GENERAL CONFERENCE DELEGATION

THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF

THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL ZION CHURCH

IN THE MATTER OF

THE PETITION OF BISHOP S. CHUKA EKEMAM, SR.

DECISION No. 2004-016

This case comes before the Council by a Petition of Bishop S.  Chuka Ekemam, Sr., Presiding Prelate, Eastern West Africa Episcopal District, for Declaratory Judgment on General Conference.

 

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.” The Book of Discipline of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 2008, ¶ 360, Article II.

 

DUTIES

 

b)  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. ¶ 361 Article III.

 

FACTS

 

The petitioner seeks a Declaratory Judgment on General Conference Delegation and relevant portions of The Book of Discipline including Article 112, 113, and 114 page 38, 2000 Book of Discipline, and the Article 116 page 39.

 

            Article 112 states: The General Conference shall be composed of Ministerial and Lay Delegates, who shall be elected from the Annual Conference of which they are members.  The General Conference is the supreme body of the A.M.E. Zion Church.

 

            Article 113 states: The Ministerial Delegation shall consist of one Delegate for every ten Pastoral Charges up to twenty, and one delegate for every fifteen Pastoral Charges above twenty and two-thirds fraction thereof.

 

            Article 114 states: The Lay Delegation shall consist of one Lay Delegate for each Ministerial Delegate.

 

            Article 116 states: No Annual Conference shall be denied the privilege of one Ministerial and one Lay Delegate.

 

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

There are five questions presented:

 

1.  How many delegates should each Annual Conference of the Eastern West Africa Episcopal District elect for the 2004 General Conference?

 

Based on the formula in the 2000 Book of Discipline, the Eastern West Africa Episcopal District is entitled to the following number of delegates:

 

Conference                Pastoral Charges      Clergy                        Lay                  Total

Nigeria                                     53                    4                      4                      8

Central Nigeria                        33                    2                      2                      4

River's Nigeria             46                    3                      3                      6

Lagos-West Nigeria                 10                    1                      1                      2

Mainland Nigeria                    30                    2                      2                      4

Northern Nigeria                       9                    1                      1                      2

Cross River Nigeria                 13                    1                      1                      2

Southeastern Nigeria               13                    1                      1                      2

Southern Nigeria                     29                    2                      2                      4

 

Totals for Episcopal Area                            21[1]                   21[2]                   42[3]

 

2.  Does Article 116 states “No Annual Conference will be denied the privilege of one ministerial and one lay delegate" refer only to those small Conferences with one to twenty pastoral charges?

 

The Law applies equally to all Conferences, small and large, domestic and overseas.

3.  Would it not amount to discrimination and illegality for a Conference with 53 or more pastoral charges to be limited to one ministerial one delegate prescription?

 

Would it not amount to discrimination and illegality of for a conference with fifty-three , thirty-three, thirty, forty-six pastoral charges, respectively to be limited to the "one ministerial and one lay delegate" prescription?  Or are there other separate unwritten laws for overseas areas on these matters?  It is discriminatory therefore, illegal to limit any conference as there is no law, written or unwritten covering this action.

 

4.  Declare the number of Delegates each Annual Conference should elect at the General Conference 2004.

 

North Eastern                       Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  Total

New York                                           64                    7                      7                      14

New England                                       37                    5                      5                      10

Western New York                             27                    4                      4                        8

Bahamas                                                4                    1                      1                        2

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                          17                    17                    34

 

Mid-Atlantic I                       Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  Total

Ohio                                                    27                    6                      6                      12

Allegheny                                            16                    5                      5                      10

New Jersey                                         44                    5                      5                      10

Guyana                                               16                    1                      1                      2

Trinidad-Tobago                                   3                    1                      1                      2

Barbados                                               2                    1                      1                      2

Total for Episcopal Area                                          19                    19                    38

 

Mid-Atlantic II                      Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  Total

Virginia                                                44                    6                      6                      11

Philadelphia-Baltimore                       77                    8                      8                      16

