Decision Number 499


October 02, 1981

Re-hearing of Decision No. 496 Pertaining to the Election of its General Secretary by the Standing General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (COCUIC).


A brief, dated September 4, 1981, was received from the General Council on Ministries requesting a re-hearing of Decision No. 496 dealing with the election of the general secretary of the Standing General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (COCUIC) and requesting a Declaratory Decision as to the interpretation and application of Pars. 813, 1006.15 and 2005.6 of the Discipline.

Since the brief sets forth no new evidence for change in the decision previously given, the request is denied. We have already adequately reviewed and considered the questions raised in the brief. Pars. 813 , 1006.15 and 2005.6, for which the Declaratory Decision is requested, were carefully reviewed in the deliberations and preparation of Decision No. 496.

The question raised as to why COCUIC should be given a different process for the election of its general secretary, while interesting, is not one for us to decide. By Par. 2005.6, the General Conference has given such authority to COCUIC, with confirmation by the General Council on Ministries. We thus reaffirm Decision No. 496.

In Decision No. 496 we noted that the practical effect of election by the Commission for confirmation by the Council is essentially the same as election by the Council upon nomination by the Commission. The brief submitted with the September 4, 1981 request for declaratory decision questions that conclusion and says it is not clear what would happen if the elected secretary should not be confirmed.

In the great majority of instances we see no practical difference. Under either process agreement of the Commission and Council is required. Under the process of nomination and election only a person nominated by the Commission can be elected (see Decision No. 75 of the Judicial Council of the Methodist Church). If the Council does not elect the Commission must make a new nomination. Under the procedure of election and confirmation, if the Council denies confirmation the Commission must make a new election which, in turn, is subject to confirmation.

The only significant difference seems to be with respect to the interval between the action of the Commission and that of the Council. One who is nominated does not take office until elected. One who is elected by one body for confirmation by another takes office when elected and holds office subject to the possibility of removal if confirmation is denied.

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