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Decision No. 899

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October 26 2000
In Re: Constitutionality, Meaning, Application, or Effect of ¶ 720 of the 1996 Discipline.

Digest of Case

Par. 720.1 of the 1996 Discipline applies only to church entities created by the General Conference. Other church entities are free to establish their program and fiscal years as they see fit.

Statement of Facts

At a session of the Alaska Missionary Conference, convened on June 2, 2000, the Conference voted to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on the constitutionality, meaning, application, or effect of ¶ 720 of the 1996 Discipline. Specifically, the question raised is whether ¶ 720.1 applies to bodies of The United Methodist Church not created by the General Conference. At an oral hearing on October 26, 2000 in Dallas, Texas, Lonnie D. Brooks made a presentation on behalf of the Alaska Missionary Conference. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2616 of the 1996 Discipline Analysis and Rationale Par. 720.1 of the 1996 Discipline states: “The program and fiscal year of The United Methodist Church shall be the calendar year.” In Decision 869 the Judicial Council declared: Chapter Five of the 1996 Discipline deals with Administrative Order, which defines the agencies related to The United Methodist Church’s vision, mission and ministry. Following the same logic as set forth in that Decision, ¶ 720.1 of the 1996 Discipline is interpreted to apply to all councils, boards, agencies, commissions and committees of the Church, including subunits. These are all entities created by the General Conference. The above-referenced paragraph, then, applies only to those entities of the church. It does not apply to annual conferences, which are created by the Constitution (¶ 30), nor does it apply to other entities of the Church not created by the General Conference. Those entities are free to establish their program and fiscal years as they see fit.

Decision

Par. 720.1 of the 1996 Discipline applies only to church entities created by the General Conference. Other church entities are free to establish their program and fiscal years as they see fit.

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