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Non-U.S. delegates will increase at ‘04 General Conference

 

By United Methodist News Service
2/3/2003

NOTE: A complete list of the number of General Conference delegates that each annual conference will elect follows the story. Annual conferences are listed by jurisdiction or central conference.

When United Methodists gather in Pittsburgh next year for their top legislative assembly, their number will include more delegates from outside the United States than ever before.

Just as the U.S. Congress redistricts every 10 years in the wake of the national census, the number of lay and clergy delegates to the United Methodist's highest legislative assembly, the General Conference, changes to keep total representation at 1,000 or less. This time, the changes also reflect an alteration in the determining formula, due to legislative action of the 2000 General Conference.

The biggest shift is an increased representation of the central conferences, the church's regional units outside the United States. The total number of delegates these conferences will elect for 2004 is 184, an increase of 32 since the 2000 gathering in Cleveland. And because the church's constitution requires equal numbers of clergy and laity, there will be 92 of each from the central conferences.

For the 2004 session, a total of 994 delegates will be elected - two more than for the 2000 session. Included in both totals are 10 voting delegates from the concordat churches: four from Great Britain and two each from Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean & the Americas.

The General Conference meets every four years. During the two-week assembly, the delegates revise the church's Book of Discipline and adopt position statements on a wide range of issues for the Book of Resolutions. General Conference is the only entity that speaks for the entire United Methodist Church.

U.S. changes are mixed, with the Southeastern and South Central Jurisdictions growing and the Northeastern, North Central and Western Jurisdictions having fewer delegates.

Southeastern gained eight for a total of 278, and South Central gained 10 for a total of 170. Western, the smallest jurisdiction with less than half a million United Methodists, had 56 delegates at the last General Conference but will have only 44 at the next. Northeastern and North Central are each losing 18 delegates: Northeastern dropping from 162 to 144 and North Central from 182 to 164.

Among the annual (regional) conferences, Virginia will elect the largest number, 32. It is followed by Florida with 30. North Georgia and Western North Carolina will each name 28. All of these are in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

The Texas Conference in the South Central Jurisdiction along with West Ohio in North Central will each name 26. Rounding out the 12 largest conferences are South Carolina with 24; North Carolina and Oklahoma, 22 each; and East Ohio, Iowa and Western Pennsylvania, 20 each.

The newly merged Missouri Conference will have 18 delegates - the same total as Missouri East and Missouri West had in 2000.

The smallest annual conferences are guaranteed one clergy and one lay delegate. In the United States, these are the missionary conferences - Red Bird in Appalachia, Oklahoma Indian Missionary and Rio Grande - and Yellowstone and Oregon-Idaho.

Outside the five U.S. jurisdictions, the largest annual conferences are those in Africa. Liberia and Central Congo will each elect 14 delegates. Nigeria will send 12. East Congo and Sierra Leone will choose 10 each. East Africa and North Katanga are allocated eight each, and North-West Katanga has six. Western Angola and South-West Katanga will elect four.

All the annual conferences in the European and Philippines central conferences, as well as some in Africa, will elect only two people.

The United Methodist Church has nearly 10 million members worldwide, including 8.4 million in the United States.

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A complete list of the number of delegates, half clergy and half lay, to be elected by each annual conference follows. Carolyn M. Marshall, General Conference secretary, provided this information.

Conference 2004 delegates

Jurisdictional Conferences
North Central
Dakotas 4 
Detroit 12 
East Ohio 20 
Illinois Great Rivers 18 
Iowa 20 
Minnesota 8 
North Indiana 12 
Northern Illinois 12 
South Indiana 12 
West Michigan 8 
West Ohio 26 
Wisconsin 12 

NCJ Totals 164

Northeastern
Baltimore-Washington 18 
Central Pennsylvania 16 
Eastern Pennsylvania 14 
Greater New Jersey 12 
New England 12 
New York 14 
North Central New York 8 
Peninsula-Delaware 6 
Troy 4 
West Virginia 12 
Western New York 4 
Western Pennsylvania 20 
Wyoming 4 

NEJ Totals 144

South Central
Central Texas 14 
Kansas East 8 
Kansas West 8 
Little Rock 4 
Louisiana 14 
Missouri 18 
Nebraska 8 
New Mexico 4 
North Arkansas 8 
North Texas 16 
Northwest Texas 4 
Oklahoma 22 
Oklahoma Indian Missionary 2 
Rio Grande 2 
Southwest Texas 12 
Texas 26 

SCJ Totals 170

Southeastern
Alabama-West Florida 14 
Florida 30 
Holston 16 
Kentucky 14 
Memphis 8 
Mississippi 18 
North Alabama 16 
North Carolina 22 
North Georgia 28 
Red Bird Missionary 2 
South Carolina 24 
South Georgia 14 
Tennessee 12 
Virginia 32 
Western North Carolina 28 

SEJ Totals 278

Western
Alaska Missionary 2 
California-Nevada 10 
California-Pacific 10 
Desert Southwest 4 
Oregon-Idaho 2 
Pacific Northwest 6 
Rocky Mountain 8 
Yellowstone 2 

WJ Totals 44

Central Conferences
Africa
East Africa 8 
Eastern Angola 2 
Mozambique 4 
Western Angola 2 
East Zimbabwe 2 
West Zimbabwe 2 

Congo
Central Congo 14 
East Congo 10 
North Katanga 8 
North-West Katanga 6 
Oriental and Equator 2 
South Congo 2 
South-West Katanga 4 
Tanganyika/Tanzania 2 
West Congo 2 

West Africa
Liberia 14 
Nigeria 12 
Sierra Leone 10 

Central and
Southern Europe
Austria Provisional 2 
Bulgaria Provisional 2 
Czech and Slovak Republics 2 
Hungary Provisional 2 
Yugoslavia-Macedonia Prov. 2 
Poland 2 
Switzerland-France 2 

Germany
Germany East 2 
Germany North 2 
Germany South 2 
Germany Southwest 2 

Northern Europe
Denmark 2 
Estonia 2 
Finland-Finnish Provisional 2 
Finland-Swedish Provisional 2 
Norway 2 
Central Russia 2 
Eastern Russia-Kazakhstan Prov. 2 
North West Russia Provisional 2 
Southern Russia-Ukraine-Moldova Prov. 2 
Sweden 2 

Philippines
Bicol Mission Philippines 2 
Bulacan Philippines 2 
Central Luzon Philippines 2 
East Mindanao Philippines 2 
Middle Philippines 2 
Mindanao Philippines 2 
North Central Philippines 2 
Northwest Mindanao Philippines 2 
Northeast Philippines 2 
Northern Philippines 2 
Northwest Philippines 2 
Palawan Philippines Provisional 2 
Pampango Philippines 2 
Philippines 2 
Philippines East 2 
Southwest Philippines Provisional 2 
Visayas Philippines 2 
West Middle Philippines 2 
Pangasinan Philippines 2 

Central Conferences Total 184 

Concordat Churches
Caribbean & the Americas 2 
Great Britain 4 
Mexico 2 
Puerto Rico 2 

Concordat Churches Total 10 

SUMMARY
North Central Jurisdiction 164 
Northeastern Jurisdiction 144 
South Central Jurisdiction 170 
Southeastern Jurisdiction 278 
Western Jurisdiction 44 
Central Conferences 184 
Concordat Churches 10 

TOTAL 994