Action Items: Proposed legislation brought before the Minnesota Annual Conference session for vote by the members of conference. These include policy, budget, legal matters, and resolutions on social issues.
Advance (The Advance for Christ and His Church): The program for promoting special gifts to missionary causes over and above apportioned World Service and conference benevolences.
Annual Conference: Both: (1) the basic administrative body in the United Methodist Church, made up of churches in a geographic region and (2) the yearly meeting (session) of annual conference members, who determine conference policy, pass a conference budget and, as this group, speak for the annual conference (no other person or body may do so).
Appointive Cabinet: A Minnesota Conference leadership team that’s comprised of the bishop, the district superintendents, the director of ministries, and the director of congregational development. The group’s primary responsibility is the appointment of clergy. It typically meets multiple times each month.
Appointment: The pastoral charge or other position to which an ordained or licensed clergy person is assigned by a bishop.
Apportionment: A method of sharing funds for mission and ministry that proportionally allocates The United Methodist Church budget to conferences (which subsequently apportion to local churches). This enables United Methodists to engage in ministries and mission projects that no single church, district, or annual conference could do alone.
Bishop: A general superintendent of The United Methodist Church; bishops are assigned to “episcopal areas” that may comprise one or more annual conferences.
Church, Local Church: A congregation of people who have professed faith in Christ, have been baptized, have assumed the vows of membership in the United Methodist Church, and are associated in fellowship as a local congregation.
Clergy: Deacons, elders, and licensed local pastors, who are called to set-apart ministries of church leadership and accountability. These are all appropriately referred to as “reverend.”
Commissioning: The church’s act of publicly acknowledging God’s call and the response, talents, training, and gifts of those moving toward ordination as deacons or elders. It marks their entrance into a time of probation as they prepare for ordination. Before commissioning, clergy meeting in session also must approve such candidates for provisional clergy membership in the conference.
Congregational Development: Assistance, training, and promotion for starting new congregations and helping existing ones to grow in love of God and neighbor, reach new people, and heal a broken world.
Deacon: An ordained clergy person called to a lifetime ministry of word and service. Some are appointed to specialized ministries, primarily in the congregational context, and others serve in appointments beyond the local church. In their set-apart leadership, they preach and teach God’s word, lead in ministries of service, assist elders in the administration of the sacraments, and relate the worshiping community to their ministries of service in the world. To allow for flexibility in these varied sites of ministry, deacons seek their site for ministry and request the bishop’s appointment. They are members not of congregations but of the annual conference.
Deaconess: A lay woman who has been commissioned by The United Methodist Church to a lifetime commitment to ministries of love, justice, and service. The office was formally recognized in the Methodist tradition in 1888. Deaconesses are accountable to the church through the General Board of Global Ministries. (See also Home Missioner)
Discipline: The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, containing the constitution, policies, and social principles of The United Methodist Church. It is revised by the General Conference.
District: The major administrative subdivision of an annual conference, established by the conference and formed by the bishop. It comprises a number of pastoral charges and is supervised by a district superintendent. There are currently four district superintendents supervising five districts within the Minnesota Conference: Big Waters, North Star, River Valley, Southern Prairie, and Twin Cities.
District Superintendent: An elder appointed by the bishop to administer the work of a district.
Elder: An ordained clergy person called to a lifetime ministry of word, sacrament, order, and service. In their set-apart leadership, they preach and teach God’s word, provide pastoral care, administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and order the life of the church for service in mission and ministry. Their ministry of service consists of leading God’s people in worship and prayer, leading people to faith in Christ, exercising pastoral supervision, and ordering the church in mission in the world. They are itinerate—they make themselves amenable to appointment by the bishop. They are members not of congregations but of the annual conference.
Elected Leader: Lay and clergy United Methodists in Minnesota who are elected at annual conference session to serve voluntarily on conference ministry and action teams and other conference agencies.
Episcopal: Of or relating to a bishop. Bishops serve together as the general superintendents of the denomination. (The word “episcopal” comes from the Greek word episcopos, which means “bishop,” or overseer.)
Episcopal Area: One or more annual conferences under one bishop’s supervision.
Extended Cabinet: A Minnesota Conference leadership team that’s comprised of the bishop, the district superintendents, director-level conference staff, and two leaders from conference laity. The group meets regularly to discuss key strategic conference initiatives and progress in key focus areas.
General Conference: The legislative body for the global United Methodist Church. It meets every four years, or as otherwise called, and has full legislative power over all connectional matters (other than constitutional amendments, which also require a vote of the members of all the annual conferences). It is composed of an equal number of elected clergy and lay delegates from all the annual conferences.
Holy Conferencing: The United Methodist practice of gathering to make decisions by expressing one’s views honestly, showing love and respect for each other, and seeking God’s will.
Home Missioner: A lay man who has been commissioned by The United Methodist Church to a lifetime commitment to ministries of love, justice, and service. Home missioners are accountable to the church through the General Board of Global Ministries. (See also Deaconess)
Itinerancy: The system in The United Methodist Church by which pastors are appointed to their charges by bishops; pastors are “itinerate,” meaning they are amenable to appointment to serve any congregation(s) in the conference.
Jurisdictional Conference: The quadrennial meeting of clergy and lay delegates from the annual conferences within the boundaries of one of five U.S. jurisdictions. The Minnesota Conference is part of the North Central Jurisdiction. Jurisdictional Conferences convene every four years or as otherwise called. Business includes the election and assignment of bishops.
Local Pastor: Those clergy who are not ordained but are appointed to preach and conduct divine worship and perform the duties of a pastor while appointed to a particular charge or extension ministry may be licensed for pastoral ministry. The license is valid as long as the appointment continues and is subject to annual renewal.
Love Offering: An offering taken in congregations and presented at annual conference session, used to support missions projects in Minnesota and around the world.
Members: Members of the annual conference, who are entitled to vote and speak at the yearly conference session, include all clergy and an equivalent number of lay people. Each local church may elect as members the number of lay people from their church equal to the number of clergy people appointed to their church. Additional lay people are granted membership through the Book of Discipline and the Conference Policy and Procedure manual to equalize the number of laity and clergy. (Local pastors have voice at conference session but are limited in vote.)
Ordination: The rite through which the church affirms the set-apart ministry of those called to serve the church as deacons or elders. Ordained ministry is a lifetime commitment, and those who enter into it dedicate their whole lives to the personal and spiritual disciplines it requires.
Pastor: An ordained, commissioned, or licensed clergyperson who orders the ministry of a congregation, preaches, and administers the sacraments.
Provisional Member: A clergy member of the annual conference who is preparing for full membership. A provisional member is under examination as to character and effectiveness in ministry.
Session: The annual meeting or conference of the regional annual conference body.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404