Frequently Asked Questions

Q: CLayM – do they have voice and vote at ACS in the General Session?

A: Yes, the Standing Rules count CLayMs who are assigned by the District Superintendent to a local church as voting lay members of the annual conference.

Q: What is an associate clergy member?

A: Associate clergy members are clergy who have been local pastors, reached age forty, served four years as a full-time local pastor, have completed certain additional educational requirements, been recommended by a three-fourths majority vote of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, elected by the clergy session, but is not ordained.Associate members of an annual conference are in the itinerant ministry of the Church and are available on a continuing basis for appointment by the bishop. They offer themselves without reserve to be appointed (and to serve as their superiors in office shall direct). They are amenable to the annual conference in the performance of their ministry and shall be granted the same security of appointment as provisional members and members in full connection.(¶ 321 & 322 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016)

Q: What is an Elder in Full Connection?

A: Elders are persons ordained to a lifetime ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service. By the authority given in their ordination, they are authorized to preach and teach the Word of God, to provide pastoral care and counsel, to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and to order the life of the Church for service in mission and ministry.The phrase “in full connection” refers to election to membership in the annual conference and the Order of Elders. (¶ 332 and 333, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016)

Q: Are local pastors ordained?

A: Local pastors are not ordained.They are licensed.In the United Methodist Church, all persons not ordained as elders who are appointed to preach and conduct divine worship and perform the duties of a pastor have a license for pastoral ministry. Local pastors fall in this broad category along with provisional elders, associate members, deacons in full connection who are seeking ordination as an elder, and licensed or ordained clergy from other denominations who have training equivalent to the studies for license but do not meet the educational requirements for provisional membership in the annual conference. (¶ 315 The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016)

Q: Why does it say “character” as in voting on “matters of ordination, character or conference relationship”?

A: Clergy are to be of “unquestionable moral character.” Annual conferences began as gatherings of clergy, and membership into the annual conference was determined by the clergy.The clergy then, as now, inquired into the moral character of those seeking to join and of those who were already members.Thus the clergy voted on the ordination, character and conference relationship of clergy. The practice continues to this day.

Q: What’s an example of a “charge”?

A: When it is believed that a lay or clergy member of The United Methodist Church has committed any of the chargeable offenses listed in The Book of Discipline (see ¶2702 of The Book of Discipline 2016) that person may be “charged.” The process begins with a written complaint and can move to a committee on investigation and to a church trial.

Q: So there’s a separate vote on that? Do we still use the word “blameless”?

A: ¶605.7 states, “The annual conference shall make inquiry into the moral and official conduct of its ordained ministers and local pastors. In response to the inquiry whether all such persons are blameless in their life and official administration, the district superintendent may answer for all the preachers in the district in one answer, or the Board of Ordained Ministry may make inquiry of each district superintendent about each ordained minister in the district and make one report to the bishop and the conference in open session.”  As you can see, we do still use the word blameless and in this instance it applies to administration as well as character.  (The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016)

Q: How does the conference figure out how churches are allocated lay members?

A: The formula is found in the standing rules. Each church shall be allotted one lay member.

Q: What are the standing rules? Do they differ by conference?

A: The standing rules are printed in the journal and adopted by the annual conference to cover those administrative and business procedures that are not covered in The Book of Discipline, the articles of incorporation, or the bylaws.They must not conflict with The Book of Discipline, the articles of incorporation or the bylaws.Every annual conference adopts standing rules to meet its own particular situation so no two annual conferences need to have identical standing rules.

Q: Who should the checks for the offerings at Annual Conference Services be made out to?

A: Checks should be made out to California-Nevada Conference and the offering for which they are designated should be written in the memo field (Africa University, Necessities Grants, Ministerial Education Fund).

Q: Can we get the link to the video (about Africa University) so we can show it to our churches?

A: The video will be posted along with the other videos used in the pre-conference briefing. You may go to

Q: What country is Africa University in?

A: Africa University is located in Zimbabwe.

Q: When can we pick up our registration information at ACS? (i.e. will registration be open on Tuesday?)

A: Registration will be open on Tuesday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Q: How do you get to the ACS section of the website?

A: You may go to and click on ACS 2017-June 21 to 24 or go  directly to

Q: To whom do clergy write to be excused for part or all of the ACS?

A: Clergy should write to the Bishop and copy the DS and the Conference Secretary.

Q: If I’m an alternate lay member, what do I do to get seated within the bar if necessary?

A: Report to the registration desk. You will be helped to get appropriate credentials.

Q: Where do I find the Book of Discipline in electronic form?

A: You may go to and use the drop down list under UMC, click on Official Resources, then click on the image of The Book of Discipline.There is also a link to a free online, but not downloadable version.

Q: Can we have a PDF of the Conference Standing rules on the Conference website?

A: One is or will soon be posted.

Q: Will there be tables at ACS?

A: No.

Q: Will we receive a binder?

A: No.

Q: Will we get a summary of the previous day’s proceedings each morning?

A: No. We do not have sufficient staff to provide this service. A summary of legislative actions is planned for release a week after annual conference.

Q: If the Minimum Salary goes up with the CPI, would it also go down if the CPI goes down?

A: It may. Each session of annual conference votes on the minimum salary. One annual conference session cannot bind another.

Q: How many years will the ACS meet in Modesto?

A: The meetings for 2018 and 2019 have been approved to be held in Modesto.

Q: Are clergy members of other annual conferences allowed to vote in the California-Nevada Annual Conference?

A: No, clergy members from other annual conferences may not vote in the California-Nevada Annual Conference. ¶346.1 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016 states that “upon recommendation of the Board of Ordained Ministry, clergy in such appointments may be granted voice but not vote in the annual conference to which they are appointed.”

Q: Do alternate lay members of annual conference have the right of voice in legislative sections?

A: Alternates have voice only if they are seated for the lay member.

Q: Are the constitutional amendments posted on the website?

A: They are available at