During its fall meeting, the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church, affirmed both of Bishop Lowry’s Rulings of Law that were referred to the council for judicial review following the 2019 Central Texas Annual Conference.
Members of the 2019 Central Texas Annual Conference requested that Bishop Lowry rule on the legality of the “What’s Next” Resolution and the adoption of the “Transparency of Usage of Funds Used for Clergy Trials” Resolution. Requests on rulings of law are automatically sent to the Judicial Council for review.
In affirming Bishop Lowry’s ruling on the “What’s Next” Resolution (Decision No. 1396), the Judicial Council stated, “The Judicial Council affirms the bishop’s decision of law that the Resolution “What’s Next in the Central Texas Annual Conference 2019” as amended and voted upon was legally before the delegates of the Central Texas Annual Conference. As presented and amended, the Resolution is consistent and acceptable within the parameters of the Doctrine and Discipline of United Methodist Church as stated in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016.” To read the complete Judicial Council Decision 1396, go to umc.org/decisions/81145.
In its decision on Bishop Lowry’s ruling on the “Transparency of Funds for Clergy Trial” resolution (Decision No. 1395), the court simply wrote, “The Decision of Law of Bishop J. Michael Lowry is affirmed.” You may read Judicial Council Decision 1395 in its entirety at umc.org/decisions/81144.
The Judicial Council is the highest judicial body or "court" of The United Methodist Church. Its nine members are elected by the General Conference. The Judicial Council determines the constitutionality of acts or proposed acts of the General, Jurisdictional, Central, and Annual Conferences. It acts on these either on appeal of lower rulings or through requests for declaratory decisions. It also rules on whether acts of other official bodies of the denomination conform to The Book of Discipline. This is done in accordance with procedures established in The Book of Discipline.