News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn
NOTE: A list of annual conference dates and meeting locations follows this story.
Election of clergy and lay delegates to the 2004 General and jurisdictional conferences will be a major agenda item for the United Methodist annual (regional) conference sessions this year.
The 64 U.S. conferences, meeting during May and June, will elect 497 clergy delegates and 497 lay delegates to the denomination's highest legislative body, General Conference. The 53 conferences in Europe, Africa and the Philippines will elect a total of 184 delegates. General Conference, convened every four years, will meet April 27-May 7, 2004, in Pittsburgh.
The annual conferences also will elect delegates to the five U.S. jurisdictional conferences, which will be held in July 2004 to elect bishops and assign them and others to geographic areas for the next four years.
Clergy and lay people from the former Missouri East and Missouri West annual conferences will meet for the first time as the Missouri Conference on May 29. The conferences became one body Jan. 1. The North Arkansas and Little Rock annual conferences voted to become one entity last fall and will merge at a June 11 uniting conference, officially launching the Arkansas Annual Conference.
The Troy Annual Conference will be the first of the U.S. conferences, meeting May 7-10 in Burlington, Vt., followed by the Red Bird Missionary Conference in Evarts, Ky. meeting May 9-10. The first central conference session will be that of Bulacan Philippines, meeting March 18-21 Naga City.
U.S. sessions conclude June 22 with the adjournment of the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain and California-Nevada annual conferences. The last central conference meets Dec. 11-14 in Mutasa-Nyanga District, Zimbabwe.
In addition to elections of delegates, annual conferences will act on petitions from individuals and groups wanting to change policies, procedures and practices of the United Methodist Church. Approved petitions will be submitted to the General Conference, and those that are adopted will be reflected in the 2004 revisions of the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions.
General Conference delegates can change anything in the Book of Discipline except the church's Constitution. Any recommended changes in the Constitution must be ratified by the annual (regional) conferences.
Individual and group petitions must be postmarked by Nov. 29, which is 150 days before the opening day of the General Conference. Churchwide agencies must submit their petitions by Aug. 1. Petitions secretary for the 2004 conference is Gary W. Graves, pastor of Beaver Dam (Ky.) United Methodist Church.
Annual conference members, including lay and clergy representatives from every local church, will also approve budgets, receive reports from conference boards and agencies, adopt programs of mission and ministry, and pass resolutions. Several annual conferences will participate in liturgical acts of repentance and reconciliation services, which are confessions to the sin of racism in the denomination. The services also are an attempt to recapture the spirit of Methodism lost when some African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries felt compelled by racism in the church to leave and form their own denominations.
A bishop will preside over each conference session. One-year appointments of all clergy members of the conference will also be announced, new deacons and elders will be ordained, and candidates for ordination will be approved.
U.S. annual conference meeting dates and places are:
U.S. ANNUAL CONFERENCES
North Central Jurisdiction
Dakotas, June 4-7, Fargo, N.D.
Detroit, May 16-19, Adrian, Mich.
East Ohio, June 16-20, Lakeside, Ohio
Illinois Great Rivers, May 28-31, Peoria, Ill.
Iowa, June 12-15, Ames, Iowa
Minnesota, May 28-31, Saint Cloud, Minn.
North Indiana, May 29-31, West Lafayette, Ind.
Northern Illinois, June 5-7, St. Charles, Ill.
South Indiana, June 4-7, Bloomington, Ind.
West Michigan, June 6-9, Grand Rapids, Mich.
West Ohio, June 8-12, Lakeside, Ohio
Wisconsin, June 15-18, Middleton, Wis.
Baltimore-Washington, June 12-15, Washington
Central Pennsylvania, June 4-7, Grantham, Pa.
Eastern Pennsylvania, June 11-14, Grantham, Pa.
Greater New Jersey, June 18-21, Atlantic City, N.J.
New England, June 13-16, Wenham, Mass.
New York, June 4-7, Hempstead, N.Y.
North Central New York, May 30-June 1, Liverpool, N.Y.
Peninsula-Delaware, June 3-7, Queen Anne, Md.
Troy, May 7-10, Burlington, Vt.
West Virginia, June 11-15, Buckhannon, W.Va.
Western New York, June 5-7, Buffalo, N.Y.
Western Pennsylvania, June 11-14, Grove City, Pa.
Wyoming, May 29-June 1, Scranton, Pa.
South Central Jurisdiction
Arkansas, June 11-14, Russellville, Ark.
Central Texas, June 1-4, Fort Worth, Texas
Kansas East, June 4-7, Baldwin City, Kan.
Kansas West, May 28-31, Salina, Kan.
Louisiana, June 4-7, Shreveport, La.
