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Memorandum No. 1176

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October 29 2010
In Re: Review of a Bishop’s Decision of Law in the California-Nevada Annual Conference in Light of the Discontinuance of a Local Church with Regard to ¶ 2548.2

At the 2010 session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, a lay member from the Hamilton United Methodist Church presented a request that Item 39 on “Discontinuation” of said local church be ruled out of order. The Bishop made a parliamentary ruling that the item was in order and proper. But because the lay member termed the request as one for a ruling of law, the bishop went further by issuing a decision of law, reiterating that the item is properly before the annual conference, citing ¶ 2548.2:

¶ 2548.2.2a – On such recommendation that a local church no longer serves the purpose for which it was organized and incorporated (¶¶ 201-204), with the consent of the presiding bishop and of a majority of the district superintendents and the district board of church location and building of the district in which the action is contemplated, the annual conference may declare any local church within its bounds as discontinued. ¶ 2548.2c – If the annual conference declares any local church discontinued, the failure to complete any of the prior steps will not invalidate such discontinuance.
The ruling with the Bishop’s report is now before us. The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction. The matter is parliamentary even if it is presented as a question of law. The ruling on it is parliamentary, although erroneously issued as a decision of law. Consistently, the Judicial Council has declined jurisdiction in situations like the present. Moreover, the question is now moot. After the Bishop’s ruling, the Annual Conference approved the discontinuation of said local church, after hearing a statement from the lay member. The lone argument of the presenter that no timely notice was given the local church prior to the motion for discontinuance is mooted by ¶ 2548.2c.
DIGEST
The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction over a parliamentary ruling although issued as a decision of law and on a matter which has become moot under ¶ 2548.2c.

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