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



     ¶ 151. Each annual conference shall be composed of all the traveling, supernumerary and superannuated preachers who have been duly received into full membership, within its bounds, and of lay delegates elected by the several circuits, as provided for in Paragraph 178(2), and women evangelists as pro vided for in Paragraph 220(4).

     ¶ 152. Each circuit shall be entitled to one dele gate, and whenever there shall be more than one preacher traveling upon a circuit, if the preacher or preachers be members in full relation in conference, the circuit shall be entitled to one additional delegate for every such additional preacher.

     ¶ 153. There shall be the following annual conferences, to wit: The Genesee, the Illinois, the Susquehanna, the Michigan, the Kansas, the Minnesota and Northern Iowa, the New York, the Iowa, the Wisconsin, the North Michigan, the Ohio, the Central Illinois, the Texas, the Missouri, the West Kansas, the South Dakota, the Pittsburgh, the California, the East Michigan, the Louisiana, the Oregon, the West Iowa, the Wabash, the Colorado, the North Minnesota, the Nebraska, the Southern California, the Ozark, the Columbia River, the Washington, the West Ontario, the East Ontario, the Kentucky and Tennessee, the North Dakota, the Oil City, the Oklahoma, the South Africa, the Georgia and Florida, the Maryland-Virginia, the Saskatchewan, the Alberta, the North Indiana, the Japan, and such others as may be organized as hereinafter provided.

     ¶ 154. Whenever a new society shall be organized near the boundary line between any two conferences, and the conference in whose territory the new society is located shall have no organized work within forty miles of said new society, such new society shall be permitted to decide for itself to which conference it shall belong.

     ¶ 155. Each annual conference shall appoint the place, and, with the concurrence of the bishops, the time of its own sessions. If for any reason a conference cannot be held at the place appointed, the determination of the place shall be left with the district elders and the secretary of the last conference.

     ¶ 156. 1. In the absence of the bishop, or of the elder whom he may have appointed, the conference shall elect, by ballot, an elder from their own number, to preside.

     2. It shall elect a secretary, who may be elected by ballot, who shall record in a suitable book the proceedings of the annual conference, and send said record to the General Conference for examination. He shall continue in office until his successor is elected and shall be the custodian of the conference records and journal.

     3. It shall elect a treasurer who shall be bonded and in case of a vacancy in said office the district elders of the conference may appoint a treasurer to act until the next session. He shall remit all funds due the general church treasurer quarterly. In case of deficit, the general church treasurer shall notify the secretary of said conference immediately following the annual conference.

     4. It shall elect an auditor who shall carefully audit the accounts of the treasurer and report at the close of each annual session.

     ¶ 157. It shall be the duty of the secretary of each annual conference holding its session next preceding the session of General Conference to transcribe from the annual conference records all the decisions of disciplinary law rendered by the bishops during the quadrennium, giving the number of page or pages upon which such decisions are recorded, and forward the same with the conference records to the seat of General Conference, and if there are no such decisions rendered to file a statement with the records to that effect.

     ¶ 158. The ministers and lay members composing the annual conference shall deliberate and vote as one body: but at the call of a majority of all the members present and voting, the house shall divide, and the ministers and lay members vote separately; and it shall require a majority of both branches to constitute a vote of the conference.

     ¶ 159. The territory embraced by each annual conference shall be divided into districts, and over each of these one of the elders shall be appointed by the conference as district elder.

     ¶ 160. 1. The district elders and an equal number of lay members to be elected by ballot the first day of the session, together with the president of the conference, shall constitute a stationing committee, of which the president shall be chairman, and have a casting vote. When an annual conference has but one district elder, and so desires, it may increase the number of members on the stationing committee by electing one additional elder and an additional layman. If for any reason a district elder is not able to serve on the stationing committee, the conference shall elect one of its elders to take his place. No person who is recommended to the annual conference to be received on trial, nor a supply, though acting as a delegate, shall be eligible to serve on the stationing committee.

     2. It shall be the duty of the stationing committee to appoint the preachers to their several fields of labor. No preacher shall be appointed to the same circuit more than four years in succession, except by the unanimous consent of the stationing committee, and then for five years only, except in the case of foreign speaking or colored people.

     No minister who refuses to serve a charge or circuit when appointed by his conference shall be appointed to any work by another conference or district elder without the consent of the district elder of the circuit which he refused to serve.

     ¶ 161. Each annual conference shall elect an annual conference Board of Claimants of not less than three nor more than seven members. The presiding bishop or his appointee shall be ex officio chairman of this board during the session of the annual conference. The duties of this board are outlined in the plan for conference claimants (Par. 106). (See page 56, Par. 106. Also, see page 6, sec. 1-5, and page 64, sec. 7-9, for duties of the annual conference relating to care of superannuate preachers.)

