At a December 1994 adjourned sitting, the Canadian General Conference approved recommendations for re-organization. Under this re-organization the four existing annual conferences and their districts were merged with the Canadian General Conference to form one conference. The roles and responsibilities of the annual conferences were assumed by the Canadian General Conference. After subsequent reviews of this legislative action by the Constitutional Council, the Canadian General Conference agreed that it would take steps to re-instate some form of annual conference structure when growth permits. The following applies until such time as annual conference structures are re-instated. Amendments to some sections will be required at that point. The general conference will function as a single annual conference as regards ministerial membership until such time as annual conference structures are formed.
2. THE CANADIAN GENERAL CONFERENCE
The society is the fundamental organizational unit of a fully organized local Free Methodist Church and is composed of its members.
The membership of the Canadian General Conference of The Free Methodist Church in Canada shall consist of the ministerial members and lay delegates elected by the local societies.
- 2.1.1 MINISTERIAL
All ordained ministers of The Free Methodist Church in Canada, not being members of any local society, shall be voting members of the Canadian General Conference. Ministerial candidates and appointed supply pastors shall be honourary members with voice but without vote.
- 2.1.2 LAY DELEGATES
Each society shall be entitled to elect one or more lay delegates to the Canadian General Conference. The number and qualifications of lay delegates are defined in ¶320.3. Free Methodist fellowships and church plantings are entitled to send official observers who shall be received as honourary members with voice but without vote.
- 2.1.3 CREDENTIALS
The secretary of the general conference shall receive signed certificates of election from the societies as credentials for the admission of lay delegates to the Canadian General Conference. (See ¶465)
The Canadian General Conference operating under the Constitution of The Free Methodist Church shall have general organizational and supervisory powers over all activities of the church in Canada. It shall be the only law-making body. It shall have the power to determine the number of its officers, their qualifications for office, and the manner of their selection.
The Canadian General Conference shall be empowered to establish a board of administration, to determine its powers, and to define the qualifications of its members and the manner of their selection.
2.3 PRESIDING OFFICER
The Canadian General Conference shall elect one ordained minister to the office of bishop. The election shall be by ballot. The term of office shall begin at the close of the general conference session at which the bishop is elected.
The bishop shall preside at the sittings of the General Conference with primary responsibility for spiritual leadership and managing the agenda. The chair of the board of administration shall assume the chair to process motions and conduct voting. There shall be a parliamentarian, appointed by the board of administration, to assist the presiding officers.
When electing the bishop, arrangements will be made for a visiting Free Methodist bishop or a former bishop or the chair of the board of administration to preside over the conference for this specific agenda item only.
The normal interval between general conference sessions shall be approximately three years as defined in ¶410.2. The bishop, or, if there is none, the secretary of the general conference, shall call an extra session of the Canadian General Conference when two‑thirds of the societies request such a session, by action of their official boards.
Two‑thirds of the total members seated (ministerial and lay delegates) shall constitute a quorum.
The members of the Canadian General Conference shall normally deliberate and vote as one body. Nevertheless, on the call of one‑quarter of the members present and voting, the house shall divide; and it shall require a majority of the ministerial members and of the lay delegates to pass a motion.