Decision Number 67
Appeal From South Central Jurisdictional Conference-Report of Board of Education
Under the Constitution, Paragraph 15 of the 1948 Discipline, the Jurisdictional Conference has authority "To make rules and regulations for the administration of the work of the Church within the Jurisdiction." The act of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference recommending that "no Annual Conference establish a Conference Encampment without consideration by the Conference Board of Education" is constitutional.
Statement of Facts
At the 1948 session of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference held in El Paso, Texas, the Jurisdictional Committee on Education presented its Report No. 2, which in part is as follows:
"We recommend that:
"2. The Jurisdictional Conference endorse the action of the Jurisdictional Board of Education which adopted the following motion in keeping with the Discipline:
"No Annual Conference establish a Conference Encampment without consideration by the Conference Board of Education."
On Friday, June 25, 1948, at the afternoon session of the Jurisdictional Conference, as is recorded in the Daily Christian Advocate, Page 19, Column 1:
"Report Number 2 from the Committee on Education involving certain recommendations from the Jurisdictional Board of Education was presented.
"Paul F. Holmes (Central Kansas) offered an amendment to omit recommendation No. 2, page 13, from the report of the Jurisdictional Council. The amendment was seconded. Dr. Score spoke to the motion and upon vote, the amendment was lost. Report Number 2 from the Committee on Education was approved by the Conference."
The Journal of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, Page 122, shows the following:
"MOTION TO RESCIND: Paul Holmes (Central Kansas) moved that the action of the Conference on Education, item 2 of the report of the Board of Education as carried in the Report of the Jurisdictional Council be rescinded and spoke to the motion. On motion of R. F. Curl (Southwest Texas) the motion to rescind was laid on the table." The Reverend Mr. Holmes then presented a motion as follows: "I move an appeal to the Judicial Council challenging that portion of the Report of the Committee on Education, Report number 2, referred to on page 20 of the Daily Christian Advocate, and further in paragraph 2 at the top of page 13 in the printed report of the Jurisdictional Council which reads as follows: 'The Jurisdictional Conference endorse the act of the Jurisdictional Board which adopted the following motion in keeping with the Discipline: No Annual Conference establish a Conference Encampment without consideration by the Conference Board of Education."'
This motion is referred to on page 122 of the Journal of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. The item appearing as follows:
"APPEAL TO JUDICIAL COUNCIL: Paul Holmes, Central Kansas, then moved that the Jurisdictional Conference appeal to the Judicial Council for a ruling as to the constitutionality of this section, and the motion was adopted."
This appeal, therefore, is now properly before the Judicial Council for determination.
This action of the Jurisdictional Conference is challenged as being unconstitutional, on the ground that (quoting the appellant) it "infringes upon the rights, privileges and powers of three groups, as provided by the law of the Church, i.e., the Conference Woman's Society of Christian Service, the Annual Conference, and the General Conference." We consider it unnecessary to discuss these objections under the three headings noted by the appellant, but only to decide the question on the broad ground as to whether or not it infringes upon the Constitution.
To determine whether or not this legislation is or is not Constitutional we must first examine the Constitution to ascertain what powers are granted to the Jurisdictional Conferences. By Paragraph 15 it is provided:
"The Jurisdictional Conferences shall have the following powers and duties and such others as may be conferred by the General Conference: (1) To promote the evangelistic, educational, missionary and benevolent interests of the Church, etc. . . . (5) to make rules and regulations for the administration of the work of the Church within the jurisdiction, etc."
There seems to be no specific provision in the Discipline, reflecting any action by the General Conference that assigns the Camping Program to the General Board of Education, the Jurisdictional Board of Education, or the Conference Board of Education. But there are many provisions which might be cited as to the promotion of educational matters of a similar character, indicating a purpose to co-ordinate the entire educational program of the Church.
By the Constitution of the Church, Paragraph 22, the Annual Conference is the basic body of the Church, and generally speaking, except as to such powers as may be granted to the General Conference and the Jurisdictional Conferences by the Constitution, it has reserved to it all powers in relation to Church matters. It is, therefore, argued by the appellant that as the General Conference has not legislated specifically as to camping projects, the sole right to control such matters is still in the Annual Conference.
This argument, however, overlooks the powers granted to the Jurisdictional Conferences by the Constitution to promote the educational interests of the Church, in any manner not in conflict with General Conference action. The action in question was certainly in promotion of the educational interests of the Church, and is certainly included in the administration of the work of the Church within the Jurisdiction." The action in question was not altogether directive in character, but may be considered as advisory. It does not infringe upon the power of the Annual Conference to establish and conduct camping projects in any particular manner, but recommends that the matter be first considered by the Conference Board of Education which, itself, is the creature of the Annual Conference.
We are of the opinion that any action of a Jurisdictional Conference must be within the limits of the grant of powers by the Constitution, fairly interpreted, and that the Judicial Council has a duty to perform to guard the Constitution. ln this particular case, however, as we view the action taken to be of an advisory nature, and by a fair construction of the language quoted, to be included in the general grant of powers to the Jurisdictional Conference, we must hold that the action taken was constitutional and the same is hereby affirmed.