     ¶ 162. An annual conference may, upon the unanimous recommendation of the stationing committee, leave a preacher without an appointment. Any preacher so left without an appointment two years In succession may be located by vote of the annual conference.

     ¶ 163. When a preacher is located, or discontinued by an annual conference, the stationing committee shall fix the place of his membership. When an un ordained preacher on trial and in good standing In the annual conference is discontinued from the traveling connection by his conference, he shall sustain the relation of local preacher until the ensuing Session of his quarterly conference.

     ¶ 164. A preacher may be appointed to a circuit without having charge of the same; in such cases the administration of the circuit shall devolve upon the district elder and the official board. (See Par. 447).

     ¶ 165. Each annual conference is required to organize a conference evangelistic board which shall be authorized to carry on aggressive evangelistic work within its hounds. This board shall have power to raise funds and to employ evangelists, band workers and helpers to labor within the conference bounds, who, with the concurrence of the district elders, shall be authorized to establish new societies where the interests of the cause of God require, providing that it make provision and be responsible for the support of all the laborers which it employs.

     ¶ 166. Whenever a woman holding an evangelist’s or a local preacher’s license is recommended by the quarterly conference as a suitable person to be received into the annual conference, she may be received on trial and into full membership and be ordained a deacon, on the same conditions as we receive men into the same relations; provided always, that this ordination of women shall not be regarded as a step toward ordination as elder, and provided further, that no woman whose husband is a member of an annual conference either on trial or in full relation shall be eligible to be received into the conference.

     ¶ 167. Members of an annual conference may be appointed as evangelists. They shall be entitled to the rights and privileges of those appointed to circuits, and shall be subject to the same rules and regulations, so far as ‘they apply to their circumstances. They shall be subject to the restrictions of Paragraph 220(8). No preacher however, shall be granted an evangelist’s relation to the conference who does not intend to devote three-fifths of his time to the work of an evangelist and if he shall fail to report to his conference the required number of weeks so devoted he shall not ‘be granted such relation the following year.

     ¶ 168. Each annual conference shall elect a person to be known as a conference superintendent of the Y. P. M. S. The conference V. P. M. S. may nominate. Each annual conference shall elect a member of the Y. P. M. S. on the board of conference evangelism.

     ¶ 169. Each annual conference shall inquire:

     1. What are the names of preachers and dele gates having a seat in this conference?

     2. Who are the stationing committee?

     3. What preachers are admitted on trial?

     4. Who remain on trial?

     5. Who are admitted into full membership?

     6. Who are the deacons?

     7. Who have been elected and ordained elders, this year?

     8. Who have located this year?

     9. Who are the supernumerary preachers?

     10. Who are the superannuated preachers?

     11. Who have been received by transfer, and from what conference? 2

     12. Who have withdrawn from the conference this year? 

     13. Who ,have been ,given certificates of good standing with a view to transfer to another conference?

     14. Have any been permitted to withdraw under charges or complaints?

     15. Have any been expelled?

     16. Are all the preachers blameless in life and conversation? Have they, during the past year, discharged their duties to God, themselves, and one an other? (See Paragraphs 183 to 186 and 190 3.)

     17. Who have died this year?

     18. What is the number of church members?

     19. What is the number of ministers on trial and in full membership in this conference?

     20. Amount collected for conference claimants? For the bishops? For general missions? For the annual conference missionary fund? For foreign missions? For educational fund?

     21. Number of Sunday schools? Of officers and teachers? Of scholars? Of members on the cradle roll? Of members in the home department? Of volumes in library?

     22. What has been expended during the year on the circuits for Sabbath-school purposes? What has been raised by the Sabbath schools for foreign missions and other benevolences?

     23. How many copies of the Free Methodist are taken?

     24. What amounts are recommended for the super annuated preachers, and the widows and orphans of preachers?

     25. At the session next preceding the session of the General Conference, the question shall be asked, What amount is necessary for us to raise toward defraying the expenses of delegates to the General Conference and the entertainment of the General Conference?

     26. What has been collected on the foregoing ac• counts, and how has it been applied?

     27. Where are the preachers stationed this year?

     28. Where, and when, shall our next conference be held?

     ¶ 170. The conference year of each annual conference shall close automatically with the adjournment of that conference.

     ¶ 171. We recommend our people to observe the Friday preceding each annual conference as a day of fasting and prayer.

     ¶ 172. It shall be the duty of the general officers, district elders, pastors, and evangelists to make a financial report of their receipts from the field to their annual conferences; and the financial report shall he published in the statistical tables of their respective conferences.


1 See Paragraph 86.

2 It shall be the duty of the conference receiving a preacher by transfer to notify the secretary of the conference from which he was transferred of his reception.

3 Let the president call attention to the contents of these portions of the Discipline.