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Decision No. 1140

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October 30 2009
In Re: Review of Decision of Bishop D. Max Whitfield of the Northwest Texas Annual Conference Regarding the Legality of the Annual Conference’s Vote on Constitutional Amendments

Digest of Case

The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction.

Statement of Facts

During the 2009 session of the Northwest Texas Annual Conference, a lay person sent a written request to the Conference Secretary. The Lay Person requested that voting be suspended pending an investigation to determine whether alleged inappropriate conduct by some conference delegates and/or others may have violated the fairness of conference voting. The Northwest Texas Renewal Fellowship distributed material outside the bar of the Annual Conference that suggested how persons should vote. According to the bishop, the rules of the Northwest Texas Conference do not address the distribution of materials outside of the bar of the Annual Conference. The record of the Annual Conference contained no evidence that this petition was ever formally placed before the Annual Conference. There is no indication that any request was made for a ruling from the bishop on a matter of law as it relates to any paragraph of the Discipline of The United Methodist Church. Paragraph 2609.7 of the 2008 Discipline allows an appeal from a bishop’s decision of law in an annual conference when said appeal is made by one-fifth of that conference present and voting. There was no legal question properly posed. Because no decision of law was rendered by the bishop, there is no issue for the Judicial Council to review.

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