The United Methodist Church
Trey Harper, Conference Secretary
Post Office Box 68 Forest, MS 39074
Dear Clergy Friends,
The Mississippi Conference will elect its delegation to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences during the 2015 Session of the Annual Conference in Jackson, MS, June 4-6.
The General Conference is the global gathering of The United Methodist Church where mission and ministry priorities are established and The Book of Discipline is reviewed for possible revisions. The General Conference is the policy setting body of United Methodism. The 2016 General Conference will be held May 10-16, 2016, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.
The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference meets July 13-15, 2016, in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, to coordinate the connected ministry and mission of the region and to elect and assign Bishops for leadership in the Church.
This year, we will be electing six (6) clergy and six (6) lay delegates, in the process which is governed by The Book of Discipline and our Standing Rules:
¶ 34. Article III.—The annual conference shall elect clergy and lay delegates to the General Conference and to its jurisdictional or central conference in the manner provided in this section, Articles IV and V. The persons first elected up to the number determined by the ratio for representation in the General Conference shall be representatives in that body. Additional delegates shall be elected to complete the number determined by the ratio for representation in the jurisdictional or central conference, who, together with those first elected as above, shall be delegates in the jurisdictional or central conference. The additional delegates to the jurisdictional or central conference shall in the order of their election be the reserve delegates to the General Conference. The annual conference shall also elect reserve clergy and lay delegates to the jurisdictional or central conference as it may deem desirable. These reserve clergy and lay delegates to the jurisdictional or central conferences may act as reserve delegates to the General Conference when it is evident that not enough reserve delegates are in attendance at the General Conference.
Rule 9: Election of Clergy Delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences The following system of nomination and election shall be followed in the election of clergy delegates: A. Clergy delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences shall be elected from the ordained ministerial members in full connection, pursuant to the provisions of the Book of Discipline, with the exception of clergy on Involuntary Leave of Absence. B. All eligible clergy members shall be listed on the ballot prepared by the Conference Secretary. Those wishing not to be considered for election have the right to decline. C. All clergy who accept their election express their willingness to be a nominee, to attend and participate in the conferences as elected, and to attend all meetings and trainings of the delegation. D. Delegates elected to serve for the General Conference shall automatically serve on the delegation for Jurisdictional Conference. The remaining delegates to Jurisdictional Conference shall serve as alternates, in order of election, to General Conference.
The Book of Discipline also outlines the prerequisites for clergy voting and election to the delegations. Please keep in mind that an important change in the 2008 edition that remains in the 2012 edition will continue to affect our voting in 2015.
¶35. Article IV “The clergy delegates to the General and to the jurisdictional or central conferences shall be elected from the clergy members in full connection and shall be elected by the clergy members of the annual conference who are deacons and elders in full connection, associate members, and those provisional members who have completed all of their educational requirements and local pastors who have completed course of study or an M. Div. degree and have served a minimum of two consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election”
Full Elders or Deacons on leave of absence may vote and may be elected as delegates (¶354.7).
Full Elders or Deacons on sabbatical, family, paternity/maternity, or disability leave may vote and be elected (See Judicial Council Decision #473).
Clergy on honorable location are no longer members of the annual conference (¶359.2) and therefore cannot vote or be elected as clergy delegates.
Retired Full Elders or Deacons can vote and be elected as clergy delegates (See Judicial Council Decision #531).
Full Elders or Deacons under suspension from pastoral duties may vote but may not be elected as a delegate (See Judicial Council Decision #534).
Persons who are to be received into provisional membership at the Clergy Session on June 4th may vote during the following election as long as they have fulfilled the educational requirements as stated above in ¶35.
Clergy with additional questions may contact Rev. Trey Harper, Conference Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.