The Wednesday afternoon business session began as Bishop Fairley officially called the session to order. The session began with
Rev. George Speake’s presentation from the Committee on Conference Rules. The committee proposed the Standing Rules for
in-person meetings of the Annual Conference and for online meetings of Annual Conference. During the discussion of the in-person rules, an amendment from Rev. Paul Stallsworth was passed that going forward, the Rules Committee shall strike through text that is deleted and bold text that is added to the proposed rules for each session of Annual Conference. Additionally, the rules should be published in the Conference Workbook and on the Conference website 30 days prior to Conference.
The conference accepted the amendment. A second amendment was made by Rev. Tim Russell regarding an Assistant to the Bishop position which was added last year when it was announced that our conference would be sharing a bishop with other conferences. The new position was added to the Cabinet to assist the Bishop since they would be unable to serve 100% of their time in North Carolina. Russell proposed that going forward, if the Annual Conference wants to add a position like this, the financial ramifications should be disclosed, a job description shared, and the
Annual Conference should be responsible for voting on the matter.
The motion passed 434 to 350. The amended Standing Rules for in-person meetings were adopted. In his speech for the amendment, Russell also pointed out that the Committee on the Episcopacy did not have diverse membership as outlined in the Book of Discipline. New Standing Rules for online meetings were also adopted to address issues brought before the Judicial Council after the 2021 online Annual Conference was held. The denomination’s Judicial Council ruled that our Annual Conference was out of order when the 2021 Rules were voted on electronically before the Conference session was called to order. Judicial Council ruled: “Under ¶ 605.1, an opening session always precedes the business delineated in ¶ 605.4 because an annual conference session, to be in order, must be called to order first.” The Judicial
Council decision summarized: “An annual conference may not approve changes to its standing rules or conduct any other
business prior to the opening session as defined in ¶ 605.1.
The bishop’s ruling is reversed in part. This holding shall be
prospective and not affect any actions taken by the North
Carolina Annual Conference at its 2021 session.”
In preparation for any other circumstance where we must
conduct the business of the Annual Conference online, the
Rules Committee proposed standing rules that include
wording for online facilitation of information and voting. These
passed with majority approval.