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Memorandum No. 1004

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April 28 2005
In Re: Request from the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Legality under the 2000 Discipline of a Resolution Expressing Appreciation of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Decision

The 2004 session of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference passed a resolution entitled “Appreciation For The Girl Scouts Of The USA” which resolved “that the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the [sic] United Methodist Church extend its warm appreciation and commendation to the Girl Scouts of the USA for teaching girls respect for themselves and others and for welcoming all girls into membership and all women into leadership opportunities and employment regardless of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, ability or sexual orientation.” Thereafter, a motion for reconsideration failed. Two days later, a clergy member moved to rescind the adoption of the resolution. That motion was likewise defeated; whereupon, the same clergy member moved, and the Conference approved:

[T]hat concerning Resolution No. 602. Appreciation For The Girl Scouts Of The USA, that the IGRC [Illinois Great Rivers Conference] request the Judicial Council review of [sic] the rightness of this resolution and its support of ‘sexual orientation’ in the Girl Scouts of America [sic]. The meaning and implications of ‘regardless of . . . sexual orientation’ is uncertain and unclear. IGRAC requests Judicial Council Review of this Resolution for possible contradictions to the doctrine and polity of the UMC and the Book of Discipline.
The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction under ¶ 2610 of the 2000 Book of Discipline. Decision 945 states, “[t]he Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction in this matter as the purported request for a declaratory decision does not seek a determination of the meaning, application or effect of any specific paragraph of the 2000 Discipline which is a requirement for request of a declaratory decision under ¶ 2610 of the Discipline.” See also Decisions 750, 762, 810 and 996. The request for a declaratory decision here fails to cite the specific paragraph of the Discipline to be addressed, which is an essential element of such a request. The Judicial Council is without jurisdiction.
DIGEST
The request for a declaratory decision fails to cite the specific paragraph of the Discipline to be addressed, which is an essential element of such a request. The Judicial Council is without jurisdiction. Shamwange P. Kyungu was absent. C. Rex Bevins, the first clergy alternate, participated in this decision.

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