Ask The UMC: How often has there been a special called General Conference?
How often has there been a special called General Conference? And has General Conference ever been held in the same place twice?
Since The United Methodist Church formed in 1968, only one special session of General Conference has been held outside of the normal four-year schedule. That was in 1970, and General Conference itself called the session to complete the merger of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren denominations.
The 2019 General Conference is the first time a special session has been called by the Council of Bishops. It will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, which was also the location for both the 1970 and 1988 general conferences.
Portland, Oregon, was the site of the 1976 and 2016 General Conferences.
Early in the church’s history, the 1784 Christmas Conference, which formed the Methodist Episcopal Church, was held in Baltimore, Maryland, at Lovely Lane Chapel. The first regular General Conference met again in Baltimore in1792 and established the cycle of meeting once every four years.
Sites of past General Conferences:
1968 Dallas, Texas (uniting conference)
1970 St. Louis, Missouri (special session)
1972 Atlanta, Georgia
1976 Portland, Oregon
1980 Indianapolis, Indiana
1984 Baltimore, Maryland
1988 St. Louis, Missouri
1992 Louisville, Kentucky
1996 Denver, Colorado
2000 Cleveland, Ohio
2004 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2008 Fort Worth, Texas
2012 Tampa, Florida
2016 Portland, Oregon
This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications. First published October 2, 2018.