Decision Number 463


October 26, 1979

Request of an Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Constitutionality of the Action Taken by Several General Boards and Agencies Not to Hold Meetings in States That Have Not Ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.


The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction of the matter either under Discipline Par. 2510 as suggested in the request, or under Discipline Par. 2515.

Statement of Facts

The North Alabama Annual Conference, in its annual session June 1979, adopted the following statement:

The North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church requests the Judicial Council to determine the legality action (sic) (Par. 2510, Book of Discipline, 1976) that has been taken by the executive committees of the Women's Division of the Global Ministries, the Board of Church and Society, the Commission on Status and Role of Women, the Commission on Religion and Race, and the General Council on Ministries of The United Methodist Church, not to hold meetings (boycott) in states that have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

At a hearing on October 25, 1979, oral presentations were made by Donna Morton Stout representing the Board of Church and Society, and Tracey K. Jones representing the Board of Global Ministries.


The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction of the matter under Discipline Par. 2510 or Par. 2515. Although the North Alabama Conference refers to Par. 2510 of the Discipline, the Conference requests a declaratory decision which is covered by 2515. Par. 2510 of the Discipline empowers the Judicial Council to hear and determine the legality of actions of a General Conference Board on matters " . . . affecting an Annual . . . Conference . . ." There is nothing in the statement of facts that indicates that the failure of a General Board to meet in a particular state affects the Annual Conferences.

Par. 2515 requires that in order for the Judicial Council to have jurisdiction, two facts must exist. 1) The question must involve the constitutionality, meaning, application or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof. This petition does not. 2) It must relate to the Annual Conferences or the work therein. The question of where a General Board meets does not have an effect on the Annual Conferences or the work therein.

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