During the past Indiana Annual Conference Session, the legislative body passed a new procedure for the election of General and Jurisdictional conference delegates. While delegates will be selected during the 2015 Annual Conference Session, a process whereby individuals from each district may be recommended was created. It is the hope of the Annual Conference that this process will allow for more eligible people to make themselves available to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and The United Methodist Church through our quadrennial General and Jurisdictional conferences.

Endorsement process for laity

As the new procedure was being formed, many laity from our Annual Conference shared that while there are many who have an interest in participating in General and Jurisdictional conferences, it is felt that it is nearly impossible for them to become elected as a member of the delegation unless that layperson would spend a large amount of time during the year(s) in Annual Conference ministry teams and/or committees in order to achieve name recognition. Due to the schedules of many laity within our annual conference, this is nearly impossible. Very active and strong leaders are present in each of our districts that are known within each district for their strong leadership and legislative skills and their deep love for the church and our Lord. The new procedure invites each district to recommend up to three (3) laypersons from each district for consideration as a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conference.

On the Indiana Conference website at www.inumc.org/willingnesstoserve, one will find a “Willingness to Serve” form. Interested laity are invited to complete this form and make available to the laity of the church. People who may desire to be considered at the District Conference session for endorsement to the Annual Conference as a delegate for the General and Jurisdictional Conferences must complete a “Willingness to Serve” form so that they may be considered by the District lay representatives to their District Conference. Eligibility requirements are posted on the website.

Endorsement process for clergy

This fall, each district conference will include a ballot for the endorsement of clergy to be recommended to the 2015 Annual Conference to represent the Indiana Area at the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Those eligible to be elected are ordained ministerial members in full connection (2012 Discipline ¶35).

All eligible clergy who serve in or have charge conference relationship in the district shall be on the first ballot that the clergy will use to vote on endorsement from each district. Subsequent ballots will be limited to those persons who will have received a certain number of votes (determined by a motion from the floor of the district conference) from the clergy present at the district conference.

Should a person receive a sufficient number of votes to remain on subsequent ballots but that person has not completed a “Willingness to Serve” form (available on the conference website), that person will be invited to allow his/her name to remain on the ballot or to decline that his/her name remain in consideration. If he/she declines, his/her name shall be removed from the ballot. Should he/she agree to allow his/her name to remain on the ballot, it is understood that that person would be willing to serve and would comply with the covenants of that form, and must complete a “Willingness to Serve” form to be submitted to the Indiana Annual Conference before they could be listed among endorsed candidates.

Clergy who are interested in being considered for endorsement by the district are urged to complete the online “Willingness to Serve” form prior to the October 27, 2014, deadline to have his/her information available to the participants of the district conference.

The desire is that through this process, all clergy who are eligible for election to General and Jurisdictional conferences are given opportunity to be considered. Clergy from each district are more likely able to observe the skills that would be desirable for their choice of a representative to the General and Jurisdictional conferences – whether it be administrative skills, a particular spiritual gift (such as leadership, wisdom, knowledge, faith or discernment, etc.) or the pastor’s position on the important issues that may be dealt with at a particular session of the conference. The top three (3) names of clergy endorsed by each district would be identified on the list presented to the qualified clergy voting members at the Indiana Annual Conference Session in May.

“Willingness to Serve” forms must to be completed by October 27, 2014.

– Submitted by Steve Beutler, Election Chairperson for the Sessions Committee of the Indiana United Methodist Conference.