Skip Navigation

Judicial Council Decisions Search


ICJ No. 3

Back to Search

April 28 1968
In Re: The status of duly elected Delegates to the Uniting Conference who have been elected to the Interim Judicial Council of the Uniting Conference with respect to the right of such delegates to serve in the General Conference and a Jurisdictional Conference.

Digest of Case

A delegate to the Uniting Conference who has been elected to serve as a member of the Interim Judicial Council of the Uniting Conference may not serve as a delegate to the Uniting Conference during his tenure as a member of the Interim Judicial Council. Upon the termination of his service on the Interim Judicial Council, he is eligible thereafter to serve as a member of the General Conference or as a member of a Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Statement of Facts

At the 1966 session of the General Conference of The Methodist Church and at the 1966 session of the General Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, a Plan of Union for the unification of the two churches was adopted. This Plan of Union included, inter alia: (1) a Constitution for the new church (Part I of said Plan), (2) a plan for the organization and administration of the new church (Part IV of said Plan), and (3) certain Enabling Legislation believed to be necessary to effect an orderly transition of the two former churches into one body. By the requisite votes, the Enabling Legislation of the Plan of Union was declared to have constitutional status. Part IV, Organization and Administration, was adopted in principle subject to subsequent amendment by the Uniting Conference or ensuing General Conferences. The Uniting Conference held in Dallas, Texas, on April 24, 1968, adopted Committee Report No. 6 from the Committee on Judicial Administration (D.C.A. 164 and D.C.A. 192), creating an Interim Judicial Council to serve for the duration of the Uniting Conference, and in the same legislative act elected the members of the Interim Judicial Council of this Uniting Conference. On April 27, 1968, the Uniting Conference requested that the Interim Judicial Council make a Declaratory Decision clarifying the status of duly elected delegates to the Uniting Conference who have been elected by the Uniting Conference to the Interim Judicial Council with respect to the right of such delegates to serve in the General Conference and a Jurisdictional Conference. JURISDICTION Jurisdiction in this matter exists under Paragraph 1717 of the Plan of Union of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church, as adopted by the General Conferences of both said churches at their 1966 sessions (see Decisions of the Judicial Council of The Methodist Church No. 88 and 131). ANALYSIS Neither Resolution No. 7 of the Joint Commission on Church Union, which brought to the attention of the Uniting Conference the desirability of electing a Judicial Council to serve this Uniting Conference, nor the action of the Uniting Conference itself authorizing such election spelled out in detail the powers and jurisdiction of such an Interim Judicial Council, other than to provide "to act in all matters specified in the Discipline of The United Methodist Church and, in addition thereto, to have jurisdiction to pass upon the constitutionality of any act or proposed act of the Uniting Conference." However, Part IV of the Plan of Union states in substantial detail the powers, duties, and composition of the Judicial Council (see Sections 1701 through 1719 of the Plan of Union). We reason that the obligations, duties, and restrictions with reference to service on this Interim Judicial Council should harmonize with the obligations, duties, and restrictions imposed upon members of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church which will be elected and organized before the end of the Uniting Conference. Paragraph 1705 of the Plan of Union provides: "1705. Members of the Council shall be ineligible for membership in the General Conference or a Jurisdictional Conference or in any General or Jurisdictional Board or for administrative service in any connectional office." This provision in the Plan of Union is identical with the provision of Paragraph 902 of the Discipline of the former The Methodist Church. We have the benefit of the interpretations of this paragraph of the Discipline of the former The Methodist Church in Decisions No. 120 and 196 of the Judicial Council of the former The Methodist Church. It is apparent to us that the purpose of Paragraph 1705 of the Plan of Union is to provide at all times a clear separation between the judicial branch and the legislative and administrative branches of The United Methodist Church. Paragraph 1705 of the Plan of Union expresses the will of the church that a person occupying a judicial position in the church should not at the same time hold membership in either the General Conference or a Jurisdictional Conference of said church, and we believe that this prohibition must be extended to membership in this Uniting Conference of The United Methodist Church because it is essentially a legislative body.

Decision

We therefore advise the Uniting Conference of The United Methodist Church that any member of the Uniting Conference who is elected by said conference to a place on the Interim Judicial Council of the Uniting Conference must relinquish his seat as a member of the Uniting Conference so long as he remains on the Interim Judicial Council or until said Council has completed its responsibilities to the Uniting Conference. Thereupon, said member may serve in the ensuing General Conference or a Jurisdictional Conference or a Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church to which he may have been elected as a delegate and shall not be limited by any restrictions in Paragraph 1705. Torrey A. Kaatz and William K. Messmer did not PAUL R. ERVIN President, Interim Judicial Council J. RUSSELL THROCKMORTON Secretary, Interim Judicial Council

Back to Search