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Decision No. 1023

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October 28 2005
In Re: Continuation of Review of Bishop’s Decision of Law in the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Concerning Structure Modification for the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference as Required by Decision 1015.

Digest of Case

The proposed plan of structure does not comply with the Discipline and the decisions of the Judicial Council. When an annual conference seeks to establish its own structure, that structure must be in accordance with the requirements of the Discipline and decisions of the Judicial Council in order to be valid. The plan of structure proposed by the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference is null, void, and of no effect.

Statement of Facts

In response to Decision 1015, the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference has submitted documents concerning its Proposed 2004 Annual Conference Modification. In Decision 1015, we reviewed four rulings of law by Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. The record provided was incomplete.

Jurisdiction
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2609.6 of the 2000 Discipline as retained in Decision 1015.
Analysis and Rationale
Upon review of the proposed plan, certain provisions of the proposed Plan are in violation of the Discipline. Annual conference plans of structure must comply with the Discipline and previous Judicial Council decisions. The authority for the proposed Board of Stewards is not provided for in various paragraphs set forth in the Discipline and numerous Judicial Council decisions. The Constitution, in ¶15.15, does not permit the establishment of an annual conference Board of Stewards with broad powers as outlined in the proposed Plan. Because the authority of the Annual Conference cannot be delegated the proposed Board of Stewards does not have responsibility to make decisions between sessions of the Annual Conference. The authority of the Annual Conference cannot be delegated. SeeDecisions 584 and 590 Any General Conference legislation enacted must allow annual conferences to utilize structures unique to their mission and must preserve the connectional system in accordance with the Discipline. See Decision 815 The existence of mandated structures at the general church level requires parallel structures at the Annual Conference level as an expression of the connectional principles that bind us together in our collective ministry. Any annual conference structure may be unique to their mission but must preserve the connection. Annual Conferences would be well guided by Judicial Council decision as set forth in (Decisions 314, 339, 411, 417, 418, 640, 680, 712, 827, and 831) The Judicial Council has stated, "...the Annual Conference may not delegate any authority given it by the Discipline." (Decision 584 and 827) In previous proposed plans, the Judicial Council mentions several problems with these plans, among other things that a personnel committee which would hire, review, evaluate, remove and manage all employed personnel of the Annual Conference. (Decision 848) Further, the Judicial Council asserts: “The checks and balance system, which provides for the separation of powers and authority required be must be followed.” (Decision 827) With respect to Episcopal membership on conference boards and agencies, a bishop, effective or retired, is not a member of an Annual Conference. Therefore, a Bishop may serve on conference boards and agencies only in an ex-officio capacity. (Decision 22) The Rules may not conflict with the Discipline or Judicial Council decisions. When an annual conference seeks to establish its own structure, that structure must be in accordance with the requirements of the Discipline and the decisions of the Judicial Council in order to be valid. The proposed plan of structure does not comply with the Discipline and decisions of the Judicial Council. The plan of structure proposed by the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference is null, void and of no effect.
Decision
The proposed plan of structure does not comply with the Discipline and the decisions of the Judicial Council. When an annual conference seeks to establish its own structure, that structure must be in accordance with the requirements of the Discipline and decisions of the Judicial Council in order to be valid. The plan of structure proposed by the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference is null, void, and of no effect. October 29, 2005 Shamwange P. Kyungu was absent.

Decision

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