Memorandum Number 785


April 24, 1996

Petition from 1996 General Conference for a Declaratory Decision as to the Constitutionality, Meaning, Application or Effect of Newly Adopted Legislation in Pars. 710.1, 710.7, 711, and Regarding Adjustments to Annual Conference Budgets.


The proposed amendments to Pars. 710.1, 710.7, 711, and 716.(a)(2) are unconstitutional.

Tom Matheny, President

Wayne Coffin, Secretary

Statement of Facts

The General Conference has petitioned the Judicial Council to render a declaratory decision on whether newly enacted legislation to amend Pars. 710.1, 710.7, 711, and 716.1(a)(2) of the 1992 Discipline is constitutional. This legislation would permit the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, the Conference Council on Ministries, and the bishop to make adjustments between conference sessions to the budget which had been approved by the Annual Conference.

Par. 36 of the Constitution states: "The Annual Conference is the basicbody of the church and as such shall have reserved to it . . . rights as have not been delegated to the General Conference under the Constitution . . . ."

The Judicial Council has ruled consistently that the Annual Conference cannot delegate to any other entity responsibilities which have been granted to the Annual Conference by the Constitution. (See Decisions 78, 79, 584, 682). This legislation would allow such unconstitutional delegation of responsibility.

Oral argument was heard at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 25, 1996 in the Judicial Council meeting room at the General Conference site. Mary Logan represented the General Council on Finance and Administration.

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