When Hoosier United Methodists gather for Annual Conference this spring, they will join United Methodists around the world in electing delegates to worldwide and jurisdictional conferences for 2008.
The 63 U.S. conferences (including the Indiana North and Indiana South conferences), meeting during May and June, will elect 352 clergy delegates and 352 lay delegates to the denomination's highest legislative body, the General Conference. Convened every four years, the conference will meet April 23-May 2, 2008, in Fort Worth, Texas.
The 53 conferences in Europe, Africa and the Philippines will elect 274 delegates. An additional 10 delegates from Concordant Methodist churches also will attend.
According to the Rev. Janice Dimick of Lakeview, Ind., secretary of the North Indiana Conference, at the North Indiana sessions beginning later this month, North Conference members will elect five clergy and five lay delegates to General Conference plus five more clergy and five more lay delegates for a total of 20 delegates to Jurisdictional Conference. Reserve delegates to jurisdictional conferences also will be elected.
According to the Rev. Curtis Hurely of Washington, Ind., secretary of the South Indiana Conference, at the South Indiana sessions in June, South Conference members will elect six clergy and six lay delegates to General Conference plus six more clergy and six more lay delegates for a total of 24 delegates to Jurisdictional Conference. Reserve delegates to jurisdictional conferences also will be elected.
The annual conference is the "basic unit" of the church, according to The United Methodist Book of Discipline. It may include an entire state, part of a state or even parts of two or more states. There are also three missionary conferences in the United States, which rely on the denomination for funding.
Each conference also will elect delegates to one of five Jurisdictional conferences in the United States. Indiana's two annual conferences are part of the nine-state North Central Jurisdictional Conference which is scheduled to meet July 15-19, 2008 at Grand Rapids, Mich.