Petition 80487

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Admission of Cote d'Ivoire Annual Conference (80487-CC-NonDis)

It is recommended that:
In order to complete the process of Cote d’Ivoire joining The United Methodist Church as part of the West Africa Central Conference, 1)  the Cote d’Ivoire Episcopal Area be included in the Episcopal Fund, 2) the Cote d’Ivoire Annual Conference be given a full General Conference delegation in 2012 (see ¶¶15 and 34 in the Constitution, 2004 Book of Discipline) and 3) the Cote d’Ivoire Annual Conference be granted all other rights and responsibilities of being an annual conference of The United Methodist Church.

Supporting information: Cote d’Ivoire has fulfilled the requirements for joining The United Methodist Church pursuant to ¶575 of the 2004 Book of Discipline (details provided below). The 2004 General Conference adopted legislation related to this; pursuant to Judicial Council Decision 1051, the action of the 2004 General Conference was determined to be incomplete, and, “The remaining formalities of affiliation or admission should be completed by the agencies to whom the responsibility is assigned in time for presentation to and perfection by the 2008 General Conference.” This petition is intended to fulfill that obligation. Financial implications of Cote d’Ivoire’s admission include an increase in the cost of the Episcopal Fund and the General Administration Fund due to the changes from the current status to a fully qualified annual conference of The United Methodist Church.
  
Below are dates and steps taken leading to the integration of the Methodist Protestant Church into The United Methodist Church:
  
1. 18-23 December, 2001: The Methodist Protestant Church of Cote d'Ivoire during its 9th Annual Conference passed a resolution to apply for admittance into The United Methodist Church.
2. March 2002: A delegation from the General Board of Global Ministries consisting of directors and staff visited Cote d'Ivoire to review the application and feasibility of the Methodist Protestant Church joining The United Methodist Church (see ¶591.1).
3. October 21, 2002: A report was made to the Fall Global Ministries Board Meeting at Stamford, Conn. by the Global Ministries Cote d'Ivoire Team recommending that the Methodist Protestant Church of Cote d'Ivoire be accepted as a mission of the General Board of Global Ministries. The recommendation was approved by the Board of Directors. (See ¶591.1)
The Council of Bishops, in consultation with Global Ministries, appointed Bishop John Innis of Liberia as Presiding Bishop of the newly established Cote d'Ivoire Mission. (See ¶591.4)
4. October 4, 2003: Integration of Cote d'Ivoire as a mission of Global Ministries was celebrated at a special worship service held at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in presence of the President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire. During this celebration, the Church declared its former constitution and church order null and void, and received authorization and recognition from the government as a mission of Global Ministries. The Global Ministries delegation to the event was led by Rev. Randy Day with Bishop Minor, President of the Council of Bishops, in attendance. (See ¶575.3)
5. October 5, 2003: Global Ministries, with support from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, issued certificates recognizing pastors of the then Methodist Protestant Church of Cote d'Ivoire as pastors of the newly established Mission of Cote d'Ivoire. (See ¶591.5 and 591.6)
6. May 2004: Application was made to the 2004 General Conference to accept Cote d’Ivoire as a Missionary Conference (see ¶587); however, the 2004 General Conference voted to establish the Cote d'Ivoire Annual Conference within the bounds of the West Africa Central Conference and authorized it to elect a Bishop for the Cote d’Ivoire Episcopal Area (see ¶575, particularly ¶575.5). As affirmed in Judicial Council Decision 1051 in October 2006, certain steps remained to be completed in order to fulfill the provisions of ¶575 of the 2004 Book of Discipline governing admission of an annual conference.
7. January 11-13, 2005: The newly established annual conference held its first meeting in Abidjan to accept and approve the Constitution, Articles of Faith, Discipline, and polity of The United Methodist Church (see ¶575.1).
8. March 10-17, 2005: The 6th Session of the West Africa Conference was convened and held in Abidjan to establish the Cote d'Ivoire Annual Conference and elect a Bishop for the Cote d’Ivoire Episcopal Area. Bishop Boni was elected the first Bishop of the Area. (See ¶575.2)  Bishop Ruediger Minor, appointed by the Council of Bishops, participated in the Conference and supervised the election of the Bishop for the Area.
9. March 13, 2005: Bishop Benjamin Boni was consecrated as the first Bishop of the Cote d'Ivoire Episcopal Area.
10. April/May 2008: This recommendation fulfills the final step in ¶575.4, per Judicial Council Decision 1051.