At the beginning of the GC2019, a request for a declaratory decision was passed to ask the Council which has the higher authority, the General Conference or the annual conference when it comes to defining the qualifications of who can be a minister.
The Council went back to an old ruling (JCD 1321) it had made in May of 2016 right at the end of the General Conference, right before the new Council members freshly elected were to take charge.
The “old” Council’s decision was that under Par. 16, General Conference stated the criteria for ministers and the Annual Conference under Par. 33 determined whether or not it was following those criteria. Or put another way, the General Conference provides the words which point to traits desired in clergy and the annual conference defines those words and applies them in its own way.
At the time, there was worry that the matter should have been deferred to the fall Council session so the new members could make the decision. Well, the new members were given a chance by the GC2019 request and they stuck with precedent. Yep, this Council has been “by-the-book.”