Dear lay members of the 2015 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church,
I invite you all into a time of prayer and discernment for our forthcoming 2015 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference where we will elect our delegates to the 2016 General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences.
Accepting the call as servant representatives of our annual conference is not something to be taken lightly. By this sacred trust, you are charged with helping us as a church stay focused on our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Your participation as delegates to either the 2016 General or Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences, will afford you the opportunity not only to worship and fellowship with your global United Methodist family, but also to establish and affirm the policies and principles that guide our church as we seek the Kingdom of God.
The process of election of lay delegates to the General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences is set by the Book of Discipline and the Standing Rules of the Mississippi Conference. The requirements of a lay delegate are as follows:
A. “The lay delegates to the General and jurisdictional or central conferences shall be elected by the lay members of the annual conference or provisional annual conference without regard to age, provided such delegates shall have been professing members of The United Methodist Church for at least two years next preceding their election, and shall have been active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four years next preceding their election, and are members thereof within the annual conference electing them at the time of holding the General and jurisdictional or central conferences.” (The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2012, Paragraph 36.)
B. By the Standing Rule 10: Election of Lay Delegates to the General and Jurisdictional conferences (2014 Official Journal and Yearbook Vol. 1. Pg. 286), “the following system of nomination and election shall be followed in the election of lay delegates:
1) Lay delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences shall be elected from the voting membership of the Annual Conference.
2) Each lay member who wishes to be considered for election must electronically submit a completed nomination form to the Conference Secretary on or before March 1 of the election year. All nominees shall be required to have an endorsement by a District Board of Laity, District Council, Conference Organization, or an Administrative Board/Council of a local church.
3) Nominations forms shall include biographical information including age, race, gender, prior years elected to General and/or Jurisdictional Conferences, participation on boards, councils, commissions or committees of the Annual Conference, and a written summary of qualifications of up to fifty (50) words in length by the nominee.
4) All nominees 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.
5) 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.”
Your Conference Board of Laity has also reaffirmed the following policies to govern the election of lay delegates:
1) We covenant not to engage in criticism of fellow delegates.
2) We covenant not to use the United Methodist logo in personal letters to friends.
3) We covenant to complete the nomination form if we wish to have information distributed to all lay members of annual conference. This same form must show the endorsement of an official unit or subdivision of the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
To ensure compliance with the Book of Discipline, those wishing to be considered for election and inclusion in the pre-conference journal should complete the official nominations form online by March 1, 2015. That form can be found by clicking here. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.
Any inquiries are to be directed to Rev. Trey Harper, conference secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org