United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nashville, Tenn.:No decision has yet been made about the size of the 2012 General Conference, according to the secretary of the General Conference, Rev. L. Fitzgerald Reist.
The Constitution states the General Conference "shall be composed of not less than 600 nor more than 1,000 delegates." The Book of Discipline provides a formula for the distribution of delegates that currently allocates more than 1,000 delegates. A means to adjust the formula to bring the total into compliance with the Constitution is also stipulated.
The Judicial Council on October 31, 2009 issued Decision 1128 which states, "The Secretary of the General Conference has the authority to determine the number of delegates that each annual and missionary conference will elect to the General Conference within the provisions of the Constitution and the legislative enactments of the General Conference."
Reist said he is awaiting analysis of the 2009 membership statistics to see how the size of the General Conference may affect representation. He anticipates that no decision will be made before November 2010.
"I am prayerfully seeking the guidance of the church and the Holy Spirit as I make this decision. I am concerned that the voices of the church be heard and the resources of the church used in the service of Jesus Christ," said Reist.
The General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church, and meets once every four years to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for churchwide programs for the next four years. The 2012 meeting will take place April 24-May 4 at the Tampa Convention Center.
Rev. Reist is the pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, 216 State Street, Harrisburg, Pa.