2020 Delegate Election Process

1/14/2019

The South Georgia Conference will elect its delegation to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences during the 2019 Annual Conference Session in Columbus June 2-5. The South Georgia Conference will elect four (4) clergy and four (4) lay delegates to General Conference. An additional four (4) clergy and four (4) lay delegates will be chosen to complete the Jurisdictional Conference delegation. Alternates will also be elected.

The General Conference is the global gathering of The United Methodist Church where mission and ministry priorities are established and The Book of Discipline is reviewed for possible revisions. The General Conference is the policy setting body of United Methodism. The 2020 General Conference will be held May 5-15, in Minneapolis, MN.

The Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference meets July 15-18, 2020, at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, to coordinate the connected ministry and mission of this region and to elect and assign Bishops for leadership in the Church.

In 2005, the South Georgia Annual Conference established a policy on elections in an effort to “level the playing field for all candidates and create an atmosphere of fairness, respect, collegiality, and mutual trust that is in keeping with our rich, diverse, covenantal life together.” This policy was revised at the 2018 Annual Conference Session. The complete policy can be found on the South Georgia Conference website, www.sgaumc.org/policies.  

The elections policy provides the means for candidates to share information that allows members of the annual conference to make informed decisions. Please note the following timeline for the 2020 election process for persons interested in declaring their interest in being elected:

January 14, 2019: An informational letter will be emailed by the Conference Secretary to all clergy, lay members to annual conference, and local church lay leaders. The letter will outline the elections process, inform interested laity and clergy of how they may declare their interest in serving on the delegation through the conference website, and encourage diversity in the delegation membership.

January 14, 2019 - March 15, 2019: A form will be available on the Conference website for South Georgia United Methodists to submit potential questions for candidates who declare their interest in serving on the delegation. These questions will be combined and grouped as needed by the Conference Secretary, Director of Communications, and a representative from the Board of Laity and Board of Ordained Ministry in order to create a comprehensive list of items and issues that interested parties might like to hear about from a candidate. The hope is that this will allow candidates to see the pressing issues or concerns that would be helpful for them to address in their 300 word statement. Please note: The questions and statements entered through the website are to preclude candidates, supporters, or caucus groups from disseminating other forms of campaign materials, letters of endorsement, slates of candidates, or lists of questions. Click here to submit a question.

March 29, 2019: A combined list of questions submitted by South Georgia United Methodists will be provided on the conference website for lay and clergy candidates to consider as they write their 300 word statement. Please note: candidates are not required to answer/address these specific questions. However, addressing some of the questions allows members of the annual conference to make informed decisions.

April 1, 2019 - May 30, 2019: The conference website will be open for receiving information from those interested in serving on the delegation. Candidates will be able to share, in a statement of up to 300 words, their interests, issues, concerns, convictions, qualifications, and other information to aid the annual conference in electing a representative delegation.

The website will remain open through May 30, 2019, for persons interested in declaring their desire to serve as a delegate. The profiles of lay and clergy candidates will remain available through the Annual Conference session.

According to the policy, the elections process is an attempt to bring all of us together, level the playing field, make the process public and fully transparent, and help us stay in covenant together. Any mass communication conducted outside the website, through printed or electronic means, undermines this covenant.

The Book of Discipline outlines the prerequisites for being elected to the delegation:

CLERGY: All clergy members in full connection (Full Elders and Full Deacons) are eligible for election whether or not they declare their interest to serve or furnish information on the conference elections website. The Presiding Bishop and/or Conference Secretary frequently will remind clergy that all eligible persons may be elected whether or not they have declared their candidacy.

LAITY: To be eligible for election, persons should be both professing members of The United Methodist Church for at least two years and active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four years. There is no age requirement as long as membership and participation requirements are met. Although it is recommended that lay candidates declare their desire to stand for election through the conference website before the announced deadline, this recommendation does not preclude candidates from introducing themselves during the Laity Orientation Session in an election year.

For both lay and clergy, candidates must be willing to devote three weeks of their time to attend these conferences plus other days to attend meetings of the delegation, and should expect that they will bear a portion of the cost of being a delegate, since the per diem rates often do not cover all costs.

Persons with additional questions may contact Dr. Nita Crump, Conference Secretary, at nitac@sgaumc.com.