Judicial Council Decisions

Decision No. 711

In Re: Petition from the North Arkansas Conference for a Declaratory Decision to Interpret that Portion of Par. 735.1 which Prohibits a Member of the Staff of the Annual Conference or Any of its Agencies, or a Family Member of such Staff, from Serving as a Member of the Committee on Episcopacy.

DIGEST OF CASE

The following terms in Par. 735.1 of the 1992 Discipline are defined as follows:

Immediate family member shall be defined as spouse, children (natural, adoptive and step children), parents and siblings, whether or not living in the same household.

Conference staff includes all paid personnel of the bishop's office, the district superintendents' offices, and of any conference agency that is constituted as a unit within the Annual Conference.

A district superintendent is excluded from membership on the Committee on Episcopacy based on Par. 517.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The North Arkansas Annual Conference, meeting June 6-9, 1993, petitioned the Judicial Council for an interpretation of who is a member of the conference staff and what are the Annual Conference agencies referred to in Par. 735.1 which states:
No member of the staff of the Annual Conference or any of its agencies, nor an immediate family member of such staff, shall serve as a member of the committee (Conference Committee on Episcopacy).


JURISDICTION
The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2616 of the 1992 Discipline.


ANALYSIS

Immediate family member is not defined in the Discipline. Based on the use of this term in the Discipline as a means to avoid conflicts of interest, immediate family member shall be defined as spouse, children (natural, adoptive and step children), parents and siblings, whether or not living in the same household.

Agency is defined by the Discipline as "a term used to describe the various councils, boards, commissions, committees, divisions, or other units constituted within the various levels of church organization.. " (Par. 801.1)

Conference staff includes all paid personnel of the bishop's office, the district superintendents' offices, and of any conference agency that is constituted as a unit within the Annual Conference. It does not include members of the staff of educational or other institutions that are not a part of the formal organizational structure of the Annual Conference.

The prohibition against a district superintendent serving on the Committee on Episcopacy is not based on whether or not the district superintendent fits the category of "staff." Rather, the prohibition is based on Par. 517 of the Discipline which indicates that the district superintendent is an extension of the general superintendency. Under provisions of Par. 735.1 of the Discipline, however, if a district superintendent is a member of the Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy, that district superintendent cannot be disqualified from serving on the Conference Committee on Episcopacy.

DECISION

The following terms in Par. 735.1 of the 1992 Discipline are defined as follows:

Immediate family members shall be defined as spouse, children (natural, adoptive, and step children), parents and siblings, whether or not living in the same household.

Conference staff includes all paid personnel of the bishop's office, the district superintendents' offices, and of any conference agency that is constituted as a unit within the Annual Conference.

A district superintendent is excluded from membership in the Committee on the Episcopacy based on Par. 517.

Friday, April 29, 1994.


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