Memorandum Number 770


October 26, 1995

Review of Bishop's Decision of Law in the Oregon-Idaho Conference Concerning Involuntary Leave of Absence and Conference Membership Termination Procedures.


During the June, 1995 session of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference, two questions of law were presented to the presiding bishop, William W. Dew, Jr., by William Brooks, a clergy member, relating to Brooks' being placed on involuntary leave of absence and, subsequently, involuntarily terminated from conference membership. The questions presented challenged both actions.

The offense charged was disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church. [Paragraph 2623.1(e)]. As to both actions, the bishop ruled that the actions of the Cabinet, Board of Ordained Ministry, and clergy session were valid.

William Brooks contends that our Decision 726 invalidates both actions. He is mistaken. Decision 726 recognized the chargeable offense of disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church and upheld the 1994 clergy session's action relating to that charge.

The bishop's ruling as to the two questions of law is correct and is affirmed.

In a separate letter, William Brooks presented the bishop not with a question of law, but with a request for a trial.

The bishop ruled that:

The Joint Review process was Utilized and William Brooks had sufficient opportunity to request a trial following the Board meeting when the Board first notified him that it was recommending termination. He chose to insist on a hearing first, which took place June 14-15, 1995, [sic] William Brooks request for a trial at the time of the clergy session when the clergy affirmed the recommendation for termination is out of order.

The request for trial was not made within ten (10) days following receipt of notice of the Board's recommendation as required by Par. 454.1(f).

The bishop's ruling as to the request for trial is correct and is affirmed.

This copy subject to final editing and correction.

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