Judicial Council Decisions Search
Memorandum No. 1069
April 27 2007
In Re: Review of the Bishop’s Decision of Law in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Concerning the Authority of a District Superintendent to Require a Pastor to Take a Leave of Absence.
During the 2006 clergy session of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, a clergy member submitted the following written questions of law:
This question is based upon Para. 352.1b and Para. 359,The presiding bishop issued his written decision of law within thirty days as follows:
The Book of Discipline 2000. Question: Does a District Superintendent have the authority and right to tell a pastor that if he does not request a voluntary leave of absence, he would be put on involuntary leave of absence, when he has not seen nor does he have in his possession the “specific reasons for the request” for the involuntary leave of absence (para. 352.1b)? This question is based on Para. 359.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1d, The Book of Discipline 2000. Question: Does a District Superintendent have the authority and right to remove a pastor from an appointment without 1) filing a complaint, 2) providing the pastor a copy of “the written complaint and any supporting material accompanying it” (Judicial Council Decision 794), and 3) adhering to the provisions of Para. 359.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1d?
1. The request was properly made in writing under the provisions of ¶ 2609.6,The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶2609.6 of the
The 2004 Book of Discipline. 2. The two questions raised did not relate to the current business of the clergy session since no one under consideration for Voluntary Leave of Absence related to the details of the questions. It is, therefore, my ruling that in accordance with Judicial Council decisions #33 and #799, the questions are “moot and hypothetical” and “shall not be decided.” Furthermore, as is stated in Judicial Council decision #799, “The bishop has no authority to make substantive rulings on judicial or administrative matters.” Decision #799 goes on to state that “Questions involving the supervisory function of the district superintendent under the Discipline are improper and should be so ruled.”