Decision Number 598


May 02, 1988

Constitutionality of General Conference Action Authorizing Division of Episcopal Areas When Conferences Exceed Certain Membership.


The action of the General Conference is constitutional.

Statement of Facts

On May 2, 1988, the General Conference adopted an amendment to 505 of the 1984 Discipline, adding these words:
. . . and provided further that any episcopal area having two or more annual conferences with more than 125,000 members each may be divided into two episcopal areas by the Jurisdictional Conference with the addition of the needed bishop(s) made necessary by the division. . . . This legislation shall take effect upon adjournment of the 1988 General Conference.

The General Conference requested a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality of the action.


The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under 2615 of the 1984 Discipline.

Analysis and Rationale

Par. 15 of the Constitution gives the General Conference "full legislative power over all matters distinctively connectional," including authority "to fix a uniform basis upon which bishops shall be elected by the Jurisdictional Conferences."

The General Conference was acting within its authority in amending 505, which establishes the formula for the number of bishops permitted each jurisdiction.


The action of the General Conference is constitutional.

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