Decision Number 626


October 26, 1989

Ineligibility of Ministerial Members on Leave of Absence for Membership on Conference Agencies.


The legislation in ¶ 448.1 which prohibits ministerial members of an Annual Conference from serving as members of conference committees, commissions, or boards while on leave of absence is constitutional.

Statement of Facts

The 1989 session of the Wisconsin Annual Conference petitioned the Judicial Council for "a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality, meaning, and application of Paragraph 448.1 of the 1988 Book of Discipline . . . regarding the eligibility of ordained ministers of the Annual Conference who are on a Leave of Absence status to be members of Annual Conference agencies in the light of Paragraphs 15.1 and 15.14."


The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2615 of the 1988 Discipline. 

Analysis and Rationale

The Constitution, in 35, gives to the General Conference authority to define the ministerial relationship to the Annual Conference: "The Annual Conference shall be composed of ministerial members as defined by the General Conference. . ." Par. 15.2 gives the General Conference power "to define the powers and duties of elders, deacons, supply preachers, local preachers, exhorters, and deaconesses."` In 448.1, the General Conference has defined a ministerial member as one who, among other things, is not eligible for membership on conference committees, commissions, or boards.

In answer to the questions asked in the petition, the legislation is constitutional, its meaning is clear, and it applies to every Annual Conference ministerial member on leave of absence.


The legislation in 448.1 which excludes ministerial members of an Annual Conference from membership on any Annual Conference committee, commission, or board while on leave of absence is constitutional.

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