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Decision No. 929

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April 24 2002
In Re: Request from the Commission on General Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Meaning of "Any Organization" in 507 of the 2000 Discipline.

Digest of Case

The Commission on General Conference does not have the authority to define "any organization "as being limited to official organizations of The United Methodist Church as it relates to 507 and the submission of petitions to the General Conference. This is a distinctively connectional matter. Par. 507 provides legislative access to both "official" and unofficial groups within The United Methodist Church. C. Rex Bevins was absent. This copy subject to final editing and correcting

Statement of Facts

The Commission on General Conference submitted a request for a declaratory decision on the meaning, application and effect of the phrase, "any organization" in 507 of the 2000 Discipline. This question asks which United Methodist groups may submit petitions to the General Conference. In addition the Commission seeks clarification on: (1) whether the Commission has authority or responsibility to interpret "any organization" as being limited to "official" organizations of The United Methodist Church? and (2) if such authority exists what is the definition of an "official" organization of The United Methodist Church? With respect to the meaning, application and effect of "any organization" in 507 of the Discipline it is our determination that the spirit of 507 is inclusive of all individual United Methodists and "any organization" of The United Methodist Church. This includes unofficial groups composed of individual United Methodists. The Commission on General Conference has neither the authority nor the responsibility to interpret "any organization" as being limited to "official" organizations of The United Methodist Church. Determining which individuals and groups have access to the General Conference petitioning process is a distinctively connectional issue. This promotes the objective of equal access within the legislative process and is one of the areas for which the General Conference has primary responsibility under 15 of the Discipline.

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