Delegates elected to 2012 General and Jurisdictional conferences


Among the chief priorities of the 2011 Texas Annual Conference delegates was to cast ballots for their representatives to the fast approaching General and Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church.


The first person elected among clergy and laity leads their respective delegation during the next 11 months of studying resolutions and legislation submitted from around the world. Dr. Elijah Stansell, Conference Treasurer, will lead the clergy delegation. Don House, West District lay person, will lead the laity delegation.


How Does it Work?

United Methodists are sometimes asked where their church is headquartered, or what officer is “in charge.” Deliberately, The United Methodist Church has no single central office, no archbishop and no pope. This reflects the representative nature of the church’s organization – which also provides a system of checks and balances. The church created a system that in some ways parallels that of the U.S. government when it came to America. The church has a General Conference, its legislative branch; a Council of Bishops, somewhat like an executive branch; and a ninemember Judicial Council, the judicial branch.


The General Conference is the only body that can set official policy and speak for the denomination. It is an international body of about 1,000 delegates that meets every four years (in years divisible by four, such as 2008, 2012, etc.). Half of the delegates are laity and half are clergy.


What Will They Do?

Jurisdictional Conference delegates are responsible for electing Bishops. Additionally, those delegates consider issues that impact their region of annual conferences. For instance, a university or conference center may be located in one conference, but its business may impact the entire jurisdiction to which the conference belongs.


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 stand and church policies are made regarding such issues as immigration, the death penalty, human sexuality, abortion, war and peace, as well as determination of ministries and funding.


General Conference 2012 is set for April 24 - May 4 in Tampa, Florida. The Jurisdictional Conference will take place July 18-21 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


See the list of delegates elected.