While delegates are continuing to absorb the news that the Judicial Council has ruled Plan UMC unconstitutional, General Conference leadership is planning how the 2012 assembly will work through its final hours. If no other restructuring legislation is adopted, denominational agencies will continue under the structure in the 2008 Book of Discipline.
Within minutes of the return from a recess that followed the reading of the council’s decision, presiding Bishop Jeremiah L. Park of New York announced that the dinner break would begin with delegates to return at 7:30 p.m. to continue their business. Printed copies of the Judicial Council’s decision would be on their tables when they returned, said the Rev. L. Fitzgerald “Gere“ Reist, conference secretary.
At the same time, members of the Conference’s Committee on Agenda and Calendar are meeting to plan for the evening. Chairs of the conference’s 13 legislative committees were invited to join them.
Most in the assembly were stunned late this afternoon when Reist announced the Judicial Council’s unanimous decision that the plan for restructuring the denomination’s general agencies was unconstitutional. Adoption of a compromise Plan UMC on the morning of May 2 had followed months of people across The United Methodist Church looking at a number of other plans — none of which were recommended to the assembly by the General Administration Legislative Committee.
On the afternoon of May 3, the General Conference asked the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of plan, which covered close to 80 pages in the Daily Christian Advocate. The council rendered its decision about 27 hours later.