In an electronic vote that affirmed the request made at their February 2018 meeting in Dallas, the bishops voted to seek a ruling from the highest court in the denomination on the meaning, application and effect of Paragraph 14 in relation to Paragraph 507 of the 2016 Book of Discipline.
Paragraph 14 deals with how a special session of General Conference is called and conducted while Paragraph 507 deals with how and when petitions to General Conference are to be submitted.
“The intent is to resolve the question of whether additional petitions, beyond the report of the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops, can be submitted to the Special 2019 General Conference prior to the convening of the Special General Conference,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops.
To help facilitate a timely decision from the Judicial Council, the bishops also voted to ask the Judicial Council to convene a special meeting to address the request for a declaratory decision and any others that might arise from the upcoming April/May Council of Bishops meeting.
The Book of Discipline states that petitions to General Conference should be received by the petitions secretary or secretary of the General Conference no later than 230 days before the opening of General Conference.
The Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church has been set for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis.