North Alabama to hold elections to fill delegation vacancies
On March 20, 2023, The United Methodist Church’s top court (The Judicial Council) made a ruling that allows the election of delegates to fill vacancies to the postponed 2020 General Conference that will now take place in 2024. Decision 1472 states, “Annual conferences are permitted to hold elections to fill vacancies in the General Conference delegation due to death, resignations, or otherwise, up to the maximum number of allocated delegates, provided vacancies cannot be filled with reserve delegates.”
The North Alabama Annual Conference elected its General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation in 2019. Since that time General Conference has been postponed twice and a number of both clergy and lay delegates have resigned from the delegation or are no longer eligible to serve due to their withdrawing from The United Methodist Church.
Conference Secretary Rev. Dr. Dedric Cowser explains, "While we will not know the exact number of vacancies for our delegation until after our May 11 Special Session [of Annual Conference], we will still open nominations and plan to hold an election at our 2023 Annual Conference."
The postponed General Conference is now scheduled for April 23 to May 3, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will meet at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, on July 10-13, 2024.
Who is eligible to serve as a delegate?
All North Alabama ordained elders and deacons in full connection are eligible to be elected as delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference. According to the 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶35: “The clergy delegates to the General Conference and to the jurisdictional or central conference shall be elected from the clergy members in full connection and shall be elected by the clergy members of the annual conference or provisional annual conference who are deacons and elders in full connection, associate members, and those provisional members who have completed all of their educational requirements and local pastors who have completed course of study or an M. Div. degree and have served a minimum of two consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election.” Those clergy who feel a calling and desire to serve as a clergy delegate and who are willing to make the commitment to serve on the North Alabama Conference delegation are encouraged to fill out a self-nomination form to help other clergy learn more about them.
The 2016 Book of Discipline ¶36 says "The lay delegates to the General and jurisdictional or central conferences shall be elected by the lay members of the annual conference or provisional annual conference without regard to age, provided such delegates shall have been professing members of The United Methodist Church for at least two years next preceding their election, and shall have been active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four years next preceding their election, and are members thereof within the annual conference electing them at the time of holding the General and jurisdictional or central conferences."
Self-Nominations due by May 15
Eligible clergy and laity wishing to be considered for election must complete a Conference Delegation Self-Nomination Form no later than May 15, 2023.
All nominees will be posted on the Conference website by May 21. The 2023 North Alabama Annual Conference will meet at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on June 21-24.