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Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence elected UMC Judicial Council President

William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University
William B. Lawrence

May 10, 2012

DALLAS (SMU) – William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, has been elected by the United Methodist Church’s 2012-2016 Judicial Council to serve as their President. The election was held May 3, during the UMC’s 2012 General Conference.

Lawrence, who has been Dean and professor of American Church History at Perkins School of Theology since 2002, was first elected by the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church to serve as one of nine members of the Judicial Council. Sometimes referred to as the denomination’s “Supreme Court,” the Council is the highest judicial body within The United Methodist Church. Its responsibilities include determining whether acts or proposed acts of the General Conference, as well as Jurisdictional, Central, and Annual Conferences, conform to the Constitution and current Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. The Judicial Council’s tasks include acting on requests for declaratory decisions during General Conference sessions and reviewing decisions of law by the denomination’s bishops.

Judicial Council members are elected to eight-year terms by the General Conference and are restricted to serving no more than two consecutive terms. Members of the Judicial Council elect their own president for a four-year term. Lawrence will serve as President of the Judicial Council through the 2012-2016 quadrennium.

United Methodist Church’s 2012-2016 Judicial Council

The United Methodist Church 2012-2016 Judicial Council - F. Belton  Joyner Jr., Jeanne Kabamba Kiboko, N. Oswald Tweh Sr., Katherine Austin Mahle, Ruben T. Reyes, Dennis Blackwell, Beth Capen, William B. Lawrence, and Angela Brown.
(Front Row, L to R): F. Belton  Joyner Jr., clergy (U.S.); Jeanne Kabamba Kiboko, clergy (U.S.); N. Oswald Tweh Sr., layperson (Liberia); and Katherine Austin Mahle, clergy (U.S.). (Back Row, L to R): Ruben T. Reyes, layperson (Philippines); Dennis Blackwell, clergy (U.S.); Beth Capen, layperson (U.S.); William B. Lawrence, clergy (U.S.); and Angela Brown, layperson (U.S.).
In addition to his service with the Judicial Council, Lawrence also has been elected by members of the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools (AUMTS) for a one-year term as AUMTS President. The election was held April 24, at the spring 2012 meeting of the AUMTS. Created in 1933, AUMTS includes the deans and presidents of all 13 theological schools in the United States directly related to and supported by The United Methodist Church through the leadership of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

For more information about the Judicial Council, visit the official website of The United Methodist Church. For more information about Dean Lawrence and Perkins School of Theology, contact Roberta Cox, Director of Public Affairs, 214-768-2335,; or Tim McLemore, Associate Director of Public Affairs, 214-768-1393,

Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

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