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Voice of Western Jurisdiction Diminishes At General Conference

Western Jurisdiction Loses Representation

As of mid-afternoon Thursday, General Conference had taken three separate actions that effectively reduced the number of votes and voices to be heard from the Western Jurisdiction. On May 10, General Conference passed petition #30120, #1147 in the DCA, to reduce the number of Western Jurisdiction delegates from its current 56 to 48. The reduction holds major implications for representation on general church boards and agencies.

The same day, Western Jurisdiction also lost representation on the Judicial Council when the Rev. Jane A. Tews, Desert Southwest Conference, whom General Conference had elected to a four-year term Monday, had to relinquish her position. The Judicial Council ruled that, immediately upon adoption, the petition that eliminated the mandatory retirement age of 70 for Judicial Council members rendered the election of Tews invalid.

General Conference earlier defeated a motion to mandate representation by area. The Western Jurisdiction has not had a Judicial Council member for more than 30 years.

On May 4, the Western Jurisdiction—the California-Nevada Conference—in particular, was affected when General Conference voted to ask the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision regarding Discipline paragraphs 2616.1 and 2616.2 as they relate to the constitutionality of actions taken that violate The Book of Discipline based on an annual conference’s conscientious disagreement with a particular paragraph. It also asked if there are more fundamental covenants upon which annual conferences can rely to supercede or disobey disciplinary provisions.

One delegate commented, "Many in the land of vast topography and diverse populations of the West are feeling disenfranchised by this General Conference."

—Patty Meyers, Daily Christian Advocate

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