A central conference college of bishops or executive committee cannot change the time and place of any regular sessions of a central conference once it has met for the first time.
The United Methodist Judicial Council issued that ruling May 19 in response to a two-part request, approved by General Conference 2016, for a declaratory decision related to the Congo Central Conference.
In Judicial Council Decision 1319, the council said, “the first meeting of a new central conference shall be at such place and on such dates as determined by the bishops in charge.” But once that body has gathered, setting the time and place of future sessions of the central conference is up its members or its executive committee “when permitted by Discipline.”
If the 2016 session of the Congo Central Conference was scheduled by the conference itself "then the date and time cannot be changed by the College of Bishops nor the central conference executive committee,” the decision said, citing Paragraph 542.1 of the 2012 Book of Discipline and Paragraph 409 of the 1990 Congo Central Conference Book of Discipline.
The Rev. J. Kabamba Kiboko, a council member originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, did not participate in the decision.