Who can vote at Annual Conference?
There is often confusion regarding who is to attend and who has both voice and voting privileges at Annual Conference. For example, voting rights for Annual Conference are different than voting rights for clergy session. Even though you are appointed as a pastor at a local church doesn't necessarily grant you the right to attend and vote a clergy session. Review the voting information, as outlined in The Book of Discipline, below for further explanation regarding clergy and laity.
This statement of exceptions is in reference to voting during clergy session. Provisional clergy members, associate clergy members, and full-time and part-time local pastors CAN ATTEND clergy session, but they do not have voting rights on what is being considered during clergy session.
Clergy are identified in The 2016 Book of Discipline ¶ 602:
The clergy membership of an Annual Conference (¶ 369) shall consist of deacons and elders in full connection (¶ 333), provisional members (¶ 327), associate members, affiliate members (¶¶ 344.4, 586.4), and local pastors under full-time and part-time appointment to a pastoral charge (¶ 317) (See also ¶ 32).
Note: Full, provisional, associate, and affiliate members either retired or in the effective relationship are considered clergy in the Annual Conference.
Local pastors must be appointed. Supply pastors (hired by the District Superintendent) and those serving from other denominations or other Annual Conferences are not included unless they have an affiliate membership.
Clergy voting privileges are as identified in The 2016 Book of Discipline ¶ 602.1
For rights and privileges to elect delegates, please refer to Guide for Eligibility to vote on Delegates and Electors for the 2016 General Conference: Read the guide.
- Clergy members in full connection shall have the right to vote on all matters in the Annual Conference except in the election of lay delegates to the general and jurisdictional or Central Conferences and shall have sole responsibility for all matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
- Provisional clergy members shall have the right to vote in the Annual Conference on all matters except constitutional amendments and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
- Associate and affiliate clergy members shall have the right to vote in the Annual Conference on all matters except constitutional amendments, and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
- When it comes to Annual Conference, full-time and part-time local pastors under appointment to a pastoral charge shall have the right to vote in the Annual Conference on all matters except constitutional amendments; and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
All lay members of Annual Conference have voting rights. All lay equalization members have voting rights.
Laity voting privileges are as identified in The 2016 Book of Discipline ¶ 602.6
The lay members of the Annual Conference shall participate in all deliberations and vote upon all measures except on the granting or validation of license, ordination, reception into full conference membership, or any question concerning the character and official conduct of ordained ministers, except those who are lay members of the Board of Ordained Ministry and committee on investigation. Lay members shall serve on all committees except those on ministerial relations.