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Non-U.S. delegates will increase at '04 General Conference


NOTE: A complete list of the number of General Conference delegates that each annual conference will elect follows the story. Annual conferences are listed by jurisdiction or central conference.

By United Methodist News Service

When United Methodists gather in Pittsburgh next year for their top legislative assembly, their number will include more delegates from outside the United States than ever before.

Just as the U.S. Congress redistricts every 10 years in the wake of the national census, the number of lay and clergy delegates to the United Methodist's highest legislative assembly, the General Conference, changes to keep total representation at 1,000 or less. This time, the changes also reflect an alteration in the determining formula, due to legislative action of the 2000 General Conference.

The biggest shift is an increased representation of the central conferences, the church's regional units outside the United States. The total number of delegates these conferences will elect for 2004 is 184, an increase of 32 since the 2000 gathering in Cleveland. And because the church's constitution requires equal numbers of clergy and laity, there will be 92 of each from the central conferences.

For the 2004 session, a total of 994 delegates will be elected - two more than for the 2000 session. Included in both totals are 10 voting delegates from the concordat churches: four from Great Britain and two each from Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean & the Americas.

The General Conference meets every four years. During the two-week assembly, the delegates revise the church's Book of Discipline and adopt position statements on a wide range of issues for the Book of Resolutions. General Conference is the only entity that speaks for the entire United Methodist Church.

U.S. changes are mixed, with the Southeastern and South Central Jurisdictions growing and the Northeastern, North Central and Western Jurisdictions having fewer delegates.

Southeastern gained eight for a total of 278, and South Central gained 10 for a total of 170. Western, the smallest jurisdiction with less than half a million United Methodists, had 56 delegates at the last General Conference but will have only 44 at the next. Northeastern and North Central are each losing 18 delegates: Northeastern dropping from 162 to 144 and North Central from 182 to 164.

Among the annual (regional) conferences, Virginia will elect the largest number, 32. It is followed by Florida with 30. North Georgia and Western North Carolina will each name 28. All of these are in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

The Texas Conference in the South Central Jurisdiction along with West Ohio in North Central will each name 26. Rounding out the 12 largest conferences are South Carolina with 24; North Carolina and Oklahoma, 22 each; and East Ohio, Iowa and Western Pennsylvania, 20 each.

The newly merged Missouri Conference will have 18 delegates - the same total as Missouri East and Missouri West had in 2000.

The smallest annual conferences are guaranteed one clergy and one lay delegate. In the United States, these are the missionary conferences - Red Bird in Appalachia, Oklahoma Indian Missionary and Rio Grande - and Yellowstone and Oregon-Idaho.

Outside the five U.S. jurisdictions, the largest annual conferences are those in Africa. Liberia and Central Congo will each elect 14 delegates. Nigeria will send 12. East Congo and Sierra Leone will choose 10 each. East Africa and North Katanga are allocated eight each, and North-West Katanga has six. Western Angola and South-West Katanga will elect four.

All the annual conferences in the European and Philippines central conferences, as well as some in Africa, will elect only two people.

The United Methodist Church has nearly 10 million members worldwide, including 8.4 million in the United States.

# # #

A complete list of the number of delegates, half clergy and half lay, to be elected by each annual conference follows. Carolyn M. Marshall, General Conference secretary, provided this information.

Conference 2004 delegates

Jurisdictional Conferences
North Central
Dakotas 4
Detroit 12
East Ohio 20
Illinois Great Rivers 18
Iowa 20
Minnesota 8
North Indiana 12
Northern Illinois 12
South Indiana 12
West Michigan 8
West Ohio 26
Wisconsin 12

NCJ Totals 164

Baltimore-Washington 18
Central Pennsylvania 16
Eastern Pennsylvania 14
Greater New Jersey 12
New England 12
New York 14
North Central New York 8
Peninsula-Delaware 6
Troy 4
West Virginia 12
Western New York 4
Western Pennsylvania 20
Wyoming 4

NEJ Totals 144

South Central
Central Texas 14
Kansas East 8
Kansas West 8
Little Rock 4
Louisiana 14
Missouri 18
Nebraska 8
New Mexico 4
North Arkansas 8
North Texas 16
Northwest Texas 4
Oklahoma 22
Oklahoma Indian Missionary 2
Rio Grande 2
Southwest Texas 12
Texas 26

SCJ Totals 170

Alabama-West Florida 14
Florida 30
Holston 16
Kentucky 14
Memphis 8
Mississippi 18
North Alabama 16
North Carolina 22
North Georgia 28
Red Bird Missionary 2
South Carolina 24
South Georgia 14
Tennessee 12
Virginia 32
Western North Carolina 28

SEJ Totals 278

Alaska Missionary 2
California-Nevada 10
California-Pacific 10
Desert Southwest 4
Oregon-Idaho 2
Pacific Northwest 6
Rocky Mountain 8
Yellowstone 2

WJ Totals 44

Central Conferences
East Africa 8
Eastern Angola 2
Mozambique 4
Western Angola 2
East Zimbabwe 2
West Zimbabwe 2

Central Congo 14
East Congo 10
North Katanga 8
North-West Katanga 6
Oriental and Equator 2
South Congo 2
South-West Katanga 4
Tanganyika/Tanzania 2
West Congo 2

West Africa
Liberia 14
Nigeria 12
Sierra Leone 10

Central and
Southern Europe
Austria Provisional 2
Bulgaria Provisional 2
Czech and Slovak Republics 2
Hungary Provisional 2
Yugoslavia-Macedonia Prov. 2
Poland 2
Switzerland-France 2

Germany East 2
Germany North 2
Germany South 2
Germany Southwest 2

Northern Europe
Denmark 2
Estonia 2
Finland-Finnish Provisional 2
Finland-Swedish Provisional 2
Norway 2
Central Russia 2
Eastern Russia-Kazakhstan Prov. 2
North West Russia Provisional 2
Southern Russia-Ukraine-Moldova Prov. 2
Sweden 2

Bicol Mission Philippines 2
Bulacan Philippines 2
Central Luzon Philippines 2
East Mindanao Philippines 2
Middle Philippines 2
Mindanao Philippines 2
North Central Philippines 2
Northwest Mindanao Philippines 2
Northeast Philippines 2
Northern Philippines 2
Northwest Philippines 2
Palawan Philippines Provisional 2
Pampango Philippines 2
Philippines 2
Philippines East 2
Southwest Philippines Provisional 2
Visayas Philippines 2
West Middle Philippines 2
Pangasinan Philippines 2

Central Conferences Total 184

Concordat Churches
Caribbean & the Americas 2
Great Britain 4
Mexico 2
Puerto Rico 2

Concordat Churches Total 10

North Central Jurisdiction 164
Northeastern Jurisdiction 144
South Central Jurisdiction 170
Southeastern Jurisdiction 278
Western Jurisdiction 44
Central Conferences 184
Concordat Churches 10


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