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Memorandum No. 1080

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October 26 2007
In Re: Request for Declaratory Decision from the Northern Illinois Annual Conference with respect to the Consistency of a Resolution entitled “Affirming All Families” with ¶¶ 4 and 138 of the 2004 Book of Discipline. IN RE: Request for Declaratory Decision from the Northern Illinois Annual Conference with respect to the Consistency of a Resolution entitled “Conference Affirming Article IV of the Constitution of The United Methodist Church” with ¶¶ 4 and 138 of the 2004 Book of Discipline. IN RE: Request for Declaratory Decision from the Northern Illinois Annual Conference with respect to the Consistency of a Resolution entitled “Affirming Inclusiveness of the Church Concerning Membership and Participation in Accord with the Constitution of The United Methodist Church” with ¶¶ 4 and 138 of the 2004 Book of Discipline.

During the 2007 session of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, three resolutions were adopted as part of the consent agenda. Within the text of each resolution, the Annual Conference requested a declaratory decision. The request for declaratory decision on the three resolutions is as follows: (1) Northern Illinois Conference’s request for a declaratory decision as to the legality of its resolution No. 700-07, “Affirming All Families” adopted June 10, 2007.

“The Northern Illinois Annual Conference seeks a ruling by the Judicial Council of the (sic) United Methodist Church that this resolution is consistent with Article IV of the Constitution of the Church, ‘Inclusiveness of the Church,’ and with the doctrinal statement in Section 138 of the Discipline.
(2) Northern Illinois Conference’s request for a declaratory decision as to the legality of its resolution No. 700-08, “Affirming Article IV of the Constitution of The United Methodist Church” adopted June 10, 2007.
“The Northern Illinois Annual Conference seeks a ruling by the Judicial Council of the (sic) United Methodist Church that this resolution is consistent with Article IV of the Constitution of the Church, and with the doctrinal statement in Section 138 of the Book of Discipline.
(3) Northern Illinois Conference’s request for a declaratory decision as to the legality of its Resolution No. 700-09, “Affirming Inclusiveness of the Church Concerning Membership and Participation” adopted June 10, 2007.
“The Northern Illinois Annual Conference seeks a ruling by the Judicial Council of the (sic) United Methodist Church that this resolution is consistent with Article IV of the Constitution of the Church, ‘Inclusiveness of the Church,’ and with Sections 124 and 214 of the Book of Discipline.
Because a request for declaratory decision requires an affirmative vote of an annual conference, see ¶ 2610 of the 2004 Book of Discipline, each request must be separately debated and voted upon with the result of the vote recorded in the minutes. A request cannot be handled as part of a consent agenda. Here, the three resolutions, which contained requests for declaratory decisions, were considered together as part of the consent agenda, and were not separately debated and voted upon. The Judicial Council lacks jurisdiction for this reason.
DIGEST
The Judicial Council lacks jurisdiction because the requests for declaratory decision were not separately debated and voted upon, but rather, were handled en masse as part of a consent agenda. October 27, 2007 James W. Holsinger, Jr., Jon R. Gray and Shamwange P. Kyungu were absent. C. Rex Bevins, the first clergy alternate, and Solomon Christian, the first lay alternate, participated in this decision.

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