Skip Navigation

General Conference 2004: The Basics of General Conference

 

The Basics

General Conference Parking Information
Availability and cost of public parking around the Convention Center. [more]

How General Conference Works
General Conference, which convenes every four years, is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. Church law states that no person or organization except the General Conference has authority to speak officially for the denomination. [learn more]

Interpretation and Aids for the Hearing Impaired
There will be two American Sign Language Interpreters available the first week of General Conference to perform sign language interpretation in the Legislative Committee rooms where they are needed. There will also be earphones available for delegates in the plenary session. A limited number will be available for those in the audience if they deposit a valid drivers license in exchange for the earphones.

Issues
Read summaries of the 24 significant topics facing General Conference delegates, with links to related reports and proposals. [read more]

Legislative Process
Petitions are sent by agencies, conferences, churches, and individuals. The petitions secretary assigns petition numbers. The numbers indicate the legislative committee, the chronological order, and the source. ... [read more]

Schedule of Events
Each day of General Conference is scheduled is by the Committee on Agenda. While the details of the daily agenda are usually not set until the day before, the overall structure of General Conference is the same each day. Special events, such as the Laity and Episcopal Address, are scheduled well in advance. [view schedule]

Want to Visit General Conference?
There will be no compulsory registration. Credentials are not necessary to enter the plenary bleachers or legislative meeting rooms audience seating. The only limitation on access is availability of space and seating, otherwise this is an open meeting of The United Methodist Church.

Watch and listen to General Conference on the Web
You can watch live audio & video streaming of each morning's choir performance and worship service. Regular business sessions will be live audio streamed.

Detailed Information

Bleacher Cushion Sales
The Host Committee will be selling seat cushions during General Conference for use on the bleachers in the plenary. Cost is $8.00 and will be used to help defray some of the Host Committee's costs for General Conference.

Delegates by Jurisdiction
The names of delegates elected by their annual conferences to General Conference 2004 are now searchable by jurisdictions and central conference. [search list]

Delegate Seating Chart
The following document shows where delegates will be seated during General Conference. The chart is arranged by jurisdiction and conference. A map of the plenary hall is available for reference. (PDF)[download seating chart] [download plenary hall map] [affiliated autonomous Methodist and United Churches seating chart]

General Agency Petitions, Proposals and Reports
See the petitions, proposals and reports submitted by the general agencies. [view]

Hospitality Team
The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference and The Northeastern Jurisdiction welcomes The United Methodist Church to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - providing excellent hospitality in the context of Christian conferencing. [view site]

Legislative Committees and Paragraphs of The Book of Discipline Assigned to Each Committee
The following material is excerpted from the most current draft of the Plan of Organization and Rules of the General Conference that will be proposed to the 2004 General Conference by the Committee on Plan of Organization and Rules. It is hoped that this information will be helpful to delegates as they choose their committee assignments for the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. [view draft]

Legislative Committee Chairs Elected  [View the list]

APPROVED: Plan of Organization and Rules for The 2004 General Conference
Read how we organize the work of General Conference. This Plan of Organization was adopted by the delegates on April 27. (PDF) [download the Plan]

Plenary Floor Plan
Map and seating chart for General Conference 2004. [view PDF]

Prayer Ministries
Providing prayer coverage for all aspects of planning, preparation, and implementation of General Conference. [learn how you can help]

Number of Delegates to General Conference 2004
Church law provides for a maximum of 1,000 delegates--half clergy, half lay. It mandates that each annual conference must have at least one delegate from each order. Beyond that, a conference's representation is based the number of lay members and clergy members in the conference. [view list]

Worship
View the order of worship for each General Conference morning worship service. [view]

General Conference Issues & Topics

Fewer Bishops?
United Methodist decision-makers at the 2004 General Conference will consider a proposal to reduce by five the number of bishops eligible for election to help cut administrative costs. [more]

General Conference Issues  
Read summaries of the 24 significant topics facing General Conference delegates, with links to related reports and proposals. [read more]

Igniting Ministry campaign hits the mark
A few months ago, Elizabeth Rock and her husband, R.H., of Powell, Wyo., were looking for a church where Liz—reared a Roman Catholic—and “Rock,” a former Baptist, would feel comfortable. The United Methodist TV ads caught their attention. [more]

Living into the Future: Is it time for a restructure?
Mention “church restructure” to most United Methodists and they’re apt to think of brick-and-mortar add-ons or kitchen renovations. But to the 2004 General Conference’s 1,000 delegates, “church restructure” means another attempt “to determine the most effective design for the work of the general [United Methodist] agencies.” That assignment implies that the current design, basically unchanged since its adoption in 1972, is not “the most effective.” [more]

Our Social Creed’s Centennial
The United Methodist Social Creed ... Can you recite it? No? You’re not alone. The Social Creed is a distinctive contribution to U.S. religious life, and it’s been around for nearly a century, but most United Methodists seldom hear it, speak it or know its contents. [more]

Pittsburgh team leader draws on experience to host 2004 event
When the General Conference of the former Methodist Church met in Pittsburgh nearly 40 years ago, a senior Drew Theological School student named Brian Bauknight returned to his hometown to attend a couple of sessions. [more]

Water Washed and Spirit Born: 2004 General Conference Guide to Prayer and Practice
Designed as a resource for all who attend the 2004 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, Water Washed and Spirit Born is a free prayer guide for use immediately before and after the event. (The devotional covers the period from April 4 to May 15.)

About The Delegates

Delegates by Jurisdiction
The names of delegates elected by their annual conferences to General Conference 2004 are now searchable by jurisdictions and central conference. [search list]

Mailing Information Available For Ordering
Mailing addresses of the 2004 General and Jurisdictional Conferences delegates are now available from the Commission on the General Conference Business Office. For a nominal fee to cover processing and shipping, lists can be ordered as mailing labels, in report form or on diskette. Lists of female delegates, delegation chairs and individual jurisdiction delegates are also available. [download order form (PDF)]

Number of Delegates to General Conference
Church law provides for a maximum of 1,000 delegates--half clergy, half lay. It mandates that each annual conference must have at least one delegate from each order. Beyond that, a conference's representation is based the number of lay members and clergy members in the conference. [view list]

Seating Chart
The following document shows where delegates will be seated during General Conference. The chart is arranged by jurisdiction and conference. A map of the plenary hall is available for reference. (PDF)[download seating chart] [download plenary hall map] [affiliated autonomous Methodist and United Churches seating chart]

Survey of General Conference Delegates
The "Hitchhiker's Guide to U.S. Delegates at the 2004 General Conference" provides a description of General Conference delegates - who they are, what they believe, where they serve the church, and what issues they see facing the church. Commissioned by the General Council on Ministries, this report is the result of 800 questionaires completed by delegates last Fall.  [Download the report (pdf)]