Who comes to the Conference?
The total full membership of the representative session is 306 people. Of those at least 14 have to be deacons. The system used to calculate district allocations ensures that the membership of the Conference is half lay and half ordained.
The largest group of members is district representatives. Each district apart from Shetland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is represented by a minimum of four people, with the precise number fixed at the previous year's Conference according to the number of members in the district. In addition, each district chair is automatically a member of the Conference, as is the Warden of the Diaconal Order.
There are also nine Conference-elected representatives. They are elected to attend for three consecutive years, in order to provide continuity.
The senior officers of the Conference are the President and Vice-President Designate, who take up office on the Saturday of the Conference; the retiring President and Vice-President, the President and Vice-President from the previous year, and the Secretary of the Conference.
The Conference Secretariat ensures that business is done effectively and properly recorded. It consists of the Assistant Secretary, the Record Secretary, the Journal Secretary, the Chair of the Business Committee, the Secretary of the Memorials Committee, and the Officer for Legal and Constitutional Practice.
In addition there are four representatives from the Methodist Church in Ireland and two representatives from the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Then there are people representing various bodies within the Church including the Youth President and three others from the Youth Assembly.
Others include the Connexional Secretary; the lead Connexional Treasurer; the Chairs of the Methodist Council and the Strategy and Resources Committee; representatives from the Law and Polity Committee, the Faith and Order Committee, the Stationing Committee, representatives of the concerns of Racial Justice and Methodist Women in Britain. Then there are two persons serving overseas and two appointed by partner Methodist Conferences.
There are also a number of associate members: six people from Churches and Christian bodies belonging to ecumenical bodies of which the Methodist Church is a member and 20 people from autonomous overseas Methodist Conferences (two of whom will be appointed as full members - see above). Associate members can speak but not vote.