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Glossary: delegates, General Conference

The voting members of the General Conference. The total number of delegates to a General Conference must consist of an equal number of clergy and lay delegates. Lay delegates are elected by ballot by the lay members of their respective Annual Conferences. Clergy delegates are elected by ballot by the clergy members. These elections are held during sessions of the Annual Conference in the year preceding the General Conference. The number of delegates an Annual Conference is entitled to send to a General Conference is based on two factors: the number of clergy members of the Annual Conference and the number of members of local churches in the Annual Conference. The Constitution of The United Methodist Church states that the membership of General Conference shall be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,000. Since 1968 the practice has been to have the total number of delegates at or near the upper limit.

Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.