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United Methodists from all over the world traveled to attend General Conference in Charlotte, N.C., from April 23 to May 3. Delegates from Africa, Europe, Asia and the U.S. attended the 11-day gathering, which welcomed about 6,500 people.

Post Conference Resources




Frequently Asked Questions

An even number of lay and clergy delegates were nominated and voted on in anticipation of General Conference 2020 at Annual Conference 2019. You can see a list of CTC delegates and NTC delegates on the conference websites.

The Social Principles are social teachings of the church and part of the Methodist tradition of addressing complex social issues of the day. This document stands in the Wesleyan method of theological development based on Scripture, along with tradition, reason and Christian experience, to live out the Gospel in every arena of life. The Social Principles challenge all members of The United Methodist Church to engage in reflection and to encourage dialogue between faith and practice of ministry and mission.

The General Conferences 2012 and 2016 called on The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) to convene, for the first time, a revision process of the Social Principles in its entirety, nearly 50 years after the first Social Principles document was created and adopted. An eight-year process stewarded by GBCS began in 2012, engaging laity and clergy from across the globe with diverse perspectives, common faith and identity as United Methodists with the development of the Revised Social Principles document, reaffirming the church’s tradition of social holiness and call to witness for justice and peace.

In the appointment-making process, the needs and theological understanding of the local church are always considered by the Cabinet. The Bishop and Cabinet work from a set of core values and commitments as they discern appointments, aiming to match the gifts and strengths of our clergy to the needs and context of the local church and its mission field.

Each local church sets their own policies on weddings, funerals and other celebrations, and no proposal currently before General Conference would change that. Similarly, no pastor is ever forced to celebrate weddings for anyone, nor will they be in the future. Pastors currently make their own decisions about their willingness to marry a couple. They can – and do – decline to marry people and will retain this discretion.
The legislation, budget and other items approved by the General Conference take effect at the beginning of the following year, unless specified to take effect at another time. Constitutional amendments, such as regionalization, must be ratified by all Annual Conferences with an aggregated two-thirds majority across all Conferences.
Delegates to General Conference will be presented with a budget of $346.7 million to fund the church’s work for the next four years. The budget represents a nearly 43% reduction from the previous budget, as revenues have dropped due to church closures and other factors. Each general agency and ministry funded through the denominational budget is actively planning how to diversify revenue streams, realign and refocus its core work and determine what it will no longer do during the coming quadrennium.

Only members of The UMC may serve as delegates to General Conference. In Annual Conferences where elected delegates chose to leave the denomination or prayerfully discerned that they could no longer effectively fulfill their role as a delegate for other reasons, those roles have been filled by alternate delegates and/or elections were held to fill those roles.

Deacons are called to the ministry of word, service, justice and compassion. They currently must receive special dispensation from their bishop to offer sacraments in specific cases. However, many deacons serve in contexts where the sacraments of baptism and communion would provide a vital experience of God’s grace. If the legislation passes, deacons would be given full rights to preside over the sacraments in their ministry context.
The bishops are our spiritual leaders and they are the presiding officers of General Conference, but they do not have voice or vote in matters before the body.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline Paragraph 14 states that the General Conference is to meet every four years, so the 2020 Conference could not be skipped. The Council of Bishops plans to call a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in 2026 for the delegates to strategize and work toward bringing about the next vital expression of United Methodism, and the 2028 General Conference would return us to the four-year cycle.