Appealing a Case the Wrong Way
The Statement of Facts about this Great Rivers Annual Conference case is like sitting in on a conversation that should have happened in the Great Rivers Conference office. That is followed by a broken record rendition of a point of law. To add to the disarray, I think the Council didn’t really want to reverse the bishop’s ruling but rather just say it does not stand as a legal ruling under church law. The bishop’s response does not even state law but says the questioner misrepresented what was actually happening. The matter appears to have been a lot of miscommunication for reasons that could be blamed on either or both sides.
I have seen cases where what was said by Church officials differed from what they actually did. There is not enough information in this decision to be able to raise that question.
Pity the Council for being drawn into this case. While it appears misunderstandings could have been worked out by a neutral third party, the advocate tried to use the Council for that purpose. Being so far away from the problem and having so limited amount of time to deal with it, the Council had practically no way the to resolve things. And on top of that, there are the legal reasons the Council really had no jurisdiction.
Just as I am suggesting the Secretary have the authority to respond immediately when cases come in without all the proper documentation, I’m wondering if he or a small team from the Council could have the authority to request that certain questions like these be handled by mediation or consultation with GCFA, GBHEM, AIA, JUSTPEACE, or some other agency that might have the competence to resolve the matter rather than take up the time of the Council. I better add that such referrals may run up onto church law difficulties that the Council should address, so jurisdiction should not be lost.