Decision Number 173
Ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia in the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference That Ezekias G. Gacutan Is a Layman
The ruling of Bishop Valencia that Ezekias G. Gacutan, a former minister who had voluntarily located, thereupon became a layman, is affirmed.
Statement of Facts
At a meeting of the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference held February 1, 1958 presided over by Bishop Jose L. Valencia the following entries appear in the 1958 Conference Journal:
"RULING OF THE CHAIR: Samuel Rabanillo ask for the ruling of the Chair as towhether Ezekias G. Gacutan is a minister or a layman. After some discussion and citations of disciplinary provisions, the Chair ruled that Ezekias G. Gacutan is now a layman."
Thereafter at another session of the same Conference held January 21, 1960 the report of the Conference Committee on Credentials, which report was approved by the Conference, stated:
"Mr. E. Gacutan is a Layman. (Previous decision of this Conference)."
The following entry appears from the conference records of January 21, 1960:
"Samuel Rabanillo questioned the status of Ezekias G. Gacutan. He made an appeal that the ruling stated last year be made clear alleging that in the 1958 Journal the basis of giving the status of Gacutan as Layman was baseless.
The Chair announced and ruled that decision at Guimba Annual Conference session was recorded in the Journal of that year which declared that Gacutan is a Layman."
The following entry appears from the conference records of January 22, 1960:
"RABANILLO'S APPEAL: Samuel Rabanillo moved that his appeal to the JudicialCouncil be endorsed by the Conference. Duly seconded by Demaceon Caracas, the motion was carried. Rabanillo then presented a letter to the Assistant Secretary, to wit:
THE NWPAC Jan 21, 1960 Dagupan City
Bishop and Brethren: This is to officially inform that I intend to appeal to the Judicial Council the decision of the Chair made in this Annual Conference in Dagupan City, Jan. 21, 1960 session, to the effect that brother Gacutan, Ezekias, is a layman by virtue of the fact that be has asked for a voluntary location was duly acted upon by this Annual Conference held in Seville, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur in 1955, as recorded in the conference Journal for that same year.
Very truly yours, (SGD.) Samuel L. Rabanillo Lingayon, Pangasinam"
The Annual Conference records show that at the 1955 Annual Conference Ezekias G. Gacutan requested voluntary location in accordance with Par. 375 of the 1952 Discipline which was approved by the Conference.
The ruling of Bishop Valencia is properly before the Judicial Council under Paragraph 908 of the 1956 Discipline.
Analysis and Rationale
The matter of voluntary location and also of Lay membership has been before the Judicial Council in other cases. Reference is made to our Decisions No. 110, 112 and 124.
In the Decision No. 110 in referring to a minister who had voluntarily located it states: "A minister when located, automatically becomes a member ofThe Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference where he resides. He continues as a Local Preacher in that Methodist Church and Quarterly Conference or in such other to which he may be transferred until such time as he voluntarily surrenders his credentials or is deprived of them by the due process of a trial."
Paragraph 374 of the 1956 Discipline provides for voluntary location.
Paragraph 310 of the 1956 Discipline provides that after being located a member then becomes a Local Preacher with membership in the Quarterly Conference of the pastoral charge where he resides.
Paragraph 304 of the 1956 Discipline states in part:
"A local preacher is a lay member of The Methodist Church who has been granted a license to preach, or has been ordained, according to the laws of the church (Paragraphs 306, 393, 403). He continues to be a lay member of a local church. . . ."
In view of the voluntary location of Ezekias G. Gacutan, it is clear that he is now a layman and hence eligible for election as a lay delegate.
Therefore, the ruling of Bishop Jose L. Valencia is affirmed.