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Lay Member of Annual Conference
Each congregation elects at least one lay member of annual conference. Equal numbers of clergy and laity are members of annual conference, so each congregation elects a number of lay members equal to the number of clergy for that congregation. Additional at-large equalization lay members are selected by the board of laity to reach the required number of laity, since retired clergy also attend annual conference. An effective lay member attends annual conference sessions and reports the actions taken to the congregation.
How does the voting and legislation process work?
To help you prepare, the Committee on the Annual Conference Session invites you to watch a brief light-hearted video that demonstrates the legislative process,"One Cookie At A Time!" When it becomes available, be sure to also read all legislation and our Rules of Order so that you are fully prepared to participate.
A Three Part Guide for Lay Members of Annual Conference
This three-part guide is printable and may be helpful in any new (or seasoned) Lay Member of Annual Conference. It is available for all Local Church and Equalization members.
The Michigan Annual Conference 2019
MAY 30 - JUNE 2, 2019
WISDOM | HEART | COURAGE
What is Annual Conference?
The annual conference session is the annual meeting of the lay and clergy members of the geographical area, currently the state of Michigan. This session may include reports of past and ongoing work; adoption of future goals, programs and budgets; ordination of clergy members as deacons and elders; appointments of clergy members and election of delegates to Jurisdictional and General Conferences (every 4 years). The bishop presides over these meetings.
When and where is Annual Conference?
Annual conference usually covers a time span of three to five days and is typically in May or June. This year, Annual Conference is May 30 - June 2 in Traverse City, MI.
What is the role of the lay member of annual conference?
The lay member of annual conference, along with the pastor, interprets the work done by the annual conference session to the congregation. They are the liaisons between the congregation and the general church and represent the congregation in the actions taken at the annual conference sessions. The lay member of annual conference:
- Participates in the annual conference sessions and votes on legislation;
- Reports to the congregation after the close of the conference;
- Serves as a member of the charge conference, church council, finance committee and staff/pastor parish relations committee.
Who attends Annual Conference?
It is important to recognize that The United Methodist Church is committed to providing an equal voice to both clergy and laity to help determine who we are and where we are going.
At least one lay person is elected by each charge (one or more local churches). Each charge with more than one clergy under appointment is entitled to as many lay members as it has clergy under appointment. Then there is a formula for larger churches who are entitled to more lay members based on the membership of the church.
In order to ensure an equal number of clergy and laity members the annual conference registrar calculates how many additional lay members are needed to achieve balance. These lay members, who are called equalization members, are identified in two ways.
Lay members serving in leadership positions at the conference level (on boards, councils and standing commissions among others) become members.
Remaining slots are then selected by the Conference Board of Laity (typically divided at the district level).
All lay members are required to be a professing member for at least 2 years and an active participant in the church for at least 4 years at the time of his/her election.