From April 1 to Sept. 27, United Methodists can submit petitions for consideration by the 2012 General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body. According to church law, “Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference … .”
Detailed instructions for submitting a petition are available on the General Conference website. Petitions must be typed and may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through the website, by mail or by fax. The deadline for petitions submitted only by regular mail or fax is July 1, to allow time for transcription and translation. Petitions should indicate whether they have general church budget considerations.
The mailing addresses for petitions (hard copy accompanied, if possible, by digital version on diskette, CD or USB drive) are: Gary Graves, Petitions Secretary, United Methodist General Conference, P.O. Box 140, Rockfield, KY 42274, or, for delivery purposes, to 2511 Richpond - Rockfield Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
There were approximately 2,500 submissions in 2008, many of which were duplicates. Eligible petitions are given numbers and assigned to one of 13 legislative committees or the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters. The committees will debate the proposals and determine whether to approve, amend, combine or reject them for recommendation to the full body of General Conference.
When submitting a petition, you must indicate whether a petition has “general church budget implications,” meaning a petition that causes the need for funding (i.e., creation of a new program, staff position, support requirements, etc.) through the general church apportionments. Such petitions require review by the General Council on Finance and Administration to verify if the funding is already included under the recommended quadrennial budget.
Submitters must also indicate whether a petition has “global implications,” meaning it is a constitutional amendment, has a direct effect on the global work of general agencies, places requirements or expectations on all annual conferences, districts, or churches, or speaks to societal concerns regardless of the particular form of secular government.
Questions about the petition submission process may be submitted by e-mail to Gary Graves, Petitions Secretary, at email@example.com.