Lay Delegates to Annual Conference

THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF

THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL ZION CHURCH

IN THE MATTER OF

THE PETITION OF THEODORE SHAW

DECISION No. 1990 - 003

            The case comes before the Council by petition for declaratory judgment filed by Mr. Theodore E. Shaw, a member in good standing of the A.M.E. Zion Church pursuant to Article I Jurisdiction, paragraph B., of the Rules of the Judicial Council in accordance with the Act passed by 1988 General Conference which reads:

 

ARTICLE II - THE JURISDICTION[1]

 

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

 

ARTICLE III - DUTIES[2]

 

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

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

 

            No testimony was presented to the Council.  No hearing requested, as none is needed. 

 

QUESTION TO BE DECIDED

 

The petition presents only one question of interpretation of the law:

 

"… at what point may a member of the A.M.E. Zion Church in good standing, and not a member of the Quarterly Conference be permitted to vote in the election of a Delegate?"

DECISION

 

This question has been presented to all of the Council members.  The 1984 Discipline, Chapter I, page 28, paragraph 66, Section 2 reads as follows:

 

"The Electoral College shall be composed of one Lay Delegate from each circuit or station within the bounds of the Annual Conference; and on assembling, it shall organize by electing a Chairman and Secretary of its own number and "Such Lay Delegate to be chosen by the Quarterly Conference preceding the time of its assembling."

 

            The 1988 Discipline, Chapter I, page 32, paragraph 67, Section 2, reaffirms the actions quoted above.

 

            Further, the 1988 Discipline, Chapter I, page 32, paragraph 67, Section 2, reaffirms the action quoted above.

 

            Further, the 1988 Discipline, Chapter IV, page 49, paragraphs 107 and 108 makes it explicitly clear that Lay Delegates may be elected to serve as a Delegate to an all Annual Conferences except the Annual Conference preceding the General Conference.  Delegates at this Annual Conference shall have been elected from the Quarterly Conference held at each station or circuit preceding the last Annual Conference just before the assembling of the General Conference.

 

            THEREFORE, it is the decision of the Council that:

 

  1. Only members in good standing in his or her station or circuit can ever vote for a Delegate to Annual Conferences.

  2. Members in good standing in his or her station or circuit can never vote for a Delegate to the Annual Conference Preceding the General Conference unless he or she is a member of the Quarterly Conference.

 

BY ORDER OF THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL THIS 11TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1990.

 

James A. Crumlin

 

[1] Originally cited incorrectly as Article I.

[2] Originally cited incorrectly as Article VI.

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