Background to the Conference
The Methodist Conference is the body that agrees policy for the Methodist Church. It meets annually in June or July and takes place in a different district or group of districts each year.
The Conference first met in 1744 under John Wesley, who gathered together his assistants (both ordained ministers and itinerant lay preachers) to confer together about 'what to teach, how to teach, and what to do, i.e. how to regulate our doctrine, discipline and practice.'
The contemporary Conference is a gathering of representatives from each Methodist district, along with some who have been elected by the Conference and some ex officio members and representatives of the Youth Assembly.
Representatives are a mixture of lay people, ordained presbyters and deacons. Presbyters and deacons also have their own separate gatherings before the main, decision-making session.
Business for the Conference to decide upon is prepared by the Methodist Council, an elected body that meets regularly. Memorials to Conference may be sent by districts ahead of time, and representatives to Conference may introduce Notices of Motion.