Bishop Graves has announced a special called session of the South Georgia Annual Conference to meet Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 4pm via Zoom. The sole purpose of this special session is to ratify requests of local churches who have voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. It is anticipated that the meeting will last roughly one hour.
Who will vote?
According to the Book of Discipline, the voting members for this special session will consist of the clergy members of the annual conference as defined in ¶32 and the lay member last seated at the previous regular session of the Annual Conference in accordance with ¶602.5. Therefore, the voting members for May 21, 2023 will be Clergy Members of the Annual Conference and lay members who were last seated at the June 2022 Annual Conference regular session.
Of course, no local charge will be deprived of its lay member due to death, serious illness, or cessation of membership. Under such circumstances, another lay member may be elected by the charge conference (¶602.5). If your charge is affected please contact me directly (email@example.com). Please note: if a clergy member or lay member of the June 2022 conference has since withdrawn membership from The UMC, he or she is no longer eligible to vote.
April 1: Last day a Church Conference can be held for disaffiliation at the May 21, 2023 session
April 18: List of churches requesting disaffiliation released on the conference website
April 28: Deadline to pay registration fee | Please note: we are setting an earlier fee payment deadline due to the fact that staff are simultaneously preparing voting credentials for the June regular session. Thank you.
Early May: “Resolution Approving Disaffiliations of Local Churches' ' (the one item of business for the special session) will be posted on the conference website and an email sent to voting members.
May 15: Email with AC session zoom meeting link and Voter ID sent to voting members who have paid the registration fee (Please note: no Voter IDs will be issued after this date)
May 21: Called Annual Conference Session, 4 pm via Zoom
A registration fee must be paid in advance in order to receive voting credentials. The registration fee for the May 21 called session is $10 per member. The deadline to pay is April 28. As always, retired clergy not serving a church and clergy on medical leave are exempt from this fee.*
Two Ways to Pay:
Online: Click here to pay online via Vanco.
By Check: If you prefer to pay by check, you can mail a check made out to “SGA Conference” to the following address: SGA Conference, Attn: “May Session Registration Fee,” PO Box 7227, Macon, GA 31209. Please clearly indicate who the payment is for and what charge/organization you are with. If you are paying for multiple persons per check (ex. Clergy and lay member from the same charge) please put each name in the memo field so that payment credit is applied.
The Administrative Services Office is handling registration payments. For any payment questions, including to verify your payment was received, contact 478-738-0048.
All conference members are required to pay a registration fee in order to participate in the called session, except for retired clergy not serving a church and clergy on medical leave. *Only those clergy and laity who have paid his or her registration fee will receive voting credentials (along with retired/not serving clergy and clergy on medical leave). Voting credentials will be issued on Monday, May 15. No Voter IDs will be issued after this date. *Retired Clergy Not Serving an Appointment and Clergy on Medical Leave do NOT have to pay the registration fee. Those clergy will receive voting credentials automatically.
Online Voting Platform & Technology Needed Technology Needed
We will be utilizing GNTV’s online voting platform. This is the same system we have used for the past four annual conference sessions. You will need an internet-connected device such as a desktop or laptop computer with speakers, tablet, or smartphone. You will access the session using a web browser (i.e. the platform you use to get on the Internet, such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.). A webcam is not necessary. Only videos of conference leaders will be shown during the session. You will also need to either open a separate tab in your internet browser window to be able to vote, or choose to utilize a second internet-connected device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to use solely as a voting device.
If you have questions specifically related to the disaffiliation process, please contact your district office. If you have questions related to the May 21 called session, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kelly Roberson (email@example.com).
Bishop David Graves, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Annual Conference, in accordance with ¶603.5 of the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline, calls for a special session of the annual conference on Sunday, May 21, 2023. The meeting will begin at 4 pm using the Zoom Webinar platform in conjunction with an online voting system.
The sole purpose of the special called session of the Annual Conference* is to complete the process of ratifying the current requests for disaffiliation of local churches who have met the requirements outlined in ¶2553 of the Book of Discipline and who have met the published South Georgia Conference deadlines.
The special session will consider only matters pertaining to this call; no other business can be considered.
The voting membership of the special session will consist of the clergy members of the annual conference as defined in ¶32 of the Book of Discipline, and the lay members (lay member or alternate, whoever was last seated in the June annual conference) of the June 2022 Annual Conference in accordance with the Book of Discipline ¶602.5**.
Specific delegate instructions and information will be distributed by the Conference Secretary in the Spring.
According to the current South Georgia Conference disaffiliation policy, the deadline for a church to hold a vote if it wishes to disaffiliate at the Annual Conference Session is April 1 of the same year. The Bishop’s announcement of a called session does not change this timeline.
Key dates and deadlines regarding disaffiliation are posted on the South Georgia Conference website at www.sgaumc.org/disaffiliation-timeline.
*The Book of Discipline ¶603.5: A special session of the annual conference may be held at such time and in such place as shall have been determined by the annual conference after consultation with the bishop, or by the bishop with the concurrence of three-fourths of the district superintendents. A special session of the annual conference shall have only such powers as are stated in the call. (See Judicial Council decision 397)
**1 - No local charge will be deprived of its lay member due to death, serious illness, or cessation of membership. Under such circumstances, another lay member may be elected by the charge conference (¶602.5). If your charge is affected please contact the Conference Secretary. 2 - If a clergy member or lay member of the June 2022 conference has since withdrawn membership from The UMC or is a part of a church that has since disaffiliated, he or she is no longer eligible to vote. 3 - Lay members elected at charge conferences in the Fall of 2022 will be seated as voting members at the regular session of the Annual Conference meeting in June 2023 in Tifton, Ga.