- September 15, 2019; Deadline to submit petitions to 2022 General Conference.
- March 2022: Commission on the General Conference Session meets to determine if a gathering of the global church will be held in 2022.
The General Conference is an international body of nearly 1,000 delegates that generally meets every four years. The delegates are elected by annual conferences (at annual conference sessions) to attend General Conference. They represent all annual conferences around the world. Half of the delegates are laity (non-clergy members), half are clergy.
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.
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.
General Conferences are generally held in years divisible by 4, such as 2008, 2012, 2016, etc., with the exception of special sessions.
Blessing One Another
Answers to your most frequently asked questions about General Conference, disaffilation, and the future of The United Methodist Church. Video runs 22 minutes.
The Christian Daily Advocate will release in early 2020 the complete listing of proposals being brought to General Conference. Here are some of the key proposals that will be included:
The United States as a regional conference: legislation | FAQ | narrative | press release – July 23, 2019
Indianapolis Plan: Basic Provisions PDF | UMNS report – August 13, 2019
UMC Next Plan: UMCNEXT proposal | UMNS report – August 19, 2019
N.E.W. Plan: New Expressions Worldwide PDF | UMNS report – September 25, 2019
The Plain Grace Plan: executive summary | plan PDF | timeline
Oppose Dissolution Preserve Unity Plan: plan | UMNS report – October 2, 2019
Chart courtesy United Methodist News Service