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August 12 2014
In Re: Request from the California Pacific Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Meaning of "Expelled" in ¶ 2628.2 of the 1992 Discipline

Digest of Case

The commonly understood meaning of "expelled" as indicated in both Webster's New World Dictionary and Blacks's Law Dictionary is that one has been dismissed or put out.  Whether a person is requesting to withdraw from the Church, Jurisdictional or Central Conference, Annual Conference, or District Conference under ¶ 2628.2 of the 1992 Discipline (¶ 2629.2, 1996 Discipline), is dependent upon his/her status as a bishop, clergy, local pastor or diaconal minister.

Statement of Facts

            Following an action pertaining to one of its clergy members, the clergy session of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, meeting on June 12, 1996, adopted the following motion:

                        That a declaratory decision under ¶ 2616.2 be requested on the meaning of "expelled" in ¶ 2628.2. Specifically, does "that person's status shall  be the same as expelled" mean:

                         A.  expelled from the membership of the Annual Conference, or

                         B.  expelled from the membership of The United Methodist Church?

Jurisdiction

            The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2616 of the 1992 Discipline.

Analysis and Rationale

            The commonly understood meaning of "expelled" as indicated in both Webster's New World Dictionary and Black's Law Dictionary is that one has been dismissed or put out.  That is the connotation of "expelled" as contained in ¶ 2628.2.

            Par. 2628.2 of the 1992 Discipline (¶ 2629.2, 1996 Discipline) addresses withdrawal in terms of categories of persons engaged in ministry.  It permits a bishop to withdraw from the Church, the Jurisdictional or Central Conference, a clergy member to withdraw from the Annual Conference, and a local pastor or diaconal minister to withdraw from the District Conference (or the Charge Conference where there is no District Conference).

            In the instant case, the person requesting to withdraw is a clergy, therefore, under ¶ 2628.2 (¶ 2629.2, 1996 Discipline) he is requesting to withdraw from membership in the Annual Conference.

Decision

The commonly understood meaning of "expelled" as indicated in both Webster's New World Dictionary and Black's Law Dictionary is that one has been dismissed or put out.  Whether a person is requesting to withdraw from the Church, Jurisdictional, or Central Conference, the Annual Conference or the District Conference under ¶ 2628.2 of the 1992 Discipline (¶ 2629.2, 1996 Discipline) is dependent upon his/her status as a bishop, clergy, local pastor or diaconal minister.  In the instant case the person requesting withdrawal is a clergy and as such is requesting withdrawal from the Annual Conference.

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