Being a Delegate to General Conference: An Insider’s View

Date Posted: 12/11/2014

Nine clergy and nine lay leaders will represent the TAC at the 2016 General Conference. Learn more about this critical process through this article, video and upcoming orientation meeting on January 17. Delegates commit significant hours and dollars to help guide the future through policy, plans and budgets.
Eighteen out of the 864 delegates to 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon will represent the Texas Annual Conference – 9 clergy and 9 laity. “The future of our denomination and church will depend on the decisions made in Oregon,” Lay Leader Stephanie Griffin shares on this informational video outlining the process between now and then. This TED-Talk type video features past General Conference Delegate Don House discussing the commitment details and Dr. Elijah Stansell reviewing the financial information.

Preparation and Legislation Underway
This fall, 41 lay and clergy leaders from across the Texas Conference met to learn about the constitution of the UMC and to talk about potential legislation that might guide the future of the denomination. This meeting that was open to everyone included group work based on interests and experience among the attendees. Central North District Superintendent Morris Mathis facilitated the initial meeting and will facilitate a follow up meeting at Lakeview Conference Center on January 17, 2015 beginning at 9:30 a.m. Anyone interested in attending contact Shanda Levingston at 281-895-7700 or To stay at Lakeview the night before, make reservations directly with Lakeview.
“The purpose of this gathering,” explains Morris, “is ultimately to help the church by having conversation among those crafting prospective legislation for General Conference. I expect we will hear proposed resolutions from about a half-dozen individuals, and as they present to the group, we will discuss the constitutional implications, other paragraphs that might be impacted in the Book of Discipline, how the concept might be affirmed and what concerns might be voiced, and we will collectively offer suggestions to strengthen the legislation.” Adds Morris, “This forum will not involve any voting or thumbs up or down, just ideas those writing the legislation can process as they like.”
This work is important work. “Being a delegate is a significant commitment but it is the experience of a lifetime,” Don House shares on the informational video. “Delegates are part of a very important process, and get to work alongside outstanding leaders from across the nation.”
As a reminder, the United Methodist Church’s top legislative body will meet at the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, on May 10-20, 2016. 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.