annual conference imageThe Annual Conference

When you hear the term “annual conference,” it could be referring to any one of three things. The annual conference is a regional body, an organizational unit AND a yearly meeting.

Regional body

The annual (sometimes referred to as ‘regional’) conference is described by the church’s Book of Discipline as the “basic unit” of the church.

An annual conference may be an entire state, only part of the state, or even parts of two or more states. There are also three missionary conferences in the United States, which rely upon the denomination as a whole for funding.

The United States has 63 annual conferences, supervised by 50 bishops. There are 59 annual conferences outside the United States, which are supervised by 18 bishops.

An annual conference is comprised of local churches, which are organized into districts. A district is a geographical division with approximately 50 local churches, but this number varies in each annual conference. Each district has a district superintendent who provides leadership within the district and the annual conference.

Organizational body

The annual conference has a central office and professional staff that coordinate and conduct ministry and the business of the conference. It likely has a director of connectional ministries, treasurer, directors of program areas (such as camping), communications director, and other staff as deemed appropriate for the annual conference and as required by the Book of Discipline. Clergy and laypersons may also serve on conference boards, commissions and committees.

Annual Conference sessions

Each year, all clergy members and an equal number of lay members selected from the local churches attend their conference’s Annual Conference session, which may last 3-5 days. The bishop presides over these meetings.

See a map of the U.S. annual conferences.

The Local Church | The Annual Conference | Clergy AppointmentGeneral ConferenceBishopsChurchwide AgenciesGiving | Summary

From United Methodism 101, an online introduction to the UMC.

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