About General Conference


General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church, which meets once every four years. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy, and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. General Conferences are generally held in years divisible by 4, such as 2008, 2012, 2016, etc., with the exception of special sessions, as was the case in 2019 and subsequent COVID-related postponements. There has also been serious consideration of another General Conference in 2026.


The General Conference is composed of an international body of 886 voting delegate members — 55.9% from the U.S., 32% from Africa, 6% from the Philippines, 4.6% from Europe, and the remainder from concordat churches that have close ties to The United Methodist Church.They represent all annual conferences around the world. Half of the delegates are laity (non-clergy members), half are clergy. The Michigan delegation was elected at the 2019 Michigan Annual Conference. The United Methodist Judicial Council ruled that 2020 delegationa, the longest serving in UMC history, will continue to be voting members in 2024. Read more about the delegation by clicking the GC Delegation tab.


Bishops attend the General Conference but cannot vote. Different bishops serve as presiding officers during the conference. Other bishops cannot speak unless permission is specifically granted by the delegates.


During General Conference, delegates discuss and vote on petitions and resolutions proposed by individuals, agencies, annual conferences, and other groups within the denomination. These actions result in a revision of the Book of Discipline, the denomination's book of law, and Book of Resolutions, policies of the denomination on current social issues.

Petitions (legislation) submitted for the 2020 meeting will be addressed along with any new petitions that were submitted by September 6, 2023. 

It is at General Conference where delegates wrestle with today's issues in light of scriptural teachings and the church's understanding of that teaching. Here is where the church's official stands and church policies are made regarding such issues as human sexuality, abortion, war and peace, as well as determination of ministries and funding.


When the COVID pandemic ravaged the world in 2020, General Conference was postponed to 2022 and then again to 2024.  The convocation, originally scheduled for Minneapolis MN, was moved to Charleston NC .

General Conference