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Memorandum No. 1068

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April 27 2007
In Re: Review of Bishops’ Decision of Law in the Detroit Annual Conference Concerning the Power of a Bishop to Insist that a Full Time Pastor Live in a Parsonage.

During the regular business of the 2006 session of the Detroit Annual Conference, a written question of law was submitted to the presiding bishop as follows:

Can the Bishop use the power of appointment making to insist that a full time pastor must live in the parsonage, after the Bishop and Cabinet have told the pastor this is his/her appointment and have proceeded with the introduction of Staff Parish Relations Committee? Does this not deny both the pastor and the local church the flexibility created in the Flexible Housing Policy and deny both the pastor and the local church the “exceptions” that may be made?
Within thirty days the bishop responded in writing to the question of law stating:
The Question of Law submitted by Rev. John N. Grenfell, Jr. regarding the presidential power of bishops in relationship to the Flexible Housing Policy of the Detroit Annual Conference is moot, hypothetical and improper. The Grenfell request did not relate to the business, consideration or discussion of the conference session, nor did it involve specific facts. (See Judicial Council Decisions 33 and 799)
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2609.6 of the 2004 Book of Discipline. As Memorandum 1001 states:
[T]here was no regular business, consideration, or discussion before the Conference to which the request for a ruling of law was germane. There was no connection made as to a specific action taken by the Conference. Likewise the question of law was not raised during the deliberation of the Conference of a specific issue of a matter upon which the Conference was taking action.
The question of law raised did not relate to the business of the session thereby making it moot, hypothetical, and improper. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed.
DIGEST
The question of law raised did not relate to the business of the session thereby making it moot, hypothetical, and improper. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed. April 28, 2007 Shamwange P. Kyungu was absent.

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