General Conference Legislative Committees: What Are They and How Are They Formed

Dianne Burnett

As we approach the convening General Conference, it is important to understand the role and structure of the legislative committees that participate in shaping the future of our church. These committees, composed of delegates to the convening General Conference, are designed to ensure comprehensive and diverse representation, reflecting both lay and clergy voices from across our global community.



There will be seven legislative committees, each consisting of 30 to 65 members, balanced between lay and clergy representatives. These committees will review specific petitions within the subject matter of each committee and make recommendations for the presentation of the petitions to the plenary sessions of the General Conference, when all of the delegates vote on each petition after considering the legislative committee’s recommendations.


The Plan of Organization and Covenant of Our Life Together adopted by the Transitional Leadership Council establishes a limited agenda for the convening General Conference (see pages 4-5) and specifies the names of the legislative committees and the topics they will be addressing:

Conferences Legislative Committee  

  • Responsibilities: Establishing or approving the boundaries and names of annual conferences, as well as the formula for allocating delegates to the General Conference, and the possibility of creating regional conferences. It will review petitions that address paragraphs 522, 523, 604, 609, 612,613, and Part 6 editorial of the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline (TBDD).

Connectional Organization Legislative Committee

  • Responsibilities: Considering the process for nominating officers for the General Conference, as well as the establishment and work of ongoing general church commissions. It will review petitions that address paragraphs 605, 607, and all of part 7 (including editorial) of the TBDD.

Constitution Legislative Committee

  • Responsibilities: Drafting a constitution for the Global Methodist Church for adoption by the General Conference. It will also review petitions that address paragraph 301 and parts 1 and 2 editorial of the TBDD.

Episcopacy and Superintendency Legislative Committee

  • Responsibilities: Considering matters such as the question of a general or residential superintendency, episcopal compensation, election and assignment of bishops, term limits, episcopal area boundaries, and the establishment of a Global Episcopacy Committee. It will also review petitions that address paragraphs 502, 503, 504, 505, 509, 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, 519, 521 and Part 5 editorial of the TBDD.

Financial Administration Legislative Committee

  • Responsibilities: Addressing matters related to connectional funding, delegating budgeting to the Connectional Council, and implementing the Ministerial Training Fund. It will review petitions that address paragraphs 349, 411, and Part 9 editorial of the TBDD.

Judicial Administration Legislative Committee

  • Responsibilities: Revising paragraphs related to complaints against clergy and bishops, assigning responsibilities to conference boards of ministry and the Global Episcopacy Committee, and revising Judicial Practices and Procedures. It will review petitions that address paragraphs 520 and all of part 8 (including editorial) of the TBDD.

Ministry and Local Church Legislative Committee

  • Responsibilities: Considering educational requirements for ordination, ensuring individual voting for ministry candidates, revising approval procedures for chaplains and evangelists, defining membership standards, and designating bodies responsible for congregational fidelity. It will review petitions that address paragraphs 322, 354, 355, 407, 409, 410, 413, 414, 419, and Parts 3 and 4 editorial of the TBDD.

Nominations and Participation

Each delegate to the convening General Conference expresses their first, second, and third preferences with respect to the legislative committees. The Transitional Commission on the Convening General Conference, or its designee, then determines the membership of each committee, balancing preferences, committee size, and geographical diversity.

The delegates identify their preferences as they register for the convening General Conference. Assignments will be announced in the next several weeks. Shortly thereafter, each legislative committee will hold a virtual organizing meeting at which each committee will elect a chair,vice chair, and a secretary. The legislative committees may hold additional virtual meetings before delegates arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica for the convening General Conference from September 20-26, 2024.


Agenda and Petition Considerations

The convening General Conference will focus on a limited agenda to prioritize significant decisions affecting the development of the Global Methodist Church. Petitions not included in the limited agenda will be deferred to the next General Conference unless a two-thirds vote of the delegates decides otherwise. A Petitions Committee will soon publicly report the disposition of each submitted petition, assigning the petitions to legislative committees and addressing whether each petition is properly before the convening General Conference and whether it is within the limited agenda. The Petitions Committee will provide an explanation as to why certain petitions are deemed not properly before the Conference or not within the limited agenda.


In addition to meeting virtually prior to the convening General Conference, legislative committees generally will complete their work in the first two or three days of the Conference. Their work product then is presented for final action to the plenary session of the Conference where all delegates are present. Please pray for the formation of these legislative committees and for the important work they will do.