Memorandum Number 616


April 20, 1989

Review of a Ruling by Bishop R. Kern Eutsler in the Holston Annual Conference Concerning Standing Rules for a Proposed Budget Limitation.


At the 1988 session of the Holston Annual Conference, an elder offered a motion to amend the standing rules of the Annual Conference as follows:
In the event that the churches of the Holston area should decrease in total membership in a given year, the Conference Council on Finance and Administration shall present a budget to the following Conference reduced by a percentage point equal to the membership decline.

Although the motion did not deal with reducing General Conference apportionments, the bishop ruled the motion out of order since Pars. 710 and 711 specifically indicate that general apportionments must come without reduction. When the ruling was appealed, the bishop was sustained by the Conference. An appeal to the Judicial Council was approved by the necessary one-fifth vote.

Pars. 710 and 711 clearly set forth procedures for the Council on Finance and Administration to make diligent and detailed studies in the preparation of the budget, providing for no reduction on General apportionments. To establish such total budgetary reductions based on membership only is not consistent with the disciplinary provisions. Par. 703.1 permits Annual Conferences to adopt rules and regulations for their own governance only if such rules do not conflict with the Discipline. The proposed amendment would have been in conflict.

The ruling of Bishop Eutsler is affirmed.

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