¶ 609. The annual conference is responsible for structuring its ministries and administrative procedures in order to accomplish its purpose (¶ 601). In so doing it shall provide for the connectional relationship of the local church, district, and conference with the general agencies. It will monitor to ensure inclusiveness-racial, gender, age, and people with disabilities-in the annual conference.
1. An annual conference shall provide for the functions and General Conference connections with all general agencies provided by the Discipline as follows: a) There shall be clear connections between the General Conference agencies, annual conference program and administrative entities, and the local congregation; b) There shall be clear checks and balances regarding program functions and financial/administration functions within the annual conference. In doing this, the annual conference may organize units so long as the functions of ministry are fulfilled and the connectional relationships are maintained.48
2. The annual conference may appoint additional committees for the purpose of promoting the work of The United Methodist Church within the bounds of the said annual conference and may prescribe their membership and their powers and duties.
3. Each annual conference may make its agencies of such size as its work may require; provided that consideration shall be given to the inclusion of lay and clergypersons from small membership churches. All local pastors serving charges are eligible for election or appointment
to such agencies, except those dealing with qualifications, orders, and status of clergy and local pastors.
4. Whenever possible, meetings scheduled by the annual conference and its districts, boards, or committees should be held in places that are accessible to persons with disabilities even if this means scheduling meetings outside church-related facilities.
5. In the nomination and election of the membership on councils, boards, and agencies of the annual conference, special attention shall be given to the inclusion of clergywomen, youth (¶ 256.2.), young adults, older adults, persons from churches with small memberships, people with disabilities, and racial and ethnic persons, in keeping with policies for general Church agencies. It is further recommended that the membership of such agencies, except for the Board of Ordained Ministry, include one-third clergy, one-third laywomen, and one-third laymen, who are professing members of local churches.49
6. Members of general agencies (¶ 701) shall serve as ex officio members of the corresponding annual conference agency or its equivalent structure (see ¶ 710.4, .5). If this results in a person being a member of more than one annual conference agency in violation of either annual conference policy or another provision of the Book of Discipline, the person shall choose the annual conference agency on which to serve.
7. It is strongly recommended that the annual conference provide for child and dependent care both during the sessions of the annual conference and during meetings of the annual conference boards and agencies. Child and dependent care should follow the annual conference policy of child protection. If no policy is in place, care should be given to keep all people safe, and procedures should be followed as suggested by the General Board of Discipleship and the General Council on Finance and Administration.
48. See Judicial Council Decisions 827, 835, 848, 878, 983.
49. See Judicial Council Decisions 446, 558.