¶ 602. Composition and Character-1. The clergy membership of an annual conference (¶ 368) shall consist of deacons and elders in full connection (¶ 333), probationary members (¶ 327), associate members, affiliate members (¶¶ 344.4, 586.4), and local pastors under
full-time and part-time appointment to a pastoral charge (¶ 317).27 (See also ¶ 32.)
a) Clergy members in full connection shall have the right to vote on all matters in the annual conference except in the election of lay delegates to the general and jurisdictional or central conferences and shall have sole responsibility for all matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.28
b) Probationary clergy members shall have the right to vote in the annual conference on all matters except constitutional amendments, election of clergy delegates to the general and jurisdictional or central conferences, and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
c) Associate and affiliate clergy members shall have the right to vote in the annual conference on all matters except constitutional amendments, election of clergy delegates to the general and jurisdictional or central conferences, and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.
d) Full-time and part-time local pastors under appointment to a pastoral charge shall have the right to vote in the annual conference on all matters except constitutional amendments; election of delegates to the general and jurisdictional or central conferences; and matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy.29
e) Each annual conference having campus ministers, chaplains and Wesley Foundation directors shall include the same in its lay
and clergy annual conference composition. In districts where United Methodist laypersons serve as campus ministers/directors of
Wesley Foundations, they shall be added as district-at-large lay members to the annual conference. In districts where United Methodist clergy serve as chaplains, campus ministers, and directors of Wesley Foundations, the laypersons elected as their balancing counterpart shall
be elected from either the campus ministry board of directors or a student from that ministry/foundation. In making sure that such inclusion is adhered to, special consideration shall be given to the inclusion of United Methodist young adults who are active participants in campus ministry.
2. Persons who enter candidacy for diaconal ministry prior to
January 1, 1997, shall be allowed to complete candidacy, and those consecrated will serve as lay members of the annual conference as long as they maintain this status in The United Methodist Church.
3. Persons who become associate members prior to January 1, 1997, shall be allowed to continue in this relationship and serve under the provision of the 1992 Book of Discipline as long as they hold this status.
4. The lay membership of the annual conference shall consist of a professing member elected by each charge, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, home missioners, the conference president of United Methodist Women, the conference president of United Methodist Men, the conference lay leader, district lay leaders,30 the conference scouting coordinator, the president or equivalent officer of the conference young adult organization, the president of the conference youth organization, the chair of the annual conference college student organization, one young person between the ages of twelve and seventeen and one young person between the ages of eighteen and thirty from each district to be selected in such a manner as may be determined by the annual conference. If the lay membership should number less than the clergy members of the annual conference, the annual conference shall, by its own formula, provide for the election of additional lay members to equalize lay and clergy membership of the annual conference.
Each charge served by more than one clergy member under appointment (including deacons in full connection for whom this is their primary appointment) shall be entitled to as many lay members as there are clergy members under appointment. The lay members shall have been members of The United Methodist Church for the two years preceding their election and shall have been active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four years preceding their election (¶¶ 32, 251.2).
a) In the annual conference or the central conferences, the four-year participation and the two-year membership requirements may be waived for young persons under twenty-five years of age. Such persons must be members of The United Methodist Church and active participants at the time of election.
b) By authorization of a central conference, national diaconal ministers may be given the same privileges as a diaconal minister.31
5. The lay member or alternate, whoever was last seated in the annual conference, shall be seated in a special session of the annual conference when convened; provided that no local charge shall be deprived of its lay member due to death, serious illness, or cessation of membership. Under such circumstances, another lay member may be elected by the charge conference.32 (See ¶ 32.)
6. The lay members of the annual conference shall participate in all deliberations and vote upon all measures except on the granting or validation of license, ordination, reception into full conference membership, or any question concerning the character and official conduct of ordained ministers, except those who are lay members of the board of ordained ministry. Lay members shall serve on all committees except those on ministerial relations and for the trial of clergy.33
7. When at any time a lay member is excused by the annual conference from further attendance during the session, the alternate lay member, if present, shall be seated. The lay member or the alternate shall be the lay member of the annual conference, and it shall be the duty of the lay member to report to the local church on actions of the annual conference.
8. It is the duty of every member and all probationers and local pastors of the annual conference to attend its sessions and furnish such reports in such form as the Discipline may require. Any such person unable to attend shall report by letter to the conference secretary, setting forth the reason for the absence. Should any ordained minister in active service be absent from the session of the annual conference without a satisfactory reason for the absence, the matter shall be referred by the conference secretary to the board of ordained ministry.
9. The following shall be seated in the annual conference and shall be given the privilege of the floor without vote: official representatives from other denominations, especially from member churches of Churches Uniting in Christ, invited by the annual conference; missionaries regularly assigned by the General Board of Global Ministries and serving within the bounds of the annual conference; lay missionaries regularly appointed by the General Board of Global Ministries in nations other than the United States and certified lay missionaries from nations other than the United States serving within the bounds of the annual conference.
10. If not otherwise a voting member of the annual conference, the conference chancellor shall be seated in the annual conference and shall be given the privilege of the floor without vote.
27. See Judicial Council Decisions 341, 371, 477, 552, 584.
28. See Judicial Council Decision 690.
29. See Judicial Council Decision 862.
30. See Judicial Council Decision 924.
31. See Judicial Council Decision 505.
32. See Judicial Council Decision 319.
33. See Judicial Council Decisions 109, 505, 592.