By: Christa Meland
Two clergy delegates and two lay delegates will represent the Minnesota Conference at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
The Commission on the 2016 General Conference determines the total number of delegates and how many each United Methodist annual conference can send. Minnesota was notified Tuesday about its delegate allotment.
The Minnesota Conference’s 2016 allotment represents a decrease from the 2012 General Conference, to which it sent three clergy delegates and three lay delegates.
Last month, the General Conference Commission voted 14 to 2 to set the target number of 2016 delegates at 850, about 15 percent fewer than in 2012, although that number could vary by a few people in either direction to meet representation requirements under church law.
The reduction is expected to save the church about $600,000. Before last month’s vote, General Conference costs were projected to total more than $10 million; the vote came after hours of discussion, including talk about responsible stewardship of the denomination’s resources. The 2012 General Conference had 988 delegates and cost about $8.4 million.
General Conference is a gathering that occurs every four years and lasts for nearly two weeks; delegates from around the world meet to address questions related to church law, finances, and social policy. Half of the delegates are clergy, and half are lay. Approximately 40 percent of the 2016 delegates are expected to come from outside of the United States.
The 2016 General Conference will take place from May 10-20. The Minnesota Conference will elect its 2016 General Conference delegates at its 2014 annual conference session, which will take place May 28-30 in St. Cloud.
Meanwhile, the 2020 General Conference will be in the north central jurisdiction, but a specific city has not yet been chosen; Minneapolis is under consideration, as is Columbus, Ohio. A decision on location is expected to be made sometime this month.
Click here to read more about the 2016 General Conference and the factors that went into the determination about the number of delegates.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church