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Decision No. 1099

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October 24 2008
In Re: Review of a Decision of Law by Bishop John R. Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference to Amend the Nominations to the Board of Ordained Ministry

Digest of Case

Under ¶ 634.1a of the 2004 Discipline members of the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry are nominated by the presiding bishop after consultation with the chairperson of the board, the executive committee or a committee elected by the board of the previous quadrennium and with the cabinet. There is no provision for the receipt of additional nominations from the floor.

Statement of Facts

On May 23, 2008, at the Third Plenary Session of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference the Nominations Committee Report was presented. The report had been received by members as they registered. It was moved that the report be accepted and that the Nominations Committee be authorized to make corrections to the report and that a unanimous ballot be cast for those nominated. Bishop John R. Schol ruled out of order an effort to amend the nominations to the Board of Ordained Ministry. Subsequently, an elder in full connection requested a ruling of law, saying that the Discipline does not prohibit nominations from the floor. Bishop Schol ruled that the nomination process mandated in the Discipline does not allow for amendment by the conference membership. The Bishop noted that a conference member can vote for or against the report or abstain from voting, but a conference member cannot amend the report. Only the Bishop can nominate after a consultative process. The Bishop received the request and stated that he would respond in a timely manner. The Conference discussed the future composition of the Board of Ordained Ministry if the nominations were accepted as printed. There was a motion that the nominations for the Board of Ordained Ministry be taken out of the remainder of the Nominations Committee Report, thus dividing the question. The motion was adopted. Debate was suspended. At the Fourth Plenary Session Bishop Schol directed the body to the Nominations Committee report, noting that in the morning session there had been two speeches for and against and that the nominations for the Board of Ordained Ministry would be voted on separately. After discussion it was moved that the matter be deferred until May 24, 2008, and referred to the Bishop, Cabinet, and Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry for holy conferencing and consultation after which they would report to the session. The motion was seconded and passed. Bishop Schol requested that Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the Pittsburgh Episcopal Area preside for this portion of the session. Bishop Schol reported that the district superintendents and the members of the Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry met. They agreed to submit to the body for election the original report with the addition of four persons. With Bishop Bickerton presiding the session approved the Nominations for the Board of Ordained Ministry.

JURISDICTION

The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2609.6 of the 2004 Discipline.

ANALYSIS AND RATIONALE

The language of ¶ 634.1a in reference to the Board of Ordained Ministry says “Members shall be nominated by the presiding bishop after consultation with the chairperson of the board, the executive committee, or a committee elected by the board of the previous quadrennium, and with the cabinet….” The “shall” language of the Discipline (¶ 634.1a) does not allow for nominations for the Board of Ministry to come from any source other than the presiding bishop. The language is mandatory; moreover, the paragraph does not provide any alternative means of nominations. In common parlance the term “shall” is a word of command which is given compulsory meaning. It excludes the opportunity for discretion; in fact, it imposes a duty which may be enforced. Therefore, the Bishop’s ruling was correct and in compliance with ¶ 634.1 and ¶ 634.1a.

Decision

Under ¶ 634.1a of the 2004 Discipline members of the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry are nominated by the presiding bishop after consultation with the chairperson of the board, the executive committee or a committee elected by the board of the previous quadrennium and with the cabinet. There is no provision for the receipt of additional nominations from the floor.

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