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¶230 THE WORLD CONFERENCE

1.  Purpose

The Free Methodist World Conference exists to facilitate communication and harmonious relationships among the leaders of the general conferences and the area fellowships* and the resolution of constitutional issues.

In harmony with this purpose its responsibilities shall be:

1.1 To provide for worldwide fellowship among Free Methodist bodies and regularly convene a global assembly of representatives of the Free Methodists bodies for coordination and planning of worldwide ministries;

1.2 To encourage the expansion of the Kingdom of God by the Free Methodist Church in existing conferences and in new fields through evangelism that is in harmony with Wesleyan doctrine and practices;

1.3 To assume legislative and judicial authority in matters relating to the Free Methodist Constitution as defined below;

1.4 To monitor the integrity of every Free Methodist institution under the provisions of the Common Constitution of Free Methodism (see ¶210) and of the Book of Discipline* of the institution’s general conference;

1.5 To maintain and administer an international scholarship fund for the development of Free Methodist leaders grounded in biblical theology and Wesleyan doctrine.

2.  Legislative Authority

The World Conference has the authority to supervise the voting of the general conferences on all matters pertaining to referenda according to the following provisions:

2.1 Proposals to amend the constitution (except for ¶213) may be initiated by a two-thirds majority vote of a general conference or by a two-thirds majority vote of the Free Methodist World Conference when it is meeting in session. Proposals shall then be circulated as referenda under the supervision of the World Conference Executive Committee to be voted on by all general conferences. If a resolution initiated by a general conference goes into referendum unchanged by the World Conference, the initiating general conference shall not need to vote again during the referendum period. Instead, it shall report the results of the original vote taken to propose the amendment.

A two-thirds aggregate vote of all general conferences shall be required for approval of referenda.  If a general conference has a structure not constituted of the equivalent of one ministerial and one lay member for every six hundred full members, its vote results shall be adjusted to have the weight of two votes per 600 members.

2.2 When a general conference can not assemble to vote and report back to the World Conference Executive Committee within four years of the time the World Conference Executive Committee has circulated a referendum, rather than surrendering its right to vote on the said issue, its board of administration may vote in its place. Votes taken by a board of administration shall be reported as the corresponding proportional number of votes of its general conference. The two-thirds aggregate vote shall be based on the votes reported within the four years allowed.

2.3 When the voting has been completed, the World Conference Executive Committee shall officially declare the results of the vote to all the general conferences by written notice and it shall be in effect as of that date.

3.  Judicial Authority

The Free Methodist World Conference shall be responsible for maintaining compliance with the provisions of the Common Constitution of Free Methodism which are binding for all general conferences as defined in ¶210, and with deciding inter-jurisdictional matters between general conferences, and internal conflicts within a general conference as defined in ¶220.4.4 and ¶220.4.5.

The World Conference has the following judicial authority over the general conferences.  Its duties shall be:

3.1 `To review, through its Executive Committee, the legislation, orders, and policies of all the general conferences and to investigate all actions that are alleged to not be in compliance with the provisions of the Common Constitution of Free Methodism which are for all general conferences as defined in ¶210.

  • 3.1.1 When the World Conference Executive Committee determines that an action of a general conference is in conflict with the Common Constitution of Free Methodism, the general conference shall upon receiving written notice, discontinue the action in question.
  • 3.1.2 Upon written request, if so authorized by a two-thirds vote of the general conference or its board of administration, an appeal may be made to the World Conference within one year of the written notice being received.
  • 3.1.3 The delegates and bishop(s)of a general conference or general conferences, whose case or cases come before the World Conference shall, after having presented their evidence, refrain from voting on the issue in which they have direct interest.
  • 3.1.4 If the appeal is upheld by a simple majority of the votes of the World Conference, the general conference may resume the action.
  • 3.1.5 In the event the appeal is denied by a simple majority of the votes of the World Conference, the action by the general conference found in violation must be permanently discontinued and its effects shall be considered null and void.
  • 3.1.6 If upon written notice, the general conference whose action has been called into question should refuse to abide initially by the World Conference Executive Committee’s ruling to discontinue an action as provided for in 230.3.1.1 or later by a World Conference decision to permanently discontinue an action as provided for in 230.3.1.5, the World Conference or its Executive Committee shall be empowered to suspend the general conference and to provide, at its discretion, for the reorganization of the loyal elements of the Free Methodist Church within the area of that general conference, and to declare all other ministers and members to be withdrawn from the Free Methodist Church.

