Special Virtual Session April 22, 2023
Dear 2022 Lay Members of The Florida Annual Conference:
Pursuant to ¶603.5, Bishop Berlin has called a special virtual session of the annual conference for April 22, 2023 to deal with the matter of churches seeking to disaffiliate from The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Because we are having a special session prior to the regular 2023 Annual Conference session, the lay members for the special session will be the lay members or alternates “last seated," meaning seated at the regular 2022 Annual Conference session. This includes district at-large lay members. This will only apply to the April 22, 2023 special session.
Because this is a special session of the annual conference, there are some unique lay member considerations that must be observed. Paragraph 602.5 of The Book of Discipline states that the lay members for a special session of the annual conference shall be the lay member or alternate last seated by the annual conference:
¶602.5 5. The lay member or alternate, whoever was last seated in the annual conference, shall be seated in a special session of the annual conference when convened, provided that no local charge shall be deprived of its lay member due to death, serious illness, or cessation of membership. Under such circumstances, another lay member may be elected by the charge conference.38 (See ¶ 32.)
If you are the person from your local church (or a district at-large lay member) who attended the 2022 annual conference session as a seated or alternate delegate, you are the person who should plan to attend the April 22 special session.
If the 2022 seated lay member is unwilling or unable to attend the April 22, 2023 special session, the elected alternate member will attend instead.
Paragraph 602.5 states that no church will be denied its chance to send a member to the special session, if the lay member is unable to attend due to “…death, serious illness, or cessation of membership.” Should one of these be the reason that a lay member is unable to attend, then the church will be able to elect another lay member to represent the charge at the special session of the annual conference.
This list of scenarios can be a helpful resource if you or your church have questions about who should attend. Should you have additional questions, please email email@example.com.
Please watch your email and our website for information on accessing the special session via Zoom on April 22, 2023.
**Pastors: please be sure your lay member has this information**