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Decision No. 924

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October 25 2001
In Re: Request from the Western North Carolina Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision as to the Constitutionality of Portions of ¶ 602.4 of the 2000 Discipline.

Digest of Case

Those portions of ¶ 602.4 of the 2000 Discipline which mandate that the conference director of lay speaking, one young person between the ages of twelve and seventeen and one young person between the ages of eighteen and thirty from each district be included in the membership of the annual conference is in conflict with ¶ 30 of the Constitution, and is hereby declared unconstitutional.

Statement of Facts

On June 8, 2001, the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, in session at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, adopted the following motion: In conformity with ¶ 2610.2j of The Book of Discipline, the Western North Carolina Annual Conference respectfully petitions the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church for a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality of certain portions of ¶ 602.4, specifically: 1. The requirement that the conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries be included in the lay membership of the annual conference. 2. The requirement that one young person between the ages of twelve and seventeen and one young person between the ages of eighteen and thirty from each district be included in the lay membership of the annual conference. The portions of ¶ 602.4 at issue were passed by the 2000 session of the General Conference. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2610 of the 2000 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale Par. 30 of the Constitution sets forth the membership of the annual conference. This paragraph does not include as members of the annual conference the conference director of lay speaking, one young person between the ages of twelve and seventeen, and one young person between the ages of eighteen and thirty from each district, as mandated by ¶ 602.4 of the 2000 Discipline. The inclusion of the above named persons as members of the annual conference is in conflict with ¶ 30 of the Constitution, and is hereby declared unconstitutional. The only way the above named persons can be mandated to be included as members of the annual conference is by amending ¶ 30 of the Constitution.

Decision

Those portions of ¶ 602.4 of the 2000 Discipline which mandate that the conference director of lay speaking, one young person between the ages of twelve and seventeen and one young person between the ages of eighteen and thirty from each district be included in the membership of the annual conference is in conflict with ¶ 30 of the Constitution, and is hereby declared unconstitutional.

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