Skip Navigation

Judicial Council Decisions Search


Decision No. 1034

Back to Search

Share:

April 27 2006
In Re: Request from the Dakotas Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Meaning, Application and Effect of Amendment VII to the Constitution with Respect to the Voting Rights of Members of the Annual Conferences.

Digest of Case

Amendment VII to the Constitution defines clergy membership in an annual conference. The amendment does not limit or change the voting rights of the various clergy categories that remain. Amendment VII has no effect on the voting rights of lay members of the annual conference.

Statement of Facts

The 2005 regular session of the Dakotas Annual Conference requested a declaratory decision on the meaning, application and effect of Amendment VII to the Constitution. Specifically, the request seeks an “interpretation of the terms ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ and the limitations of either ‘clergy’ or ‘laity’ members of Annual Conference voting on various matters before the Annual Conference.” Amendment VII to the Constitution was adopted by the 2004 General Conference and referred to the several annual conferences for ratification under the provisions of ¶ 59 of the 2004 Discipline. The amendment has been ratified by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the aggregate number of members of the several annual conferences present and voting. The Council of Bishops has canvassed the vote. The Council has announced that the amendment received the required majority and is therefore effective immediately. Paragraph 32 of the 2004 Discipline, as amended, now reads in pertinent part:

The annual conference shall be composed of clergy and lay members. The clergy membership shall consist of deacons and elders in full connection, probationary members, associate members, and local pastors under appointment. The lay membership shall consist of professing members elected by each charge . . . .
Jurisdiction
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2610 of the 2004 Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
The Constitution now mandates a definition of clergy status that includes only those categories specified in ¶ 32. There are no categories of clergy other than those enumerated in that paragraph. Voting rights of clergy members are unchanged to the extent that the eligible category remains. Individual clergy whose category is not listed in ¶ 32 must be assigned to a constitutional category by the annual conference if they are to have clergy status. Amendment VII has no effect on the voting rights of lay members of the annual conference.
Decision
Amendment VII to the Constitution defines clergy membership in an annual conference. The amendment does not limit or change the voting rights of the various clergy categories that remain. Amendment VII has no effect on the voting rights of lay members of the annual conference.

Back to Search

Share: