A compromise restructure plan for The United Methodist Church, adopted earlier this week by the 2012 General Conference, was declared “unconstitutional” May 4.
That unanimous ruling came from the nine-member United Methodist Judicial Council, which had been asked by General Conference to make a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of “Plan UMC.”
“Under the Constitution, the creation and establishment of general Church board and agencies, the fixing of their structure, the determination of their functions, duties and responsibilities, and the establishing of Church priorities are legislative functions reserved to the General Conference alone,” said Judicial Council Decision No. 1210. “These legislative functions may not be delegated.”
The establishment of a “General Council for Strategy and Oversight” under Plan UMC does not meet the test of constitutionality because it intrudes into the constitutional authority of the Council of Bishops for general oversight of the denomination, the court found, and “commingles” the role of the bishops and the strategy and oversight council.