Decision Number 453
Apparent Conflict Between Discipline Par. 2201 and Report 28 of the 1976 Daily Christian Advocate as to the Timing of the Implementation of the Report of the Study Committee on Native American Ministries.
The omission of substance from legislation as printed in the Discipline does not affect the legislation passed by the General Conference. The legislation as adopted by the General Conference prevails and the Study Committee on Native American Ministries may implement its findings and report to the 1980 General Conference.
Statement of Facts
The General Conference Study Committee on Native American Ministries on March 19, 1979 petitioned the Judicial Council for a declaratory ruling on an editorial omission from legislation authorizing establishment of the SCNAM and asked, "Is the Quadrennial Study Committee on Native American Ministries authorized to implement specific findings as provided for by intent and wording in the legislation of the 1976 General Conference.?"
The General Conference of 1976 adopted legislation authorizing the establishment of a Quadrennial Study Committee on Native American Ministries. (DCA p. 477, Cal. Item 527, Legislative Committee on Council of Ministries, Report No. 28).
The legislation reads in the Discipline as follows:
"2201. Study Committee on Native American Ministries. - 1. There shall be a study Committee on Native American Ministries, to be composed of twenty-one voting members, including one representative from the Council of Bishops. It is strongly recommended that 75 per cent of the membership be Native Americans.
2. Functions.-The committee shall have the following functions:
a) To study and to evaluate the basic network system of Native American ministries.
b) To study and to evaluate how Native American ministries have been resourced and developed.
c) To research the basic philosophical and social basis of Native American concepts in The United Methodist Church.
3. Staff shall be composed of three Native Americans: an executive director, an administrative assistant, and a secretary. The committee shall report its recommendations to the 1980 General Conference."
This paragraph in the Discipline omits the following language which was adopted by the General Conference as part of Report 28 of the Legislative Committee on Council on Ministries.
"If during the 1977-80 quadrennium, it is possible to implement specific findings. it should be done and made a part of the report to the General Conference in 1980."
The question before the Judicial Council is whether that omission eliminates that authority of the Committee.
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2515.2(c).
Analysis and Rationale
A reading of the Daily Christian Advocate of the 1976 General Conference concerning Par. 2201 clearly indicates that the paragraph referred to above was omitted in the editing of the Discipline. The Plan of Organization and the Rules of Order of the General Conference of 1976 (DCA p. B-24) states:
"The Book Editor, the Secretary of the General Conference, and the Publisher of the United Methodist Church shall be charged with editing the Discipline. The editors in the exercise of their judgment shall have the authority to make such changes in phraseology as may be necessary to harmonize legislation without changing its substance." (See Discipline, page iv)
However, it is the legislation actually passed by the General Conference that has legal effect.
Par. 611. "Legislation passed by the General Conference becomes effective immediately throughout the entire Church except as otherwise provided (Par. 652.22)."
Therefore, the editorial omission of the material from the General Conference legislation does not eliminate the right of the Quadrennial Study Committee on Native American Ministries to implement specific findings as provided by the intent and wording of the legislation of the 1976 General Conference.
The omission of substance from legislation as printed in the Discipline does not affect legislation as passed by the General Conference. The legislation as adopted by the General Conference prevails and the Study Committee on Native American Ministries may implement its findings and report to the 1980 General Conference.