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Memorandum No. 954

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October 24 2002
In Re: Review of the Revised Sexual Ethics Policy of the East Ohio Annual Conference as Required by Decision 839.

Digest of Case

The East Ohio Sexual Ethics Policy for Clergy is hereby remanded with the directive that the policy is void and of no effect. Appendices and any other material directly related to the policy must be adopted by the Annual Conference and included when the policy is resubmitted for review and approval by the Judicial Council which retains jurisdiction.

Statement of Facts

In accordance with previous Judicial Council decisions, the East Ohio Annual Conference’s Sexual Ethics Policy is again before this Council for approval. The Judicial Council retained jurisdiction over this matter in Decision 839. As submitted, the policy is not ripe for decision. The policy contains an “Implementation of Policy” provision. Included in that provision are the following sentences: “ A workshop/continuing education event will be provided by the Board of Ordained Ministry. Please see appendices on Education, Advocacy and Guidelines.” The appendices were not included in the submission for review and approval. Indeed, the minutes of the conference reflect that the appendices were not approved by the conference but were referred to the commission on the status and role of women. In Decision 839, the Judicial Council specifically said: “Appendices and other material directly related to the policy must be adopted by the Annual Conference and included when such policies with these appendices are submitted for review and approval by the Judicial Council.” The administrative assistant to the bishop advises the Council that the reference to the appendices should have been deleted editorially based on the action of the annual conference. Deletion of the reference does not cure the deficiency. The policy provides for an educational component and other aspects of implementation that have not been approved and submitted. The appendices and any other material directly related to the policy must be adopted by the annual conference and submitted for review along with the policy. The policy cannot be reviewed until a complete submission is before the Judicial Council.

Decision

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