LAKELAND – At least 101 clergy and lay members of Florida Conference churches will vie for a total of 44 slots for delegates to the 2020 General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, according to Rev. Cory Britt, chair of the Elections Procedures Committee.
Election of delegates will take place at Annual Conference 2019, slated for June 5-8 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
Information about those nominees is available on the Annual Conference 2019 web page. Click here
to see the list and information about the clergy candidates and here
for laity candidate profiles. The lists also will be published in the Annual Conference workbook.
Florida Conference members will use a series of ballots to elect a total of eight clergy and eight laity delegates to General Conference, the policy-making body of The United Methodist Church that will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minn. The same number will be elected to represent Florida at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July 2020. An additional six clergy and six lay members will be elected to serve as alternate delegates.
Elections take place through a series of balloting that will begin Wednesday afternoon, June 5, alternating between clergy and laity elections.
Clergy and laity also may take advantage of a new rule that allows self-nomination during a three-hour window at the start of Annual Conference on Wednesday, June 5.
Qualified nominees will have a chance to mingle with voting members at Annual Conference at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, following a worship service and during the morning hours of June 5. The Elections Procedures Committee will have tables set up to accept self-nomination forms during both the clergy and laity sessions, as well as the opening of the first session of Annual Conference. Forms will be available at those same tables.
With voting starting only a few hours after the nomination window closes, it will be important for on-site nominees to get their materials in as early as possible, according to Britt. Particularly in the case of laity, for whom the rules require at least two years of membership in a Florida United Methodist Church, as well as four years of active association in The United Methodist Church, it could take some time for the elections committee to verify nominees’ eligibility, he said.
A signed letter from their church pastor would be helpful, Britt said. Nominees will be asked to submit the same application that prequalified candidates submitted, which includes an essay. Typing the essay in advance rather than trying to write it at the nomination table will speed up the process.
Those who submit their materials and can be qualified early that morning will be invited to attend the meet-and-greet gathering along with other candidates.
A demographic breakdown of the candidates who self-nominated online shows United Methodists 50 and older continue to dominate the field of candidates in both clergy and laity categories, as in years past. The nominee list also shows a clear majority of candidates identifying themselves as “white/Caucasian.” Here are more details:
• Of the 45 lay nominees, 37, or 82 percent, are white, as are 40 of the 56 clergy nominees, or 71 percent.
• Among pre-qualified lay nominees, 26 are age 50 and older (58 percent), compared with 26 in the clergy category, or 46 percent.
• The number of women laity nominees, 23, just edges past the number of men, 22. Among clergy nominees, however, men still outnumber women by a wide margin: 36 men, or 64 percent of the candidate pool, compared with 20 women, or 36 percent.
• Four of the clergy nominees are deacons.