Doctrines and Discipline of the Free Methodist Church of North America - 1939 Edition



     [¶ 86. It is desired that all things be considered on these occasions as in the immediate presence of God; that every person speak freely whatever is in his heart. While we are conversing, let us have an especial care to set God always before us. In the intermediate hours, let us redeem all the time we can for private exercises. Therein let us give ourselves to prayer for one another, and for a blessing on our labors.]

     ¶ 87. The General Conference shall he composed of the bishops and an equal number of miidsterial and lay delegates belonging to the Free Methodist Church, to be elected by the annual conferences, at their respective sessions next preceding the session of the General Conference, except that conferences held within three months of the General Conference may elect their delegates the year before.

     ¶ 88. Each annual conference shall be entitled to one ministerial and one lay delegate in the General Conference; and whenever an annual conference shall reach an aggregate membership of eight hundred in full relation it shall be entitled to two ministerial and two lay delegates, and one additional delegate of each kind for every subsequent six hundred members in full relation within the conference, provided, nevertheless, that in no case shall a preacher be counted more than once in the election of delegates.

     ¶ 89. Omitted because of wrong numbering of previous editions.

     ¶ 90. In electing delegates to the General Conference, the preachers and lay members shall vote separately, each branch electing by ballot; the preachers from the elders in full membership in the conference, and the lay delegates from persons in full membership in the church within the bounds of the conference, the delegates to which they are respectively entitled. Ministerial delegates must be members of the conference which elected them, and lay delegates members of the church within the bounds of the conference which elected them, at the time of the meeting of the General Conference.

     ¶ 91. Whenever two-thirds of the annual conferences shall demand it, the bishop or bishops, or, if there be none, the secretary of the General Conference, shall call an extra session of the General Conference, fixing the date thereof, and the time of assembling, later than the next ensuing session of each of the annual conferences.

     ¶ 92. The General Conference shall be held in June, 1943, or as near that time as may be determined by the Board of Administration.

     ¶ 93. At all times, when the General Conference is in session, it shall take two-thirds of all the delegates elected by the annual conferences to form a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time, until a quorum is obtained.

     ¶ 94. One of the bishops shall preside in the General Conference; but, in case no bishop be present, the General Conference shall elect, by ballot, an elder as president pro tem.

     ¶ 95. Each General Conference shall elect, by ballot, one or more traveling elders as bishops, a secretary, an editor of the Free Methodist, an editor of our Sunday-school literature, a missionary secretary, a general Sunday-school secretary, a superintendent of the Young People’s Missionary Society, a general evangelistic secretary. The General Conference may elect one or more general evangelists. It shall also elect two traveling elders and two lay members from each of the General Conference missionary districts, who, with the bishops, the secretary of the General Conference, shall constitute the Board of Administration. The elders and laymen shall be nominated by the delegates of the General Conference missionary districts, by ballot, at least a majority of whom shall be members of the General Conference electing them. These nominations shall he subject to confirmation by the General Conference. The General Conference may elect a missionary bishop or bishops whose duties and official relation shall be confined to the field to which they are respectively elected.

     ¶ 96. The secretary of the General Conference shall continue in office until his successor is elected, and shall be the custodian of the General Conference records and journals. The General Conference, if it so desires, may elect a secretary who is not a member of that body.

     ¶ 97. The members of the General Conference shall deliberate and vote as one body; nevertheless, upon a call of a majority of the members present and voting, the house shall divide; and it shall require a majority of the ministerial and of the lay delegates present to pass any vote, or transact any business.

     ¶ 98. The General Conference shall have full power to make rules and regulations for our church, under the following limitations and restrictions:

     1. The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our articles of religion, or the general rules of the united societies, or establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present, existing and established standards of doctrine.

     2. It shall not change or alter any part or rule of our government, so as to do away with lay delegation, or an itinerant ministry, or general superintendency, or the free-seat system in our churches.

     3. It shall not have power to deprive our preachers or members of the right of trial by an impartial committee, and of an appeal.

     ¶ 99. Provided, nevertheless, that upon the concurrent recommendation of three-fourths of all the members of the several annual conferences, who shall be present and vote on such a recommendation, then a majority of two-thirds of the General Conference succeeding, shall suffice to alter either of the above restrictions, except the last; and also, whenever such alteration, or alterations, shall have been first recommended by two-thirds of the General Conference, as soon as three-fourths of the members of all the annual conferences shall have concurred as aforesaid, such alteration, or alterations, shall take effect.

     ¶ 100. 1. It shall be the duty of every preacher in charge of a circuit to raise annually such amount per member for each member in full connection, 16 years or over, as shall be determined by the Executive Commission for General Conference expenses, such as entertainment of delegates, traveling expenses of delegates to and from the seat of General Conference and miscellaneous expenses incident to the General Conference. Should any conference be deficient in its assessment during the quadrennium, such deficiency shall be deducted from the expenses payable to its delegates to the General Conference.

     2. We recommend our people to observe the Friday preceding each General Conference as a day of fasting and prayer.

     ¶ 101. It is the inalienable right of any annual conference, district quarterly conference, church society, or individual member of the Free Methodist Church, to submit protests, petitions, or memorials to the General Conference and to have them fully beard. Such papers must be introduced by a member of the General Conference, and they shall be subject to the rules of that body.