Decision Number 216
Request of the Council of Bishops for a Reconsideration of Decision No. 163 Regarding the Constitutionality of Paragraph 431.7 of The Discipline
The Judicial Council declines to reconsider its Decision No. 163 relating to the constitutionality of Paragraph 431.7 of the Discipline.
Statement of Facts
During the 1964 session of The General Conference of The Methodist Church meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Council of Bishops requested the Judicial Council to reconsider its decision No. 163 relating to the constitutionality of Paragraph 431.7 of the Discipline which, inter alia, provides that a ministerial member of an Annual Conference may not be transferred to another Annual Conference without his consent.
In the Petition now before us the petitioner avers that the Judicial Council should reconsider its Decision in No. 163 (and possibly also No. 114) "in light of numerous pastoral appointments posed by the planned transfer of churches from one conference to another, the realignment of Annual Conference boundaries, and the transfer and merger of Annual Conferences in part or in their entirety into one or several existing geographic Annual Conferences."
Analysis and Rationale
This question first came before the Judicial Council in 1955, at which time the constitutionally of the questioned paragraph of the Discipline was upheld by Decision No. 114. Thereafter, in 1959, the Council of Bishops requested a rehearing on the question answered by Decision No. 114, and the Judicial Council after hearing extensive argument and considering carefully prepared briefs on behalf of the Council of Bishops declined the Petition to Rehear by its Decision 163.
Despite new problems which may be presented in prospective or possible changes in conference boundaries, there has been no change in the Constitution or the legislation of The Methodist Church affecting the fundamental question at issue here, which question is: "May a ministerial member of an Annual Conferencebe transferred to another Annual Conference without his consent?"
We have given careful consideration to the Petition to Rehear which is now before us and we see no reason to grant a rehearing on this question at this time. We would further point out that if current or future needs of the church dictate an amendment of Paragraph 437.1 of the Discipline to provide that a ministerial member of an Annual Conference may be moved from one Annual Conference to another Annual Conference without his consent, then this is a matter for the attention of the legislative body of the Church, The General Conference.
For the reasons stated in the analysis of this decision, we decline the Petition to Rehear.