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Judicial Council to Determine Size of Cote d'Ivoire Delegation

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  • umcornet
    Judicial Council to determine size of Cote d Ivoire delegation June 5, 2006 TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - The governing committee of the quadrennial legislative
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2006
      Judicial Council to determine size of Cote d'Ivoire delegation

      June 5, 2006

      TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - The governing committee of the quadrennial
      legislative assembly of the United Methodist Church is asking the
      denomination's supreme court to rule on the size of the delegation
      from Cote d'Ivoire for the 2008 General Conference.

      Cote d'Ivoire was accepted as the newest regional conference of the
      United Methodist Church at the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.
      The Commission on the General Conference is asking the Judicial
      Council to rule on the size of the delegation because of an apparent
      conflict between the 2004 action and the denomination's constitution.

      Under the legislation adopted by the 2004 General Conference, Cote
      d'Ivoire would be entitled to two voting delegates at the 2008 General
      Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. That decision seems to conflict with
      the church's constitution, which apportions delegation sizes according
      to a formula outlined in the denomination's Book of Discipline, said
      the Rev. L. Fitzgerald Reist II, of Williamsport, Pa., the secretary
      of the General Conference. The Discipline gives the responsibility for
      making those determinations to the secretary.

      In asking the commission to seek a Judicial Council ruling on the
      issue, Reist said Cote d'Ivoire could be entitled to up to 70 voting
      members if the apportionment formula were to be followed. That would
      make the West African nation's delegation the largest at the
      conference. For the General Conference to stay within its
      1,000-delegate limit, the size of other delegations would have to be
      reduced, Reist said.

      "Ethically, I feel constrained to ask the question," Reist told the
      commission. "How can we admit (Cote d'Ivoire) and have two delegates?
      I don't want to assume anything. Constitutional questions need to be
      decided by the Judicial Council."

      The Rev. Alan J. Morrison of Nashville, Tenn., business manager of the
      General Conference, said the 2004 action could create questions about
      the legality of the entire 2008 General Conference.

      "Someone could stand up on the floor of General Conference and raise
      the issue of constitutionality (related to delegation sizes) and have
      the entire General Conference declared unconstitutional," Morrison said.

      Meeting May 23-25, commission members decided to seek the Judicial
      Council ruling in part because the Discipline directs them to work
      with the secretary on preparations for each legislative session and to
      prepare delegates from outside the United States for full
      participation in the assembly.

      In a related matter, commission members discussed issues related to
      updating and confirming membership totals from conferences throughout
      the church. Reist said some conferences have not updated their
      membership totals since at least 1995.

      The membership totals, Reist said, are important to maintain the
      integrity of the church's legislative process. Lay and clergy
      membership are the major factors in determining the size of each
      delegation to the General Conference. While every conference is
      entitled to at least two delegates, one lay, one clergy, delegations
      are apportioned by the numbers of lay members and clergy. Larger
      conferences get larger delegations.

      "This is a concern, not a criticism," Reist emphasized.

      The commission decided to develop legislation for the 2008 General
      Conference dealing with the issue. The legislation would require
      conferences to update their lay and clergy membership numbers unless
      there are extreme extenuating circumstances.

      News media contacts: Linda Green, UMNS, (615) 742-5470, or
      newsdesk@...; or Stephen Drachler, Public Information, (615)
      742-5411, or sdrachler@....
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