in abeyance" until his case could be processed? 4) If fair process was denied Charles Rice, is it not fair and right that the surrender of his credentials should be declared null and void, and that he should have the right to have any legitimate charges against him processed under the judicial section of the Book of Discipline? 5) If the surrender of the credentials of Charles Rice is declared null and void should he be entitled to compensation for lost salary and benefits? The bishop responded that these question's were not questions of law about which a ruling may properly be made under the Discipline. He went on, however, in case that he had erred in his initial ruling, and gave substantive rulings to each question. The Judicial Council declines to render a decision at this time and requests that the bishop and the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the Respondent supply the council with all evidence and documents which show that fair process was followed from the beginning of this matter. In the facts presented, there is an issue of duress and intimidation raised in the process which could indicate that fair process was not followed.