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Annual meetings to elect conference delegates


A youth choir sings at the 2006 Missouri Annual Conference in Springfield.
A UMNS photo by Fred Koenig.











A UMNS Report by Linda Green*
Jan. 31, 2007

When United Methodists around the world gather this spring and summer, electing delegates to worldwide and jurisdictional conferences for 2008 will top most agendas.

Meeting this year at annual conferences, United Methodists across the globe also will worship together, examine issues facing the church, approve budgets, receive reports from conference boards and agencies, review ministries, pass resolutions and adopt policy and programs of mission and ministry. The church has 10 million members worldwide.


Bishop Sally Dyck leads worship at the 2006 Minnesota Annual Conference in
St. Cloud. A UMNS photo courtesy of
the Minnesota Annual Conference.

The 63 U.S. conferences, meeting during May and June, will elect 352 clergy delegates and 352 lay delegates to the denomination's highest legislative body, the General Conference. Convened every four years, the conference will meet April 23-May 2, 2008, in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 53 conferences in Europe, Africa and the Philippines will elect 274 delegates. An additional 10 delegates from Concordant Methodist churches also will attend.

The annual (sometimes called regional) conference is the "basic unit" of the church, according to the denomination's Book of Discipline. It may include an entire state, part of a state or even parts of two or more states. There are also three missionary conferences in the United States, which rely on the denomination for funding.

The number of delegates to the General Conference is subject to change after the denomination's supreme court, called the Judicial Council, convenes April 25-28 in the Philippines. The meeting in Manila will be the first time a United Methodist Judicial Council has met outside the United States.

Depending on actions taken by the Judicial Council, General Conference delegates may take further action relative to the admission of the Methodist Church of the African nation of Cote d'Ivoire as an annual conference, a decision made by the 2004 legislative session. The delegates also may consider a recommendation proposing that the United States become a Central Conference.

The proposal introduced to the United Methodist Council of Bishops last November would end the current system that splits the United States from the central conferences that govern the church outside the United States and would revise the United Methodist Book of Discipline into a "truly general book of doctrine, mission and discipline, deleting all portions that apply only to the United States."

The five existing U.S. jurisdictional conferences would exist within one U.S. Central Conference, putting it on par with the central conferences already in existence. If approved, the changes would take effect in 2012.


A child brings forth a basket of bread during a worship service at the
Kentucky Annual Conference in 2006.
A UMNS photo courtesy of the
Kentucky Annual Conference.

The annual conferences will elect delegates to the five U.S. jurisdictional conferences, which will be held in July 2008 to elect bishops and assign them to geographic areas for the next four years. The 1,408 clergy and lay delegates to the jurisdictional conferences will elect nine U.S. bishops, and the Central Conferences will elect three bishops.

During the annual conference gatherings in the United States, Africa, Europe and the Philippines, one-year appointments of all conference clergy members will be announced, new deacons and elders ordained, and candidates for ordination approved. A bishop will preside over each annual session.

In addition to electing delegates, annual conferences will act on petitions from individuals and groups wanting to change policies, procedures and practices of The United Methodist Church. Approved petitions will be submitted to the General Conference, and those that are adopted will be included in the 2008 revision of the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions.

General Conference delegates can change anything in the Book of Discipline except the church's Constitution. Any recommended changes in the Constitution must be ratified by the annual conferences.

Individual and group petitions must be postmarked by Oct. 26, which is 180 days before the opening day of the General Conference. Petitions secretary for the 2008 conference is Gary W. Graves, pastor of Beaver Dam (Ky.) United Methodist Church. Instructions for filing petitions are available at www.GC2008.umc.org.

The first session of 2007 conference gatherings will be the Northeast Philippines, scheduled for Feb. 22-25. The 63 regional U.S. gatherings will begin May 2-5 when the Troy Annual Conference convenes in Burlington, Vt., and will conclude June 24 with the adjournment of the California-Pacific Annual Conference in Redlands, Calif. Some annual conferences outside the United States meet in the fall and winter.

Annual conference meeting dates and places are:


North Central Jurisdiction

Dakotas, June 6-9, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Detroit, May 17-20, Adrian, Mich.
East Ohio, June 18-21, Lakeside, Ohio
Illinois Great Rivers, June 6-9, Peoria, Ill.
Iowa, June 6-10, Ames, Iowa
Minnesota, May 29-June 1, Saint Cloud, Minn.
North Indiana, May 31-June2, West Lafayette, Ind.
Northern Illinois, June 9-12, Saint Charles, Ill.
South Indiana, June 6-9, Bloomington, Ind.
West Michigan, May 31-June 3, Grand Rapids, Mich.
West Ohio, June 10-14, Lakeside, Ohio
Wisconsin, June 10-13, Middleton, Wis.

Northeastern Jurisdiction

Baltimore-Washington, May 24-26, Washington, D.C.
Central Pennsylvania, June 6-9, Grantham, Pa.
Eastern Pennsylvania, June 13-15, Philadelphia
Greater New Jersey, May 30-June 2, Valley Forge, Pa.
New England, June 7-10, Wenham, Mass.
New York, June 6-9, Hempstead, N.Y.
North Central New York, June 1-3, Liverpool, N.Y.
Peninsula-Delaware, June 8-10, Princess Anne, Md.
Troy, May 2-5, Burlington, Vt.
West Virginia, June 7-10, Buckhannon, W.Va.
Western New York, June 8-10, Buffalo, N.Y.
Western Pennsylvania, June 7-10, Grove City, Pa.
Wyoming, May 31-June 2, Scranton, Pa.

