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Memorandum No. 1070

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April 27 2007
In Re: Request for a Declaratory Decision by the General Commission on Religion and Race Concerning the Actions of the General Council on Finance and Administration in Recommending a Merger of the National United Methodist Native American Center and the Native American Comprehensive Plan for Purpose of Funding during the 2005-2008 Quadrennium.

On June 19, 2006, the General Commission of Religion and Race adopted a motion requesting a declaratory decision as follows:

I, Betty Jane Admussen, Chair of the Native American Concerns Work Group of the General Commission on Religion and Race, do make a motion to take this matter involving the National United Methodist Native American Center (NUMNAC) before the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision. I move that the General Council on Finance and Administration acted outside its fiduciary role according to Paragraph 811.2 of the 2000 Book of Discipline when it recommended a merger of NUMNAC (a 501c3 organization) with the Native American Comprehensive Plan (a program of the General Board of Global Ministries) and left NUMNAC with a (0) operating budget for the 2005-2008 quadrennium without prior consultation.
The issue at hand is based on Report No. 19 (Revised) of the General Council on Finance and Administration which was a response to referrals from the 2004 General Conference. Item 5 states:
National United Methodist Native American Center (Calendar No. 1073, page 1753; Petition # 41114-GA-NonDis-!, Advance DCA, page 944). The petition requested funding in the amount of $977,572 for the 2005-2008 quadrennium with the General Council on Ministries (GCOM) providing administrative and accountability support to NUMNAC for the general church. The legislative committee concurred with the petition, and their report was adopted by the General Conference, which referred the matter of funding to GCFA on May 5, 2004. GCFA recommended and the 2004 General Conference approved funding in the amount of $232,000 be allocated to the General Board of Global Ministries (GBOM) as shown in the revised Report No. 1 for the purpose of merging the National United Methodist Native American Center with the Native American Comprehensive Plan during the 2005-2008 quadrennium.
The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction. Although the General Commission on Religion and Race has standing under ¶ 2610.2(c) of the 2004 Book of Discipline, a declaratory decision can only seek a ruling “as to the constitutionality, meaning, application, or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation of a General Conference. . . .” ¶ 2610.1 of the 2004 Discipline. This request does not meet these requirements since ¶ 811.2 of the 2000 Book of Discipline is not applicable to the question as posed.
DIGEST
The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction. Although the General Commission on Religion and Race has standing under ¶ 2610.2(c) of the 2004 Book of Discipline, a declaratory decision can only seek a ruling “as to the constitutionality, meaning, application, or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation of a General Conference . . . .” ¶ 2610.1 of the 2004 Discipline. April 28, 2007 Shamwange P. Kyungu was absent.

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