Petition 80040

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Fair Process to Include Laity (80040-CO-¶33-C)

Amend ¶¶33, 602.6, and 2703 as follows:
      ¶33 – Article II - The annual conference is the basic body in the Church and as such shall have reserved to it the right to vote on all constitutional amendments, on the election of clergy and lay delegates to the General and the jurisdictional or central conferences, on all matters relating to the character and conference relations of its clergy members, and on the ordination of clergy and such other rights as have not been delegated to the General Conference under the Constitution, with the exception that the lay members may not vote on matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy except that the lay members of the conference board of ordained ministry and the committee on investigation may vote on matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy, with the further exception that lay members of the district committee on ordained ministry be full participating members of the district committee on ordained ministry with vote.  It shall discharge such duties and exercise such powers as the General Conference under the Constitution may determine.  
      ¶2703. Composition of the Committee on Investigation.
    1    When respondent is a bishop
– There shall be a committee on investigation elected by each jurisdictional or central conference.  Nominations shall be made by the College of Bishops in consultation with the jurisdictional episcopacy committee.  Further nominations may be offered from the floor of the jurisdictional or central conference.  The committee shall consist of seven  four clergy in full connection and three professing members (with not more than one clergy person from each annual conference, if possible),  two lay observers, and six alternate members, five  three of whom shall be clergypersons in full connection and one  three of whom shall be a layperson  professing members.  If additional members or alternates are needed, they may be named by the College of Bishops.  Committee members shall be in good standing and should be deemed of good character.  The committee should reflect racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.  The committee shall elect a chairperson and organize at the jurisdictional or central conference.  Seven clergy  members or alternates seated as members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.  
          2    When respondent is a clergy member of an annual conference, a clergy member of honorable or administrative location or a local pastor – There shall be a committee on investigation consisting of seven  four clergy in full connection, two three lay  professing members observers , and six alternate members, five  three of whom shall be clergy in full connection and one  three of whom shall be a lay observer  professing members.  The committee shall be nominated by the presiding bishop in consultation with the board of ordained ministry (for clergy members) and the conference board of laity (for lay persons  professing members) and elected quadrennially by the annual conference.  If additional members or alternates are needed, the annual conference may elect members to serve for the remainder of the quadrennium.  Committee members shall be in good standing and should be deemed of good character.  The committee should reflect racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.  The committee on investigation shall elect a chair and organize at the annual conference.  None of the members or alternates shall be members of the board of ordained ministry, the cabinet, or immediate family members of the above.  Should a member of the committee on investigation have been a party to any of the prior proceedings in a case that finally comes before the committee, he or she shall be disqualified from sitting on the committee during its consideration of that case, and his or her place shall be taken by an alternate member.  Seven members or alternates seated as members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.”
¶602 – Composition and Character –  6.  The lay members of the annual conference shall participate in all deliberations and vote upon all measures except on the granting or validation of license, ordination, reception into full conference membership, or any question concerning the character and official conduct of ordained ministers, except those who are lay members of the board of ordained ministry and committee on investigation. Lay members shall serve on all committees except those on ministerial relations and for the trial of clergy .
      

Rationale

This petition will reinstate legislation adopted by the 2004 General Conference for ¶¶2703.1 and 2703.2 and make supporting constitutional changes.  The Judicial Council ruled in JCD #993,  “Calendar Item 1167 adopted by the 2004 GC, giving lay professing members the right of voice and vote on the committee of investigation...