Memorandum Number 1348


October 27, 2017

IN RE: Petition for Declaratory Decision from the Alaska Conference regarding the constitutionality of the relevant portion of ¶ 2008 of The Book of Discipline 2016.


The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction since the matter does not involve annual conferences or the work therein. ¶ 2610.2(j). There is no showing in the record that the question was germane to the work of the Alaska Conference. Our longstanding jurisprudence has interpreted ¶ 2610.2(j) to mean that a request that comes from an annual conference must be germane to the regular business, consideration, or discussion of the annual conference and must have a direct and tangible effect on the work of the annual conference session. See Memorandum 1277.

Dennis Blackwell was absent.

First clergy alternate Timothy Bruster participated in this decision.

Statement of Facts

On June 2, 2017, at the session of the Alaska Conference, a lay member presented the following motion for Declaratory Decision:

The Alaska United Methodist Conference, as it is empowered to do in ¶2610.2(j), requests of the Judicial Council a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of ¶2008 which says, in relevant part, "¶ 2008. Responsibilities— The General Commission shall equip, hold accountable and partner with the Council of Bishops, jurisdictions, central conferences, annual conferences, local churches, general agencies and other connectional structures of The United Methodist Church…" [emphasis added]


The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction pursuant to ¶ 2610.2(j) of The Book of Discipline 2016 [hereinafter The Discipline].

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