That there shall be formed a forum for prayerful discernment and reasoned conversation, to be known as The Conference Table. This forum has no authority to direct any conference agency nor shall it issue legislative directives. Rather, The Conference Table shall be a forum of focus for consideration of strategic matters that concern the collective life of laity and clergy within the Florida Conference, and shall propose actions to Annual Conference for Annual Conference to dispose. The Conference Table shall possess the following characteristics:
1. It shall be led by the Bishop as its chair, and the Conference Lay Leader as vice-chair.
2. It shall gather no less frequently than quarter-annually, upon dates, times and at places named by the Bishop, with no less than twenty days published notice to the entire conference via the Conference Website. The initial meeting shall be held within sixty days of the close of the 2002 Annual Conference.
3. It shall meet in various locations across the Conference when and as directed by the Bishop.
4. It shall form under a philosophy that all are welcome and some are expected. There shall be eighteen persons expected and they are: The Bishop, The Conference Lay Leader, two persons designated by The Conference Lay Leader, The Director of Connectional Ministries, The Conference Treasurer, The Dean of the Cabinet, four persons designated by the Bishop (with special attention to the need for voice from ethnic and racial constituencies), and a representative of each of the following conference agencies: Board of Ministry, Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, Conference Council on Ministries, Office of New Church Development, Office of Congregational Transformation, Conference Communications Ministry Team, and the Conference Council on Finance and Administration. Any expected person may designate a substitute. All involved shall seek to accomplish ethnic and racial and gender diversity and lay/clergy balance.
5. It shall report to each Annual Conference, and make recommendations as to actions about which decision should reached by the Annual Conference.
6. During gatherings of The Conference Table, the Bishop shall establish policies to enable the work and welcome the contribution of all who desire to speak either in person or in writing, in order to facilitate the discernment and reflection process. These policies shall be communicated on the Conference Website, and may be modified at the will of the Bishop at any time.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
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Lakeland, FL 33815
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