E. Tennessee-Virginia                         32                    5                      5                      19

India                                                    52                    1                      1                      2

London-Birmingham                           14                    1                      1                      2

Manchester-Midland                            4                    1                      1                      2

Angola                                                

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                          22                    22                    44

 

Eastern North Carolina       Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  Total

Albemarle                                            36                    5                      5                      10

Cape Fear                                            94                    9                      9                      18

Central North Carolina                       103                  9                      9                      18

Virgin Islands                                      2                     1                      1                      2

North Carolina                                    60                    7                      7                      14

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                          31                    31                    62

 

South Western Delta                       Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  Total

Arkansas                                             14                    7                      7                      14

West Tennessee-Mississippi             23                    6                      6                      12

South Mississippi                              24                    6                      6                      12                   

Louisiana                                             12                    4                      4                      8

Texas                                                   7                      1                      1                      2

Oklahoma                                            5                      1                      1                      2

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                      25                    25                    50

 

Alabama-Florida                  Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  TOTAL         

Alabama                                                          48                    6                      6                      12                   

Cahaba                                                            27                    5                      5                      10

Central Alabama                                             35                    6                      6                      12       

South Alabama                                                39                    5                      5                      10                   

West Alabama                                                 48                    7                      7                      14       

North Alabama                                               43                    8                      8                      16       

Florida                                                             11                    3                      3                      6

South Florida                                                  20                    3                      3                      6                     

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                       43                    43                    86

 

Mid-West                               Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  TOTAL

Indiana                                                            25                    3                      3                      6

Michigan                                                         39                    6                      6                      12

Kentucky                                                        15                    6                      6                      12

Missouri                                                         13                    4                      4                      8

Tennessee                                                       13                    5                      5                      10                   

Central Africa                                                 162                  2                      2                      4                     

South Africa                                                    8                      1                      1                      2                     

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                      27                    27                    54

 

Piedmont                               Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  TOTAL

Blue Ridge                                                       30                    6                      6                      12

West Central North Carolina                          95                    9                      9                      18       

Western North Carolina                                  122                  12                    12                    24

Jamaica

Cornwall                                                         36                    2                      2                      4

Middlesex                                                       32                    2                      2                      4

Surrey                                                             32                    2                      2                      4

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                      33                    33                    66

 

South Atlantic                      Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  TOTAL

Palmetto                                                          47                    7                      7                      14                   

Pee Dee                                                           43                    6                      6                      12                   

Georgia                                                            29                    8                      8                      16

South Georgia                                                

South Carolina                                                45                    6                      6                      12

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                      27                    27                    54

 

Eastern West Africa             (see Above)

 

Western West Africa            Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  TOTAL

Liberia                                                             57                    6                      6                      12

East Ghana                                                      59                    3                      3                      66

West Ghana                                                    104                  8                      8                      16                   

Mid-Ghana                                                     87                    1                      1                      2

Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)                           14                    1                      1                      2

Northern Ghana                                              53                    1                      1                      2

Togo                                                                10                    1                      1                      2

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                      21                    21                    42

 

Western                                 Pastoral Charge        Clergy                        Lay                  TOTAL

Alaska                                                             2                      1                      1                      2

Oregon-Washington                                        7                      1                      1                      2         

Southwest Rocky Mt.                                    15                    2                      2                      4

California                                                        18                    3                      3                      6                     

Arizona                                                           1                      1                      1                      2

Colorado                                                         2                      1                      1                     

 

Total for Episcopal Area                                                      9                      9                      18

 

5.  Would it not be discriminatory and unconstitutional and therefore illegal for overseas areas to be treated differently by being expected to bear the cost of General Conference delegate travel, etc. if they want full or equitable representation?

 

It would be unfair and discriminatory for overseas areas to be treated differently.  The General Church (denomination) is obligated to pay for the delegates.

 

BY ORDER OF THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL THIS 4TH DAY OF MARCH 2004.

 

ALL CONCURRING

 

[1] Total should read 17 instead of 21.

[2] Total should read 17 instead of 21.

[3] Total should read 34 instead of 42.

  

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