After some difficult legislative wranglings, the Conference passed a Constitutional amendment that would give local pastors and probationary (now called provisional) members of the Annual Conference the right to vote for delegates to jurisdictional and general conferences. The constitutional amendment will now have to be ratified by the annual conferences, but this is a historic and just step for the church.
I spent a lot of time working on this legislation in the Ministry and Higher Ed Legislative Committee and tried to help shepherd it on the floor. That was difficult because the presiding bishop would recognize me only for a point of order. But as the mood of the delegates became more apparent, I knew that finally, after three general conferences, it was on its way.
Paragraph 35 of the Constitution would now read:
The clergy delegates to the General Conference and to the jurisdictional or central conference shall be elected from the clergy members in full connection and shall be elected by the clergy members of the annual conference who are deacons and elders in full connection, associate members, and those provisional members who have completed their educational requirements and local pastors who have completed the Basic Course of Study or the Masters of Divinity degree, and have served a minimum of two consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election.
Notice that there are "qualifying" indicators, so that only certain local pastors will attain the right to vote. I do hope the Conferences will see this as a fair way for just representation for colleagues in ministry who do wonderful ministry and need inclusion.