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Judicial Council releases rulings on Traditional Plan, exit strategy


On April 26, 2019, the Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church’s top court, ruled that parts of the Traditional Plan passed at the 2019 General Conference were constitutional (other parts were previously ruled unconstitutional). The Judicial Council also ruled the exit strategy passed at General Conference is constitutional and places many of the decisions around this topic into the hands of conference trustees and the annual conferences.

“Today’s ruling brings clarity to two questions that emerged from the special session of General Conference last February,” said Bishop R. Lawson Bryan. “First, the question of the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan. Second, the question of the constitutionality of the amended Taylor Petition outlining a process for a local church to disaffiliate.  

“We now know that the Traditional Plan petitions that were believed to be constitutional are, in fact, constitutional. We also know that the denomination now has a disaffiliation plan for local churches,” Bishop Bryan said. “This clarity is helpful for us as we prepare for annual conference in June.”

The new legislation will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

General Conference is the top legislative body for all matters related to The United Methodist Church and is the only body that can speak for The United Methodist Church. The next General Conference session will be May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn.

“My prayer is that we can move forward and direct our energies toward making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Bishop Bryan said.

Click here for a UMNS summary of the Judicial Council’s rulings.

The Judicial Council decisions can be found in their entirety at:

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