General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate information
This Q&A is designed to help members understand the nomination and election processes and includes information on the application process for those who wish to apply to be delegate candidates.
The Conference Committee on Sessions is now accepting applications from those who wish to be considered as candidates for the role of delegate. The committee has expressed its hope that the pool of applicants will reflect the diversity of the Conference and The United Methodist Church. Men and women of all ages and ethnic, racial, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds are urged to apply.
To help members determine if they are called and able to serve in this vital role, the Committee on Sessions has created a "job description" for delegates. Read the delegate guidelines and click here to apply to be a clergy delegate and click here to apply to be a lay delegate.
What is General Conference?
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church; it meets once every four years, and consists of elected delegates from around the world. The responsibilities of the General Conference include:
- To receive and act upon petitions and resolutions.
- To review and revise The Book of Discipline and The Book of Resolutions.
- To set missional priorities for the denomination.
- To set the quadrennial budget for The UMC and its agencies.
- To elect members to certain agencies and responsibilities.
When/Where is the 2020 General Conference?
May 5-15, 2020 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN.
How many delegates will go to GC 2020?
The Constitution of The United Methodist Church allows for the General Conference to have 862 delegates. Click here to see the distribution of delegates by Annual Conference.
Where are the delegates from?
In 2016, 58.3 percent will be from the U.S., 30 percent from Africa, 5.8 percent from the Philippines, and 4.6 percent from Europe, with the remainder, 1.3 percent, from the concordat churches (The United Methodist Church has special covenant relationships with the Methodist traditions in Great Britain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Caribbean and the Americas).
How many delegates from Upper New York will go to 2020 General Conference?
There will be 10 delegates total: five clergy and five laity. There will be two clergy alternates and two lay alternates (the first two clergy/laity elected after the General Conference delegates have been elected; these folks also serve as delegates to the NEJ Conference).
How is that number determined?
The number of delegates per Annual Conference is calculated based on the requirement for one lay and one clergy delegate for each Annual Conference, with additional delegates assigned according to a formula that considers the total clergy and lay membership per Conference.
What is the Northeastern Jurisdictional (NEJ) Conference?
In the U.S., The United Methodist Church is divided into five areas known as jurisdictions: Northeastern, Southeastern, North Central, South Central and Western. These provide some program and leadership training events to support the annual conferences. These Jurisdictional Conferences meet a few months after General Conference that same year; their responsibilities include:
- To elect eligible persons to the role of bishop.
- To fix the geographic boundaries of annual conferences within their respective jurisdiction, when necessary.
- To fix the appointment of individual bishops within their jurisdiction.
- To elect members to general and jurisdictional agencies and responsibilities
- To set the quadrennial budget for the jurisdiction.
- To receive and act upon reports, recommendations, requests, petitions and resolutions from groups within the jurisdiction.
When/Where is the 2020 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference?
The NEJ Conference will take place July 15-17, 2020 in Hunt Valley, MD.
How many delegates from Upper New York will go to the 2020 NEJ Conference?
There will be 20 delegates total: the 10 General Conference delegates and five clergy and five laity NEJ delegates. There will be four alternates – two clergy, two laity – elected as well.
¶34 to ¶36 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church outline the procedure for electing delegates and their qualifications.
Who's eligible to be a delegate to General/NEJ Conferences?
Clergy delegates must be: Clergy members (deacons and elders) in full connection.
Lay delegates, who can be any age, must be:
- professing members of The United Methodist Church for at least two years immediately preceding their election
- active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four years immediately preceding their election
- members of a local church within the Annual Conference electing them at the time of the General/NEJ conferences
Who can vote for clergy delegates to General/NEJ Conferences?
- Deacons and elders in full connection
- Associate members
- Provisional members who have completed all of their educational requirements
- Local pastors who have completed course of study or an M. Div. degree and have served a minimum of two consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election.
Who can vote for lay delegates to General/Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference?
The lay members (including equalization members) of the Annual Conference.
What is required to apply to be a clergy delegate?
Eligible clergy who wish to apply should read the delegate guidelines and complete the clergy application form.
All clergy members in full connection are eligible to be GC/NEJ delegates and their names will automatically appear on the ballot.
The Committee on Sessions is aware that not all clergy wish to be considered for this role. If you do not feel you are called to serve as a delegate, please click here to download and complete an option to remove your name from the ballot. Email the signed form to DCMOffice@unyumc.org or mail it to the Conference Secretary, c/o Upper New York Conference, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd., Liverpool, NY 13088. Eligible clergy can place their names back on the ballot at any time. See the form for specifics about that process.
What is required to apply to be a lay delegate?
Lay members who wish to apply should read the delegate guidelines and complete the lay application form.
What is the application deadline?
Applications from both clergy and lay delegate candidates must be submitted by May 1, 2019 to be included on the Conference website.
To have your name added after the final May 1 deadline, please submit your request in writing to our conference secretary, the Rev. Jeff Hodge, c/o Upper New York Conference, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd., Liverpool, NY 13088.
When will the candidates be announced?
A list of delegate candidates will appear on the Conference website in May 2019. As stated above, any eligible candidates that declare after the final May 1 deadline will not be included, but will appear on the ballot.
Not ready to serve in 2020, but maybe 2024 or 2028?
The 2024 General Conference is scheduled to take place in Manila, Philippines and the Western Pennsylvania Conference will host the 2024 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference. The 2028 General Conference is scheduled to take place in Harare, Zimbabwe.