South Central Jurisdiction

Arkansas, June 10-13, Russellville, Ark.
Central Texas, June 3-6, Fort Worth, Texas
Kansas East, June 6-9, Baldwin City, Kan.
Kansas West, May 23-25, Hutchinson, Kan.
Louisiana, June 3-6, Baton Rouge, La.
Missouri, June 1-4, Springfield, Mo.
Nebraska, June 6-9, Lincoln, Neb.
New Mexico, June 6-9, Glorieta, N.M.
North Texas, June 3-6, Plano, Texas
Northwest Texas, May 28-31, Midland, Texas
Oklahoma, May 27-31, Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Indian Missionary, June 7-10, Preston, Okla.
Rio Grande, May 31-June 2, Abilene, Texas
Southwest Texas, June 6-9, Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas, May 27-31, The Woodlands, Texas

Southeastern Jurisdiction

Alabama-West Florida, June 3-6, Montgomery, Ala.
Florida, June 6-9, Lakeland, Fla.
Holston, June 10-13, Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Kentucky, June 11-15, Louisville, Ky.
Memphis, June 3-6, Jackson, Tenn.
Mississippi, June 10-14, Jackson, Miss.
North Alabama, June 1-2, Argo, Ala.
North Carolina, June 13-17, Greenville, N.C.
North Georgia, June 11-15, Athens, Ga.
Red Bird Missionary, May 11-12, Frankes, Ky.
South Carolina, June 3-7, Florence, S.C.
South Georgia, June 3-7, Savannah, Ga.
Tennessee, June 10-13, Brentwood, Tenn.
Virginia, June 10-13, Roanoke, Va.
Western North Carolina, June 7-10, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

Western Jurisdiction

Alaska Missionary, May 25-27, Anchorage, Alaska
California-Nevada, June 19-24, Sacramento, Calif.
California-Pacific, June 20-24, Redlands, Calif.
Desert Southwest, June 7-10, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Oregon-Idaho, June 12-16, Salem, Ore.
Pacific Northwest, June 12-16, Tacoma, Wash.
Rocky Mountain, June 13-16, Denver, Colo.
Yellowstone, June 7-10, Billings, Mont.


(Complete information on some conferences is unavailable.)

Austria Provisional, May 17-21, Linz, Austria
Bicol Philippines Provisional, March 15-18, Daet, Camarines Norte, Philippines
Bulgaria Provisional, Sept. 13-16, Dobric, Bulgaria
Central Congo, Katako-Kombe, Democratic Republic of Congo
Central Luzon Philippines, March 29-April 1, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
Central Russia, June 22-24, Moscow
Czech & Slovak Republics, May 10-13, Prague-Nove Mesto,Czech Republic
Denmark, June 27-July 1, Strandby, Denmark
East Africa, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe
East Congo, Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo
East Mindanao Philippines, April 19-22, Obrero, Davao City, Philippines
Eastern Russia and Central Asia Provisional, May 18-20, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Estonia, May 30-31, Tallinn, Estonia
Finland-Finnish-speaking Provisional, July 4-8, Finland
Finland-Swedish-speaking Provisional, June 7-10, Grankulla, Finland
Germany East, May 30-June 3, Zwickau, Saxonia, Germany
Germany North, May 9-13, Braunfels, Germany
Germany South, June 21-24, Oehringen & Sporthalle Boeblingen, Germany
Hungary, April 11-14, Budapest, Hungary
Liberia, Niva County, Liberia
Mindanao Philippines, May 10-13, Kidapawan City, Philippines
North Central Philippines, March 1-4, Cauayan, Isabela, Philippines
North of Save River (Northern Mozambique), Beira, Sofala, Mozambique
Northeast Luzon Philippines, May 24-27, Echague, Isabela, Philippines
Northeast Philippines, Feb. 22-25, Saguday, Quirino, Philippines
Northern Philippines, May 31-June 3, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, Philippines
Northwest Mindanao Philippines, April 12-15, Laguitas, Malaybalay, Philippines
Northwest Philippines, April 12-15, Salcedo, Ilocos Sur, Philippines
Northwest Russia Provisional, July 6-8, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Norway, June 21-24, Porsgrunn, Norway
Oriental & Equator, Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo
Pangasinan Philippines, March 15-18, Dagupan City, Pangasinan, Philippines
Poland, June 14-17, Klarysew, Poland
Serbia-Macedonia Provisional, Oct. 10-14, Kisac, Serbia.
South Russia Provisional, May 25-27, Voronezh, Russia
South of Save River (Southern Mozambique), Maputo, Mozambique
Sweden, May 16-20, Norrkoping, Sweden
Switzerland-France, June 7-10, Zofingen, Switzerland
Tarlac Philippines, May 17-20, Tarlac City, Philippines
Ukraine & Moldova Provisional, June 28-July 1, Kiev, Ukraine
Visayas Philippines, March 22-25, Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines
West Congo, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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