3.2 To decide any matter that may arise between general conferences involving boundaries, recognition of credentials, and other inter-jurisdictional matters according to the provisions of ¶220.4.3.

3.3 To assist with the resolution of conflicts within a general conference according to the provisions of ¶220.4.4.

4.  Organization and Structure 

4.1 Voting delegates
Voting delegates to the World Conference shall form a body of substantially equal representation of lay and ministerial members according to the following formula:

  • 4.1.1 All bishops of general and provisional general conferences shall be delegates.
    One lay delegate shall be elected for each bishop.
  • 4.1.2 A general conference with one bishop and 50,000 members shall be entitled to one additional ministerial delegate and one additional lay delegate.
    A general conference with one bishop and 100,000 members shall be entitled to two additional ministerial delegates and two additional lay delegates.
    A general conference shall have no more than six delegates unless it has more than three bishops.

4.2  Honorary delegates

  • 4.2 1 Each area fellowship* may send one representative.
  • 4.2.2 Directors of Free Methodist mission agencies and associations and representatives of area fellowships* shall be honorary members with a voice but no vote.

4.3 The World Conference shall meet at least once every four years. Special meetings may be called by a two-thirds majority of the World Conference Executive Committee. It may authorize a vote on this or on any executive matter by mail, telephone conference call or other electronic means.

4.4 The World Conference Executive Committee shall be elected by the World Conference when it meets in session. A nominating committee composed of one representative from each general conference shall be elected by the World Conference in the first session of its meetings to submit nominations for officers of the World Conference and also members at large of the World Conference Executive Committee.  The nominating committee shall include substantially equal lay and ministerial representation.

5.  Officers of the World Conference

The officers shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

5.1 The officers shall be members of the World Conference Executive Committee.

5.2 Officers may serve for two terms. A term is defined as the period between regularly scheduled meetings of the World Conference.

6.  The World Conference Executive Committee

The World Conference Executive Committee shall meet at least every two years (preferably in conjunction with the meetings of the Council of Bishops and the World Conference) and shall be composed as follows: President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer Secretary, Treasurer and three members at large, including the outgoing president.  These members shall be elected so as to allow equitable representation worldwide and to provide substantially equal representation of lay and ministerial members on the Executive Committee.

6.1 The President shall be the chairperson.

6.2 The World Conference Executive Committee shall present a budget, including a schedule of conference allocations, to the World Conference for approval.

6.3 The World Conference Executive Committee is amenable for its actions to the World Conference. If a vacancy occurs on the World Conference Executive Committee, the remaining members may elect a person, preferably a delegate to the prior World Conference, to fill the vacant position until the next meeting of the World Conference the Council of Bishops shall act as a Nominating Committee to nominate a replacement for an officer(s) or member(s) to be elected by the World Conference Executive Committee to fill the term of the vacancy until the next meeting of the World Conference. If the vacancy is the President, the current Vice President shall assume the Presidency.

6.4 A designated World Conference Executive Committee member may represent the World Conference at each area fellowship.*

7.  Relationship to General Conference Boards of Administration

7.1 All negotiations between the World Conference (or the World Conference Executive Committee) and a general conference (or any provisional general conference which the general conference is sponsoring) shall be done by the general conference board of administration.

7.2 The chairperson of each general conference board of administration shall be responsible for official correspondence with the World Conference.  It shall be the duty of the chairperson to keep the board of administration of his/her general conference fully informed of the proceedings of the World Conference.

7.3 Copies of all official correspondence between the World Conference and any general and/or provisional conference or the respective board of administration shall be properly filed and available to the bishop(s) or highest administrative officer(s) of the general conference and to the board of administration

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