Missouri, May 29-June 2, Columbia, Mo.
Nebraska, June 4-7, Lincoln, Neb.
New Mexico, May 28-31, Glorieta, N.M.
North Texas, June 1-4, Plano, Texas
Northwest Texas, June 9-12, Amarillo, Texas
Oklahoma, May 26-29, Oklahoma City
Oklahoma Indian Missionary, June 5-8, Anadarko, Okla.
Rio Grande, June 12-15, Albuquerque, N.M.
Southwest Texas, June 4-7, Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas, May 25-29, Houston
Alabama-West Florida, June 1-4, Montgomery, Ala.
Florida, May 27-30, Lakeland, Fla.
Holston, June 8-11, Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Kentucky, June 10-14, Bowling Green, Ky.
Memphis, June 1-4, Jackson, Tenn.
Mississippi, June 2-5, Biloxi, Miss.
North Alabama, June 1-4, Birmingham, Ala.
North Carolina, June 2-5, Fayetteville, N.C.
North Georgia, June 16-20, Athens, Ga.
Red Bird Missionary, May 9-10, Evarts, Ky.
South Carolina, May 25-29, Spartanburg, S.C.
South Georgia, June 1-5, Albany, Ga.
Tennessee, June 8-11, Brentwood, Tenn.
Virginia, June 15-19, Roanoke, Va.
Western North Carolina, June 5-8, Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Alaska Missionary, May 30-June 2, Chugiak, Alaska
California-Nevada, June 18-22, Sacramento, Calif.
California-Pacific, June 17-22, Redlands, Calif.
Desert Southwest, June 5-8, Mesa, Ariz.
Oregon-Idaho, June 9-13, Boise, Idaho
Pacific Northwest, June 18-22, Tacoma, Wash.
Rocky Mountain, June 18-22, Laramie, Wy.
Yellowstone, June 12-15, Billings, Mont.
CENTRAL (OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES) CONFERENCES
(Information on some conferences is unavailable; other conferences have already met.)
Austria Provisional, May 21-25, Linz, Austria
Bulacan Philippines, March 18-21, Gatbuca, Calumpit, Bulcacan, Philippines
Bulgaria Provisional, Oct. 1-5, Dobritsch, Bulgaria
Central Congo, (Section A) June 4-11, Wembo-Nyama
Central Congo, (Section B) June 4-11, Kananga
Central Luzon Philippines, May 6-11, Tagumbao, Gerona, Tarlac, Philippines
Central Russia, July 3-5, Moscow
Czech & Slovak Republics, May 15-18, Plzen, Czech Republic
Denmark, June 25-29, Lawgarden, Denmark
East Congo, (Section A) June 21-28, Kindu
East Congo (Section B) June 21-28, Goma
East Mindanao, May 29-June 1, Agusan del Sur, Philippines
East Zimbabwe, Dec. 11-14, Mutusa-Nyanga District
Eastern Russia Provisional, June 27-29, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Estonia, June 11-15, Tallinn, Estonia
Finland-Finnish Provisional, July 2-6, Turku (Abo), Finland
Finland-Swedish Provisional, June 4-8, Helsingfors, Finland
Hungary Provisional, April 23-27
Liberia, Feb. 12-16
Middle Philippines, May 14-17, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
Mindanao Philippines, May 22-26, Kidapawan City, Philippines
North Central Philippines, March 31-April 5, San Mateo, Isabela, Philippines
Northeast Philippines, May 20-25, Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines
Northern Philippines, June 3-8, Cagayan, Philippines
Northern Russian Provisional, May 22-24, St. Petersburg, Pushkin, Russia
Northwest Mindanao Philippines, April 3-2, Kalilangan, Bukidnon, Philippines
Northwest Philippines, May 27-June 1, Ilocos, Philippines
Norway, June 18-22, Fredrikstad, Norway
Palawan Philippines Provisional, May 27-30, Tarlac City, Tarlac, Philippines
Pangasinan Philippines, May 13-18, Pangasinan, Philippines
Philippines, April 2-5, Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines
Philippines East, April 23-26, Deparo, Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines
Poland, June 18-22, Elk, Poland
Southern Russia Provisional, May 15-18, Voronezh, Russia
Southwest Philippines Provisional, May 15-18, Torrel, Odiongan, Rombloin, Philippines
Sweden, May 5-June 1, Kumla, Sweden
Switzerland-France, June 11-15, Winterthur, Switzerland
West Congo, May 20-27, Kinshasa
West Middle Philippines, May 7-10, Calaguiman, Bataan, Philippines
West Zimbabwe, Dec. 4-7, Masvingo District
Western Angola, Oct. 21, Luanda, Angola
Yugoslavia-Macedonia Provisional, Oct. 15-19, Kisac