Decision Number 1
Ruling of Bishop Lee, Philippine Annual Conference
Lay Missionaries as defined in Par. 974, Discipline 1939, are not eligible to vote in an Annual Conference for Ministerial delegates to General Conference.
Statement of Facts
At the session of the Philippine Conference, held in Manila, February 22-29, 1940, Bishop Edwin F. Lee made a decision of law in which he held that, under Paragraph 974, page 289, 1939 Discipline of The Methodist Church, Lay Missionaries, designated therein as "Associate Members" of the Annual Conference, were entitled to vote in the election of Ministerial delegates to the General Conference
In due form Bishop Lee has certified this ruling to the Judicial Council to be passed upon as provided by Section 3, Article II of the Plan of Union. (Par. 43, page 32, 1939 Discipline.)
In view of the fact that the Plan of Union, which is now the Constitution of The Methodist Church (Par. 24, page 27, 1939 Discipline), and the statutory provisions for the election of Ministerial delegates to the General Conference (Par. 514, page 161, 1939 Discipline), both provide that the Ministerial delegates to the General Conference shall be elected by the Ministerial members of the Annual Conference, we are unable to concur in this decision.
It is true that Par. 974 does make Lay Missionaries "Associate Members" of the Annual Conference, but that does not change their status as lay members. It is, therefore, the judgment of the Judicial Council that the presiding Bishop was in error in permitting these lay members to vote in the election of Ministerial delegates to the General Conference.