Decision Number 247


October 26, 1967

Petition from the Holston Conference for a Declaratory Decision Concerning the Responsibility to Assure that the Provisions of Paragraph 127, Sub- Paragraph 1, of the Discipline Are Followed


Paragraph 127, sub-paragraph 1, of the 1964 Discipline is clear and unambiguous and the petition for a declaratory decision thereupon is denied.

Statement of Facts

On May 27, 1966 the Holston Annual Conference adopted the following resolution:
"RESOLVED by the Holston Annual Conference of The Methodist Church that its President cause to be prepared, submitted and served in the manner provided for in Paragraphs 914 and 918 and otherwise of The Discipline a petition requesting a ruling from the Judicial Council in the nature of a declaratory decision on the following question:
On whom, and in what order, devolves the progressive responsibility to assure that the provisions of Paragraph 127, sub-Paragraph 1, of The Discipline are followed as therein provided?"


Under Paragraph 914 of the Discipline the Judicial Council has authority to make a ruling in the nature of a declaratory decision as to the "meaning, application and effect" of any act or legislation of the General Conference that appears to be "subject to more than one interpretation, or when any paragraph or paragraphs of the Discipline seem to be of doubtful meaning or application." Any Annual Conference may file a petition seeking such a declaratory decision "on matters relating to Annual Conferences or the work therein." Since Paragraph 127 of the Discipline relates to the care of church members in a local church it might well be held that said Paragraph relates to the work within an Annual Conference. However, we do not find that the provisions of Paragraph 127, sub-Paragraph 1, are subject to more than one interpretation or of doubtful meaning or application. Rather, it appear to us that the Paragraph in question is clear and unambiguous. We, therefore, decline to take jurisdiction.

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