Statement Regarding the Decision of the Northeastern Jurisdiction
Committee on Appeals
As the Council of Bishops gathers today in Washington, DC for our
spring meeting, we will continue to focus on "Making disciples of
Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." Most of our
meeting will center upon sharpening this focus, including sharing
reports from each bishop's Area about our progress in making
However, the announcement of the results of the hearing by the
Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals in the Beth Stroud
case has been received, and we as the Executive Committee of the
Council of Bishops want to encourage all United Methodists to be
patient with the important legal processes involved.
The Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals has reversed the
Stroud trial decision based upon some technicalities. It also found
that "the evidence in support of the charge was overwhelming and would
be sustained in the absence of a legal error." The committee
concluded that "legal error vitiates the verdict on two independent
grounds." This means that the reasons for the guilty verdict were not
questioned, but the case was reversed on two questions of legal
process. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference has thirty days to
appeal this decision.
The decision of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals
does not in any way reverse the standards in our Book of Discipline.
In fact, the appeal process is an important part of our Book of
We as the Executive Committee of the Council, affirm our commitment to
uphold all of the provisions of our Book of Discipline, while inviting
everyone to join us in patience and prayer for a just and fair
---From the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops of the
United Methodist Church, May 1, 2005.