Bishops request declaratory decision from Judicial Council on Protocol legislation

March 11, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.  - The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has asked the denomination’s highest court, the Judicial Council, to decide whether the legislation implementing The Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation is constitutional.

A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups and several bishops from around the world collaborated on the agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church. The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved on Dec. 17.

The resulting Protocol Legislation has being submitted to the upcoming 2020 General Conference by several conferences including the Cavite Annual Conference in the Philippines, Sierra Leone Annual Conference in Africa and the Michigan Annual Conference in North America.

Cavite endorsed and forwarded the Protocol Legislation to the Commission on the General Conference as proposed legislation on Feb. 13.  The Sierra Leone Conference approved and forwarded the Protocol Legislation on March 6. The Michigan Conference forwarded the Protocol Legislation on March 7.

The legislation was forwarded to the Commission on the General Conference pursuant to ¶ 507.6.  That paragraph provides an exception to the deadline for the submission of petitions when an annual conference submits a petition from a session held between 230 and 45 days prior to the opening session of General Conference.  The General Conference opens on May 5.

The Council of Bishops is also asking that the request for declaratory decision be expedited and decided by the Judicial Council during its term beginning on April 28, 2020.