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Memorandum No. 1144

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April 23 2010
In Re: Review of a Bishop’s Decision of Law in the Indiana Conference Regarding Whether the 2010 Budget was Properly Before the Annual Conference.

The Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church came into existence on October 4, 2008, by virtue of the merger of the North Indiana and the South Indiana Conferences. Among the many items of conference business taken up at its First Annual Session 2009 was the report of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration that recommended a set of Conference Financial Policies. Under the General Provisions of the Conference Financial Policies, each church is asked to tithe its income to the Annual Conference. Each church is also asked to contribute an additional 1% of the church income to fund District Ministries. Tithe income received over and above the set Tithe & Income budget in a fiscal year is to be disbursed in the following manner: 50% of the excess tithe income is to be sent to pay General Church apportionments up to 100% and the remaining 50% of the excess to the income is to be allocated by the Council on Finance and Administration and reported at the subsequent Annual Conference session. The Conference Council on Finance and Administration recommended that the Annual Conference adopt a 2010 Conference budget that provided for $15,180,000 in income and $15,166,718 expenses. The General Church obligation line item called for payment of $4,725,611 or a figure equal to 80% of the General Church obligation which was less than the amount determined by the General Council on Finance and Administration. The request for a bishop’s decision of law is as follows:

Pursuant to our discussion in the first session of this annual conference, I respectively request a rule of law as to the question of whether this budget is properly before us under paragraph 615.1, 634.4.b.1 and 811.4 of the 2008 Book of Discipline.
The Bishop’s response to the request is as follows:
This request is not for a Decision of Law, but rather it is a procedural issue. I ruled that the proposed 2010 budget was properly before the Annual Conference because it was brought to the Annual Conference by the Conference CFA which is the only body that can bring the budget to the Annual Conference.
Mr. Roth was obviously not happy with the budget-building processes used by the CFA, but my ruling was that, as always, persons had the privilege from the floor of Annual Conference to offer amendments to the budget, and so the budget as presented to the Annual Conference by CFA was properly before the Conference (which in fact adopted the budget without approving any of several amendments offered).
The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction. The request was not for a bishop’s decision of law, but rather, was a parliamentary inquiry. The Judicial Council has consistently held that we have no jurisdiction to review parliamentary rulings made by a presiding bishop in an Annual Conference session.
DIGEST
The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction to review parliamentary rulings made by a presiding bishop in an Annual Conference session.

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