Our Conference Standing Rules, Division III. Conference Membership and Clergy Relations (pages 254-256 of the 2018 Journal), describe the process for equalizing the number of clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference. The accompanying documents indicate the number of lay members to be elected by each charge, district by district, for the 2019 Annual Conference Session. It is recommended that each charge also elect the same number of alternate lay members who may serve in place of a lay member if needed.
In some cases, the number of lay members allotted to a charge under the rules approved at the 2018 ACS represents a change from the number provided in November, 2016, for the 2017-2020 quadrennium. In nearly every instance, the adjustment is due to a change in the configuration of the pastoral appointment. For such circumstances, our rules, Division III. B. 3. b. state: “If during the quadrennium, a church experiences a change in the number of ministers appointed, the lay members of that church shall be increased or decreased accordingly as of the date of the change in appointment. Any newly elected lay member under this provision shall serve for the balance of the quadrennium. When a church experiences a reduction in lay member(s) under this provision, the previously elected lay member who is no longer certified shall be considered the first alternate lay member unless the Church/Charge Conference shall determine otherwise.”
This information is being disseminated as preparations are underway for Charge Conferences this autumn. Please review the requirements and processes regarding the election of lay members in The Book of Discipline (2016), particularly ¶32, ¶251.2, and ¶602, and in our Standing Rules. Please also keep in mind that the Church/Charge Conference is the only body authorized to elect lay members on behalf of the pastoral charge. If, after the annual charge conference, a lay member ceases to be a member of the charge or for any reason is unable to serve, please contact your District Superintendent to inquire about authorization for a special session of the charge conference to effect the election of a lay member and/or alternate lay member.
Please address questions to Conference Secretary Mark Wharff at Mark.Wharff@cnumc.org.