Decision Number 113


July 28, 1955

Ruling of Bishop Dana Dawson as to What Constitutes a Pastoral Charge in the Election of Lay Members of An Annual Conference


A pastoral charge consists of all the churches of a Circuit and they are entitled to elect only one Lay Member to an Annual Conference.

Statement of Facts

Bishop Dana Dawson as President of the Central Kansas Conference was asked for a ruling on the number of Lay Members of an Annual Conference and as a basis therefor to decide what constitutes "a pastoral charge" which may elect a Lay Member and a Reserve. In other words, is a Circuit charge entitled to one Lay Member, or one for each church on the charge?

Bishop Dawson ruled that only one Lay Member may be elected from each charge or Circuit.

The Judicial Council is requested to pass upon this Decision of Law made by this Bishop at an Annual Conference.


Section 3 of Article II of Division Four of the Constitution of The Methodist Church (Paragraph 43 (3) of 1952 Discipline) reads in part as follows:

"Art. II-The Judicial Council shall have authority: . . . "3. To pass uponDecisions of Law made by Bishops in Annual or District Conferences."

The records submitted clearly show that such a ruling was made by Bishop Dawson in a session of the Central Kansas Annual Conference with respect to the matter here under consideration. Accordingly, the Judicial Council has jurisdiction to review and pass upon said ruling made by Bishop Dawson in said Conference.


Article I, of Section VII of Division Two of the Constitution of The Methodist Church (Paragraph 21 of 1952 Discipline) reads in part as follows:
"Article I-The Annual Conference shall be composed of all the traveling preachers in full connection with it, together with a Lay Member elected by each pastoral charge . . ."

Paragraph 104 of 1952 Discipline defines a pastoral charge as follows:

"104. A pastoral charge shall consist of one or more churches which are organized under, and subject to, the Discipline of The Methodist Church, with a single pastoral-charge Quarterly Conference, and to which a minister is or may be duly appointed or appointable as preacher in charge. A pastoral charge of two or more churches is a circuit."

This language is so clear indicating that Bishop Dawson's ruling is correct that we need not refer to other sections of the Discipline which support it. Bishop Dawson's ruling is therefore affirmed.

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