Judicial Council Decisions

Decision No. 1194

In Re: REVIEW OF A BISHOP’S DECISION OF LAW IN THE MIDDLE PHILIPPINES ANNUAL CONFERENCE REGARDING THE LEGALITY OF THE VENUE, COMPOSITION, ACTIONS AND DECISIONS OF THE SESSION, INCLUDING THE ELECTION OF DELEGATES TO GENERAL AND CENTRAL CONFERENCES

DIGEST OF CASE

The Roxy Lefforge United Methodist Church site of the 2011 Middle Philippines Annual Conference was validly chosen and designated. All actions of said Annual Conference session are valid regarding the venue, composition, and decisions of the session, including the appointments and the election of delegates to General and Central Conference. Any purported Annual Conference actions taken outside of said Roxy Lefforge session are null, void, and of no effect. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

During the 2011 session of the Middle Philippines Annual Conference, Bishop Daniel C. Arichea, Jr., received the following request for a bishop’s decision of law:
I move that the Middle Philippines Annual Conference now holding its Regular Annual Session at Palayan City, Nueva Esija, Philippines, March 3-5, 2011, requests the Bishop Daniel C. Arichea, Jr. presiding over this Annual Regular Conference Session, to make a ruling of law as to legality of the venue, composition, actions/decisions made including Elections of Clergy and Lay Delegates to the General and Central Conferences, pursuant to Section IX, Paragraph 60 of the 2008 United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, in view of the Episcopal Power to make such a ruling as provided in ¶ 2609.6 of the 2008 UMC Book of Discipline.

The bishop rendered his decision of law in writing on March 5, 2011. The relevant portion of the bishop’s ruling is set forth:
My ruling is this: The only legitimate Annual Conference session of the Middle Philippines Annual Conference for 2011 is that being held at Roxy Lefforge Memorial United Methodist Church on March 3 through 5, 2011. All actions of this conference are valid for the Annual Conference and for the whole church. This includes election of delegates to both the General Conference and the Central Conference. Any other conference purporting to be a session of MIDPAC is being conducted contrary to our rules, and any actions thereof, including election of delegates to General Conference and Central Conference, appointments and ordinations, are null and void.


Jurisdiction


The Judicial Council has jurisdiction pursuant to
¶2609 of the 2008 Discipline.

Analysis and Rationale


The bishop’s decision of law presents as a further unfortunate set of circumstances and series of events in the Philippines Central Conference centering upon the processing of complaints against and the status of a suspended bishop. By action of the Council of Bishops, the assigned bishop was suspended from Episcopal duties for the period January 20, 2011, through March 19, 2011. Bishop Daniel Arichea was assigned to fulfill all Episcopal duties in the Manila Episcopal Area. The Middle Philippines Annual Conference was convened March 3-5, 2011, with Bishop Daniel Arichea presiding.
The Roxy Lefforge United Methodist Church site of the 2011 Middle Philippines Annual Conference was validly chosen and designated. Any purported Annual Conference actions taken outside of said Roxy Lefforge session are null, void, and of no effect. The lawful venue of the Middle Philippines Annual Conference was at Roxy Lefforge Memorial United Methodist Church, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, on March 3-5, 2011. No bishop other than Bishop Daniel Arichea had any authority to convene the Annual Conference. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed.

DECISION

The Roxy Lefforge United Methodist Church site of the 2011 Middle Philippines Annual Conference was validly chosen and designated. All actions of said Annual Conference session are valid including the venue, composition, and decisions of the session, including the appointments and the election of delegates to General and Central Conference. Any purported Annual Conference actions taken outside of said Roxy Lefforge session are null, void, and of no effect. The bishop's decision of law is affirmed.


Ruben T. Reyes recused himself and did not participate in the deliberation.

Friday, October 28, 2011.


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