Memorandum Number 532


October 27, 1983

Review of Bishop's Ruling in Annual Conference Session


At the 1983 session of the Wisconsin Annual Conference, the following motion was offered on the floor: "In light of Par. 37 (Discipline) and Judicial Council Decision 497, I move that the Annual Conference be given the opportunity to review the findings of the trial court so that the Conference may have the option of affirming or rejecting them."

Presiding Bishop Marjorie S. Matthews ruled that "the only matter . . . on which the Executive Session will vote is the Leave of Absence status in the Board of Ordained Ministry report, on its recommendation."

A motion was made to appeal the ruling to the Judicial Council. The motion failed.

A ruling of a bishop on a question of law is subject to review by the Judicial Council if appealed by a one-fifth vote of the conference in which the ruling is made (Par. 2611, 1980 Discipline), or if the ruling is made in response to a question submitted in writing during the regular business of a session (Par. 56 of the Constitution and Par. 2612). The ruling in question was not appealed, nor was it made in reply to a question submitted in writing during the business of a conference session.

Instead, it was the ruling of the chair on a motion made orally on the floor. As such, it was essentially a parliamentary ruling rather than an episcopal ruling on a question of law. The failure of the motion to appeal had the effect of sustaining the parliamentary ruling of the chair.

Under those circumstances the Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction.

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