THE Ninth Session of the General Conference of The Methodist Church in Singapore will be held from Sept 8 to 12 and Dec 4 and 5, 2008 at Sophia Blackmore Hall, 6th floor, Methodist Centre.
The theme is “Rooted and Built up in Christ” (Col 2:7). The conference sessions will be intertwined with daily morning worship, vespers and devotions. Several bishops from abroad will be invited to attend.
Once in four years the General Conference will convene to deliberate on matters pertaining to the church.
Holding regular conferences is a tradition set by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Wesley believed in using holy conferencing as an organising and governing principle. Conferencing is a method of discerning God’s direction for the church.
The main purposes of the General are to:
a) Provide for the organisation, promotion and administration of The Methodist Church in Singapore;
b) Determine the raising and distribution of funds necessary to carry on the work of the church;
c) Legislate church laws and provide a judicial system and a method of judicial procedures;
d) Speak for the church; and
e) Consider petitions from any organisation, minister or lay member of the church.
Each Annual Conference elects seven ministerial and seven lay delegates to the General Conference. Although the regular session meets once in four years, in
between are the special sessions called to consider specific matters like the annual budget for the church and ad hoc matters requiring resolution.
Being an active organisation in a changing social world, the church will have to deliberate on new issues constantly.
Other than consideration of the quadrennial reports submitted by Methodist agencies, delegates are requested to serve in Legislative Committees.
These committees recommend resolutions for the General Conference to debate and adopt. They cover matters like the Constitution, the Conference, Judicial Administration, Social Principles, Local Church, Administrative Order, Church Property & Trustees, Methodist Organisations, and the Ministry and Diaconal Ministry.
The Legislative Committees consider the petitions received by the General Conference. In the 2004 General Conference 38 petitions were submitted for decision.
The highlights of the General Conference include the quadrennial elections of church officials. The posts of Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore, and the chairmen and members of various councils and agencies will be voted on at the General Conference.
Should you have any petition which you feel the church should consider, please take note of the guidelines for submission of petitions (see related story below).
Lim Soo Chin is the Secretary of the General Conference, The Methodist Church in Singapore.
How to submit petitions
HERE is how you may submit petitions to the General Conference for consideration.
The Book of Discipline ¶207 stipulates that petitions must comply with these conditions:
1) Three copies of the petition must be sent to the Secretary of the General Conference or a designated petitions secretary.
2) Each petition must address only one paragraph of The Book of Discipline or, if The Book of Discipline is not affected, one issue.
3) Each petition must be signed by the person submitting it; accompanied by appropriate identification, such as address, local church, or Methodist board or agency relationship.
4) Petitions must be received by the petitions secretary no later than 60 days prior to the opening session of the General Conference (July 10, 2008).
If you are submitting a petition, please mail it before the deadline to:
The General Conference Secretary
The Methodist Church in Singapore
70 Barker Road #06-00