The Secretary of the General Conference announced on Friday, December 1 the number of delegates assigned to each annual conference for the 2020 General Conference has been calculated, and certificates of election are on the way to bishops and annual conference secretaries.
The computation involves applying a statistical formula contained in The Book of Discipline 2016, which is based on the number of clergy and professing lay members of each annual conference. Since the Book of Discipline caps the maximum number of delegates at 1,000—and the application of the formula resulted in a higher number—the Commission on the General Conference adjusted the number proportionately to reflect as closely as possible the number of delegates to the last General Conference. The adjustment of the formula resulted in 862 delegates to the 2020 General Conference, as compared to 864 in 2016.
For the first time ever, due to a change enacted by the 2016 General Conference, the statistics used for calculation were derived from annual conference journals submitted to the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) by annual conference secretaries.
An audit of the journal library at the beginning of the year revealed that 30 annual conferences had never submitted a journal, and the most recent journals for 39 annual conferences were dated 2012 or earlier, with one dating back as far as 1961. The most recent journal on record for 65 annual conferences dated from 2013-2016.
“Extraordinary effort and innovation on the part of Commission staff, the staff at GCFA and other general agencies and annual conference leaders resulted in the collection of 100% of the necessary journals from around the world in less than ten months,” said the Rev. Gary Graves, secretary of the General Conference. “This was accomplished while also verifying data for five new annual conferences created during the 2016 sessions of the Africa, West Africa, and Philippines Central Conferences.”
Delegates to the 2020 General Conference will be representative of the five jurisdictions and seven central conferences throughout the world, as well as churches with which The United Methodist Church has a concordat agreement. The 862 delegates are distributed as follows:
North Central Jurisdiction: 88
Northeastern Jurisdiction: 84
South Central Jurisdiction: 102
Southeastern Jurisdiction: 182
Western Jurisdiction: 26
Africa Central Conference: 40
Central and Southern Europe Central Conference: 14
Congo Central Conference: 152
Germany Central Conference: 6
Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference: 20
Philippines Central Conference: 52
West Africa Central Conference: 86
About General Conference
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to 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 for the next four years. General Conference 2020 will take place May 5-15, 2020, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis.