STATUS OF UNCOMPLETED AND UNFINISHED BUSINESS AT THE ADJOURNMENT OF THE OTHER THREE GENERAL CONVENTIONS OF THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL ZION CHURCH 

THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF

THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL ZION CHURCH

IN THE MATTER OF

THE PETITION OF DELORES B. LANCASTER

DECISION No. 2014-30

This case comes before the Council by petition for declaratory judgment filed by Delores B. Lancaster, a member in good standing in the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Church. 

JURISDICTION 

 

a)  The Council shall have appellate function. 

 

b)  The Council shall not have original jurisdiction, since decisions are declaratory and final in the interim of the General Conference. 

 

c)  The Council is amenable to the General Conference, and any decision of the Council may be reversed or modified by the General Conference in regular or special session.”  Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (hereinafter referred to as “The Discipline”) 2008, Article II, ¶ 360.   

 

DUTIES 

 

a)  To hear and make declaratory judgments when petitioned to do so when any law is subject to more than one interpretation or any paragraph in the Book of Discipline is of doubtful meaning.   Any person in good and regular standing in The A.M.E. Zion Church can petition the Judicial Council for such a judgment.  The Council's decision is final, unless revised or reversed by the General Conference.”  Id. Par. 361, Art. III. 

 

FACTS OF THE CASE 

By Decision No. 2005- 021 entered on January 7, 2005, The Judicial Council found that all uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the General Conference adjourned dies. 

 

QUESTIONS TO BE DECIDED 

1.Does the decision by The Judicial Council entered at Decision No. 2005- 021 that ORDERED that all uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the General Conference adjourned dies, apply to the Quadrennial Conventions for Christian Education, W. H. & O. M. S. and the Connectional Lay Council? 

 

DECISION 

In our decision entered at Decision No. 2005- 021 on January 7, 2005, The Judicial Council was faced with facts which raised a similar issue concerning the disposition of all uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the General Conference adjourned. In this matter before The Judicial Council now, the manner of the adjournment or close of a General Conference/Convention is not at issue. Petitioner merely raises a question which does not purportedly arise from any controversy that has occurred at the Quadrennial Conventions for Christian Education, W. H. & O. M. S. and the Connectional Lay Council. So in essence Petitioner seeks redress for a matter that has not yet occurred or has not yet come before The Judicial Council from any controversy. 

Since it is the duty of the Judicial Council to hear and make declaratory judgments that may resolve legal uncertainties before controversies occur in the future in The A.M.E. Zion Church we consider the issue of whether any uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the Quadrennial Conventions for Christian Education, W. H. & O. M. S. and the Connectional Lay Council have adjourned dies as it does with the General Conference. 

In reaching our decision concerning the unfinished business at the time of adjournment of the General Conference, The Judicial Council quoted the Parliamentary Procedure of Robert’s Rules of Order, 10th Edition, Pg. 228 paragraph 20 and stated the following: 

“EFFECT OF ADJOURNMENT ON PENDING BUSINESS OR ON AN UNCOMPLETED ORDER OF BUSINESS 

The business that is unfinished at the time of adjournment falls to the ground. It can be introduced at the next session, however, the same as if it had never before been brought up.” Judicial Council Decision No. 2005-021, IV-61. 

Therefore, The Judicial Council found that any business not completed before adjournment fails and must be introduced at the next General Conference. Therefore, The Judicial Council decided that all uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the Conference was adjourned dies. 

In the matter before The Judicial Council we again look to the Parliamentary Procedure of Robert’s Rules of Order which would be controlling in the matter: 

EFFECT OF ADJOURNMENT ON PENDING BUSINESS OR ON AN UNCOMPLETED OR ON AN UNCOMPLETED ORDER OF BUSINESS. Except as the assembly may have adopted rules providing otherwise, the effect of an adjournment on a pending motion or an uncompleted order of business is as follows; 

(c)  When the adjournment closes a session in a body that will not have another regular session within a quarterly time interval, or closes a session that ends the term of all or some of the members (as may happen in an elected legislative assembly or in a board): Matters temporarily but not disposed of, except those that remain in the hands of a committee to which they have been referred, fall to the ground. They can, however, be introduced at the next session, the same as if they had never before been brought up. 

RONR (11TH Ed.), p. 237, ll. 6-15.  Therefore, any business not completed before adjournment fails and must be introduced at the next Quadrennial Conventions for Christian Education, W. H. & O. M. S. and the Connectional Lay Council consistent with the decision of the Council pertaining to all uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the General Conference adjourned dies. 

THEREFORE, it is the decision of the Council entered at No. 2005-021 that all uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the General Conference adjourns would also apply to Quadrennial Conventions for Christian Education, W. H. & O. M. S. and the Connectional Lay Council when there is uncompleted and/or unfinished business when the Quadrennial Conventions close or adjourn said uncompleted and/or unfinished business dies, unless the assembly has adopted rules providing otherwise. 

BY ORDER OF THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL THIS 14TH DAY OF FEBRUARY 2014. 

Justice William King, for the Council 

All Concurring 

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