Four years ago, a new election process was tried for the first time. Laity and clergy were separated and voted at different times during a 3-hour block. The evaluations of this process were overwhelmingly negative for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, it was decided to return to the long tradition of voting throughout plenary sessions with clergy and laity in the same room. The schedule reflects the return to this traditional voting practice.
Concern has been expressed about the cost of attending Annual Conference. Therefore, those who are not representing a local church or are not under appointment of the bishop to serve a local church are granted a per diem. This includes retirees who are not serving a local church in retirement and equalization members. It has always been the responsibility of the local congregation to help with the expenses for those who are elected and sent to represent them at the annual meeting.
It is and has always been the expectation that members of the Annual Conference Session attend all sessions. It is part of the responsibly and covenant we make when we accept the position of a member of the Annual Conference. All votes and information are important in our shared ministry.
There are strong feelings and concerns as we prepare to participate this year as members of the 2019 Annual Conference Session. The Sessions Committee did their best to prepare the schedule with time for careful discernment and to reflect, renew, and pray between the many important votes and decisions.
All reports, petitions, and ballot information are at inumc.org/annual conference.