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2020 General 2024

In early 2020, The United Methodist Church was preparing for its next General Conference. The gathering promised to be one for the history books, with key legislation proposed that would chart the course for the denomination’s future.

What is General Conference?

General Conference is comprised of United Methodist clergy and lay leaders who are elected from annual, missionary and provisional conferences around the world. This representative body is the only one that can set official policy and speak for the denomination. General Conference gathers for a 10-day meeting every four years. 

But as we all know, COVID-19 gripped the world and shut it down in March, leading to the postponement of the 2020 General Conference, not once, but three times. The global pandemic, as well as extended waits for visas, eventually pushed the gathering to April 23 – May 3, 2024.

The name’s the same

The delay caused a relocation of the host city, from the originally planned Minneapolis, Minnesota, to a new venue in Charlotte, North Carolina. Legislation submitted for consideration in 2020 still stands, but there was an opportunity to submit new proposals as well.

One might think that a new meeting year and a new location and new proposals would lead to a new name for General Conference, but this is not so. The name remains “2020 General Conference.”

In the United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶ 14, it’s stated that General Conference is to meet every four years, so a 2020 assembly must occur…even if it is greatly postponed.

Scheduling challenges aren’t over

If you’re doing the math, you will notice that with a 2020 General Conference, there should be a 2024 General Conference to follow. In the calendaring conundrum we find ourselves, the Council of Bishops has recommended that an abbreviated 2024 General Conference take place in 2026. Then, the 2028 General Conference will convene as usual in 2028.

About the video

Delegates from the Desert Southwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Rev. Dan Hurlbert and Paul Gomez, explain why the next General Conference, to be held in 2024, is still called the “2020 General Conference.”

Special thanks to the Desert Southwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church for their partnership in sharing this content.

Learn more

For further explanation about General Conference and how it fits into the structure of the denomination, explore the  General Conference page on

For official 2020 General Conference news and information, turn to these sources:

Laura Buchanan works for at United Methodist Communications. Contact her by email.

This story was published on September 6, 2023.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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