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By now, some of you may have become aware of the Judicial Council’s November 1, 2019 ruling (Memorandum No. 1388) on the Decision of Law I submitted on July 3, 2019.
My Decision of Law, with Exhibits, and Memorandum No. 1388 can be found here.
In the Decision of Law, I ruled, among other things, that the part of Item 506 that resolved “in light of our current IAC budget crisis, the IAC should prioritize the full funding of conference missions, new ministry starts, and clergy support before funds or monies shall be expended for background investigations, complaints, just resolutions, or clergy trials pertaining to LGBTQ+ ordination and marriage” was “out of order because it requests the Conference to impose financing conditions for fair process proceedings based on the nature of the charge and in so doing violates The Discipline.” Rev. Gaulke, as well as those in support of Action Item 506, submitted briefs to the Judicial Council after Annual Conference.
As you may recall, at the 2019 Annual Conference, Rev. Gaulke raised his Question of Law twice, verbally, and only submitted a written version of the Question of Law—with my express leave to do so—shortly after the conclusion of the Annual Conference. Unfortunately, before the Judicial Council could reach the merits of the issues raised by Action Item 506 and my July 3, 2019 Decision of Law, the Judicial Council declined jurisdiction because the Question of Law was not, actually submitted in writing before the close of Annual Conference.
I sincerely believed it was in my prerogative to allow a brief window of time to allow a written submission after Annual Conference given the time constraints at the time and Rev. Gaulke’s clear and timely indications of his objections to Action Item 506 during Annual Conference. I am deeply sorry for my role in not making sure the important and critical issues raised by Action Item 506 could be heard by the Judicial Council.
Now the question is what becomes of Action Item 506?
Action Item 506 will be included, in its entirety, in the 2019 Annual Conference Journal as adopted by the Annual Conference. However, the 2019 Journal will also include my Decision of Law with all exhibits (including the Question of Law). While the Decision of Law, as a church legal matter, is a nullity under Memorandum 1388, it does reflect the procedural history as well as my mind, which has not changed, on the question of the validity of paragraph two of Action Item 506. Should circumstances arise in the future that may prompt application or consideration of the second paragraph of Action Item 506, my prayer is that we, as brothers and sisters bound by the love of Christ, will work together to find a way to address those circumstances with grace, understanding, and compassion.
Bishop Laurie Haller