Decision Number 15


December 07, 1943

Constitutionality of Paragraph 231, Discipline 1940


Action of an Annual Conference in retiring ministers on age limit, under the provisions of Paragraph 231, Discipline 1940, is legal, as said Paragraph has been heretofore held to be constitutional.

Statement of Facts

At the session of the Missouri Annual Conference held September, 1943, three members of the Conference, to-wit: W. C. Franasco, H. T. McGrew and E. J. Speer were retired by action of the Conference alleged to be under the provisions of Paragraph 231 of the Discipline of 1940, by reason of having attained the age of 72 years. Thereupon a request for a ruling was presented to the presiding Bishop, John C. Broomfield, which is as follows:


The following question of law was presented by Paul Barton for a ruling by the Bishop: The Constitution of The Methodist Church Discipline 1940, Paragraph22, reserves to the Annual Conference the right to determine all rights relative to the character and Conference relations of its ministerial members. Is the requirement of Paragraph 231 of the Discipline of 1940 that ministers having reached the age of 72 shall automatically be retired constitutional, and is it binding upon the Annual Conference? This request for ruling appears on page 27 of the Conference Journal of the said Missouri Annual Conference.

Ruling Of The Bishop

The presiding Bishop, John C. Broomfield, ruled as follows Paragraph 231 is not in conflict with the Constitution.


The foregoing ruling of Bishop Broomfield having been considered by the Judicial Council, it is held that the Judicial Council alone has the power to pass on the constitutionality of an act of the General Conference. See Paragraph 431, Article II of the Constitution.

The Judicial Council has already determined that Paragraph 231 of the Discipline of 1940 is constitutional. (See Judicial Council Decision 7.) Therefore the Judicial Council holds that, Bishop Broomfield in this case having properly applied the law in the light of such decision, his said ruling is hereby affirmed.

Concurring Opinion

Dr. J. S. French asked leave to file a separate opinion in the above stated matter, which is as follows:
I agree with the above opinion under the ruling of the majority opinion of the Judicial Council, as recorded in Decision 7; but I am still of the opinion that Paragraph 231 of the Discipline of 1940 is not constitutional for the reasons set forth in the dissenting opinion appended to Decision 7.

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