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Decision No. 1124

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October 30 2009
In Re: Review of Decision of Bishop Jeremiah J. Park of the New York Annual Conference Related to a Request for a Decision of Law on Legality of a Resolution Supporting Persons Who Dissent from The Book of Discipline

Digest of Case

A request for a bishop’s decision of law must be submitted to the presiding bishop in writing in the regular business of a conference session. Questions of law that are improperly submitted should be ruled improper by the presiding bishop. The bishop’s ruling that the request for a bishop’s decision of law was improperly submitted is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

The bishop of the New York Annual Conference has reported his decision of law to the Judicial Council concerning a letter submitted to him entitled “Request for Episcopal Ruling on Question of Law.” No further record of the Annual Conference proceedings has been provided. The bishop’s decision of law explains that the written request was received during a recess of the Annual Conference session and, therefore, was not recorded by the secretary of the Annual Conference in the official proceedings. Because the request was not submitted in the regular business of session, the bishop ruled that the request was improperly submitted. Beth Capen recused herself and did not participate in any of the proceedings related to this decision.

Jurisdiction
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction pursuant to ¶ 2609 of the 2008 Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
Paragraph 2609.6 of the 2008 Discipline states:
¶2609.6 The Judicial Council shall pass upon and affirm, modify, or reverse the decisions of law made by bishops in central, district, annual, or jurisdictional conferences upon questions of law submitted to them in writing in the regular business of a session; and in order to facilitate such review, each bishop shall report annually in writing to the Judicial Council on forms provided by the council all the bishop’s decisions of law. No such episcopal decision shall be authoritative, except in the case pending, until it has been passed upon by the Judicial Council, but thereafter it shall become the law of the Church to the extent that it is affirmed by the council. Normally, the bishop shall rule before the close of the annual conference session during which the question was submitted, but in no case later than thirty days after the close of the session. The annual conference secretary shall enter in the annual conference journal an exact statement of the question submitted and the ruling of the bishop.
The record of the Annual Conference proceedings does not indicate that the request was submitted in writing in the regular business of a conference session.

Decision

A request for a bishop’s decision of law must be submitted to the presiding bishop in writing in the regular business of a conference session. Questions of law that are improperly submitted should be ruled improper by the presiding bishop. The bishop’s ruling that the request for a bishop’s decision of law was improperly submitted is affirmed.

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