Judicial Council Decisions Search
Decision No. 926
April 24 2002
In Re: Review of Bishop's Decision of Law in the North Carolina Annual Conference Related to Resolution of Complaint Filed Against a Clergy Member.
Digest of Case
The bishop's ruling is affirmed. The questions are moot and hypothetical.
Statement of Facts
On June 9, 2001, during the regular business session of the North Carolina Annual Conference meeting in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Bishop Marion M. Edwards read into the record of the conference a written request he had received for a decision of law on a series of questions. The request made by an elder in full connection (retired) was offered on the basis of Par. 2613 of the 1996 Discipline. The questions are as follows: 1) Referring to 2624(a) of our Book of Discipline, which relates to chargeable offenses, would you please rule on the definition of the term "crime." 2) Referring to 2624 (c) of our Book of Discipline, which also relates to chargeable offenses, would you please rule on the definition of the term "immorality." 3) Referring to 358.1(b) of our Book of Discipline, which relates to the "Supervisory Response" role during the complaint process, would you please rule as to the legality of the declaration of either "reconciliation" or a "just resolution" without the assent of all parties involved. 4) Referring to 358.1(b) of our Book of Discipline, would you please rule on the authority of a bishop to "dismiss" or "close" complaints made against members of the Annual Conference. 5) Referring to 358.1(b) of our Book of Discipline, indicating that "the supervisory response should be carried out by the bishop and district superintendent in a confidential and timely manner…", would you please rule on the definition of "timely". The bishop ruled on the request within the prescribed 30-day period. Since none of the five questions raised made reference to any action before the Annual Conference, based on Decision 33, the bishop ruled the questions moot and hypothetical. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under 2609.6 of the 2000 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale A review of the minutes of June 9, 2001, of the North Carolina Annual Conference reveal no matters before the Conference related to the questions posed. Therefore, the questions are hypothetical, and the Judicial Council has ruled since Decision 33 in 1946 that a bishop is not required to answer hypothetical questions. (See also Decisions 396, 651, 746, 750, 762, 763, 799, and 820.) Question 4 is related to the bishop's function in the supervisory process and is, therefore, improper.
The bishop's ruling is affirmed. The questions are moot and hypothetical. C. Rex Bevins was absent. This copy subject to final editing and correcting