General Conference 2016 delegate counts released

UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The secretary of the General Conference, Rev. L. Fitzgerald Reist, released today a list of numbers of delegates by annual conferences. Secretaries of each annual conference were previously notified how many delegates their own conference would have. (See the breakdown at

The number of delegates per annual conference is calculated based on the requirement for one lay and one clergy delegate for each annual conference, with additional delegates assigned according to a formula that considers the total clergy and lay membership per conference.

“The reduced number of delegates did not result in significant changes in the proportionate representation of delegates from individual jurisdictions and central conferences,” said Reist, who has served as the secretary since his election in 2004.

Thirty percent of delegates in 2016 will be from Africa, 58.3 percent from the U.S., 4.6 percent from Europe and 5.8 percent from the Philippines, with the remainder from the Concordat churches.

At the October 2013 meeting of the Commission on the General Conference, the body voted to reduce the total number of delegates for the 2016 General Conference from nearly 1,000 to approximately 850.  The 2012 General Conference shifted the responsibility for determining the target number of delegates from the secretary of the General Conference to the Commission, offering the rationale that it should not be the decision of only one person.

The Constitution of The United Methodist Church allows for the General Conference to have anywhere from 600 to 1,000 delegates. The overriding factor in reducing the number of delegates was a desire to move toward a smaller structure which meeting facilities outside the U.S. could accommodate.

“While there were reasons to set the number of delegates at the higher and the lower end of the range, the Commission arrived at this figure in a spirit of compromise,” said Judi Kenaston, Commission chair. “It is an incremental move toward a smaller conference, which will allow us to hold General Conference outside the United States, and it represents responsible stewardship while limiting the percentage change in representation from various parts of the worldwide church.”

UMReporter Staff

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CatherineTodd Finley, MoorelaRick Bluntjeff Recent comment authors
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This is the most telling comment of all. The liberal progressives want a smaller percentage of African delegates, who defeated their perversions last summer.

Todd Finley, Moorela
Todd Finley, Moorela

Sounds like a lot of petty squabbling to me. Seems life is simple if we just follow God's word instead of making up rules as we go. I'm a faithful UM from way back, but I really dislike the politics of it all. I think we need to stop trying to please each other and concentrate more on pleasing God. Just a thought.

Rick Blunt

The formula does not appear to have been applied correctly or fairly in all cases. Can someone from the Commission on General Conference share the formula here? Example: Detroit Conference with 90,910 members receives 6 delegates (or 1 per 15,151 members), while neighboring West Michigan Conference with 62,895 members get only 2 delegates (1 per 31,447 members). How can that be? The disparity seems to great to be accurate. If there are approximately 12 million UMs worldwide, and a desire for 850 delegates, would the math put the number at about 1 delegate for about every 14,117 members? Realizing the… Read more »


do we actually have a chance to win a vote for gay equality? the US is liberalizing. if the African delegates don't increase much, the balance may have tipped far enough for change.

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