Gallant, Ala.: Meeting at Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Ala. for their fall meeting, the Commission on General Conference announced the America’s Center Convention Complex will be the venue for the 2019 special session of the General Conference, to be held February 23-26 in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
Sara Hotchkiss, General Conference business manager, reported that hospitality for the 2019 event will be provided by the two annual conferences in the surrounding Greater St. Louis area — the Missouri Annual Conference and the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. The conferences will work in collaboration with Explore St. Louis (the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission), which will also provide a significant number of volunteers.
The Council of Bishops made the call for a special session this past April, which would be “limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.” The deadline for the petitions secretary to receive such report is 230 days in advance of the special session, which will be July 8, 2018.
According to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church, a special session “may be called by the Council of Bishops, or in such other manner as the General Conference may from time to time prescribe.” The last—and only—special session of the United Methodist General Conference was held in 1970, to complete the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church, both of whom previously had special sessions.
Delegates from the 2016 General Conference will remain as delegates for the 2019 session, unless an annual conference chooses to have a new election.
The Commission on General Conference is simultaneously planning for both the 2019 special session and the regular session of the General Conference, which is scheduled for May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Commission met through Sunday, October 8.